Some Basic Training Tips for your Wheaten
1. The first few weeks that your puppy is with you should be kept "fear-free."
Try to keep the house fairly quiet, run the vacuum cleaner when the puppy is outside, etc. Don't introduce
too many things at once. Watch your puppy closely for signs that its overly scared. Most puppies will be somewhat
timid at first but will settle in within a day or so. If your puppy seems perfectly okay with new sights and sounds,
then continue to introduce new things. If your puppy is more timid, then proceed slowly. Your puppy was raised
in the country, so the traffic and noise of the cities will be a new experience.
Teaching your puppy the basic commands:
Your puppy should start puppy obedience classes around 10-12 weeks of age. Contact your local kennel
club for information on upcoming classes and requirements. Your puppy must be socialized with other people and dogs.
The Wheaten Terrier can see men, women and children as three separate species. They must have exposure to all three
from the beginning,so that they don't have a problem interacting with one or the other later on. There are many
good books out there on training your puppy the basic commands, but I find that you get far more support and one-on-one help
and advice by going to the Puppy Obedience classes.
How to handle the "puppy-biting" stage:
All puppies go through a stage where they bite everything. The key thing is to never shake a toy in
your puppy's face, never tease them with a toy, never play tug-of-war with them. Buy a lot of nyla bones and keep them
everywhere in the house. When your puppy bites you, say or scream "ouch" in a loud, high voice and squeeze their muzzle.
Don't squeeze to hurt them, but to make them uncomfortable. Your response must be immediate so that they associate the
biting with your response. Most puppies will be a little scared by this response and will immediately come up to you
and start licking you. This is when you use a very pleasant voice and praise, praise, praise....When your puppy bites, you
can immediately put a nyla bone in their mouth. Puppies usually quickly outgrow this stage unless it goes uncorrected.
How to minimize the chance of your Wheaten becoming territorial:
Constantly mess with his/her food dish while they're eating. Take the food dish away...give it back...take
food out of their dish....put it back. If your pup becomes protective over his dish, then you need to start feeding
him from your hand. Right from the beginning, treats must always be given to your dog from your hand, and only after
its done something to earn a treat. Many dogs can become territorial when food or treats are given. This is why
the Wheaten must know that you "own his food." Never feed your puppy table scraps and never allow him/her to sit by
the table when you eat. This is a time when your puppy should be crated.
A Wheaten must be used to being in his crate. It should always be a safe-haven and never
used as a "time-out" or punishment. When putting your puppy in the crate, use the command, "kennel-up" and put your
puppy inside. Then give the command "sit" and when your puppy does this, give him a treat. Always keep chew
bones inside the crate, and favorite toys. The crate should be kept in a somewhat quiet area of the house. If
you need to be away for a few hours, this is the safest place to keep your puppy. Some people have another crate in
the corner of their bedroom when the puppy sleeps at night. The crate, however, should never be used if you're gone
for 8-10 hours at a time, every day. It should always be a good place for the puppy. If you get company and you
don't want the puppy to be underfoot, then give the puppy a chance to "sniff-greet" the new people so he/she can say hi, then
praise him/her and put them in the crate. Some puppies prefer to be in their crate when strangers come by.
Never chain your Wheaten....Never use Invisible Fencing:
Some Wheatens can be territorial or protective of their families, and this seems to be more noticeable in
the males. Chaining your dog up outside reinforces this negative behavior. If your dog is chained up outside and
a person walks by, that person will automatically assume that your dog is aggressive. The Wheaten senses this, and may
start to lunge at that person. The person leaves and the Wheaten believes that his aggressive behavior caused the stranger
to leave. Its a bad cycle of behavior to let you dog learn. The same is true of invisible fencing. With
invisible fencing, your dog won't leave, but the fencing doesn't prevent other dogs from coming in-thus requiring the Wheaten
to defend his territory. It also opens your dog up to attack from neighbor dogs. A Wheaten must have an enclosed,
fenced area to run and play off-leash. Your Wheaten should always be supervised.
The vast majority of Wheatens have fantastic, happy, trusting, and bubbly personalities. They are
not aggressive by nature, but if a Wheaten isn't trained properly, they may learn aggressive behavior. Some breeders
will not place a Wheaten in a home with children because of the amount of time it can take for training in the first year
or two of your puppy's life. If you already have a hectic schedule, then this may not be the breed for you.