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Airedale Terriers do well on high quality foods. Some may have slightly dry "itchy" skin and can be supplemented with certain oils and kelp. Also many Airedale Terriers respond well to lamb and rice foods.
One thing worth mentioning here is how long to feed puppy food. Some research indicates that feeding puppy food for too long can increase the incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs that are susceptible to it. The theory is that the higher percentage of protein found in puppy formulas can accelerate growth before the developing skeleton can support the weight. Some breeders start feeding adult food very early. Most people tend to gradually switch to adult food at 8-10 months. Again, this is something to discuss with the breeder and your veterinarian.
Grooming: Many pet Airedale Terriers are clippered to the characteristic King of Terriers look. A good groomer should be able to provide this service. If not, contact a breeder in your area, many will be willing to provide grooming assistance on a limited basis. Airedale Terriers should be brushed with a pin brush on a daily basis to remove dead hair, since they do not "shed." Slickering their furnishings (leg hair and face hair) will also remove dead hair, allowing new hair to grow in.
Airedale Terriers do "blow" their coat if it is allowed to grow out.
Dogs to be shown are stripped and trimmed. This is described in a couple of the books at the end of this FAQ. It is a very time consuming endeavor and somewhat difficult art to master.
Housing: Airedale Terriers prefer to be with their families but also love to romp and play. A fenced area is great for exercise and play, while after play, they are ready to make great house dogs.
CAUTION: Airedale Terriers are lovers of digging. They are definitely "terre-iers." Always keep that in mind when preparing an exercise area.
Crate training is a good idea for the young dog. As he gets older he may tend to use this as his "den" and has a secure area for travelling or your long days at work.
Exercise: Airedale Terriers are very active dogs and need lots of exercise. They need a fairly large area to romp and play. Daily walks are great exercise and fun time for both you and your Airedale.
Training your Airedale TerrierAs with other breeds, begin socializing your Airedale at an early age. Socialization will begin to lay the groundwork for a happy and obedient companion by increasing the dog's confidence. Airedale Terriers can tend to be "dog aggressive" which makes socialization and obedience training a must. Your dog must respect you but you have to earn that respect. Your puppy needs a consistent set of rules to live by. For example, will he be allowed on the couch or not? Consistent rules will produce a reliable companion. Puppy classes, if available, are a good idea.
Airedale Terriers do not respond well to harsh methods of training. They want to make you happy, but they have to UNDERSTAND what is expected of them. PATIENCE!
Several hints for successful training are:
1) Don't bore your dog. Airedale Terriers will not become "robots." He will go check out an interesting onlooker before repeating the same "silly" heeling pattern over and over.
2) Remember that Airedale Terriers are "thinkers." Don't ask them to do foolish things. The only time my old girl ever broke a down was because the "judge person" was foolish enough to set the dogs up in the sun so that the judge could stand in the shade on a hot July afternoon.
3) Use positive motivation. It doesn't matter how silly you feel, he has to feel as though he is making you happy. Be creative. Remember, Airedale Terriers are thinkers, not robots.
4) Approach each "training" session as an opportunity to learn more about your companion. Try to look at each command from your dog's point of view. This way of thinking will increase the mutual respect that should develop while training.
5) Increase your chances for success by working with people who appreciate and understand terriers. Do NOT allow any obedience instructor or anyone else to compare your Airedale to those "perfect" Shelties, Borders and GSDs. I heard a story of a woman working an Airedale in an obedience class taught by a Border Collie trainer. During one class, they were working on heeling patterns. The instructor was busy pointing out the Airedale's inability to follow the pattern as the instructor and Border Collie tumbled over a jump while the Airedale watched from a perfect sit just in front of the jump. The "stupid" terrier just "smiled."
You must be very flexible in training your Airedale. Expect the unexpected and know your companion. Do not try to put a square peg into a round hole. It is a very common MISCONCEPTION that Airedale Terriers cannot be trained. IMHO Airedale Terriers simply require more ingenious and patient trainers.