West Highland White Terrier Behaviour Problems

West Highland Terriers is a charming, energetic and fun-loving breed of dog. They have been companions of humans for many years. These dogs are active and lively, but the owners seldom view this as a behaviour problem.
West Highland White Terrier Behaviour Problems

It is the nature of dogs to follow their instincts and it is the responsibility of the owner to control these instincts from becoming destructive behavior problems. Some basic problems related to Westies are:


Dogs get very protective of their family and territory. They particularly don't like strangers who come at their territory without any invitation. This is a natural behaviour and not an aggression problem. The real problem arises when a dog doesn't listen to his master or due to some other reason he attacks or bites a stranger.

Out of frustration, your Westie may bark and growl at a stranger who comes to your house. This is a normal dog behaviour pattern that requires the owner's patience and discipline to curb it. However, when you ignore the problem, your dog will eventually become more aggressive.


Westies are a very active breed of dogs. They often play and enjoy playing with other dogs in their neighborhood. This is a normal behaviour, but it is important to understand what happens here:

When Westies play with other dogs, they run and hustle after them, they bite them, they knock them down and finally they drag them around. Dogs of this breed generally view other dogs as toys, who are their enemies during the game.

West Highland Terriers are very much like wolves and they have a strong prey drive. They love to chase cats, dogs, squirrels, birds and other small animals that live in your neighborhood. However, they usually do not hurt them, but this kind of behaviour is not safe for you or the animals that live in your area.


Westies are loyal dogs and they prefer to be with their owners. At some level they show the same separation anxiety similar to that of children who do not like being separated from their parents. When you leave your West Highland Terrier home alone, he may become destructive or tear up his house just to get your attention.

Of course, it is not possible for you to take your dog with you wherever you go. However, you can make your dog understand that you will always come back. The best way to do this is to introduce your dog to fun activities and give him a lot of attention on weekends when you are at home.


West Highland Terriers are not the easiest dogs to potty train and they usually suffer from house training issues.

These puppies chew on the floors and urinate in inappropriate spots if they don't receive consistent supervision while they're out of their crate or kennel. It is not unusual for a Westie to urinate on carpets and to occasionally eat his own poo.


Westies are known to be very destructive chewers and many owners are shocked when their Westies turn out to have some dental problems. This is because they do not stop playing with their toys when they get bored enough or when they're frustrated that their owner won't buy them new ones.

Westie chewing habits can be dangerous and they can lead to serious medical conditions such as gingivitis and tooth decay. The only way to curb this destructive chewing habit is not to give your West Highland Terrier any opportunity or reason to chew on things.


Dogs communicate with each other through barking. However, not all barks are the same. Barking can be a signal of a danger or it can be an expression that the dog simply wants to express his feelings.

The bark itself is not an issue, but if you do not control your dog at an early stage, he can get into the habit of incessant barking which is never good for you or others around your neighborhood.


Westies love to give their owners a hard time by trying to size them up. If they do not feel comfortable with you, they will try to dominate you. If the owners are confident, the dog will know who's in charge.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder refers to a condition that is characterized by obsessive and repetitive thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

This mental disorder can affect both humans and dogs. In the case of dogs, it is often seen in West Highland Terriers that they present with compulsive object licking, tail chasing as well as seasonal flank sucking. These signs result from stress or boredom in some dogs and they need to be addressed.


West Highland Terriers are intelligent and they love to challenge their owners. If they do not get enough attention, they create situations that require the owner to provide attention. They are very mischievous and they enjoy escaping from your home to get chased by you.

They can easily learn how to open latches or gates and while chasing them, you may find that they are gone by the time you catch up with them. Some owners also use a leash as an option for holding their Westies. They typically try to bite the leash and get out of it. So, keep your dogs safely indoors with a pen or an indoor dog fence.


Westies are typically very sensitive dogs with a low threshold of frustration. They can become extremely aggressive when they are forced to endure situations that might be a little too much for their capacities.

When you examine their level of vulnerability, you will see that most West Highland Terriers are anxious dogs. They need to learn how to be patient and cope with situations in a very difficult way. They do not handle frustration well and they resolve it by fighting with other creatures that are close by or even by biting people in frustration.


All these problems can be controlled to a certain extent by training your dog. The choice of training will depend on the behavior problem itself.

Always remember that dogs need a lot of love and care and only by giving them their due can these problems be resolved. Never scold or beat your Westie when you think he is misbehaving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there many behavior problems in the West Highland White Terrier?
Of course not, this is a charming and loyal dog that can become a good friend to you. But like everyone else, she has her flaws.

Comments (0)

Leave a comment