The Airedale Terrier is a very devoted and loving dog, and they make wonderful hunting dogs as well as great lasting pets and companions for the entire family. They do, however, require a lot of attention and exercise to wear off all the pent up energy they always seem to possess. This is not a dog you can bring home, feed once a day and leave to his own devices.
Airedale terriers need to be socialized and treated like a family member. They need lots of playtime and exercise. Otherwise, they can and often will turn very destructive, neurotic or aggressive. Their aggression is usually directed towards other animals, but they have been known to become aggressive towards people as well.
The Airedale Terrier was originally bred to hunt for other animals. This is something they love doing. Their instinct tells them to chase and catch animals, whether these other animals are wild or domesticate animals like cats or other dogs. They are especially aggressive with dogs of the same sex. To avoid problems like this getting out of hand, it is important that the Airedale Terrier gets obedience training at a very young age. The longer it is put off, the harder it will be to train them, as they are very headstrong dogs.
Many of these negative traits have to do with individual dogs, as each dog is different. However, their need for human companionship and socializing is the one thing each Airedale Terrier has in common. If you plan to have a second dog or a cat in the family, the Airedale Terrier must be made to spend as much supervised time together as possible when the Airedale is very young. Usually when they are with the other animal most of their life as well as having obedience training, there is less chance of the animal becoming aggressive.
The Airedale can be manipulative and very stubborn during training. They are intelligent animals and know what they want. They need an owner that can consistently show them they are the boss. Because of their intelligence, they will eventually catch on to what is expected of them as part of your household. They are also not a dog that can be left outdoors in a pen all day or you may find yourself having to deal with all kinds of destructive behavior. They are great at digging and can ruin an entire lawn in one afternoon if left outside. Whatever they can find to do, they will do. A tired terrier will not be quite as active and destructive as a bored terrier. Keep them busy with exercise and playtime with the family.
Getting an Airedale Terrier can be a very rewarding experience if the dog gets the attention they deserve. It is also commitment that you are making for the next 12-15 years. They are a lovable animal that needs lots of love, praise and attention. Most of all, they need exercise and consistent training and socialization, whether with other animals or people. It is especially important for them to spend as much time as possible around the family members so they can see how they are expected to behave. Failure to do this on a regular basis is often the reason behind an Airedale becoming temperamental and aggressive - a pattern that is often hard to get rid of once they get away with it once or twice.
Always make sure your Airedale is not being aggressive due to a medical condition beyond his control. Some medical conditions that may contribute to aggression are urinary tract infection, arthritis, pain, cracked molars and hypothyroidism. Before you classify your Airedale as chronically bad, have your vet check him over.