Our little wheaten terrier Andy just went to the groomer for a much needed post winter shave. The reason I say shave is because his little hair had become so matted in certain areas that a normal cut was out of the question. More on this later and on to the topic at hand, do wheaten terriers shed? They do not. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers most certainly do not shed, and while this may sound like a wonderful upside to owning one of these little devils, it isn’t all hairless couches and rainbows. Much like our own hair, wheaten terrier hair needs to maintained. The main difference of course is that Andy’s fur is extremely fine which makes it prone to matting. During the winter months this is especially problematic due to the fact that my lovely wife thinks he is her Annie doll from childhood and dresses him up in coats and jackets etc. These outfits if left on all day increase the velocity of the matting process and create little gnarled up pockets of wheaten hair that are nearly impossible to untangle. The trick here is staying on top of it. I can say from experience that if you let wheaten hair go, there will be a full body shave in your wheaten’s future. The trick is to use a comb made especially for detangling matted hair. The bristles are half moon pieces of metal sharpened on the inner edges. The way we use this type of comb is by holding Andy’s hair against his skin and pulling at the knots gently until they begin to loosen up. If you don’t hold the hair it will pull and your wheaten will be very unhappy. We use the below detangling comb which can be purchased from Amazon for around $10. Well worth it in our opinion. Tropiclean also makes a detangler solution that helps to ease the knots out. Works pretty well in combination with the comb. Good luck! And take care of your wheaten terrier so that he doesn’t have to look like Andy next time he gets groomed!
Anyone who owns a wheaten terrier understands that these little monsters love to run. We have deliberated for some time now on the best way to allow Andy the freedom he deserves. Of course, we were adverse to the idea of shocking our poor l
ittle baby with a barbaric electric fence. I had the bright idea of creating a zip line more or less from the back of the house out to the end of the property line. My wife, and everyone else I proposed this plan to told me how horrible of an idea it was. Visions of the landscaper clothes lining himself while mowing the lawn danced through their heads. Whatever. So we called the folks over at Kane’s Containment who are an Invisible Fence dealer. Tom is the owner and dealt with us directly. He described the fence’s implementation in detail and put my fears to rest. Apparently the collars of old were more of a binary zapping unit. Either the dog was firm grip on a power line or not. Cross the line and watch out, furball. The units they install now have a method through which they can control zap intensity. Ok, i’m in. Andy needs to run/hunt/move/shake. He’s a soft coated wheaten terrier, so that goes without saying.
So the fence went in last Friday. Training started Saturday at noon. Tom and his team installed flags around the inside of the fence’s perimeter. Our job was to walk Andy around the perimeter of the flags and pull him into the fence. As he nears the flags his collar beeps at him. We yell for him to get back. Then we praise him wildly for being such a great listener. The collar was not doing any shocking at this point. This exercise was recommended two to three times daily for a week or so. We did this pretty religiously and Andy did a fairly good job of staying away from the flags.
Next step, a little shock therapy. Time to crank it up a bit on the dude. Tom put a nice long black leash on him and led him right through the fence. A couple squeaks later and he was laying on the ground, refusing to move. Andy was pissed. That was yesterday, so we’ll see how that training goes moving forward. He was much more hesitant at the sound of the beeps after his first meeting with the neck shock. We’ll see how he progresses, but he really seems to be picking up on it quickly. Not too bad for a stubborn lil wheaten.
If you have a wheaten you know they’re a bouncy bunch of little furry savages. You walk in the door from work and your little snuggle poo jumps on you like you’re wearing a bacon suit. This is super cute and you probably get down on the floor with him and roll around getting licked and pawed all over. This is all types of fun until your little wheaten begins to think that this is how he should be greeting everybody. The truth is, you’re special to him, but he will still get excited to see other people too. And we don’t want our wheaten jumping on everybody he sees. Not only is it unpleasant for those of use who don’t love dogs, but it can be dangerous when our 40 pound wheaten terrier decides to wheaten greet a 3 year old toddler. Not good. I know from experience. The only way to keep your wheaten from jumping on people is to teach him that that behavior elicits no response from you. If you do that continually he will move on to more exciting things and ignore the urge to jump up. Below is a quick video of Andy in class with the instructor giving him some gentle nudges as he jumps. Notice how he no longer wants to hop up on him after round 1?
Ok, we’re terrible puppy parents. Maybe I’m being a little hard on us, but Andy was matted, badly. He was matted so badly in fact that the groomer did this to him. Oh the humanity. The groomer explained to us that she had to get beneath the mattes in order to fully disentangle our poor wheaten from his balled up tangled fur. Poor guy. Lesson learned. We had been combing him out a couple times a week, but as his hair got longer that proved to be grossly inadequate. We picked up this matte specific comb:
I’ll throw up a review after we’ve put it through its paces. The reviews on Amazon are awesome and it was pretty cheap, so nothing to lose really. In the mean time, Andy will be spending the remainder of the Fall and beginning of Winter with no real coat to speak of. On a positive note he has been much more snuggly at night which is always a nice little bonus. Even if he is just using us for our body heat.
Obviously this is a baby picture of the fury. The adult ones are no less stinky and come with significantly more heft. I know, Andy shouldn’t be pooping in the house at this age. It really is a relative rarity, but once is really way too much for this type of behavior. We had a crappy (yeah i did it) plastic gate that we slid between the balusters since Andy was a puppy. It was annoying, an eye sore and generally stunk (now I’m just celebrating it). So I decided that I would channel my inner Ty Pennington and build a less obnoxious gate that would match our stairway. So here we have it:
Now don’t be fooled, it looks much better in this photo than in real life. But you get the idea. Moderately simple project, major impact. Of course, Andy is on the wrong side of the gate in the picture. I wasn’t surprised. And you shouldn’t be either. He’s a wheaten, whose nickname given by his maternal grandfather, Houdini, fits him perfectly. That’s my boy.
Anyone who owns a wheaten terrier knows that they can be a bit on the excitable side. Andy is certainly no different. We have tried our best to make our routine comings and goings just that, routine, but he still goes nuts when we get home and cries when we leave. This really isn’t a big deal for us. In fact, my wife and I get a real kick out of him when he does his little wheaten greetin’ any time we get home. The issue of course is that other people may not be so happy to have a 40 pound terrier bouncing up on them. To be honest, I think people that don’t like cute little wheatens jumping on them need an attitude adjustment but I digress.
Andy will be attending Golden Grange Kennels “Basic Obedience I” class. It’s a parent student kind of thing from what I gather. When I brought Andy’s paperwork in the owner of the kennel looked down, saw wheaten terrier next the breed and notably exhaled exclaiming “oh boy.” I’m wondering if this is a good idea. I guess we will find out.
Update – 9/20/13
Andy’s matriculation at the esteemed Golden Grange Kennels has been going quite well actually. My wife and I were a bit skeptical given the fact that our little wheaten is so independent, however he has taken quite well to the course instruction thus far.
Class 1: We showed up (5 minutes late of course) walked Andy in the door and at the sight of the other 10 or so pups he started pulling so hard he was walking on his back feet. Awesome. Of course everyone was looking at us like we were the crew from Animal House walking into the bar to see Otis Day & the Knights (You mind if we dance with yo dates?). After a brief introduction the instructor began by demonstrating the first command, “Look” with his ultra-obedient Golden Retriever. The look command is the bedrock of the training regimen. Andy has actually picked this up extremely well. He is a quick learner, but is also easily distracted. It’s a constant struggle when in class to keep Andy focused on the task at hand (our task) vs. his task at hand (attempting to goad the other dogs into playing with him). We have generally prevailed, but not always.
Classes 2 thru 6: Andy learned a number of commands throughout this training class. We were taught the following: Sit, Stay, Look, Down, Stand, Leave It and Collar. We found Andy to be really receptive to the sit command, as we had worked on this one with him since puppyhood. We did however realize that we taught him the Paw command, which apparently was a terrible idea. The instructor told us that now every time he wants something he will start pawing at us. Which he does. A lot. We think it’s the cutest thing ever though so no biggy. At home Andy is a training machine. He sits, lays down and stands almost on command. We still have trouble with the stay while sitting command, because he’s a Wheaten and wheatens just don’t like to stay still. He stays better when he is in the down position for whatever reason, but it’s still not dependable. The look command has come in handy. It works well in getting his attention when he is otherwise occupied.
Class 7: Andy graduated! This little crazy wheaten is the proud owner of a diploma from “Basic Obedience” class. Good for him. Great for us. His success is really up to us in the end. He does not and can not practice these commands on his own. The more time we put into his training the better he got. We will be signing him up for the next class offered at the Golden Grange kennel. Great place, great owner. Fun time.
I hate to say it, being his dad and all, but we have decided finally to neuter the poor guy. As anyone who owns a wheaten knows, they can be aggressive (in a fun way) and the neutering is supposed to reduce that urge somewhat. Andy really hasn’t shown any noticeable aggression that would worry us. However, after speaking with the vet and doing a bunch of research, we have decided to go through with it. I hate the idea of the little guy going under the knife, but I’m confident that given the routine nature of the procedure that he will be ok. My wife of course is concerned that his personality will change post surgery. I am also a bit worried about this because he has such a charming and loving disposition. I will be sure to report back on how his little wheaten brain reacts to the loss of his little man parts. As you can see, he has no idea what’s coming. Poor little guy.
Update: Andy is now a neutered dude. He’s hanging in there. Guy is actually behaving really well given the circumstances. He has about 6 stitches and is dying to lick/bite the area. Luckily the lamp shade he has on his head has kept him from getting anywhere near the area.
Also, his attitude hasn’t changed a bit. Still the same old rambunctious dog that he was before all of this. I guess we’ll see what happens over time, but for now he hasn’t changed a bit.
Update update: Andy is now about 6 weeks out from his surgery and all looks good. He did have a little issue with his body rejecting the dissolvable stitches which required his return to the vet for a checkup on the area. He is still crazy, so no worries there.
Our little furry wheaten man turned 17 weeks old this past Friday. No parties or anything, but I might have snuck him an extra treat or two. Shh, don’t tell the wife.
First, let’s talk about Andy’s teeth. Little man has been losing teeth at a pretty rapid pace. All of his baby bottom front teeth have been replaced by noticeably less sharp adult teeth. This is good news for our hands. He has lost at least a couple of teeth on the top front row as well. We haven’t noticed any change to his back teeth or K-9′s. We’re pretty excited for the puppy K-9′s to take a hike given their needle like sharpness. Guessing this will happen soon.
The biting situation: At 16 weeks Andy’s biting subsided significantly. His 17th week saw a little bit of regression here. The teething I’m sure has a lot to do with it, but he has been mouthing more than we would like. What we’ve been doing here is giving the little man some Antler Bones to chew on each time he starts biting. These bones are apparently really good for their teeth etc. Kind of pricey, but worth a shot. Spoiled Wheaten Terrier alert. He’s a brat when it comes to bones, he always tries to get us to hold the bone for him while he chews it. Way too much work negotiating that on his own I guess. He does not bite anywhere near the face anymore however, which was a problem a few weeks back. This is good news.
Walks: He is getting much better on the leash. He understands that walks are fun and is doing less leash biting and more walking.
The tapeworms: are all gone, thank goodness. Things were gross. To be honest, after the first time we saw them, they never showed up again in any subsequent bowel movement. I’m starting to wonder if we were seeing things, but better safe than sorry on this one for sure. He took his last pill this Sunday and hopefully we can wash our hands of that little crisis. We caught him eating deer feces in the backyard the other day so we’re thinking that’s where he may have contracted them from. I think Wheatens are intelligent dogs, but sometimes Andy gives me cause for concern…
Housebreaking: We live in New Jersey and it’s been an unusually cold couple of weeks. We have a stake that we screwed into the ground and attached a 25 foot lead to in the backyard. We have been putting Andy out on that periodically when he should have to “go” and he has been great with it. We used to stand out there and freeze trying to get him to focus on going to the bathroom. This works much better. He’s gotten to the point where we put him on the lead and he goes to his area and does his business then bounds up the steps waiting to come in. He gets a treat of course each time he successfully completes his task so he is always eager to come inside. The past month or so have unfortunately left us with some yellow stains on the carpet however. We used Nature’s Miracle No More Marking to clean up the stains and he hasn’t returned to those spots since. Link below. I’d give it a shot, as Andy seemed to keep going back to the same spots over and over.