From the Desk of Sharda Baker
Good day and welcome everyone!
This is Sharda again for another Scottish Terrier newsletter.
Scottish Terriers are a wonderful breed of companion dog provided that you can work with the natural tendencies of the breed.
Since they are a terrier, they have a strong natural hunting instinct.
They were originally bred to be able to tunnel through the ground to get at rabbits, vermin, foxes and other animals.
This natural instinct still exists today, and is one of the more challenging aspects of owning a Scottie. So you need to ask: Is the Scottish Terrier Right For Me?
Daily brushing is required to keep the long coat from tangling and matting. Since Scotties are relatively light shedders the grooming is mostly for the tangling issue, not for hair removal.
Scotties quickly get used to a grooming routine and enjoy the process.
With a bit of understanding of the breed, most issues with the Scottish terrier can be corrected or accommodated.
They are not, however, a breed for everyone, and it is important to understand the reality of living with a Scottie before deciding if it is the breed for you and your family.
Anyone that has owned a Scottie knows that they are natural diggers. They really enjoy a good dig in the garden, the lawn, or under the fence. They are amazingly agile and strong, and can quickly create quite a mess of a landscaped yard.
It is also important to have a kennel or fence that cannot be easily tunneled under, as this breed is very intelligent and will soon figure out a way to get out of the yard and go exploring while you are away.
Most Scottie owners accept this part of their companion’s behaviour, and learn to develop digging areas in the yard where the dog is able to exercise by digging through the ground.
This can be done by hiding or burying dog toys or treats in the ground to teach the Scottie that digging is acceptable in this spot. Keep the ground tilled or soft in the digging patch so that it is more appealing to the dog to dig there.
Reward the Scottie for digging in the right place and they will quickly learn where to dig and where not to.
The independent nature of the Scottie draws many people to the breed, but it also can make training more difficult.
Some Scotties are known to be rather stubborn and aloof, so it is important to quickly establish that you are the pack leader and that you are the dominant member of the relationship.
This does not mean that you have to punish or speak harshly to the puppy or dog; rather you need to be consistent and firm with the Scottie.
If more than one person is involved in the training it is important that they both be consistent in both commands and expectations, or the Scottie will soon learn to listen and attend only to one person, and ignore the other.
Children that are working with a Scottie need to be aware of the same expectations.
The Scottie may try to dominate younger children, so adult supervision may be required until the dog and the children learn to interact with each other.
As with most breeds of dogs, and definitely all terriers, the Scottie requires socialization at an early age as well as throughout life.
The Scottie may occasionally become possessive and aggressive towards other animals, so it is important to expose them to as many dogs, cats and other animals as possible to prevent this behaviour.
Puppy classes, obedience training or trial events are terrific ways to socialize your Scottie and spend time together. Remember that a Scottie is a working dog, and enjoys the challenge of learning new things and performing.
Scotties tend to be standoffish with people outside of the family. They are not a dog that generally makes new human or animal friends readily, and many breeders say that you have to earn the respect and friendship of a Scottie.
If you have frequent visitors to your residence this should be considered.
Scotties love attention, and require some attention and love from their owners and families on a daily basis. Scotties, due to their natural intelligence and ability to ferret out things, can often become destructive in a house if bored or unattended.
They are not trying to be destructive or hurtful, they are merely trying to find something to do. Since they are naturally playful, Scotties enjoy having toys, balls and chewing items around to keep themselves entertained while people are away.
Another way that Scotties can try to ward off boredom when you are gone is to bark. Since they are a small dog, one might expect that they would have a small bark.
This is incorrect, they have a very loud, deep bark and this can be very problematic if you live in a close neighbourhood or in an apartment.
Most Scotties can be taught not to bark by giving them other ways to entertain themselves while you are gone, or by providing some extra exercise before you leave.
Scotties can be great dogs for apartment dwellers provided that you are committed to regular exercise with the dog one or ideally two times a day. Scotties love long walks, chasing a ball or stick, or even jogging with you.
They are natural trackers, so require a lead or leash when being walked outside the yard. Even very well trained Scotties will occasionally take off after a cat or squirrel when they are not restrained by a leash.
Due to the risks of being injured by a car or other vehicle, this is a behaviour that should be closely watched by owners.
The Scottie loves being outdoors, and enjoys the rain and colder weather of the cooler climates. Many dogs want to come in during a rain or snowstorm, but the Scottie generally seems to enjoy this weather.
The hard, wiry outer coat keeps them dry, and the soft inner coat acts to insulate their bodies.
Scotties have difficulties in very warm and humid climates. Their coat acts against them in these conditions, trapping warm air close to their bodies and preventing them from cooling off.
If you live in a warm climate keep your Scottie indoors during the heat of the day, and provide exercise at night when it is cooler. Avoid exercising your Scottie in the heat of the day and watch for signs of heat stroke.
I hope you learned a lot from today’s Scottish Terrier Newsletter.
All the best and take care