Are Westies easy to train? If you are considering getting a dog, and you like West Highland Terriers, you may be thinking about whether this breed will be a good fit for you.
Some dogs are easier to train than others, and some breeds are high maintenance to deal with. West Highland Terriers, or Westies are really popular dogs, with wonderful personalities.
In this guide, we are going to look at the characteristics of the breed, how easy these dogs are to train, and whether they are high maintenance or not. Read on to see if this dog breed is right for you!
West Highland Terrier Characteristics
West Highland Terriers are one of the most popular breeds around today. These dogs were initially bred to hunt rats and rodents in Scotland, and are great companions despite being hunting dogs.
Westies tend to have a lifespan of 12-16 years and are short-legged terriers. Therefore, they only grow to about 9 – 12 inches (23 – 30cm) tall and around 14 – 22 (6 – 10kg) pounds in weight.
They are quite stocky, but they are still fast runners and rather agile. Westies are confident little creatures, playful, and entertaining, and have long gained the affection of people all over the world.
Despite their small size, they have big personalities and are sturdy and fun-loving dogs. Westies have dark, piercing eyes, small bodies with white fur, and a short tail that is always wagging with happiness.
Although they have a small exterior, they are true working dogs and are surprisingly tough.
Westies have an all-white double coat that is rough and ragged rather than fluffy – and you will find that they get dirty because they love being outdoors and chasing anything that moves!
They are extremely independent, however, they are very faithful furry friends, and will be a great family pet.
Are Westies Easy To Train?
Westies are very intelligent, and will love having a job to do as they are a working breed. As these dogs are very independent and confident, they can be a little bit of a challenge to train.
However, with the right patience, space, and time, they can be trained nicely. In addition to this, Westies are very eager to please, and tend to respond well to positive reinforcement and reward based training.
This can make them an excellent choice for first time owners. They can be excited and energetic during training. As these dogs are very lively Terriers, they will love going on walks and exploring.
These dogs will enjoy walks no matter what the weather is like! These dogs will probably only need about an hour of exercise per day, so you can take them on a long walk or split it into two shorter, yet fun walks.
You can also play lots of games of ‘fetch’ and ‘catch’ to wear them out as they will find this very rewarding and stimulating. They love playing and having fun, so you can incorporate this into your training schedule.
Are Westies High Maintenance?
It is hard to say definitively whether West Highland Terriers are high maintenance as every dog is different. Some owners can find them high maintenance, but most will say that they are not.
They do not require a lot of grooming, but they will need brushing daily to detangle the fur, and get out any mud, dirt, and debris stuck in their fur after zoomies outside!
In addition to this, their coats do not shed too much, so they are not too difficult to care for and will not shed a lot in your home!
Westies are, therefore, not generally high maintenance, but they do have some personality traits that can make them a little difficult to deal with at times.
Due to their strong prey drive and love of chasing small animals, they can lose attention quickly and run off to explore, which is common in this breed.
Westies also tend to bark a lot, which some owners can find frustrating.
Are Westies Difficult To House Train?
Generally speaking, Westies are not difficult to house train. As mentioned above, this breed is very intelligent, which is why we love them!
As they are so smart, they tend to be fast learners and will enjoy training with you. That being said, they do have short attention spans, so they can get bored and lose interest in training sessions quickly.
It is best to keep your training sessions short and more frequent rather than longer. House training should not be too difficult with a Westie, as long as you use positive training techniques, and offer treats often!
How To Train A Westie?
If you want to have a well-behaved Westie, then you will need to train them from a young age, as these dogs can be feisty and stubborn.
With lots of praise, rewards, and treats, they can be relatively easy to train. The trick is to ensure that the training sessions are fun, positive, and rewarding for them.
This can also help them remain interested in their training sessions as they can get distracted. To train your Westie, it is best to stick to shorter training sessions.
We recommend completing two 5-10 minute training sessions every day. You should also only stick to one training command per session to not cause confusion.
Start with very short sessions with a basic command at first such as ‘sit’ or ‘down’.
Only when your Westie can successfully complete these commands should you move onto more difficult ones and longer sessions.
When a command is completed successfully by your Westie, be sure to reward with treats and lots of praise!
You can also play a quick game as part of the training as this is very enriching and stimulating for your Westie.
After your Westie can respond to the commands ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘stay’, you can try other commands such as ‘come’ and start practicing recall.
It is also a good idea to crate train a Westie for bedtime and when you leave them at home alone.
While these dogs are independent, they can get destructive when they are bored, so having a crate can ensure that they have a safe space to go to when they are left alone.
Keep in mind that Westies generally do not respond well to negative training methods such as shouting or harsh corrections. This can make them fearful and uninterested in training.
Instead, maintain a positive attitude, and try not to get frustrated with them. With positivity, patience, and a whole lot of treats…your Westie can be a well trained, well mannered canine companion.
To summarize, Westies make wonderful pets. They are small, but hardy and tend to be very loyal, affectionate and loving towards their human families.
Westies are highly intelligent as they are a working breed, so they will enjoy being trained and will find it rewarding.
However, this dog breed can be stubborn and difficult to deal with if not trained correctly, so it is important that you start training your Westie as soon as possible to ensure that they exhibit good behaviors from a young age.
Westies are incredibly independent, and will be the most loving companion you could ask for. But…we could be a little biased here at Westie Bestie!