Fun Things To Do With Your Westie 2
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“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
FUN THINGS TO DO – JUST PLAY
There are many non-competitive activities that you can share with your Westie. These activities are great socialization experiences for your dog, and of course you! Following are some of the activities. Remember to take lots of pictures and to have lots of fun.
CLUB SHOW AND RESCUE PARADE
You are invited to attend our Club Show each spring (usually the last Saturday in April) to see lots of Westies and enjoy our Rescue Parade.
CLUB CHRISTMAS PARTY
Our annual Christmas Party is open to all Westies and their families.
PET-A-PET AND THERAPY DOGS
The primary purpose of a therapy dog is to provide companionship and comfort to the people that they visit. Volunteers do this by sharing their dogs with patients in schools for impaired children, hospitals, nursing homes and other settings wherever the volunteers and their dogs are needed. These dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are pure bred; others are mutts and some are rescue dogs giving back something that they have received. The volunteers and their dogs help to increase the emotional well-being of the patients. They give the patients something to look forward to and, in a lot of cases, bring back fond memories of pets that have touched their lives. They help people feel less lonely, promote healing, and improve the quality of life of the people that are visited. People become more active and responsive during and after these special visits.
It has been clinically proven, time and again, that through touching, petting, and talking with animals, a human’s blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased. People become more active and responsive during and after these special visits.
PET-A-PET For local information call 313-535-0410
Click on Kelsie to learn about her AKC ACE award as a certified Medical Response Service dog. Story reprinted from AKC.org web site, with permission.
In some areas, the annual highland games are open to visiting Scottish dogs. Here in Michigan, the St. Andrews Society of Detroit puts on the Highland games the first Saturday in August. Most years, some of our Westies get there in their Kilts and are a major attraction. People stop us constantly asking for photos and to pet the “puppies”. If your dog is social, this is a great place to add to that socialization and everyone enjoys their day. (Note: Don’t take your dog to the ceremonies because they sometimes shoot off very loud muskets. If your dog is sound sensitive, this would not be a good thing!) This year, three Westies were part of the official activities. We were invited to represent “Scottish dogs” at an agility demonstration. Molly, Glennie and Jake all ran agility in their highland kilts and had so much fun. The crowds fell in love with them and Molly fell in love with a Scottish cow! Glennie and Jake are wearing kilts which are available for sale. Click on the kilt photo to go to our Kilt order form page. Check for Highland games in your area and consider attending with your Westies wearing their kilts!
This is an activity that requires a large amount of preparation, equipment and space and is not meant for the home or for a single dog. It requires a race course, a starting gate for 2 or more (typically four) dogs, a lure and a means to draw the lure down the race course ahead of the dogs. Obstacles like tunnels and jumps can be added to the course as desired. Typically this is an activity that would be coordinated by a local terrier club and may be used as a part of a dog show. The Detroit Dog Show at Cobo Hall has terrier lure racing on its agenda featuring Fox, Schnauzers, Welsh, one Parsons Russell and West Highland White Terriers.
The dogs are inserted into the starting gate and shown the lure, usually a piece of rabbit fur. The lure is pulled down the course by a suitable mechanism and the dogs are released to chase it. There should be some sort of exit barrier at the end of the course so only one dog at a time can squeeze through. This activity requires a lot of dogs and owners to participate but it is a lot of fun for the owners and the audience, especially when the dogs stop to play or just plain stop! (The Fox Terriers were pretty intent upon the lure while the Westies were often more interested in meeting the crowd and playing among themselves although in 2005 the Westies were much better at running the course….maybe they just needed practice!)
In 2006 some of the Westies showed us that they could actually compete in lure racing. They are fast learners. Check out the picture of Wesley waiting anxiously to run again and then click on the links below to see some of the 2006 races.
AKC REGULATIONS FOR LURE COURSING
Please note, this is a sanctioned activty thru AKC however, Westies are not a breed that is allowed to participate. The racing done at Cobo is not formatted the same as the AKC version.
PHOTOS FROM 2010 COBO HALL LURE RACING.The Westie photos were all show Club Member dogs.
This is another form of “lure racing” which can now be found in Michigan. If you click on the title it will take you to the website; once there, click on the video page. The 2nd video starts with a Westie. For those who are critter driven, this is a sport they find irresistable.
The game of Frisbee is a great game for those Westies who enjoy ‘fetch’. Westies are bred ‘ratters’ and are not retrievers by nature so if you have one who enjoys a game of ‘fetch’, consider yourself lucky. Don’t expect a Westie to play frisbee like an Australian Shepherd or a Border Collie, but many do enjoy a game of retrieve. Too bad they don’t allow flying squirrels!
For a good laugh see them chasing the BIG ball. BIG BALL
If you read the daily papers, you’ll almost always find a list of weekly mutt walks during the summer. Usually they have a particular purpose: breast cancer, leukemia, rescue, humane society, etc. Typically there is a small entrance fee going to the charity involved and owners and dogs are encouraged to seek ‘sponsors’. Typically these are 5K walks and may take around an hour or two. All breeds are accepted as long as they can be sociable on the walk. Some walks give out tee shirts for the owner and leashes or bandanas for the dogs. Occasionally, the walks are breed specific as is the Westie Walk in Ohio.
The cider mill can be a fun place to visit in the fall. If you dog has gotten it’s Canine Good Citizen award, gone through obedience or is well behaved, it’s fun to take them on outings. The cider mill will offer them a chance to ‘practice their good manners’ and get lots of pets.
Many communities are setting up dog parks for the use of residents and/or visitors. These may be either open to the public or only for members. They can be a safe place for your dog to play and run in a larger area than usually available. Please check out the particular park as they are all managed differently. It is usually best if the big dogs and small dogs are kept separate. If you find that users of your park do not tend their dogs well, you might choose to find a different one. They are fenced in and usually have access to water. Contact your local community for dog park information. And PLEASE pick up after your dog!
Get your dog club to organize a play date in a dog park or some other safe, restricted area like a fenced in park or gym, to socialize the dogs and provide some companionship. Bring some activities for the dogs: balls, frisbees, jumps, toys, tunnels, etc., and make sure there is plenty of water for them. Clean up after them, wherever you take them. In Michigan, our Westie Club has had several play dates where 20 or more Westies go and have fun together.
Once a year, the West Highland White Terrier Club of Southeastern Michigan has a picnic for it’s members and their dogs. Good food is shared by the members and special, nutritious ‘doggie treats’ are provided for the dogs. It is a fun time for all. Some of the dogs swim, others run and play, others just go from person to person for ‘pets’and some just wander around socializing. All in all, it is a lot of fun for our members and their little white dogs.
DOGGIE BIRTHDAY PARTY
Have a birthday party for your dog. Invite his friends over for a picnic with corn on the cob and frosty paws. Have funny hats for them to wear and and open presents!
Not all activities have to be ‘organized’. Our Westies can have lots of fun in their own backyards or those of friends. Get a kiddy pool and fill it with water. Rubber duckies and pool toys can be lots of fun. Some people give their Westies a special ‘digging center’ in hopes of saving their gardens. They dig out a small area and fill it with play sand. Then bury toys and treats and encourage the Westie to find and dig them out. This teaches the Westie that the digging area is the right place to dig. You can find lots of toys and games to play with your Westies in their fenced-in yards or areas.
Dogs enjoy playing in the sun and snow. Just be sure that they are not allowed to overheat or get too cold.
TRAVELING WITH YOUR WESTIE
Many people don’t realize that there are a lot of hotels and resorts that allow dogs. Asking relatives and neighbors to take care of your dog while you are on vacation is an option; boarding your dog or a pet sitter is another option but it is expensive. Why not take your dog on vacation with you. That’s right! Find a resort or hotel that accepts dogs. You won’t carry the ‘guilty feeling’ while you are gone. After all, your dog is part of the family. Check the links below for more information. Be sure to look at the ‘travel check list.’ A crate trained dog is a safe and happy dog to travel with.
I’m sure that most people are aware that the airlines accept pets. Most Westies are small enough to fit in a carry on under your seat. Make your reservations well in advance (space for dogs ‘in cabin’ is very limited) and be sure to comply with the airline requirements. You will pay an extra fee to take your dog in cabin but it is worth it.
And if you are traveling in a car, remember to either use a doggie seat belt harness or a crate that has been secured to the car (bungee cords do a good job). And a dog bed for the hotel room would be nice.
or CRATE TAG-WORD VERSION (PLEASE print, fill it in, laminate it and attach it to your travel crates)
Truck drivers have traveled with their pets for years….You can do it too!
If your Westie is willing, it can be great fun to dress up at Halloween! Some dogs won’t put up with it but others will learn to come and line up for their costumes.
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Other links that may be of interest:
WESTIES IN THE THEATRE (scroll down to see stories on this subject)