Keeping terrier type dogs happy

Keeping terrier type dogs happy

All dogs have their own unique personalities, but the wide range of different dog breeds from all over the world can be broadly divided into sub-categories of dogs that share the same breed traits, have similar personalities and have a lot of other things in common. One of the largest of these groupings is that of the terrier, which encompasses a wide range of pedigree terrier dog breeds, and many other dogs that share some terrier ancestry and contain a lot of the main traits of the breed type.

Tailoring the care of your own dog to match their natural requirements, and communicating with them in a way that they can understand is important, and this is especially the case with the lively, intelligent and outgoing terrier. Terriers have unique personalities and are very smart dogs, who require owners who are on the ball and able to keep up with their busy lives!

What is a terrier?

Most terriers are on the small side, although larger terrier types such as the Airedale are not at all uncommon. They are categorised by their fearless natures and plucky personalities, and lively interest in everything that is going on around them. Traditionally, terriers were used for hunting and for managing vermin, so the hunting instinct is still strong within these dogs.

An example of some terrier dog breeds are:

  • Jack Russell
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Patterdale Terrier
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Fox Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • English Toy Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Any other dog breed with “terrier” in their name

...and many more besides!

How to tell if your dog is a terrier type

Terriers are among the most poplar dogs kept as pets today, and many mixed breed dogs and dogs of unknown breeding will contain some terrier ancestry.

Terriers are among the most active dogs, and are lively, intelligent and inquisitive, always interested in what is going on around them. They love exploring, playing and digging, and will be keen to join in with energetic games and activities. Terriers are still sometimes used today in working roles for vermin control, and they have strong hunting instincts. They are tenacious and persistent, and can be prone to stubbornness!

Exercise requirements for terrier-type dogs

Terriers require plenty of exercise, with at least two and preferably more walks per day, and plenty of opportunities to run about and play off the lead. Terriers enjoy play and lively interaction with people, but are also fairly independent little dogs, and quite happy to entertain themselves upon occasion if left with a range of toys and puzzle activities. Left unsupervised, you may find your terrier making their own entertainment in ways that you would prefer they didn’t, such as by digging up the garden or burying their toys! Terriers are obsessed with tunnels, burrows and digging, something that every potential owner should be aware of!

Terriers are also generally fast and sure-footed, and can have quite the turn of speed when it suits them!

The feeding requirements of terrier-type dogs

Terrier-type dogs tend to lead fairly active lifestyles, and so need to be fed accordingly with a good quality complete food that provides slow release energy. Splitting their meals into several portions throughout the day is generally considered to be the best way to feed the terrier. Some of the larger terrier-type dogs such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are strong and muscular, but they should never run to fat. Terriers require a reasonably high volume of food comparatively to their size, as they are so energetic and burn through a lot of calories just going about their daily lives.

Smaller terriers may benefit from being fed a food specifically designed for smaller dog breeds, which is easier to digest and more palatable to little mouths!

Bonding and communication with terrier-type dogs

Terriers are quick to learn, intelligent and inquisitive dogs, which can retain a wide range of training commands and often learn complicated tricks and skills. They do tend to get bored easily if their natural inquisitiveness is not kept occupied, and may inadvertently pick up bad habits as a result. The terrier can be prone to stubbornness, and it is important to establish yourself as the alpha or pack leader with your dog, and make sure that your terrier-type dog respects all of the members of the family and takes commands from all of the adults when required.

Terriers are tough, bold and plucky dogs that often occupy a spot near to the top of the pecking order in packs, even those that include much larger dogs. Terriers will stand their ground and stick up for themselves if things get snappy, but it is important to make sure that terriers are well trained and socialised from an early age to avoid problems with aggression or failing to integrate well with other dogs. Terriers also have a strong tendency to chase smaller animals such as wildlife and even cats when outside of the house, so training your dog out of doing this and spending lots of time working on the recall command is important.

Terriers can often live quite happily with cats as companions, although the training of the dog and the introduction of a terrier into the home of a cat should be managed carefully.

Terriers love working with people, and bond strongly with people that they can share activities with to keep occupied. They are not among the most emotionally needy of dogs, but they do enjoy lots of fuss and attention and are very loving and personable, with outgoing, bright personalities. Some terriers can be prone to suspicion of strangers, and they will often naturally fall into a guarding mindset within the home. Making sure that your terrier gets used to strangers and can be introduced to a newcomer with the minimum of fuss is very important.

Incorrectly trained or managed, terriers can become snappy and bossy if they do not get their own way, so a strong personality is required to train the terrier, as well as a consistent approach to training.



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