Methods to Housebreak a Cairn Terrier

Your cairn terrier feels most comfortable relieving herself in a spot that smells familiar.

Your cairn terrier feels most comfortable relieving herself in a spot that smells familiar.

Cairn terriers originally were bred as vermin hunting dogs before they became household pets. Because of their history, they are a highly trainable breed and are eager to please their owners. Be firm and consistent in your training and you'll have a housebroken cairn terrier in no time.

Choose a spot in your yard or nearby that you want to use for housebreaking. Make sure this is a safe spot for your dog, so she feels comfortable using it daily. Take your pet to this spot to relieve herself every morning when you first wake up. Consistency is key when training your cairn terrier, so try to keep the same daily schedule until she is housebroken.

Reward your cairn terrier every time she relieves herself outside. Take treats or a toy with you each time you take her out, so you can reward her immediately after she eliminates. Don't punish her if she eliminates inside the house. Cairn terriers are sensitive to harsh punishment and adding stress to the housebreaking process will slow it down. If a mistake occurs in the house, remain firm and consistent and take your pet out to her designated potty training spot immediately.

Make a schedule and stick to it. Take your cairn terrier out first thing in the morning and before bed at night as well as after each meal. Take her to the designated training spot whenever possible. Using a familiar place and consistent house training times will help your cairn terrier catch on quickly.

Items you will need

  • Dog toy or treat


  • If you forgot to take a treat outside with you, give your pet affection or take her for a quick walk to show her she did a good job.
  • Stay positive in your training and don't rush your pup to do her business.

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About the Author

Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.

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