Training a Silky Terrier

agility silky terrier

“The keenly alert air of the terrier is characteristic…the manner is quick, friendly, responsive.” AKC Standard

It is easy to think that Silkys must be easy to train – after all, if they get too obnoxious you can just pick them up. But while in a small package, these are tough terriers that get bored easily and think twice when asked to do something. They were bred to be independent watchdogs, and they take their job very seriously. But they are also often surprisingly sensitive and do not flourish when treated too firmly. They need owners who can be consistent but kind.

Why would anyone bother to have such a dog?

Once you’ve earned your Silky’s respect, he will gaze deep into your soul with love. There’s no feeling quite like that. A Silky chooses you, not the other way around.

While other breeds can be relatively easy to deal with, Silkys need an expert touch and are not recommended for someone getting their first dog. Owners need to be educated so they can help their mini-warriors be the best they can be. Attached are several articles that can help. If you have more questions, please ask the STCA webmaster at sandy@smesmer.com. She will steer you in the right direction.

What activities can you do with your Silky?

First, while Silkys are fine to stay at home and do not suffer from separation anxiety as much as many other breeds, they also do love to come along. Many truck drivers and full-time RVers find their Silky Terrier an ideal companion – bright, cheerful, and always ready for the next adventure.

While just coming along is fine, what organized activities can you do with your Silky? Here is a short list, more can be found at akc.org.

Trick Training

Silkys do cool things all the time. You can get them to do them more, and with more regularity, using Trick Training. It can be learned at home or at training classes, and the certifications are done by video. Here’s more information: https://www.akc.org/sports/trick-dog/

Earthdog

Silkys think that small creatures were invented for them to chase. While this can be a negative when the small creature is your grandchild (btw Silkys can be trained to not do this), they are hard-wired to go after lizards, mice, or whatever. Why not do an activity that celebrates this? Here is more information: https://www.akc.org/sports/earthdog/

Barnhunt

Tapping into a similar instinct as Earthdog, Barnhunt tests a dog’s ability to find the rat (who is safely in a cage). Here is more information: https://www.akc.org/sports/title-recognition-program/barn-hunt/

Lure Coursing

If you have ever watched your Silky doing zoomies first thing in the morning, you know she would love lure coursing. It’s basically a 100-yard dash for dogs. Here’s more information: https://www.akc.org/sports/coursing/

Agility

This is an obstacle course for dogs. Most Silkys enjoy this sport -- tearing up down, through, and over in a mad dash to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. Maybe they secretly enjoy watching their owners puff along behind? I don’t know. This is an uber-popular sport and Silkys, used to turning on a dime to chase a rat, do very well at it. Check out more information on agility at AKC.

Rally

Rally is the ultimate team sport for you and your Silky. The two of you navigate a course of 10 to 20 signs, each one giving instructions as to what to do next. Your dog needs to be precise, and you need to be watching so you don’t miss anything. Here is more information: https://www.akc.org/sports/rally/

Conformation

Would you like to be part of preserving an entire breed? The purpose of Conformation is to discover the dogs that best fit or “conform” to their breed’s standard in mind and body so that the best of the best pass their good traits on to the next generation. While no one likes to be told that their baby doesn’t cut the mustard, having the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to the future of Silky Terriers with your good dogs and their good puppies can be very rewarding. Here’s more information: https://www.akc.org/sports/conformation/

 

 

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