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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Okay so my girlfriend and I have a ten month old West Highland who is a pretty good little dog but lately we have had a big problem. From everything we read a Westie is never the kind of dog you can let run free without a fence because they just have to bolt if they see something tastey..

Now, I don't know if I believe that 100% because they seem like pretty bright pups, I would hope anything is possible.

Anyways, three times now in a week he has snuck by us when accepting a package or something near the door and he shoots outside and literally goes nuts. If he continues to do this, there is a 100% chance he will not live his full life and he will get smashed by a car.

Where do we start on solving this? Meaning what type of training do we focus on to remedie this problem? Is it a matter of training to keep away from the door? Or is it better training to keep him by our sides?

I would love to think we could just do a better job of keeping him from going free but its almost like no matter how hard you try, you know someday he is going to get free again and that could be the day he runs right in front of a car!

Thanks
 

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I haven't trained this specific command, but I'm sure others will have tips. Until he's trained, though, I would take a minute to leash him before you ever open the door.
 

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You say you dont believe 100% that it is possible because he is such a good dog. I bet you are believing it now!

My advice is to keep a leash on your pup for some training time. When someone comes to the door grab the leash and teach him the proper way to stay at your side while visitors are there.

As for the last comment. You HAVE to make sure it doesnt happen..every time the lil guy gets out it reinforces the fact that he wins.. And it makes him more eager to do it again and again!

It is completely in your control.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I am not saying I dont believe it 100% because he is such a good dog...trust me I realize he is not an angel. I guess I was just saying in general he doesn't cause a lot of trouble, destroy things, bad stuff like that.

I guess the reason I said that is because I have seen some amazingly trained dogs where the owners literally would never have to worry about a situation like this.

I guess we'll work on some "stay" training by the door with a leash for now
 

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Oh I know! I have 2 Cairn Terriers that I think are the best things since peanut butter! They dont do the crazy things lots like to "think" they do because they are terriers. But when it comes to keeping them from getting lost or hurt..That is my lifes goal to keep from happening again.

But i have lost a dog in the past. I know how bad it hurts when you are totally heartbroken over a simple mistake. I never found my dog. And I sure wouldnt want that to happen to anyone, ever.

As for people that have perfectly trained dogs... Most of the time it doesnt apply to the terrier breed. Sometimes it does..but not always. Terriers are independent by nature.. even when you least expect it.

Good luck! and we need to see some pics :)
 

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Yeah see I have never lost one, but it is my biggest fear. My cousin has lost two dogs to the road they live by including a 3 month old chocolate Lab and I want to do everything possible to make sure that never happens!

Here is Sammy...The two where he is on the red sleeping bag are from five months ago and the other two are very recent.
 

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I love the head tilt shots.

Keep a crate or bed near the door, and train him to run into it and wait whenever the doorbell rings or you tell him to.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thats not a bad idea, but I think we might have something in place already that I could make work...

See, everytime I go outside, he usually jumps up on the couch next to the door and watches me out a window...

I think we'll start associating that with a command and Ill go outside and hand him a treat through the window. See right now he just goes to the window naturally..he is a real "watcher"...we'll throw some treats into the mix and see if we can make it the regular occurence.
 

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You must teach your dog sit and stay command. And only get up when you give a release word. And even that, the best trained terrier may not overcome their natural prey drive if they see something great to chase outside, like Mr. chipmunk.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
we have him trained to sit and lay down....

We have not tackled "stay"

How do we get him to sit and stay?
 

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As for people that have perfectly trained dogs... Most of the time it doesnt apply to the terrier breed. Sometimes it does..but not always. Terriers are independent by nature.. even when you least expect it.
Terriers can be trained to a high standard--even off leash. Getting there is likely going to be more work than with traditional "obedience breeds", but it can be done. Lots of them (especially Wire Fox and Jack Russell Terriers) have done movie, TV, and advertising work. You just have to be more stubborn than the dog.
 

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My Aussie girl shot out the screen door like that when she was young and a puppy. Make sure you keep the dog leashed and put somewhere safe to prevent a heartbreaking tragedy from happening.

Luckily my girl was okay after her adventures but she could have easily gone lost or hit by a car. I used to have to lure her back to me with something tasty which only made her more aggressive about getting out the door!! Smart girl..RIP.
 

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Terriers can be trained to a high standard--even off leash. Getting there is likely going to be more work than with traditional "obedience breeds", but it can be done. Lots of them (especially Wire Fox and Jack Russell Terriers) have done movie, TV, and advertising work. You just have to be more stubborn than the dog.
Understandably. I agree!

I was speaking from just a regular joe blow of a dog owners perspective. Got to put one foot in front of the other in this situation. If the OP does decide to train his pup like say..a terrier in the movies.. Thats one thing.. But lets help keep the dog in the house first :D
 

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Digit: that was more for the OP's benefit. Lots of folks talk about how difficult terriers can be to train, and the take-away message is often that expectations can be lowered (or abandoned) with terriers. The pet owner only really has to teach his dog 4 things: 1) sit; 2)stay; 3) come, and; 4) heel. Everything else is hot fudge on the sundae.

Most small terriers live a very long time, so it ought to be doable.
 

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I never meant to convey that they are hard to train..Not in the least. Actually i find them absolutely brilliant!

My message to the OP was basically saying to err on the side of caution. Having 2 terriers after losing my cocker mix.. No matter how confident I am in my dogs training..I would never let my guard down when there is immediate danger in my front yard. And the risk of escaping out an open door is there.
 

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I don't know much about the westie, but they say siberian huskies should never be off-leash. People have trained them to do it, and they are very stubborn. I hope westies aren't that stubborn. Anyways, I think the best way to train it is by having someone ring the doorbell. Put the dog on a leash, make the dog sit and stay away from the door.
Only go and open the door, when the dog is sitting the spot you tell him to sit. Also make sure the dog is calm.
After you get it, I think the best way to test it is to get a stranger or someone the dog doesn't know to ring the bell.

Keep the dog far away from the door. Our siberian husky would lay down and act like he is going to stay, but when you least expect it or let your guard down. He is out the door. So be careful, they can be tricky. Since you have a westie, I think you should get a long lead, little dogs are very hard to catch. I can't catch my klee kai in my house, my husky does it for me. :)
 

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I don't know much about the westie, but they say siberian huskies should never be off-leash. People have trained them to do it, and they are very stubborn.
The Spitz types may require more commitment and ingenuity than the breeds that typically dominate obedience trials, but they are still dogs.
 

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I agree Huskies should not be off leash in an open area, but only the owner knows how well the dog is trained. For example, I will let my dog off leash in my front yard or my driveway. But I only started allowing that a month ago. She's still never off leash anywhere else. And she really doesn't need to be. That's what a long line is for.


For now I would say if the little terror -- I mean terrior -- gets out, get really excited and run back IN the house. If you chase him it will be a game. If he chases you, it's still a game, but now he's running the right direction.
 
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