Sunday, March 29, 2015

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.).


Maggie and Riley

Sadie Jo and Skye La


Connor fka CP Hubble and Mia

Kody fka CP IC


CP Virgil

CP Corkie

Gracie fka CP Glacier and Sid



Kenna fka CP Turnip


Friday, March 27, 2015

Boating Safety for your Cairns!

Contributed by Divinity's Dad

Maggie and Riley enjoy Safe Boating the way Divinity would have loved!
Now that Spring has sprung, Boating Safety will be important for many lucky dogs in the months ahead.  Divinity's Blog has posted a great rundown of tips - with lots of photos - and a fun video at the end.  Divinity loved to look at boats but never quite had the opportunity to take a ride.  This  informative post was put together with Miss Divinity's passion and safety in mind.

Miss Divinity continues to inspire awareness for the good of our Cairns!

Remember:  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Friday's Funnies!

Off the Leash

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Toto: The Other Side of the Story...

Written by Michele Stadnick

Georgie and Frankie - Just like Toto, right???

So, "The Wizard of Oz" is your favorite movie, you just LOVE Toto, and have always wanted a dog just like him? A dog who's small, cute, lovable, and doesn't shed all over your couch? 

You've done your research and learned that Cairn Terriers are (take your pick):

  • Good with children
  • Friendly
  • Loving family dogs
  • Adaptable to living in small apartments as well as large homes

Well, YES and NO…

Probably NO ONE ever told you that Cairns will almost INVARIABLY:

  • Chase squirrels
  • Chase bunnies
  • Chase bugs
  • Chase bikes
  • Chase paper fluttering down the street
  • Chase anything that moves
  • Chase things that aren't moving, just to GET them moving so they'll have something to chase
  • Bark at cars
  • Bark at bikes
  • Bark at birds
  • Bark at trikes
  • Bark at trucks
  • Bark at the phone
  • Bark at fireworks
  • Bark at thunder
  • Bark at the doorbell
  • Bark at the doorbell on TV
  • Bark to hear themselves bark
  • Bark just to get your goat -- or your attention
  • Or both
  • Bark sometimes just cause it feels so damned GREAT
  • Dig up that mouse hole
  • Dig up your tulips
  • Dig up your roses
  • Dig up your lawn
  • Dig under your fence
  • Dig under your shed
  • Dig up your linoleum
  • Dig up your carpeting
  • Nip at people's feet if you haven't redirected their intense prey drive
  • Nip at your hands too, if not trained properly
  • Try to control their universe and everything in it -- INCLUDING YOU
  • Will succeed at this unless YOU intervene. And even then, they'll try again. And again. And again and again and again and again.
  • Lunge at other dogs on leash
  • Lunge at people, unless trained not to
  • Lunge ‘cause it feels good and they're in a hurry to get where they're going, and you're the only thing holding them back from experiencing the next exciting adventure around the corner or around the world.
  • Bolt out any open door in the blink of an eye
  • And won't return until they're good and ready.
  • Sometimes not even then
  • Refuse to come -- unless they want to
  • Refuse to sit -- unless they want to
  • Refuse to stay -- unless they're bored silly, and if so, that's the BEST time to move around to stir up the action anyway
  • Refuse to stop barking -- unless there's something in it for a fabulous treat
  • Refuse to do what you want at the PRECISE moment that it's most important that they when you're trying to show off how obedient and well-trained they are (which is, of course, a grand delusion on your part).
  • Nor, it seems, has anyone told you:
  • A Cairn can never, ever, ever be trusted off-leash, EVER.
  • Not even for a second. Regardless of how well-trained you have deluded yourself into believing he is
  • That all the dogs you've had before and have trained so well don't matter...if they weren't Cairns.
  • Because Cairns are different.
  • Very different
  • That they're generally NOT the best breed for a home with small children.
  • That one bears repeating: Cairns are generally NOT the best breed for a home with small children.
  • That Cairns WILL shed a little (or a lot) if you don't groom them properly.
  • That they're relatively resistant to housebreaking (don't expect them to be housebroken in a week, or even a month)!
  • And even when you think they're housebroken, if they've got something else on their agenda at the moment, they're likely to conveniently "forget."
  • That they are affectionate -- on their terms, not yours.
  • That they are stubborn and hardheaded, not to mention incredibly independent
  • That obedience training is a necessity, not a luxury. And that it's just the FIRST step in the process.
  • That you should read the previous sentence again, and forget everything you think you know.  If you haven't owned a Cairn, it doesn't apply.
  • That they were bred to hunt and kill, and their intense prey drive can NEVER be trained out of them.  Toto may not have KILLED those flying monkeys, but that's only because Toto KNEW they were fakes.  Otherwise, they'd have been dead, not merely outwitted.
LB is always an angel - right?
What they SHOULD have told you is:

  • They're wonderful for THE RIGHT OWNER
  • They're smart -- PROBABLY SMARTER THAN YOU
  • They're sweet -- WHEN THEY WANT TO BE
  • They're good with GOOD, WELL-BEHAVED CHILDREN WHO HAVE GOOD, RESPONSIBLE PARENTS.  And if they haven't had a bad experience previously with ill-behaved kids. Otherwise, it's a recipe for disaster.
  • They're strong
  • They're hearty
  • They're brave
  • They're relentless
  • They're devious
  • They're insightful
  • They're indomitable
  • They're energetic beyond description
  • They're intelligent beyond belief
  • They're the BEST dog you'll ever own
  • BUT...they just may be the WORST dog you can imagine.
Macie - Sweet is her middle name!
Oh, and by the way, Toto was actually a GIRL!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY! Each week we will showcase a terrierific cairn picture with an appropriate caption. If you have a terrierific cairn and 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 out reach purposes.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

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 Macie

Max and Blu



Pandora fka CP Kendra and Barkley

Foster Scipio

Happy Birthday Brussels!

Foster Dave

Foster Danny

Foster Deano


Foster Peru

Miss Rosie


Wicket on the mend!
Tootsie Roll

Miss Sunshine fka CP Cove

Happy Birthday Margie Brat!

Miss Gabby:  Clean-up in aisle six!

Friday, March 20, 2015

National Poison Prevention Week

Contributed by Divinity's Dad

Miss Divinity continues to inspire awareness for the good of our Cairns!
This week is National Poison Prevention Week and Divinity's Blog has posted a thoughtful article from the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance which serves as a good review of household toxins we all need to be aware of as they relate to our dogs and other pets.

Remember:  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Friday's Funnies!

Off the Leash

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Col. Potter Training Tips: Look at Me!

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!