Bringing up your Westie Puppy


The day has come to collect your new puppy.  The breeder will have taken great care to bring up your puppy and she/he should have received the best food, clean conditions and plenty of socialisation so I hope she will settle well with you and bring you years of joy.

 Your puppy will be naturally nervous when she leaves with you and for the first 24 hours may be unsettled and cry.  This is perfectly normal, she has just left her litter mates and is not used to you, your house or being alone.  We recommend allowing her to settle in, by giving her a bed in a quiet room with plenty of newspaper on the floor.  We use a puppy pen for our babies so that they are confined to a set area and they are not in danger of getting under your feet and being hurt accidentally.    The first night can be noisy as your puppy may well cry.  We firmly recommend that you do not go to your puppy and fuss her as this will encourage her to cry even more.  Stick it out and she will eventually go to sleep and will not come to any harm.  You can give her a cuddly toy and a fluffy blanket to curl up in.


Whether you have bought your puppy as a pet or a potential show dog, we recommend restricting exercise until the puppy is 6 months old.  For show dogs, it is essential that they do not run around too much as this will cause them to grow in the leg at a greater pace than they should and they will loose their shape.  We have a puppy pen inside and outside so that the puppy can enjoy being outside, without being allowed to run free in the garden.  Although this may seem unfair, it is also for the puppy’s safety.  If the puppy is allowed to run free, they can hurt themselves, eat unsuitable stones etc.  

Finally, do not allow your puppy to go upstairs or jump off the sofas.   Dogs can develop a condition called Perthes and this is usually prompted by jumping as they are putting too much stress on their joints at too early an age.


Puppies should be allowed to rest.  After your puppy has eaten, she should be allowed to sleep in her bed.  It is a good time to leave your puppy so that she gets used to you going out without her.  Leave her for short periods during the day telling her you are going and giving her a lot of fuss when you return.  She will soon understand that being left is not terrible as you are coming back.


Try to get your puppy into a routine as quickly as possible as you will find your puppy will quickly learn what is expected of her.





Your puppy will learn very quickly and it is never too early to start her basic training.  You can use part of her normal meal as treats (just reduce the amount fed at meals accordingly).  The most important command she needs to learn is to come back to you.  When she is loose in the house with you, start calling her and every time she comes back reward her.  She will soon learn that by coming to you she gets a treat.  When she is old enough you can transfer the same training to outside where there are lots of distractions.  Don’t expect too much from her to start with and never scold her for not coming back.  She must ALWAYS get a warm reception from you when she returns, however naughty she has been.


If you want to train her properly, we recommend you find a professional dog trainer in your area.  Some dog clubs run the KC Good Citizen Scheme, which provides basic training, or you can look for a private trainer.




There will be times you are not happy with your puppy.  She may have puddled in the house or chewed something she should not have. 

Please remember your puppy does not know what she can chew and what she cannot. If you give her slippers to chew in her bed, do not be surprised if she steals your new pair.

You need to catch her doing the unacceptable thing and tell her NO firmly.  Never strike your puppy or use any physical violence towards her.  Voice commands will be more than enough to get her to stop doing something wrong.  All dogs respond much better to praise so reinforce what you do want her to do with plenty of praise.  At this stage, we give treats as a reward for good behaviour, but remember to adjust her meal allowance to take this into account.




Your puppy will probably naturally go to newspaper to relieve herself as she has had this in her puppy pen with us.  You can start reducing the amount of paper in her pen so that eventually she has only a single sheet.  If she is running loose, put the newspaper by the door you want her to go out of and when she goes to use the paper, praise her.  By moving the paper outside and leaving the door open she will naturally try to go to the paper.  However, some puppies are better at this than others are, so be patient.


She will want to relieve herself after a sleep, after eating and when running about so help her to be clean by putting her outside at these times.


Do not rub her nose in a puddle if she makes one.  She will not understand what she has done wrong.  Tell her NO if she starts to wee, pick her up, and put her outside.  Stay with her and if she does one outside, praise her.


It is recommended that you arrange for a veterinary examination when you first have the puppy.   Although we have had your puppy checked by our vet.  The vet will tell you the age they recommend for first vaccinations and will probably check up on the worming programme to date. We will have told you of previous worming programme and also if any vaccinations have been completed. Inoculations are in majority of occasions not completed until the puppy is around the age of twelve weeks and as it is customary for the litter to find new homes at 8/9 weeks it is left to the new owners vets to advise and do what is necessary.




There are several insurance companies available that offer from puppy hood for health, accidents, loss by straying etc. Third party cover should be considered an essential, covering you for any accidents, which could be blamed on your puppy this should be continued throughout his life. A clause covering this is including in some Comprehensive House Policies.  We have insured your puppy through the Kennel Club and you have 4 weeks free insurance which should give you time to research the companies and choose a policy that suits you.




Squeaky rubber toys are often great for amusement but thin rubber is easily chewed and torn apart with the danger arising of the puppy swallowing some material or even the `squeaker` itself with the possible dire consequences. Thick rubber coated toys will last much longer solid rubber rings and bones are more suitable and much safer. A good hard indestructible ball is ideal for exercise and entertainment, but not too small as the little rascal might swallow it. There is quite a variety of manufactured or prepared items which will keep a puppy amused for sometime such as dried pigs ears, calves` feet, rope tugs and rubber pulls. There are always new toys making their appearance on the market suitable for amusing and occupying the time active little beings.  We find a plastic milk bottle with the lid and label removed causes no end of enjoyment.






For more in-depth advice you can buy training books for Westies which given lots of hints and tips.

 Sue Thomson – Ashgate Westies