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I need HELP from WESTIE OWNERS pawleaze

This is a forum for bonding with your fellow Dogsters about the traits, quirks and idiosyncrasies of your favorite breed. Please remember that there are absolutely no animal sales or requests for studding or breeding allowed on our sites. All posts and interactions should be in the spirit of Dogster's Community Guidelines and should be fun, friendly and informational. Enjoy!

  
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BooBoo

GoBooBooGo
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 19, '09 6:07am PST 
My pawrents want to get a West Highland Terrier puppy. They have already found a reputable breeder. I wanted to join the popular group Westies Unite but I wasn't allowed because we do not have a westie YET confused The reason I wanted to join was to learn everything I could about westies before getting one. Problem is Westies Unite seems to be the ONLY active westie group there is so I am left out in the cold.....until someone told me about this breed specific forum so here I am!

We could ask the breeder but we prefer to hear from westie owners.

Any westie owners out there want to give me any tips so that my mom can be the best mom she can be to our future westie???

Our biggest concerns are skin problems. What's up with you westies and your skin allergies? Is it from plants? Shampoo? Food? Breeding? We want to know so we can prepare our garden and get rid of plants that can cause allergies. We already know westies like to dig so we are making sure our garden is escape proof. We don't care about ugly holes as long as our westie will be safe. Mom is already prepared to cook for our westie, she already cooks for me so I don't eat foods with preservatives in it.

Another big thing that concerns us is that we have noticed on many westie angel pages that westies don't live as long as we expect, especially for a small sized dog. What kind of health problems do westies normally face?

When we go pick out our puppy (around June hopefully) what should we be looking for? We don't care about show dog qualities, just want a healthy, happy, smart pup.

Thankyou to any woof who reads this long post and gives us any info.
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Vinny SEW- ©

Pasta Boy
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 24, '09 5:18pm PST 
Westies are the best in the world. They are sweet, lovable and very bossy. Our Vito passed earlier this month at age 15 yrs. That is a very good life for a westie. He had no skin problems at all. He was healthy until the last few months and old age just crept up on him. This breed is very social, they need lots of attention. We just got a new Westie who is 10 weeks old,(Vinny is his name and you can see his page here on dogster and also check our Vito, our first baby) and we are in the process of house training now. He is so stubborn that it's going to take a while, but he is catching on. This breed is extremely smart. The need lots of walks and they need to eat only their food. Table food is tempting to give them, but not good for them at all. We always gave vitamins and had him checked by the vet on a regular basis. Just make sure you have patience, love , and lots toys for them. They love to play with their toys all the time.
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Rikku

"It's gonna be- OK. I'm here to- help."
 
 
Barked: Sat Apr 4, '09 10:29pm PST 
Well, Rikku is my 3rd Westie, so what can I tell you....hmm....? Let's see.

- Be firm. Westies are super stubborn, and will take advantage of you as fast as possible. So, and this is especially important when they're puppies, NEVER give in to their whining. They may be so cute, or they may be so persistent (i.e. annoying), but no matter what the antics, do not give them what they want when they want it. If you do, they will know how to manipulate you and never give up. Here's just one example out of many: I used to take my 2nd Westie out of her crate when she wouldn't stop whining as a pup. She was just over 1 when we realized our mistake and started to work with her on the problem. She's 8 now and we still can't get her to stop whining when she wants something... anything... always.

- Westies loooove attention and need lots of it. If you don't give them enough attention one day, (s)he will let you know. Not enough for too long leads to anger, then depression. But if you cook for your furbaby now, I doubt you'll have a problem with this.

- My two older Westies have skin issues. My little one does not. The older ones do better with lamb and rice food. I don't know if it's the wheat or the chicken, but they must be allergic to one of those. Be careful when cooking for them, though. They have sensitive tummies and do not do well with rich food.

- Keep their ears clean. Their ears are upright and rather fuzzy, therefore prone to infection. Pull out the hair and make sure the ears are water-free after baths. If you notice any odor, rinse with lukewarm, hydrogen peroxide. It may clear it up if you catch it soon enough.

- Westies are NOT quiet. My 3rd Westie is relatively quiet... but only relative to the other 2. Is there a bird in the yard? BARK! Is there a person walking by? BARK! Did the doorbell ring on the TV show? BARK! Did you drop a spoon in the kitchen? It must be a burglar! BARK BARK!

Westies are very loving and, despite their extreme stubbornness, they want nothing more than for you to love them too. If you get a Westie, you will get lots of kisses, playfulness, and loyalty. But realize, you will be expected to give constant belly rubs in return. Have fun with your new Westie baby!
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Baby

980557
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 15, '09 8:42am PST 
Whatcould I say about westies...they are FUN and energetic. They are a big dog in a small body. They are very sweet, playfull and fun to be aorund with. They can be also very independent and stubborn, but that makes them even more special.
My puppy started having skim allergies because I was bathing him too often, but since I started waiting from 4 -6 weeks, he is fine, his skin is in perfect shape. The problem is that if you bathe them too often their skin turn very dry and then they have the problems. But if you wait, he/she should be fine.
They have alot of energy so be willing to play or walk with him/she, or fi you have other dogs that he/she can play with they will definitely help to release all the energy that they have.
If you have any other question regarding to westies dont hessitate in sending a post. I can talk all day about this amazing breed!
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Laddie

Laddie the- brave and- wonderful - westie
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 16, '09 2:47pm PST 
You would be welcome to join our group Westieland@ning.com
We can all help with any westie questions you may have..we are strictly for westie lovers

You do have to be over 17 years of age .........

Laddie xx
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♥MAGG- IE♥

Miss Barkalot!!
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 19, '09 10:03am PST 
snoopysnoopysnoopysnoopy WESTIES ARE THE BESTIES !!!
snoopysnoopysnoopysnoopy
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Pez

Fuzzy lil lump
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 20, '09 7:52am PST 
Westies Westies where to start....

Well, they are quite possibly the best most amazing dogs in the world!!!! That being said we can move on to the other matters concerning Westies.

We bark, we bark a lot, but i'm sure you know that. With lots and lots of patience it can be trained down to a minimum but the bark will always be there.

We're white so in order to keep looking fabulous our coats need to be well kept.

Our tummies are quite sensitive, so what to feed is ort of a trial and error on your part to find the absolute best foods for us to keep us and you happy. I personally like soft treats, and softer foods because regular dog biscuts make me cough and choke because westies (or at least me) tend to inhale food as fast as possible so as to finish quickly and go run and play.

We run and spin and play all the time, and we love it when our mommies and daddies play with us, and we also love otherdogs to play with us too no matter how big they are! I have a brother who is a Dane/mastif mix and he is HIGE but i play with him as if he were my size! Westies are big dogs in small packages so please moniter us when we play with big dogs because is sure hurts when we get stepped on (personal experience)

Our skin tends to have problems, if there is an allergen then we bite it and sores and spots come up and that's bad, but knowing what your westie is allergic too will make it ten times better for you and your westie. Also during the winter i know i at least get dry skin which can mimic the effects of allergies and it's no fun. My mommy puts fish oil in my food during the winter or whenever my skin looks dry and that clears it up and makes me feel better.

Brush our teeth please, because no one likes bad breath or plaque build up.

The books say we tend to live to be around 14, but we're terriers, so we act like we'll live forever! And we will, because even after we are gone we'll live forever in your heart. I've known many a westie to live to be anywhere from 16-22, and my friend the 22 year old still acts and plays like he is 4.

Westies are amazing in every way, and once you find your westie one look will be all it takes to win your heart.
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Angel Iver

Angel Iver Jan- 29, 1996 - June 15, 2009
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 21, '09 9:29am PST 
Hi BooBoo.
The best advice I can give you is to find a reputable breeder.
Someone who only breeds Westies.
And will let your parents come to their home and view the
breeding facility and all the Westies.
They will belong to some association of Westies.
Here in the US, it is the West Highland White Terrier Club of America.
A breeder like this will only let their dogs breed once
every year or two and they may have two or three females
so they'll have maybe three litters a year.
Very hard to get a puppy from such a breeder and you may
go on a waiting list.
What will you get in return?
The assurance that this breeder is very careful to breed
only dogs free of genetic defects.
These Westies are unlikely to experience skin allergies
or other conditions that we Westies are susceptible to.
I myself have a severe case of epedermal dysplasia.
I have chewed most of the fur off my legs and tail.
At first the vets thought this was due to allergies
but after my Dad spent thousands of dollars on
allergy medicine and three years of cyclosporine
treatments, my main vet realized I have an incurable
disease called epedermal dysplasia.
I have this problem because I am a puppy mill
dog and those that bred me didn't care that their
adult dogs were passing on genetic defects to the puppies.
So the best advice I can give you is to select
a reputable breeder. Even if it means you have to
go on a waiting list for a puppy.
Good luck to your parents in finding a good puppy, BooBoo.
And we at Westies Unite look forward to when you can
join us. We have a lot of fun over there.

Edited by author Tue Apr 21, '09 9:30am PST

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Jack

"Find the Squeak- on the Inside."
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 21, '09 9:33am PST 
Hi, Boo Boo! My name is Jack. I'm am 2 and a half. I am a Westie. My mommy got me from a Mennonite couple in Penn Yan, New York. I am an American Canine Association Westie. I'm a little different than some Westie boys. My groomer calls me "petite" (I'm not quite 17 lbs) and my vet calls me "athletic". I'm a very slender build, and don't have the lovely thick luxurious hair that Morgan has.
I'm very energetic. This time of year, as the weather gets nicer, I'm playing soccer with my daddy outside. I jump from side to side of the ball biting at it to get it to go where I want it to, because it won't fit in my mouth. I love to go for walks, but it took Daddy a long time to get me to be willing to go for walks. Once I found out they were fun, I was eager to go! I learn really well from other well-behaved dogs. I was not good at riding in a car when I was a little puppy, so my grandpop took me in the car with his three boys. The boys taught me how to ride really well. I love all other dogs and people. They are ALL my friends, even if Mommy won't let me play with all of them (she's such a meanie!). I'm not afraid of bigger dogs. I am a chewer, and when I was a puppy, I chewed things up. Mommy had her work cut out for her to find things that I could chew on, and train me away from things I shouldn't chew on. I am a giant bitey-end. I used to bite very hard, but I got trained out of it. Now, I bite people that I love, but it's different--I really just like holding their hands in my mouth. My mouth is like my opposable thumb.
I like small animals. They should be in my mouth. "It's okay, mousie. I know you're scared. Get into my mouth. You'll be safe there." I will even go after animals that are very large for me. I pulled a possum out of the garage by the tail. Mommy won't let me out on the dog run at night, because she's afraid I might make friends with a skunk or a raccoon. Or another possum. Is it my fault that Santa Paws is trying to make up for years of not giving me the real squirrel or bunny I asked for?
I would jump out of a second story window if there were the possibility that a squirrel could be in my mouth. Mommy opens the windows from the top so I can't do anything like that.
The Westie book said that my parents shouldn't even try to put up an invisible fence, because of something called a "prey drive". I have a lot of it, and I will weigh my options: "Get a shock, but bag a squirrel." I'm pretty sure the shock is temporary, but squirrel is forever! Mommy and Daddy are careful to always keep me on a leash or dog run, because they don't want me to get hurt. I still sometimes get out, and lead them on a merry chase. That's when they ask our neighbors to borrow my girlfriend (a Golden Retriever) and use her to retrieve me.
I love to go for rides in the car.
Mommy has been carrying me tucked under her arm from time to time since she got me as a young pup to make sure that I would be okay with it. She has also been very careful to introduce me to lots of people and other dogs so I would be friendly. I love babies, though I hear that most Westies are better with older children than babies. Don't get me wrong--I love the older kids, too. We all play together in the neighborhood.
I am part weasel, as my mommy says (weasels would be tasty, I think), and I can squeeze into small spaces and holes. Daddy is Westie-proofing the fence so I can't dig under it. Oh, yeah--I dig, too. Digging=delightful. My public works projects demonstrate my skill! I'm digging up the basement.
Mommy calls me a wolf-baby. I love to be outside as much as possible. I like to bark at animals and people. I like digging things up, or making trenches. I yell at the squirrels. They really ought to play fair and come down from those trees and get into my mouth!
Mommy and Daddy took me to obedience school when I was about three months old, since I couldn't pay attention a whole lot before then. I did really well, except I wanted to really play with the others in my class! Still, the obedience school really helped me pay attention to the needs of my human parents. They want what's best for me. I want to be a brown or a green dog when I grow up. The squirrels can see me too easily now. (Just so you know, a white dog will get grass stained). I am a boy dog, so I want to be dirty most of the time.
When I'm relaxing with my parents, I like to scootch my butt up against them, or lay against them. I'm not super kissy. I like to have affection on my terms! My daddy should face the fact that I will ALWAYS walk over his chest, look him in the eye, and put my cold wet nose all over his face every morning, and possibly give him a wet-willie. I mostly do the gentle biting, not so much the kissing. I love to see my parents come home, and will go nuts on them. I don't like it when they leave, but I know they will always come back for me.
I am very smart. It took about 3 seconds for me to figure out I fit through the bars of the baby gate my parents got for me when I was 8 weeks old. When they blocked it off, it took me about 10 seconds to figure out how to get through it by crawling under the pie safe.
I would love to answer any questions you have, or I'll ask my mom. She read a book on Westies before she got me, to make sure that she knew I was the right dog. She met my litter, and my bio parents. The West Highland White Terrier by Jill Arnel is the book she read. It is a good book--very realistic and humorous.
Thanks for letting me talk your ear off!
One more thing: try using oatmeal dog shampoo. It helps with dry skin. I get dry skin in the winter. Mommy bathes me only when necessary, and rinse me off when I don't quite need a full bath.

Edited by author Tue Apr 21, '09 9:43am PST

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Atticus- Finch- CGCღ

The Cuteness- of Atticus Finch-
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 21, '09 9:36am PST 
Boo Boo, since you are getting a Westie in June, I will make an exception and let you into WU. I'll send you an invite straight away.

I have a cousin named Shadow. He's a Lab . . . all 90 lbs of him. I LOVE to play with him. So you should know that Westies are rough and tough and play perfectly with the big dogs.

I'm my mom's third Westie, and believe it or not, none of her Westies were big barkers. And I bark rarely. BUT, it is true that Westies can be big barkers.

Some of the problems with Westies dying so young is cancer. It does seem to be a problem with Westies and other dogs, too. From what I've read, over vaccinating can be the culprit. Mom has the vet give me a titer test every year to see if I need to be vaccinated at all. Of course, I can't escape the rabies vaccine. I'm stuck with that by law. But I can tell you that, until this year, I haven't been revaccinated since I was 1 1/2. The titer showed that my vaccine levels were okay. I did get a the distemper vaccine this month because the level was low. I still have not needed the Parvo vaccine since I was 1 1/2. I'm now 4. So you may want to keep that in mind.

As for activity levels, it varies. I love to nap. I go to the dog park often and they call me the mayor. That is because I just walk around and check out what all the dogs are doing. Occassionally, I play with other dogs. But I mostly snoopervise and hang out watching the goings on. There are 3 other Westies that go to the park. One is very playful. And the other two mostly hang out.

I have a skin condition. It is NOT the typical yeast infection m0st Westies get. The yeast infection is ususally due to food. So you can eliminate the problem with proper diet. The condition I have is bacterial and is an airborne or contact allergery. It is easily handled with Animax ointment. And when I get it, it is usually just one spot on my belly and sometimes on my back.

When you choose a Westie, here is what I suggest. If you don't want an overly active and barky Westie, DO NOT choose the alpha dog. Alpha Westies can be a nightmare if you are not on top of it. You must make sure your Westie knows that you are in charge. How do you avoid an alpha Westie? Here's what I suggest. When you go to see the pups, take each one and gently turn them on their back. If they struggle and won't give up the fight, DON'T PICK THAT ONE. If they never struggle, you are looking at a submissive dog. Not a good choice either. You want the Westie that struggles at first; but will back down after a while. That will be the Westie that accepts someone else as the alpha without giving up its adorable personality. It worked for my mom.

Oh, and mom reinforces that she is the alpha through some easy steps. (You do not want to scream at your Westie or spank it. You will break their sweet spirit.) Always eat before the Westie eats. When you enter a room, make sure you enter first and your Westie follows. If they go in first, then carry them out of the room and walk in ahead of him or her. Same with going outside and with them coming out of the car. I know that I'm not allowed to jump out of the car until mom says okay. I often sit there perched to jump; but mom makes me go back to my seat and wait for her to say okay. These are easy, non-threatening tricks that will make life easier for you.

Also, make sure to touch your Westies paws and open it's mouth and check him all over while he is a puppy. The vets and groomers will love you for this. It makes their jobs much easier. I was so used to it that I let them clean my teeth while I just stood there.

Okay, now I'm going to hear it from the females. BOL But mom is making me say this. So yell at her. Her first Westie was a female named Samantha. Westies are a female dominated breed. She never had another female Westie after Samantha. She says boy Westies are MUCH easier. Again, send your complaints to my mom.
big laughbig laughbig laughbig laughbig laughbig laughbig laugh

All in all, Westies are the most fun loving, sweetest dogs and they will steal your heart. One head tilt and you will be hooked. I can't wait for you to get your Westie. Come to WU and keep us up-to-date.

Attie
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