Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS!  Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns.  If you have a sweet filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets!" send it to us at (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.).

Sweet Wrigley Mars

BoBo fka CP Bogedin

Macie and Cindel

Bella fka CP Nashua


Happy Birthday Tootsie!

Foster Holmes and Norton

Foster Tamar

Sweet Paladin

Foster Lady Sarah

Smudge fka CP Champ

Sweet Skye La


Foster Faryn

Wrigley Mars

Friday, May 20, 2016

Rescue: Saving Cairns, Mixes, & Misses...

Three well loved Cairns!  Can you tell who was rescued or who is a Mix?

Are you thinking about adopting a Rescued Cairn?  Wonderful!  There is nothing better than bonding with a precious new companion, knowing that you are making a huge difference in their lives. 

And there are so many who desperately need a huge difference in their lives! 

Adopting a Cairn from a Rescue is very different from going to a breeder and picking out that special puppy with a twinkle in its eye.  A Rescued Cairn may come from a shelter, having been found as a stray or dumped there by an owner, or it may be part of a group of overworked breeder dogs, no longer wanted because their reproductive value has been drained.  Often a Rescue will take in an owner surrender because of a change in life circumstances that was not in the best interest of the dog, including the declining health or death of an owner, the birth of a baby displacing the dog in the family unit, a forced move that precluded having any dogs, and so on.

This sweet girl was "Cairn enough" to be saved, but what is really in her DNA?

The Rescue Volunteers who are responsible for bringing the dogs into the Rescue from these various sources are often faced with desperate situations, sometimes given mere hours to save the life of a shelter dog whose time has run out.  As a Cairn Rescue, we rescue Cairns and Cairn Mixes, and these intrepid Volunteers can only make a best guess as to the genetic makeup based on limited evidence.  When a life is on the line, they do their best to be sure it is Cairn or Cairn Mix, but sometimes it turns out that a dog has no Cairn at all if and when a DNA test is done.  Oh well! 

Yes, we are a Cairn Rescue, and we have rescued many Cairns over the years, Cairns that have gone on to wonderful Forever Homes, but sometimes the Fosters in a Cairn Rescue are really a Cairn Mix or a Cairn Miss, each one in need of a loving Forever Home.

Rescued Cairns and Mixes: each one Precious and Loved
Yes, we do our best to rescue Cairns, but the most important thing is that we do our best to save each precious life and give the Rescued dog a chance for a great Forever After.

Our Mission

Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network (CPCRN) was formed for:

  • The charitable purpose of rescuing purebred Cairn Terriers, which are homeless or soon to be homeless
  • Without limitation those found in animal shelters or released by their families for a variety of reasons. Also those Cairn Terriers and Cairn Terrier mixes who have been used as breeding stock by so called puppy mills and backyard breeders.
  • Facilitate the pick up and transport of these dogs.
  • Arrange for spay/neuter and all appropriate veterinary care.
  • Rehabilitating these dogs in foster homes.
  • Seeking applications for and screening prospective adoptive homes
  • Education the public about responsible Cairn Terrier care and ownership.

Friday's Funnies!

Off the Leash

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Teaching "Look at me!" is Easy, Essential, and Forever!

Written by a CP Volunteer
Teaching "Look at me!" is easy, essential, and Forever!

So you find yourself trying over and over again to get your stubborn Cairn to listen to whatever command or instruction you're attempting to give him or her.  And your voice gets louder and louder each time you repeat, with increasing urgency, your futile attempts to get him to respond.  Does this sound familiar?

"Buffy... Sit! ...Sit!  Buffy.. SIT! ...SIT ..SIT ...SIT SIT SIT SIT SIT SIT SIT SIT!!!!!!!!!"  And there he stands, oblivious to your demands.  What's wrong with him anyhow?  Is he deaf?

No, let me assure you his hearing is great.  In fact, Cairns' hearing is incredibily acute.  He hears you alright.  But he isn't listening to you at all!  Why?  Because there's nothing in it for him to do so, and because, well, because he's a Cairn Terrier, with all the stubborn, independent, mischievous attitude that implies.

So what can you do?  How do you get them to listen to you so that you can get them to do what you want, and sometimes absolutely need them to do?  I've found a very effective technique, that is very simple to teach.  It's the "Look At Me!" command.

OK, we're looking!  What's next?

You see, before you can get most Cairns to do what you want them to do, you have to get their undivided attention.  Not an easy task, as we all know how easily distracted they are and how focused they can become on heaven knows what...but certainly not on us.  The "Look At Me!" command is what I like to call an "interim command," in that its purpose is to redirect their attention from whatever they are focusing on in preparation for whatever follow-up command you want to issue to them.  It can also serve as a very powerful "luring" technique (more about that later).  What the "Look At Me!" command does is gets Buffy to, as its name states, LOOK at you.  That's half the battle with a Cairn Terrier.  And it's one you can win easily, I assure you.

Here's how to teach this simple, and very effective, command:

  • Gather some "high value" treats (small bits of cheese, freeze dried liver, etc., something the dog LOVES that you reserve for training).  Have them readily available in your pocket or the palm of your hand. Pick a quiet time, where there are no distractions and get Buffy to SIT.

  • Once he's sitting, place the treat between your thumb and index finger, so a portion of it is showing, but the majority of it is firmly grasped between your fingers.

  • Stand up reasonably straight, with just a slight bend at the waist (do NOT bend down at the knees, you don't want to be on his level)

  • Place your fingers (with the treat, of course!) just beyond the tip of his nose and draw it STRAIGHT up to the tip of your nose from his.  As you do so, say, in a firm and deep voice, "Buffy LOOK at ME!"  (emphasis on the LOOK and ME).  [A small aside here, females make the mistake of issuing commands to dogs in a high sing-song voice rather than a DEEP authoritative one.  Become accustomed to giving commands in a LOW, deep voice...imagine your voice if you were a male.  It's far more effective than our higher pitched voices.  Also, if you reserve that voice register for commands, it sounds different to the Cairn and will arouse his curiousity if nothing else!]

  • Because you've drawn the treat (which Buffy wants desperately) directly from his nose to yours, by necessity, his eyes will follow the treat toward your face.  That's what you want to happen.  As soon as your fingers with the treat touch your nose, and assuming his gaze has followed your fingers, tell him "GOOD BOY!" and give him the treat!

  • Do this 3 times in succession, 3 times per day to begin.  A total of 9 repetitions.  Most Cairns will be so eager for the treat that they will begin anticipating the command by looking at your NOSE as soon as you begin to draw the treat from his nose to yours.  THAT'S GREAT!  But remember to say (in your low, deep voice), "Buffy, LOOK at ME!" as you're drawing the treat toward your nose.  When he focuses on it, hold it there at the tip of your nose for a few seconds.  Tell him "GOOD BOY!" and give him the treat.  Your goal is to get him to anticipate the command by following it immediately AND to lengthen the time he focuses on your nose before you treat him.  Ideally, you can hold the treat at the tip of your nose for at least 3 seconds (count, 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000) and he'll focus on your face.  He's looking at you!

Now that he looks at you almost immediately AND he watches you intently for 3 seconds, it's time to begin treating him randomly rather than every single time.  Give him the treat 2 out of 3 times (or 4 out of 5), and gradually reduce the number of times you treat him until you no longer have to SHOW him the treat at all to get him to "LOOK at ME!"  This will take a week or so of work, but believe me, it's worth every single 90 second interval that you do it.   Always POINT at your nose, however, even if you don't have the treat.  It will become sign language to him.

"Look at Me!" is a great portable tool you can take anywhere!

When the command is firmly established in his or her repertoire, you should be able to get him to sit and LOOK at YOU simply by pointing at your nose (if he's already looking in your direction).  And if he isn't, by simply saying the command (in your best low register voice!).

Now, here's how you use this command after it's entrenched.  LOOK at ME! is what I refer to as an "interim" command.  In other words, it should be used as a bridge between a dog's not paying any attention to you whatsoever and the command (or direction or behavior) that you WANT him to perform.  It can be used to calm an overly excited dog.  And, as I indicated earlier, it's a GREAT way to "lure" a Cairn.

What do I mean by "lure" him?  Well, here's a true story.  My Cairn, Max, began exhibiting strong signs of wanting to chase cars at a very early age.  He'd tug and lunge on his leash whenever a car would approach us on our daily walks through the neighborhood.  I tried all the "tried and true" training techniques for breaking a dog's car chasing tendencies.  His obedience trainer instructed me to use the "leash correction" on him.  I did.  It not only didn't stop him, it made it worse.  I tried the alpha roll.  Another dead end.  I tried verbal corrections, again to no avail.  I had friends drive by and pitch coin-filled soda cans out the window as they passed Max and me.  They thought I was crazy, the neighbors were sure of it, and Max was more determined to lunge at the passing cars than ever.  His behavior was escalating rather than diminishing.  Frankly, I was desperate.  So, in the true spirit of desperation, I changed courses entirely.  I decided to change from negative training, which all the other techniques were, to a positive approach.  In other words, I decided, out of sheer desperation, to REWARD good behavior rather than trying to correct/change unwanted behavior.

Keep it positive!  Reward good behavior - Positive training works!

I resorted to the LOOK at ME! command I'd taught him as a very young puppy.  I loaded up with high-value treats and we set out for our walk.  Since we live in a suburban neighborhood with many winding streets, you can hear cars coming before you can see them.  As soon as I'd hear a car approaching, I'd give Max the LOOK at ME! command and I'd move the treat from the tip of my nose to approximately 1/2 way between his nose and mine.  As the car came closer, I'd repeat, "Max, LOOK at ME!" with the treat closer to his nose.  As soon as the car passed, I'd exclaim "GOOD BOY!!!! and would give him the treat immediately.  The trick, I soon learned, was to gain his attention with the "LOOK at ME!" command, hold his attention by showing (luring him with) the treat, then REWARDING him immediately through praise and the treat when he did NOT lunge at the car.  Rather than having him continue to SIT while I was "luring" him with the command and the visible treat, I began really luring him with it as I kept walking while keeping the treat out in front of him.  I kept PRAISING him as he continued to focus on the "lure" of the treat rather than lunging at the car.  And, as before, I'd give him the treat as soon as the car passed us.

To my amazement, it took only about 4 or 5 cars worth of high-value treat luring before I saw how a Cairn mind works!  I heard a car approaching and I immediately gave the "LOOK at ME!" command, with the treat at the ready.  I saw Max quickly look toward the car and then back at the treat... and I could see he'd made his decision.  The treat was worth more to him than was the car.  We were over the hump!  Within 2 or 3 days, Max would immediately LOOK at ME! as soon as he heard a car in the distance.  I began gradually (and randomly) reducing the times I gave him a treat, until, in a few more days, he didn't get treats at all and he was no longer interested in trying to chase cars.  

I have since used the same technique to redirect his desire to lunge at and chase bicyclists and motorcycles.  I also use it to distract him from other dogs while we're out on walks.

Even a rambunctious little boy can learn "Look at me!"

I have taught this command to every one of the 10 Fosters I've had, and they've all learned it quickly and effortlessly.  It's truly a wonderful training technique for your Cairn and can be used for so many things.  I use it all the time when I want to teach him a new behavior, or when I simply want to gain his attention.  Every now and then, when I issue the LOOK at ME! command, I'll surprise him with a treat, just to keep the command interesting to him.

Try it with your Cairn - and Good Luck!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY!  Each week we will showcase a terrierific Cairn picture with an appropriate caption.  If you would like us to consider YOUR picture and caption for an upcoming "Wacky Wednesday" send it to us at!  All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.

A big shout out to Faryn for being our Wacky Wednesday model this week!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS!  Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns.  If you have a sweet filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets!" send it to us at (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.).

Foster Muzzle Tuff


Foster Sir. Henry Morgan

Foster Albert J

KoKo Blue fka CP Caitrin

Foster Jimmie E



Foster Canuck

Lilly and Emme

Mr. Shorty

Foster Terence

Gem and Abby


Friday, May 13, 2016

The Slow Road to Success: The Cairn and the Hare

Slow and Steady wins the race every time!

Every Rescued Cairn
Comes with a Warning!

IMPORTANT!  Please take it slow with your New Cairn! It is especially crucial that you follow the advice to go ***VERY SLOWLY*** with your New Cairn if he or she is a Puppy Mill Survivor.  Protecting your New Cairn from too much stimulation, too many new people, places, sights, and sounds, is critically important to assure a Successful Adoption.

You cannot go too slowly...

We are always thrilled when a home has decided to open their heart to a Rescued Cairn, and our Matchmakers and Post Adoption Coordinators give great advice to make the integration of every Cairn into a new family as easy and stress-free as possible.  The Col. Potter Blog posts tips for everything you could imagine – just search “training tips” in the Upper Left corner of the CP Blog and you’ll find pages of results!

But the one tip that stands above them all is:

Please take it Slow with your New Cairn! 

Hand in hand with this is the admonition to be sure to establish your position as the Benevolent Alpha from day one.  Be a good leader!  Think ahead and visualize how you want to manage the integration of your new Cairn, and then implement your plan with calm assurance. 

For the first two weeks minimum, you should have a drag lead attached to your New Cairn’s harness, inside your home and outside, in a securely fenced area.  A drag lead gives you power (Alpha) and helps you avoid situations where you ask for a behavior but have no way to ensure that you can make it happen without asking a 2nd time (which you should never do!).  “Come!” is a great example.  In the beginning it is really best to calmly step on the lead, pick it up, and then say, “Come!” where you can easily reel the dog in, ready to give a nice treat as soon as the action has been achieved.

Take it Easy and You’ll Get it Right!

We recommend that you not take the new dog into a lot of new situations right at first.  Many mistakes are made because the new adoptive home is so excited about their dog that they want to share their new little one with all their friends and family.  Give your New Cairn time to adjust to you, your immediate family, and your home before taking him out to visit friends or relatives.  If your friends and family cannot wait to meet your new family member, please introduce them to him or her slowly and allow time to adjust and welcome each member one at a time.  A large number of unfamiliar humans descending on a newly adopted Cairn has the potential to be overwhelming and can cause them to react in a negative way. 

You cannot go too slowly...  but you can move too quickly by exposing your new adoptee to too many new people, places, sights, sounds and smells at first.  Be sure to use the crate wisely to give your new Cairn time to relax a few times each day, always making it a gentle, positive experience going in and coming back out.  Little bits of cheese in your hand help in any crating exercise, and it will reinforce the absolute goodness of your hands!

Did you already go too fast?  Time to hit the Reset button!

Calm everything down and start over - from the beginning - and do not rush to get to the next level.  Follow your guidelines, step by step, and you will find your relationship with your new Cairn will be much improved.

Slow and steady wins the race!

"The Tortoise and the Hare" from an edition of Aesop's Fables illustrated by Arthur Rackham, 1912

The Tortoise and the Hare
an Aesop Fable

One day a hare was bragging about how fast he could run.  He bragged and bragged and even laughed at the tortoise, who was so slow.  The tortoise stretched out his long neck and challenged the hare to a race, which, of course, made the hare laugh.

"My, my, what a joke!" thought the hare.  "A race, indeed, a race. Oh! What fun! My, my!  A race, of course, Mr. Tortoise, we shall race!" said the hare.

The forest animals met and mapped out the course.  The race begun, and the hare, being such a swift runner, soon left the tortoise far behind.  About halfway through the course, it occurred to the hare that he had plenty of time to beat the slow trodden tortoise.

"Oh, my!" thought the hare, "I have plenty of time to play in the meadow here."  And so he did.  After the hare finished playing, he decided that he had time to take a little nap.  "I have plenty of time to beat that tortoise," he thought.  And he cuddle up against a tree and dozed.

The tortoise, in the meantime, continued to plod on, albeit, it ever so slowly.  He never stopped, but took one good step after another.

The hare finally woke from his nap.  "Time to get going," he thought.  And off he went, faster than he had ever run before!  He dashed as quickly as anyone ever could up to the finish line, where he met the tortoise, who was patiently awaiting his arrival.

Slow and steady wins the race!

Rescuing one Cairn will not change the world, 
but it will surely change the world for that one Rescued Cairn


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kefir for Your Cairn's Digestive Health!

Dogs love the taste of Kefir and are happy to lick the bowl - or bottle!

One of the easiest and best things anyone can add to their dog’s food which will give enormous benefit to their digestive tract, nervous system, and overall immune health is a wonderful milk product called Kefir (pronounced “Kee-fur” in the US and “ki-Fear” in Europe).  Most dogs really love the taste of Kefir and consider it a wonderful treat!

Kefir is easy to make at home!

Kefir is a thought of by many as a “liquid yogurt” but it is fermented milk, with no cooking involved, and it is loaded with beneficial bacteria.  Kefir originated in the Caucasus Mountains more than 2,000 years ago, meaning “feel good" in Turkish.  It helps to balance the intestinal flora, helping the body to maintain optimal health and strengthen immunity, enhancing longevity. 

Many use Kefir as part of our overall, day-to-day preventative health routine for our dogs (and ourselves!), but adding Kefir can be especially important after a course of antibiotics.  Antibiotics kill the good intestinal flora along with whatever bad bacteria was the target, and this has a negative impact on our overall health – human or canine.  Simply adding Kefir to the diet will quickly improve the situation!

In addition to balancing our digestive flora, Kefir also delivers the natural healing powers of minerals and essential amino acids, including Tryptophan, well-known for its beneficial effects on the nervous system, plus calcium and magnesium, critical nutrition for a healthy nervous system.  It is also rich in vitamin B12, B1, and vitamin K, and is an excellent source of biotin, aiding regulation of kidney and liver function, as well as promoting healthy looking skin, boosting energy and promoting longevity.

All you need are healthy Kefir grains and milk

Humans can enjoy Kefir in many flavors, but dogs must use only plain, which you can buy in the grocery or health food store, or you can make it yourself at home!

Kefir from Lifeway:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY!  Each week we will showcase a terrierific Cairn picture with an appropriate caption.  If you would like us to consider YOUR picture and caption for an upcoming "Wacky Wednesday" send it to us at!  All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.

A big shout out to Zane for being our Wacky Wednesday model this week!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS!  Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns.  If you have a sweet filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets!" send it to us at (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.).

Gracie fka CP Kayna

Foster Giuseppe V

Happy Birthday Marlon!


Baby and Raisin

Foster Faryn

Valentine Angel and Clementine Rose

Foster Lady Sarah



Gracie and Sammy

Coswell fka CP Cosell and Cody fka CP Dodd

Foster Watson


Foster Dax

Foster Boden