How do I introduce my Cairn Terrier to a new dog? April 25, 2019 08:54

How do I introduce my Cairn Terrier to a new dog?


Very carefully and thoughtfully.  Looking back it has taken nearly a year for us to be totally happy to leave all of our three together without there being a major incident.  We have the two old ladies who are thirteen, and we brought a puppy into the mix because we do not want a gap when a sad thing happens.

I read up loads on this and became convinced the articles were correct when they said it would take maybe three of four weeks for the new group to stabilise.  Of course we could expect squabbles and dominance issues and probably spats over food.  All of that happened, and it went on for a very long time even though we had introduced them all on neutral ground and given everyone their own space. 


If you are interested in owning a Cairn Terrier as a family pet, here are some articles that you may find useful:

How long do Cairn Terriers live?

What is the history of the Cairn Terrier?

Do Cairn Terriers have health problems?

Can I buy my Cairn Terrier rawhide chews?

How do I train my Cairn Terrier to walk on a lead?


I hate sugar coating things because life is mad and complex and quite ridiculous.  Your experience will depend on a million different factors so above all be prepared to be very, very patient. 

Here are some basics to consider.  Is your current Cairn Terrier ready?  Is he issue free?  Well-trained and balanced?  A new dog will make any existing issues worse.

Is the new dog going to be compatible?  If you introduce a pup to the older generation prepare for the older dog to teach the young one lessons, and be prepared for them to sound harsh. 

Make sure that YOU remain the alpha dog over both sets, therefore not allowing either dog to rise to dominance over the other.

If the first Cairn Terrier is afraid of the second dog, keep in mind that dogs don’t need love when they are fearful, they need leadership.  Rewarding their negative energy will result in more reaction. 

Some say there is slightly less conflict between opposite sexes, and that the ideal combination is to bring a male pup into an established female’s territory.

Top advice from experience is, monitor at all times, especially where food and treats are involved.  Use child gates, stair gates and crates.  Hide in them when necessary!

Sometimes the newcomer isn’t a pup but the guidelines still apply, especially in terms of separation until the fireworks subside.  Of course, you may have just moved little Mabel in without a minute of madness and that is brilliant, I guess I am talking about worst-case scenarios. 

I hope your new family is a joy and delight for many years to come.

Ruth xx

p.s. We have taken a big leap and introduced a range of Bedtime biscuits and treats, created by the chef Michel Roux. Hope you like them (and the tins they come in are gorgeous!).

Treats and biscuits from Cairn Terrier Collectibles