Congratulations on your new puppy! As with small children, all puppies need and deserve to have boundaries and rules set for them. It helps them know what is expected of them and to become happy members of their family. Training comes in various forms. It is often said that puppy training is actually meant for the humans in the puppy’s life!
Speak with your breeder as to what training resources might be in your area. Sometimes groomers can assist by recommending a good facility. Find a trainer that uses positive methods. Training a Westie is completely different than training a herding dog or a hunting dog.
Training sessions can be called Puppy Manners, Obedience Foundation, or something similar. Once you have the basics mastered, including sit, stand, lay down, stay, and shake a paw, you can start having a lot of fun with your puppy by taking a Novice Trick Dog class. This will help you learn how to train your pup to do more complex tricks like spins, turns, basic weaves through your legs, and jumping through a hoop.
You and your pup can even earn a Novice Trick Dog title recognized by the CKC, and if your pup really likes this, there are more advanced levels to continue with. www.domorewithyourdog.com has full details of the various tricks and how to get tested. This can easily be done on a self-study basis, with the final test being submitted by video for final evaluation. It’s not unusual to see a very talented dog move onto Animal Acting classes!
Canine Good Neighbour Test
The CGN test is offered by various dog clubs across Canada. Check www.CanuckDogs.com for upcoming tests. The CGN program is a 12 step non-competitive test that assesses your dog’s ability to present good manners at home, in public, and in the presence of other dogs. Full rules may be found at https://www.ckc.ca/en/Raising-My-Dog/Responsible-Ownership/Canine-Good-Neighbour-Program
Therapy Dog Program through St John’s Ambulance
All of the training and testing can lead you to getting your Westie certified as a SJA Therapy dog. Westies makes great therapy dogs for children at school, at libraries, at hospitals. They are also seen at airports and at senior residences.