They're known to have minds of their own. So can you put a terrier to work in the field?
How do I train a terrier for beating?
A: Friends say it’s impossible to train a terrier to walk to heel and respond to whistle commands. My wife has just bought a Cairn bitch and I’m determined to take it out in the beating line with me. Am I being realistic?
A: Training a terrier is not a waste of time, it just requires a different approach!
For instance there’s no point trying to teach it to walk to heel in the same way as you would a Labrador.
Although terriers have got a character all of their own, they tend to mould with the way you are, and your temperament. Because of this, it’s hugely important to get a pup at any early age (8-10 weeks) so you can steer it away from bad habits, ie getting out of control and doing exactly what it wants.
True, terriers very quickly learn the adjectives in life like ‘kill rats’, ‘pull the dustbin out’ and ‘chase cats’ to name just a few, but if you’ve done the groundwork properly, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be as good as gold on a shoot day.
When I worked a number of terriers they would happily walk to heel and only go off when told to hunt, and the minute I whistled they would come running back.
To reach this happy stage you need to bond with the dog at a very early age. For instance, while out walking you should encourage the pup to always stay very close… pretty soon the puppy will learn what you want of it.