Housebreaking a Cairn Terrier

Category Dog Breeds

How do I housebreak my 17 week old Cairn Terrier? I have 4 other dogs and have never had a problem housebreaking, but I cannot get this puppy to learn.


Char from California

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By Robin (Guest Post)
February 8, 20060 found this helpful

Have you tried crate training? Some dogs are stubborn, but crate training usually works. You can get detailed information on how to do this from you vet. The only investment you need to make is some sort of crate or pet taxi for the dog to stay in when it is not directly interacting with you.

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By (Guest Post)
February 8, 20060 found this helpful

Congratulations on your new edition. I have a Norwich Terrier, I have never owned a terrier before and was unprepared for the stubborness of the breed! I didn't think that she would ever get the idea of going outside. I just did the usual, took her out first thing in the morning, after eating, after waking up, after playing, before bedtime, ect. If you work, I would definately use the crate training method, they usually won't go in their crate and will hold it until you come home to let them out. When I took my girl outside to do her business I would say, "go potty" and when she did I would hug and kiss her and say what a good dog she was; I repeated go potty every time and now she goes on demand when I say the word.


One mistake I did make was giving her a small treat after doing her business, now she expects a treat every time she comes back in the house; she has a little weight issue now. I have to tell you that it took about five months for me to completely housebreak her, and then one day it was like the light bulb went off in her head and she just got it! The one thing that I never did was push her nose in the mess if she did it in the house. I would tell her no if I caught her in the act and then rushed her outside. Terriers really don't like being reprimanded at all and it will make them all the more stubborn, but they do respond to hugs and kisses and compliments! Good luck to you!

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February 9, 20060 found this helpful

I have a pom., she was about 3 months old when I got her. We had lots of issues with potty training. What worked best with me was the verbal coaching, lots of affection and Cheerio's.


I would break them in half or in quarters. Even now when she comes in from the back yard, she wants her Cheerio. She loves them and they are good for her. We haven't had an issue with weight. Best wishes!

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February 10, 20060 found this helpful

It's also helpful if you take your dog to the same area to potty. It smells where it went before and this prompts them to do it again. A dog can never be forced to do it's business, just patience, gentle coaxing and consistence. Some dogs don't like to 'go' on the grass, some don't like to go in the dirt. I had a mixed terrier once who hated to get her feet wet in the morning when I took her out so she would walk the entire perimeter of our yard trying to escape the wet grass! I've had dogs that wouldn't do their business when I took them out but as soon as we went inside, they would do it right on the floor! I just scooped them up and took them right back out and when they finished, I praised lavishly. No treats.


Some dogs learn it quickly, some just don't. I think many times it depends on how the breeder trained the pups before the pups went to new homes and if a dog is a rescue, there's no telling what the dog learned or didn't learn. Training can be frustrating but remember this, if you scold a dog for not doing it's business when you want it to, it will set the learning process back and creates stress not only for you but for the dog. This applies to any kind of training. Never scold a puppy for any reason, (they are babies), and scolding a dog for not coming to you during the recall training will only make the dog run further away. And NEVER, NEVER rub a dog's face in it's feces or urine. This tells the dog that it's bad to pee and poop and you have just set your training back so far the dog may never be housebroken. Every time I hear of someone doing that to a dog I want to do it to THEM!

Please be patient with your dog. If you get frustrated easily, please hire a trainer. A trained dog is a happy dog and a happy dog is a happy owner.Training is a life long process. It doesn't end at six or eight weeks of training at a pet store or in-home training.

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By MSC72890@YAHOO.COM (Guest Post)
January 26, 20070 found this helpful


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By Dorsey (Guest Post)
August 16, 20070 found this helpful

Help! My 9 week old goes in his crate constantly. I am getting up every night at 3 am to let him out, but he still messes in his crate, and eats it! He is never in the crate for longer than 4 hours. I'm thinking crate training will never work for him-.He is from a breeder who kept the litter in big wire cage. They went to the bathroom in the cage. The mess went through the wire mesh to a pan below. Any hope?

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By (Guest Post)
October 26, 20070 found this helpful


How big is the crate? It should only give enough room for the dog to stand in full-length, lie down, and turn around. If the crate is too big, the dog may be evacuating in a corner that feels like it's "away" from where he/she sleeps. With a smaller crate or use of a divider that gives the dog only a little space, it would have to pee or poop where it sleeps. This is the real reason dogs don't like to go in their crate; they want to keep their "den" clean.


Also, consider how long the puppy gets left in the crate. We have a young cairn who can hold his bladder well, but if I have a long day, we MUST let him out around lunch time. He just simply can't (and SHOULDN'T) have to hold it for a really long time. Letting the puppy out to pee/poop every 4-5 hours, at the longest, will give it a chance to evacuate and train it to wait.

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By Jennie (Guest Post)
July 12, 20080 found this helpful

I have a Cairn that is almost a year old and we have had her almost a year. For the most part we have been very consistent with her and some days she does really good...but then all of a sudden she goes on these rampages of crapping and peeing in the floor! It's like she has short term memory or is so aggravating! I don't know what to do to get her to remember and to not crap in the floor anymore. She knows she shouldn't do it either because she cowers and hides if she craps in the floor. Can anyone help me? I'm desperate!

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January 20, 20100 found this helpful

The first thing you need to do is to realize that it takes sometimes up to a year to completely housebreak a dog of ANY breed. They will have good days and bad along the way, but it does take many many months of consistent training on your part. If he has an accident in the house, don't get upset. Show it to him and tell him NO, then take him outside. Then clean the accident up completely, spraying the area with a pet odor remover when you are done.

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