AW isn't he cute? Beware, behind that adorable face is a monster! Okay not really, but the Westie is a big dog in a little dog's body and they are very smart-and demanding-and get into trouble. I had my Westie-Finnegan-the best dog in the world-I know everyone says that, but I speak the truth-for almost 14 years and I miss him so much it hurts. Lemme tell you this, while he was a GREAT little dog, BUT he had his own mind. He often did the following:
1.Kick me and let out loud sighs when I was on the phone (especially when he was little)
2.Changed the games at his pace and rules-like we would play toss the ball or toy and he would go along and then get bored and make up his own version-which I usually let him get away with after tricking him into thinking it was MY idea-no need to fuel that Westie confidence
3.Steal my pillows or place I was sitting and pretend to be asleep
4.Not come when called
5.Chewed everything until I told him, "not for Finn, or not for Westies"
6. Turned his back on me when he didn't get his way-this was my favorite, like he was punishing me
7.Bark or keep hitting things until I gave him attention (and keep in mind this dog was walked a min of 2 hours a day-even when a senior senior and I played with him every night)
8. Go on hunger strikes when he wanted something else
Do you get the point? Westies are great dogs, and mine was great but not because he came out that way-because I spent time training him from the time we brought him home until the day he died. I made sure he knew I was the boss-not him.
Westies LOVE to please their pets-as they see it-so it isn't too hard to train them, but let them get away with an inch and they will take a mile or more. I ALWAYS made Finnegan sit before anything and trust me this worked like a charm.
I didn't yell at him, but if he did something wrong I usually just IGNORED him-that worked-sometimes. Sometimes when I was working and he demanded-Westies don't ask and everything is on their schedule-my attention-I would just pick him up and kiss him all over-YUCK! He HATED that and if that didn't work I would suggest a "brushes" which usually got him to sneak under the bed until that nonsense was over.
He was a great dog and I know that because I had him since he was born. I am now about to rescue a Westie-you may be wondering, "why on earth would anyone in their right mind invite that kind of trouble?" Well you know, all dogs deserve to be loved and Westies in the rescue program are the ones who have been ignored-they aren't bad dogs-they are trying to get someone to PAY ATTENTION to them. Patience is something you must have to be part of a Westie's life-if you don't have that and lots of love and energy-then skip it.
People were always coming up to me and Finn-especially moms with kids-"Oh. My. God. he is so cute-I want one" To my usual response of "Do you have two hours a day or more to play, walk and exercise him? Good luck!" One of the many nicknames my Westie had was monster and I would always tell people, he is a monster, but his cuteness usually fooled them. I remember one time I was out of town and my roommate was watching Finn for the weekend and she called me saying "Your dog has been barking since 5 am" and I said, "well how long did you walk him?" I mean, a Westie is not like ANY other dog-you can NOT simply pee them a couple times a day and expect him to be okay. My Finnegan would take out every single toy and I would wake up in the middle of the night getting hit by them flying through the air. He would also throw his treats around and chase them. Baby proof the inside? No I WESTIE proofed it. Which meant-NOTHING lower than 4 feet-NOTHING that I didn't want chewed. He was pretty good with knowing what was his and what was mine-but every once in a while I would let him have the entire run of the apartment for just 5 minutes to come back to a shredded magazine and a guilty dog face staring at me like, "well you left it there."
I miss my Finn-Monster so much and I look forward to being the owner of another Westie someday-and I know it will be equally hard and equally rewarding.
For those of you thinking about getting one because they are so cute in that dog food commercial-seriously remember-that is television-just like actors aren't always the nice guy they play-Westies are not for amateur dog owners, but they are the best if you can handle them. :)