Are Cairn Terriers easy to train? June 25, 2018 16:15 2 Comments

Once the laughter has died down, I will explain!  A competent trainer will tell you that they can be trained just as well as any other breed given consistency.  However, be aware they need a firm hand because they are independent and stubborn.  They are a lively and confident breed that will want you to follow their own terrier rules unless you put your foot down. 

We have just started obedience training with our six-month-old pup and it is frankly exhausting.  She is sporty and inquisitive and full of the joys of spring, summer, autumn and winter combined!  So we need to be on our mettle and really consistent, whatever cute little face she presents!  She is food obsessed so treats are making the process easier.  Anything, which keeps her focused on the job in hand, is good.

Their big personalities are a large part of the attractiveness of the breed, and make no mistake they are very capable in many activities.  Cairns were well represented a few years ago by the Cairntastic Obedience team in Crufts.  They can tackle agility with gusto (as long at you don’t push it while they are still young, the jumps can damage growing joints).  Then there are earth dog trials, which really play on the Cairn’s natural instincts to hunt critters (they were bred as ratters originally).  We haven’t tried this, but it involves sending the dog down a series of man made tunnels to see if they can scent out the quarry.  There is NEVER any actual meeting of dog and prey.

So overall the answer is no, they are not the easiest to train but it absolutely can be achieved with short, daily sessions, smelly treats and a firm hand.  Re-call when there are distractions like a blade of grass blowing in the wind three counties away has always been our biggest challenge, what we have found helps with that is a rattling tin filled with treats and shouting “Sweeties!” very loudly.  Hope that helps!

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