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How to Play Safely with Your Westie Puppies
Just like children, westie puppies learn through play. Playing games with your west highland white terrier pups creates an opportunity to train them to obey your commands, gives them valuable exercise, and helps to build their strength, coordination, and agility. It is also fun for everyone.
Before you start playing games, there are some rules you should know, and safety precautions you should take. Your pups need to really run, not just walk on a leash, but be sure any area you play in has a fence. If they are city dogs, try finding a fenced-in tennis court for play. As a last resort, keep the puppy on an extra-long line. You do not want them to wander free until you are certain they will return on your command.
Never encourage your west highland pups to jump. The young bones are fragile, and not able to bear the stress of jumping until the growth plates are fused. Games like Frisbee, or serious agility training, are for older dogs, although there is still much you can do with your westie puppies by having them working at ground level. If you are eager to start these kinds of games, at about one year of age you can take your westies to their veterinarian for an x-ray, to see if the growth plates are completely fused.
Westie pups first learn to play in the litter by roughhousing with their littermates, but at six to eight weeks, the mother westie begins to discourage this behavior. You should discourage it as well, by never roughhousing in ways that allow them to bite, nip, or claw at your hands. A nip from a puppy may seem harmless, but if a full-grown westie nips, you have a behavior problem. It also teaches them that they can dominate you through aggression. If they do manage to get a nip in during play, discourage it in the same way dogs do, by imitating a 'yelp' sound.
Always remain in control with your pets. You want to teach them you are the 'alpha-dog.' Towards this end, never reward them by chasing after them when they run away from you. Instead, 'hide' from your pups, making them come after you. Tug of War games are good, but never allow the dogs to take the tug toy from you. You should be in control of it at all times, deciding when to end the game by taking it from the dog with a 'give' command. Never allow your west highland terrier puppies to grab a ball or other toy from your hands.
(Disclaimer: Any information contained in this site relating to various medical, health and fitness conditions of Westies or other animals and their treatments is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing the health of any animal. You should always consult and check with your own vet or veterinarian.)
I do hope that you have found the article of use to you.
Good health and happiness
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