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Hello Everybody, I am new to this forum and this is my first post. A little about us. My wife and I are both retired and live in a single family house in the Pacific Palisades, CA. Our home has a nice very secure backyard for our dogs to play and exercise though most of their daily exercise comes from neighborhood walks and our lab goes on local mountain hikes with one of our great dog watchers. We are also boaters and our dogs accompany us to our boat on the weekends. In sum, they get plenty of exercise and attention. Our Lab sleeps in his bed next to our bed and our Schnauzer used to sleep on the bed with us.

We are a two dog family and recently lost our beloved 11 y/o Miniature Schnauzer. We also have a wonderful 3 1/2 male year old yellow lab. The two dogs were special pals and I know that our Joey misses his little companion as we do.
We are starting to look for a second dog and are leaning towards a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. We have recently gone to two all breed dog shows her in So. California where we live and have met several SCWT owners and handlers who were showing their dogs.

I have been reading as much material as I can find on line as well as chatting with SCWT breeders. It seems that the Wheatens are a very high energy dog, smart and need continuous attention otherwise they may get into mischief if they get bored. Our dogs are never left alone very long
and when we're away for say 3 to 4 hours at most they are free to roam the house and have no restrictions. I'm wondering if I would be asking for trouble if the Wheaten, when matured and fully housebroken, have problems being left alone for short periods of time. I am not a big fan of
leaving our dog locked in a crate while we're away. That would be okay when they were a small puppy but not an adult. I would also use a safe playpen to restrict our puppy's area.

I would love to hear from SCWT owners about their experience in raising their Wheatens as well as any opinions or suggestions. We hope this would be the next breed for us but if not we will move on.

Thanks,

Skipper Jay
 

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I have no direct experience with SCWT, but terriers in general are quite tenacious. They generally have a high prey drive, and yes, get into mischief if you aren't provided entertainment.

I don't see any reason why this dog wouldn't be a good fit if you can provide the exercise, but you may have to change your views on confinement. Whether or not a dog will be destructive if left to themselves to free roam is really a very individual thing. I'm surprised you can let your 3.5 year old lab roam without incident, as everyone I know who has a lab has to crate them when they leave because they eat TV remotes or books or other things that are not toys!

It seems you understand that while they're puppies and learning they need to be confined, but sometimes dogs (especially high energy dogs noted for getting into mischief) need to be crated or confined well into adulthood, perhaps even for the rest of their lives. There is nothing wrong with that. 3-4 hours is really nothing. It's a nap. Most dogs, even free-roaming, pick a spot on the couch and sleep while their owners are away, anyway.

My own dog is a 4 year old Collie/Aussie (so high energy, likes to always be doing something) mix, and although he is perfectly well behaved while we are at home and can be relatively unsupervised for hours at a time, if we leave the house he tends to pull books off of bookshelves and eats them. He has a thing for paper, it seems, so he'll snoop and find things that are fun to shred, basically. I tried twice to transition him to free-roaming, once when he was about 1.5, and then again about a year later. Both times he did well for a week or so, but then ate a few books. I put him back in his crate. He just doesn't know what to do with himself if not in his crate, and I think he goes looking for things to do and ends up getting in trouble. He loves his crate and knows my before work routine, so he typically goes and lays in it about 15 minutes before I leave. He gets a stuffed Kong as a special treat.

If the puppy you eventually get grows up to be a perfectly well behaved house dog even when you're gone, great. If not, there's nothing wrong with keeping them crated or confined while you're away. The dog will not suffer for it! Eating something harmful and potentially getting a blockage (which can be deadly and are always expensive) is far worse! So, if you're absolutely opposed to crating a dog when you're away...I guess I would skip the Wheaton, or commit to doing some extreme dog proofing should the pup grow into a mischievous adult. But ANY dog can be destructive into adulthood, even the most mellow of dogs, and you won't really know until they're full grown. It's not an easy prediction. Dogs like Labs (ha), Goldens, and Huskies seem to be the top "Adult Destructive Dogs", but I've known plenty others of all different breeds who get into things well into adulthood.

You should also ask the breeders if their adult dogs are mischievous. It is kind of genetic, ha! I mean, not a 100% indicator, but it might give you a clue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dear Lillith, thanks for your thoughtful and sound advice. Yep, Joey our 3 1/2 lab has no problem being left alone in our home. The same was so with our late 11 y/o Min. Schnauzer. Of course, when they were young puppies we safe guarded the territory they were allowed to stay in while we were away.
My wife and I loved the Wheatens we saw at the dog shows and felt they would make a great companion dog. Now, we're not so sure as I am reading more about their temperament and need for nearly constant stimulation. We have always interacted with our dogs throughout the day without the fear that a pause
might lead to distructive behavior or excessive barking. I've had many breeds including Dobermans, Belgium Tervuran, Labs and a Min. Schnauzer. Of course, all my pups required close supervision during their puppy stage but not so much as they grew into adult dogs.
We certainly find your comments to be very helpful and will reconsider our objection to reasonable crating. We are in no hurry and will be doing our due diligence in choosing our next dog. Our only reservation for selecting another Min. Schnauzer was a fear we would always be looking for our beloved Otto who could never be replaced
in our new dog. I'm now thinking that concern may be unjustified.
 
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