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Adult patterdale terrier
We don’t breed, so many are in need: With working type breeds traditionally the breeders selected parents for performance, size and hardiness. Very often a good Jack or Border would be bred in, to enhance one aspect or another. They then picked from the litter and ‘disposed’ of the rest. Hence terriers and collies entered into families to save their lives as they were surplus to requirements or just not hardy enough for purpose. They adapted
into a domesticated setting, but people were more ‘dog savvy’ then. In the 80-90s we had a generation of people who looked around the rescue centres for a “Jack” and came home with a “Terrierx” found stray (in fact a fell or ‘working’ cross breed). In 2010 so many working type terriers are still being found stray with no microchip, collar or disc. ‘Lakelands’ are also acquired through free ads, but they are not ‘show/ pedigree Lakelands’ but actually working Lakelands … from the “Lakes or Fells!” Sadly Patterdales are becoming ‘trendy’ to own and people are quickly out of their depth as they reach maturity.
Patter of little feet: Busy little people from the first time they open their eyes, so cute, but be aware if you take on a puppy you have to be preparing for their adulthood from day one. The puppy’s versatility needs to be exploited by socialisation, socialisation and socialisation. This is the only way to gain their fluency with dogs in later life and even then it’s no guarantee. Working type terriers are feisty and in their excited moments can nip or grab clothing. We don’t recommend Fell terriers to live with children under 6 and they need controlled supervision with visiting children. It’s the ‘committal’ of the terrier mind that you are working with. To disengage their committal before it happens or distract into ‘substitute mode’ during, is a constant with terriers. Prime example is the visitor to your front door … with terrier behind a lounge door or crated for the initial arrival period or post box at the front gate! Many well meaning families are giving up on their Patterdale at the 9-18 month mark because they can’t handle the teenage/prime adult period. Meeting the 6 year old Patterdale in the neighbourhood is such a different acquaintance to the dashing yearling. The owners forget to say how much their lives are adapted towards security, safety and energy control measures of their Patterdale. A Patterdale will need your dedication, resolve and ingenuity. You can waste money on behaviourist’s reports, but you are already more of an expert on Patterdales by the time they reach 9 months than the textbook behaviourists. They probably own a Collie and admire Patterdales ‘from a far’. If you love the breed you are better waiting for one of our bright young things to come out of their homes or a pound, so their baseline character can be matched with your lifestyle. Only then can you move forwards boldly and proudly with no illusions. A terrier’s owner learns to gain trust in their charge, but also knows when not to trust. It is something we often reflect back to the owner when a dog has made a mistake – ‘where has that faith in your dog gone?’ – mistakes and incidents do happen. You learn and move forwards with caution and ensure future encounters are safe.
Children and Terriers: In the 21 century we witness a society which is becoming increasing anti-dog. Foreign travel and work are seen far preferable activities than dog ownership. You’ll know from your family’s reaction to your decision to own a dog. Going through a divorce the dog is the first to go! Children are either ‘highly precious’ or in the background, left to their own devices, like the dogs: Seen, but hopefully not heard. Keeping up with your children’s social life is no mean feat … so where does that leave your dog; waiting and dreaming? It isn’t an easy mix. In truth a lot of rescues would rather not go there, especially with live-in children. In our view children under 6 years old are not conscious of what impact their ‘pinches’ or screaming is having on a terrier. Many of them actually see themselves in rivalry for attention ‘Me, Me, Me’ or play on fear reactions and sympathy. We do home terriers in with young children and with couples of child rearing age, but consciously; the right terrier already proven/highly socialised with young ones or their instincts and the family judged sound. We look for families who appreciate they need to manage the situation. Parents are the ones with outright responsibility; children as per their age and maturity, then the terrier: read ‘toddler!’
Guardian angels: Terriers are independent in spirit and wilful; they are bred to be! They may have felt hunger or a need to have …‘holding precious items or space’ so will stake their claim. The term ‘let a sleeping dog lie’ is a truism. If a terrier has nipped or bitten in this scenario they are often ‘out!’ or ‘taken to the vets’. Often vets call us for a rescue place. Never play ‘tug of war’ with terriers. This hardens their resolve and don’t confront. Doesn’t matter if you are breaking it up the tug; they are still pitching their wits and muscle against you and in our book it is a no no! Play ‘fetch’ where surrender, chase with recall is the name of the game. We never test a terrier by taking their bowl away. We allow them to fully settle over days and sense their approach on lifting their empty bowl. When they feel secure then approach them with a large spoon and add more food into their bowl. If a dog is precious about their bed or being on a sofa, make a judgement if you really need to make a feature of this. If you are able to let your dog have a personal space and respect their ‘character’, then fine we’re on your side, the judgement is yours. We are pleased to hear the whole ‘dominance’ speak is now being outmoded!
Novice people ‘working’ terriers fail to understand the high level of training a terrier needs to perform successfully and make it home again after ‘their day’. People’s lives don’t have rhythm or rhyme nowadays. The terrier isn’t born to its territory so its not surprising that so many ‘masters’ leave their unrecovered terriers out in the field to go stray. If they are not killed on the road trying to get back, they end up found injured or on someone’s doorstep. Failed workers or just failure to train: This isn’t our field, but collecting the stray Patterdales is!
Terrier homes: In our experience “terrier homes” are the most unlikely in terms of external credentials. Terrier families are usually synonymous with Rescue families. In asking people to describe the terrier person/owner it isn’t a ‘hard heart; in your place’ type owner; but passionate people, with a love for life and nature, who are not ‘socialites’ necessarily; their walk with their dog is more about enjoying the weather, wildlife evidence and seasons. So being out as a pack and feeling the wind on your face and being committed to having your terrier come home with you at the end are key features! It is with surprise we receive so many requests for Patterdales having to be ‘off lead and fluent with dogs’. Achievable but by exceptional people who have honed their mind to be stronger than their terriers!
Strength of Bond: We are very proud of our terrier owners. Look how many terriers remain in their homes, in far from ideal circumstance, whilst we try
to find a forever home for them. Yes we get the situations where vets call us when a perfectly healthy terrier is booked in to be ‘put to sleep’ with their reluctance to do the deed, when in the right hands the terrier would be ‘just fine’. People buy the wrong breed for their family or are encouraged to buy 2 pups then are out of their depth in managing 2 adolescents, or simply for size or looks. True, terriers do get under your skin. They are so very vulnerable. They get into tiffs with rushed intros with other dogs, get run over by getting out via an open window or door and they need their excitement levels managed with visitors. You go the extra mile for them because they are ‘toddlers in their make-up’, quite innocent of the dramas they create; please don’t take them too seriously!