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Is The Irish Terrier the right dog for you?

The Irish Terrier as a Pet

The Irish Terrier at about 12 kilos and 45 cm, makes a pet that is easy to manage. The adult animal can be carried in only one arm, and will spend much of the day curled up in its basket at your feet, therefore offering many of the advantages of a small dog. However sitting beside your chair his head is at ‘scratching height’ and his solidness and stamina offer all the satisfaction of a larger breed. His rustic look and dignified air give him an understated elegance.

His character is loyal and loving, and his greatest desire is to accompany the members of his family in their everyday activities. This makes him an ideal pet for retired couples, large families with someone home most of the day, or someone who can take their Irish to work such as in a shop, private office, or driving around. He lives happily in an apartment or in the country so long as he can be with you. This is not an appropriate dog if your lifestyle requires you to leave him alone in the house more than half the day.

Taking care of your Irish Terrier

He is generally healthy, but to keep him looking his best, regular stripping of the coat and nail trimming are necessary. A well groomed dog will have a rusty red color and feel like he’s wearing a boiled wool jacket. His coat will gleam, he will prance on his ‘cat paws’ and his fine racy lines will cause people to stop and compliment him about town. When stripped and brushed regularly, he will not shed in the house or car, and very rarely need a bath since the new fur is water resistant and dirt doesn’t ‘stick’.

The IT when ungroomed will slowly transform into a shaggy teddy bear which many people find equally acceptable.

This dog will thrive on a moderate amount of quality commercial dog food set down once a day for about 20 minutes, to this I add an egg yolk once a week. I never pass my dogs scraps from the table, but on steak night a few leftovers invariably find their way to the dog bowls.

Training Your Dog

His attachment to his family, and desire to please will guarantee you a good ‘student’ able to fit into your lifestyle and anticipate your expectations.
Irish Terriers have been used as police dogs, as messengers, and hold their place in agility and work trials. In the home however, the primary concern is teaching the dog early in life to ‘come’ instantly for safety reasons. Other important behavior to encourage is; to sit and stay when people arrive rather than jump on them, and to remain in his basket during meals. These guidelines will allow your dog to participate in all family events as a welcome guest rather than having to be ‘put away’.

I recommend keeping an open crate in some part of the house that is your dog’s ‘room’. While a puppy he can hoard his toys and he will sleep there at night without soiling. In adolescence he will gladly stay in his closed den while you are running errands keeping the house safe from bouts of teething, and later it will be his refuge when he wants some ‘down time’.

I support positive reinforcement and clicker training . Never hit an IT, he will not love you less, but you will break his spirit, and have a companion that shrinks away from your hand rather than cuddle into it.