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The Glen of Imaal Terrier was bred to be a courageous and willing worker, game for performing indoor or outdoor chores. Although they stand just a little over a foot tall, they are substantial and hardy dogs who can weigh between 30 and 40 pounds. For those drawn to the inquisitive, clever tendencies of a terrier but don't want a dog who is as busy and anxious as other small terriers, the Glen of Imaal makes a more placid companion.
Glen of Imaal Terriers make energetic companions for owners who are looking for an independent dog who will enthusiastically throw himself into all his family's activities. These terriers will require some effort to groom and to amuse, but they will return the favor by becoming hard-working, humorous additions to the family.
Glen of Imaal Terriers adapt extremely well to changes in their environment. They are independent and used to working alone, so they won't suffer from much separation anxiety if they are left alone. However, they are terriers, and they will resort to amusing themselves by chasing, digging and occasionally barking, so training that rewards positive behavior will help these little dogs become polite and self-sufficient. They are not prone to barking, but they do have a deep, resounding bark that they will use if threatened.
These are small dogs who are much longer than they are tall to enable them to dig deep into holes and chase out vermin, but their size does not get in the way of their playful spirits. Glen of Imaals respond very acutely to their owner's reactions, so if you quickly establish rewards for positive behavior and reprimands for negative behavior, these plucky little terriers will act accordingly. They are rambunctious dogs who will need plenty of opportunities for energetic, tiring play. Glen of Imaals are not naturally aggressive, but they are scrappy around other dogs of any size and they will refuse to back down when challenged. Socialization from an early age will help them display their best manners around new friends.
Unlike other Irish terriers, the Glen of Imaal Terrier has no characteristic color. Their coats come in shades of blue, brindle and wheaten. The double coat has a harsh and somewhat long outer coat and a soft undercoat. Glen of Imaal Terriers have moderate feathering throughout their coat, which can be slightly wavy or completely straight. Their characteristic faces have half-pricked ears and a short beard. Their tail is one of their identifying features. It is strong at the base and tapers off into a triangular shape to help the Glen of Imaal's owners pull them up out of their hunting tunnels. It is a powerful tail that helped these small dogs clear the enclosed hunting tunnels and holes of small vermin and even badgers.
Glen of Imaal Terriers need regular grooming to prevent them from becoming too shaggy. If you prefer the natural look, you won't have to do much more than moderate brushing with a small pin brush.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but wire-coated dogs can be done with greater frequency, often within a four-to-six week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. The coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.
If you want your Glen of Imaal Terrier to maintain his characteristic shape and stay as tidy as possible, prepare for some occasional trimming and stripping. The hair around the face and ears, between the toes and under the tail needs to be trimmed short at least once a month, because excessively long, scraggily hair can be irritating. Owners who plan to show their Glen of Imaal Terriers strip their coat periodically with a stripping knife that thins and shortens the coat.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Wire coated dogs have sensitive ears covered in hair that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. West Highland Terriers and other small terriers with white coats are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.