What You Need to Know When Having Westies and Kids

What You Need to Know When Having Westies and Kids


No home is complete without a furry friend to keep us company and bring enough energy to keep us in shape. A pet can even affect our mental health‌, reducing our stress and helping us have a more positive outlook on life. The only problem is choosing a pet that would be great with children.

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Cats are always a good choice, but their fur can cause allergic reactions in children with underdeveloped immune systems. Smaller animals, like hamsters and guinea pigs, are easier to handle. However, their diets make them somewhat high-maintenance pets.

Dogs are the ideal choice for a household with children, and no breed is better than the West Highland White Terrier. Also known as Westies, they're tiny and adorable, ensuring them the kids' affection.

Are Westies and kids a good match, though? Read what's below to learn all you need to know.

History of Westies

West Highland White Terriers originated from Scotland‌ along with other breeds like the Cairn and Skye Terriers. The Scots loved their furry companions so much that Westies had that need for affection ingrained in their breed. Westies will demand your attention and will keep it on them for as long as they have the energy to play.

Scotland's landscape consists mainly of glens, forests, and mountains. It's because of this that Westies love the outdoors. Staying indoors for too long will cause them to become antsy or make them depressed.

Their Scottish owners originally used Westies as hunting companions. Westies were smart enough to distinguish scents and track them to their quarries. They also participated in taking their prey down, often corralling them and, at times, fighting with their quarry.

It's because of this that Westies are headstrong and staunch dogs. You can leave them on their own to do other things and they'll have no issues with it. This headstrong behavior also makes Westies somewhat bossy when other pets are around.

Why Include a Westie in Your Home

Besides boosting your mental health, a Westie in your home can also benefit your physical health. Their need to go outside forces households to join them. It's not so simple that you can take them on a short walk to satisfy them, either.

Westies need long walks to tire themselves out lest they become lethargic. They also prefer a natural outdoor space instead of man-made ones. These dogs love the feel of grass and love running around where trees and shrubbery are.

You'll likely move to a suitable location if you want to meet a Westie's preferences. While this may be quite the task to undergo for the sake of a pet, it will be a big boon to your and your children's health. Surrounding yourself in nature improves the air quality‌ in your home.

You'll contend with less pollution this way. It reduces the likelihood of respiratory illnesses and provides your family with more energy.

Training Your Westie

Kids will never leave a new furry friend alone when you introduce it to them. They'll interact with it and try to get their new friend to do tricks. It's why it will please potential owners to know that Westies are easy to train.

Your children only need consistency and the right attitude to train a Westie. These dogs are quick to grasp concepts like what they have to do once the children introduce a cue. Regular training sessions will teach the dog new tricks and teach your children about the responsibility of owning a pet.

Caution your children against rough play, too. These are headstrong dogs, but they don't respond well to anything they find uncomfortable. Training will likely fail when using rough methods, even when done unknowingly.

Owners will need to provide them with a strong-willed figure to follow. Not having one such figure can cause Westies to stick to old habits, which will be difficult to break once they get used to them.

Maintaining a Westie

Thanks to the Westie's origins as a hunting dog, the breed is resistant to most diseases. You can let them run around outside without any worry in mind. Their intellect also means they know what dangers they have to avoid when they're out and about.

Because they're out a lot, though, constant cleaning is a must. Otherwise, they'll track mud all over the house, which can then cause sickness to your children. Cleaning will also get rid of the ticks they're likely to contract from the time they spend outside.

Speaking of their fur, Westies are hypoallergenic. It's a great perk if your kids have a bad allergic reaction to pet fur.

How Westies and Kids Interact

The interactions between Westies and kids‌ will vary depending on the child's age. Younger children will have a harder time interacting with Westies than older ones. Kids aged 8-10 don't have the sense of leadership required to make a Westie obey their commands.

What they have is a lot of sudden movements and noises that can trigger a Westie's hunting instincts.

Older children, those aged 12 and above, can have a successful relationship with Westies. They know how to not be too rough when handling the dog and they can command them with confidence.

Red Flags to Look Out For

Despite their headstrong disposition, Westies are a jealous breed. This behavior becomes obvious when there are many children gathered in the same room. Westies will stick to the kids they know and will often nip at those who try to approach them.

Your Westies and kids may also compete against each other. Westies will try to take your attention away from your kids‌ by being overly affectionate. If they can't do that, Westies may resort to more aggressive methods. They will bark or nip at your children if they don't get enough attention.

Westies may respond aggressively when children make high-pitched shrills or sudden movements. Chasing them around isn't ideal, either, since it can trigger their hunting instincts. They may think of your children as their targets and start chasing them around.

Can You Have a Westie and Kids? Find Out Today

The West Highland White Terrier is a terrific dog to have in your home. You only need to know what to watch out for when you have both Westies and kids in the same household. Read up on our guide above and teach your children how to live with a Westie in harmony today!






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