Fun Things To Do With Your Westie


The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” – Samuel Butler


There are many activities you can share with your Westie. Following is a brief description of each of these activities, pictures and associated links. Other Links to a general description of dog activities are as follows:



In the magazine Popular Dogs, vol. 36, is the article “9 Ways To Wear Out Your Westie”. It includes Earthdog, Agility, Obedience, Hunting, Flyball, Hiking, Freestyle, Tracking and Therapy. This magazine should be available at most pet stores.


Mud, dirt, rats, and other vermin are what terriers are all about. They were bred to ‘derat’ farms . The American Kennel Club created the AKC Earthdog tests to show that today’s terriers still have what it takes. Earthdog tests are fun for the dogs and the owners. This is how it works. The dog tracks the scent of a rat down into a small (9″ square) tunnel in the ground. The dog has to duck and crawl along, but he’ll fit through. At the end of the tunnel is a caged rat that he must ‘work’ (barking, digging, gnawing on the bars, etc.) There are four levels for earthdog tests: Introduction to Quarry, Junior Earthdog, Senior Earthdog and Master Earthdog.

 Miss Molly shows us her favorite place …. going to earth … as she earns her second Iron Dog award (passing both Masters and Senior in the same test)     Photo by Anne Shields

You can buy the above picture as a garden flag by clicking on Fundraisers and scrolling through the flags.

Going through the tunnels!





open to all size dogs with the obstacles sized to the particular breedsDog agility is the sport in which a handler is given a set amount of time to direct a dog, off-leash, through an obstacle course. Dog agility made its debut at the Crufts Dog Show in 1979. It has since become the most rapidly growing dog sport in England, Western Europe, and North America. At dog shows, the agility trials usually draw the most spectators cheering for their favorite breeds. They are  on the floor.

The set of obstacles and their placement are varied with each particular trial and consist of some or all of the following:

A-frame Dog Walk See-Saw Pipe Tunnel Collapsed Tunnel Pause Table Weave Poles Tire Jump Various Types of Jumps

The obstacles used in agility have been designed with both safety and spectator appeal in mind. The jumps have easily dislodged bars that can be taken down on a missed jump. All obstacles that the dog must step on have ‘must contact’ zones painted on the obstacle. Dogs compete only against dogs of similar size. Please note, there are some very specific rules to doing agility. Please do not attempt to train your dog yourself unless you have had training or have thoroughly read and understood the instructions as well as observed agility trials. Don’t mistakenly train in bad habits which will be hard to ‘untrain’. (An example of this is that a dog has to enter the weaves with his left shoulder. If you did not know this and let the dog learn to enter with his right shoulder, you would have a very hard time making the correction later.

If you want to teach your dog some basic agility, (even if you’re not interested in competing), agility equipment can be bought at many on-line stores or you can make some yourself. Plywood, boards, 1/2″ PVC pipe and plastic drainage tubing can be used to make jumps, tire jumps, A-frames, teeters, weave poles and dog walks. You will find instructions by searching the internet. Small tunnels can be purchased at Toys-R-us; attaching an opaque plastic sheet to a short tunnel or a large trash can with the end cut out, gets you an inexpensive Chute.

Agility photo by Cathi Winkles






Although not known for their flyball expertise, Westies ARE involved in flyball competition Breed listing for U-Fli Flyball is a team sport for dogs that was invented in California in the late 70’s. Flyball is so popular that the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) and U-FLI (United Flyball League International, Inc.) were formed. Flyball is a relay race with 4 dogs on a team. The course consists of a starting line, four hurdles, ten feet apart and a box.. The dogs jump the hurdles and then step on a board that that shoots a tennis ball out of the box. The dog catches the tennis ball in its mouth and then runs back over the four hurdles. When the dog crosses the starting line the next dog goes. The first team to have all 4 dogs run without errors wins.





Training your dog with obedience, agility, earthdog or stupid pet tricks, will make you and your dog a team and develop trust. If you want to do competitive obedience, you already have the most important thing, a dog. You will also need to put in the effort to work with him. It’s great to have a dog that is well-behaved and happy about learning and playing. Your dog does need to know who is the alpha (it’s you), and have basic socialization. It can sometimes only take a few minutes of real work a day if you structure your training well and keep at it.

You can test your dog in a recognized obedience competitions, called Obedience trials. At a United Kennel Club competition, your dog will be expected to heel in a “pattern” defined by a judge. He is expected to be at heel position throughout the maneuvers. You will be asked to do right, left and about turns; slow, normal, and fast paces, and halts, in any combination. He should automatically sit when you stop. You will have to do this both with and without a leash. You will also have the dog heel on a leash, in a figure 8 pattern around two people. You will have several stay exercises and also call your dog from a sit stay. AKC exercises are a bit different with their stay and recall exercises.

Please click on the photo to read about Club Member, Hon. Marilyn Kelly and her dog, Duffy who is not only a Champion but is busy in the obedience ring also.

Miss Molly Marie and mom, Club Member Beth Widdows, on the front page of the Detroit News To read the article CLICK HERE.

Miss Molly Marie and mom, Club Member Beth Widdows, on the front page of the Detroit News To read the article  CLICK HERE.





2009— 4-H Fair

Paige and Wyatt have been doing 4-H for four years. Paige is 16 and Wyatt is 7 years old. Page has been working with a trainer twice a week and then practiced as often as possible at home to maintain and enforce what the trainer was teaching. Once a week they had a 4-H Club dog class where they would work together with other 4-H’ers and their dogs. Paige and Wyatt participated in this year’s 4-H Fair. Page received the “Best Advanced Obedience” trophy for having the highest obedience score of 197 out of 200. Obedience includes a heel on leash and off leash, a stand for examination, a recall and an off leash sit/stay for a minute with the owner 20 feet away and a down/stay for 3 minutes with the owner 20 feet away. Paige and Wyatt received three more trophies: The first for winning “level and age group” showmanship class. They take all the 1st and 2nd place winners for a grand championship showmanship class. They all do a down and back to show off the dogs one last time and then the judge pins the class. Paige and Wyatt received the “Grand Champion Showmanship” Trophy. Then they competed in advanced agility which is complete with weave poles, dog walk, A-frame, teeter, single jumps, triple bar, tire jump, broad jump, shoot, and tunnel. They completed the course in under a minute and only had minus four points for a re-entry into the tunnel. They received the first place Trophy here also. This wonderful 16 year old wrote “ I am one proud mamma, that we won of course, but to me winning is not everything, the time Wyatt and I were able to spend together working before the fair and during the fail meant the most to me. Next year we may retire him from agility he is getting older and we can tell he is a little sore. So I’m making the great moments last.”


Rally Obedience is one of the newer Obedience event approved by the various venues. It became a titling event for the AKC effective January 1, 2005. This event is intended to make obedience into a fun ‘team’ effort. You work WITH your dog rather than the dog doing the work while you give the commands. You are encouraged to talk to your dog while you follow a course laid out by the judge. The judge watches but does not participate. You are scored on your ability to work as a team to complete the course. Time only counts as a tie-breaker for placements.




Every dog should have a certain level of manners before it is allowed to paricipate in most social situations. The AKC encourages you to work with your dog to teach these basic good manners. If you do so, you can have your dog tested. If he passes, your dog will receive an official CANINE GOOD CITIZEN certificate from the AKC and the right to show the initials ‘CGC’ after his name. This is a well-earned source of pride for the owners who have helped their dog earn this award.

Following are the ten tests. You can read more about them at the AKC link below.

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger Test 2: Sitting politely for petting Test 3: Appearance and grooming Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead) Test 5: Walking through a crowd Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place Test 7: Coming when called Test 8: Reaction to another dog Test 9: Reaction to distraction Test 10: Supervised separation




Tracking is a scent-based activity that brings you to the very core of what a dog is. It is a partnership in which you are asking the dog to do what you can’t. When you work with a scent dog you learn that he knows a different, ‘smelly’ world. A dog’s nose is hundreds of times more sensitive than ours so the dog picks out and distinguishes scent with a clarity we can’t come close to matching.

For the most part, sport scent work is limited to tracking. How many times has your dog run around the yard with his nose to the ground? Just about any dog can learn to track. The teaching of tracking is itself very instructive. The hardest part of tracking, is laying the track for the dog!





This is a sport recently introduced to this country from Europe. Using exercise balls, the dogs learn to herd them into large netted area. The handler stands in the net and directs the ball from a distance. Eight balls must get into the net and there is an order. So the dogs must learn to be very attentive and able to take direction at a distance. The sport emphasizes positive training methods. Read about it at: . Locally the The Dog Zone offers classes from a certified trainer.


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