John Rodriguez


The Terrier

common training and behavior problems

Lively and brave, terriers are big dogs in an assortment of small to medium-sized packages. Terriers were originally kept to hunt vermin, especially mice, rats, rabbits, otters, stoats and weasels. Some Terriers were designed to go down animals holes in order to flush them out for the hunter. The name terrier is from the Latin terra, meaning earth, in reference to the dogs going underground. Today, the majority of modern breeds developed from the old terrier types are pets and companions. A few are still used as working terriers, and some terriers are large enough to be kept as guard dogs.

Kennel clubs assign breeds traditionally identified as terriers to their Terrier Group. Some kennel clubs prefer to use another category such as the Toy Group, Companion Group, Utility Group or Non-Sporting Group for certain terriers or terrier-like breeds, but most terriers are placed in the Terrier Group.

Terrier owners call us with a variety of issues, the most common are:

  • Not coming when called
  • Chasing animals
  • Digging or scratching
  • Excessive barking or vocalizing
  • Separation anxiety
  • Leash manners
  • Stubborness
  • Chewing
  • Excessive energy, frenetic
  • General disobedience

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the terrier

terrierThe terrier is a group of dog breeds initially bred for hunting and killing vermin. While usually small, these dogs are brave and tough, and have a lively, energetic, and almost hyperactive personality. Most terrier breeds were developed in the British Isles. They were used to hunt fox, otter, badger, and rat both over and under the ground.In fact, the word terrier comes from the Middle French terrier and before that the Latin 'terra', meaning earth.

Terrier Group is also an official breed grouping for most of the major kennel clubs including the AKC, ANKC, CKC, Fédération Cynologique Internationale, KC(UK), NZKC and UKC. Bear in mind that not all terriers are in the terrier group, and not all dogs in the terrier groups are terriers.

Terrier Types and Groups

Terrier breeds can be divided into different types and groups, such as:

* Hunting or working terriers - used to find, track, or trail quarry, especially from underground, and sometimes to bolt the quarry.
      o Fell terriers - breeds developed in northern England for predator eradication.

      o Hunt terriers - breeds developed in southern England to bolt foxes during a traditional fox hunt.

* Show terriers - bred for the show ring or as small pets.

* Toy terrier - bred "down" from larger terriers, these terriers are shown in the Toy or Companion group. Included among these breeds are the Toy Fox Terrier, the Silky Terrier, the Manchester and the Yorkshire Terrier.

The Bull and Terrier types (of which the modern Bull Terrier is one) were originally combinations of bulldogs and terriers as general mixed breed pit dogs. In the late 1800's, they were refined into separate breeds that combined terrier and bulldog qualities. Except for Boston Terriers, they are generally shown as terriers.

Wikipedia contributors, "Terrier," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Terrier&oldid=49845154 (accessed May 6, 2006).

[NOTE: With over three dozen distinct breeds, the list of terriers is too extensive to detail here. Instead, we've provided a sample of terrier temperaments.]

The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as a Yorkie, is a breed of small dog, one of many toy dog breeds. Yorkies can be very small, usually weighing between 5 and 7 lb (2.5 to 3.5 kg).

The Yorkshire Terrier, though a toy breed, still retains much of its Terrier ancestry in terms of personality. Though personalities differ from dog to dog, they are generally intelligent, independent and spunky. Yorkies, especially males, are very territorial and are known for their disregard for the limitations of their own size. They will often attack much larger dogs despite their extreme size disadvantage.

Yorkies typically get along well with cats and other dogs, and love to play together in groups. However, they are terriers, and even an old, sedentary lap dog may eagerly hunt rodents. Because they are so small, they are easily injured; They usually get along well with children, but may be endangered if kept in the house with an undiscerning or abusive child. Also, despite their small size, if attacked or continually provoked, like all dogs, they pack a surprisingly powerful bite.

Yorkshire Terriers tend to be more difficult to train than some of their canine cousins; however, this difficulty is considered to be a result of the breed’s characteristic prey drive rather than any major deficiency of intelligence as they were bred to work without human intervention.

Wikipedia contributors, "Yorkshire Terrier," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Yorkshire_Terrier&oldid=51431431 (accessed May 6, 2006).

The Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a breed of dog of the terrier category. It is one of the oldest terriers, originating in the Scottish Highlands, used for hunting burrowing prey among the cairns.

Cairn Terriers are intelligent, strong, loyal and have some fears. Like most terriers, they are stubborn and strong-willed, and love to dig after real or imagined prey. Cairn Terriers have a strong prey instinct and will need comprehensive training. However, they are highly intelligent and, although very willful, can be trained. Although it is often said that they are disobedient, this is not the case provided correct training is applied. They are excellent with children and make wonderful family dogs. These are working dogs and are still used as such in parts of Scotland. Like most terriers, they require large amounts of exercise. Cairn Terriers are very independent and do not make good "lap dogs". The image of Cairn Terriers being like "Toto" from the Wizard of Oz is a misconception. In reality, these dogs do not like to snuggle much and would heartily object to being kept in a basket. They like to do what they want, and will not make good pets for someone looking for a dog to cuddle with. However, if one wants a true best friend, Cairn Terriers are the choice for them. They are extremely loyal and very amiable.

Wikipedia contributors, "Cairn Terrier," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cairn_Terrier&oldid=51518686 (accessed May 6, 2006).

Kerry Blue Terrier

A Kerry Blue Terrier is a dog breed that comes from Kerry, Ireland. It was used for hunting, cattle herding, dog fighting, and guarding. Today, the Kerry is a companion and working dog.

Kerry Blue Terriers are strong-headed and highly spirited. They are, together with the Airedale Terrier, one of the best-suited terriers for work. They are fast, strong, and intelligent. They do well in obedience, dog agility, sheep herding, and tracking. They have been used as a police dogs in Ireland. They require an active, skilled owner who can provide them with early socialization and obedience training.

Because they can be dog aggressive and vocal, socialization from puppyhood is an absolute necessity to prevent future problems and veterinary bills.

As a long legged breed, their activity level is moderate to high. Kerries require work daily, such as walks, jogging, training, agility, or dog day care activities, to keep them busy and occupied. If they are locked in a fenced yard, they become bored and might bark, fence fight, dig holes or try to escape. It is loyal and gentle towards children.

Wikipedia contributors, "Kerry Blue Terrier," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kerry_Blue_Terrier&oldid=47850431 (accessed May 6, 2006).

The Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are typically small, compactly built, well proportioned, dogs with erect ears, short tails, and a short muzzle that should be free of wrinkles. Boston terriers can weigh from 10 to 25 lb, typically in the vicinity of 15 lb. The breed is known for its gentle, alert, and intelligent expression. Boston Terriers usually stand 15-17 inches at the withers.

Though bred at first for use in dog fights, today's Boston Terrier has been bred to have less aggressive tendencies. It is gentle, alert, very intelligent, and well-mannered. Enthusiastic and occasionally rambunctious, this breed has a sense of humor. They are very sensitive to the tone of one's voice. This breed likes to learn and therefore is not difficult to train. Their intelligence ensures they pick things up quickly. At times they can be somewhat willful. Some owners have reported that their dogs are good watchdogs barking only when necessary, while other owners have reported their female Boston Terriers do not bark at the door at all. Most reliable with children, especially good with elderly people and very friendly with strangers. The Boston Terrier is playful, very affectionate and likes to be part of the family. Very popular in the United States, due above all to its excellent character. They generally get along well with non-canine pets. Some males are dominant and may fight with other dogs.

Wikipedia contributors, "Boston Terrier," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Boston_Terrier&oldid=53313419 (accessed May 15, 2006).

The Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to "Airedale") is a large and versatile terrier dog breed originating from Airedale in Yorkshire, England, in the UK. It is often called the "King of Terriers" because it is the largest of the terrier breeds, 50 to 70 pounds (23-32 kg). The Airedale was bred originally to hunt otters. It was also called a "Waterside Terrier" because of this connection to hunting otters.

The Airedale can also be used as a working dog and also as a hunter and retriever. Airedales exhibit some herding characteristics as well, and have a propensity to chase animals. They have no problem working with cattle and livestock, however, a Airedale that is not well trained will agitate and annoy the animals. The Airedale Terrier is typically an independent (stubborn), strong-minded dog with a great sense of humour. For those who can laugh along with their Airedale, patience will be rewarded as they have been known to reach great heights in competitive obedience, dog agility, and Schutzhund. The Airedale is also a reliable and protective family pet. Due to Airedale stubborness, they can often be difficult to train, and require constant re-inforcement, or they may soon forget. Young Airedales exhibit a general lack of common sense, and require much training. They are also very energetic, and need plenty of exercise

Wikipedia contributors, "Airedale Terrier," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Airedale_Terrier&oldid=52967024 (accessed May 15, 2006).

Breed Specific Behavior

We encourage the potential dog owner to fully investigate individual breed and bloodline characteristics before acquiring a new dog. We will continue to add to and update this section over time.

Call 203.232.8018 or email John to discuss how we can help you and your terrier live happily ever after.

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