Search the Kerry Blues Website

  • Sign In

    Forgot password?
  • or
  • Join Now

When all else fails, read these instructions

  No




© 2003 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

Kennel dogs and some show dogs spend most of their time in crates and runs. When their carreer is over, they often move to a home environment.

Adjusting from life in a box to the big wide world needs to be done incrementally over a number weeks or longer, one room at a time, with his crate available for security. Easing his adjustment to family life will require much patience and understanding. He has no idea what is expected of him.

The biggest problem is his spraying in the house. If he sprays after being pottied, either he's marking his territory, or he quite simply doesn't know any better. I encountered a similar problem with a male Kerry (neutered, with no prior history of spraying) that I helped place in a home with other dogs. In his case, a combination of three things solved the problem.

1. He received basic obedience instruction. Learning to stay, sit, and come didn't teach him not to spray, it taught him to respect his new owners. And without respect, consistent good behavior is not possible.

2. He was allowed to interact freely with the two other dogs in the family with supervision. This occurred mostly outdoors (for obvious reasons), then later in the house, with one dog at a time. This allowed the dogs to work out their own heirarchy and get used to their new ranks. Since the new male was a bit dominant, it is my guess that once he knew his place with the other dogs, his urge to mark in the house was greatly reduced.

3. He was leashed to his owner whenever he was out of his crate in the house. I believe she used a short 4-foot leash, attached to her belt, so wherever she went, he went. (The credit for this technique goes to Lisa Frankland of this list.) This allowed her to correct him immediately when he lifted his leg (BEFORE the deed was done), praise him lavishly for good behavior, keep his mind occupied with other things, and, of course, it was a pretty powerful way to bond with her new dog (no pun intended!). You would want to do this in one room at a time, and make sure he understands what "No" or "Naughty" means.

Apart from that, the owner was scrupulous about cleaning and deodorizing every area that the dog had sprayed. If you invest in a good product that totally eliminates the odor, the dog won't be reminded of his past deeds. The owner was also 100% consistent in correcting the bad behavior. Since the dog was tied to her whenever he was out of his crate, he never once got away with marking. This required a lot of time, patience, and commitment, and was a lot more work than it sounds like.

Within one week, the dog's behavior improved tremendously. After the 3rd or 4th week, the dog could be trusted in the house without further incidents.

Share This Article

Question of the Week

Previous Questions of the Week Ideas

Today is June 26, 2019

In this month in 2003:

The first issue of "What's New", the Foundation newsletter, was distributed.

About Us

The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to promoting the welfare of the Kerry Blue Terrier breed in the areas of education, rescue and health & genetics. Learn More.


Join Our Email Newsletter List.

Contact Info


P. O. Box 1495
Solvang, CA 93464

Box 109
11420 - 142 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5M 1V1


Corrections? Feedback?

Contact the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation