Activities For American Rat Terriers

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Introduction

The American Rat Terrier was initially bred for ratting and working on a farm. These spunky canines are small to medium in size and typically compact and sturdy, skilled in hunting rodents and vermin both above and below ground, as well as small game. Your American Rat Terrier likely has plenty of energy and as a dog who has traditionally had a job to do, will need to be kept busy (or they may entertain themselves in a way you prefer they not). Fortunately, there are numerous activities that you and your American Rat Terrier can engage in that will meet the activity needs that you both have, as well as allow you to spend quality time together. 

Rally-O

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Moderate
Normal
60 min
Items needed
Rally-O Task Cards
Treats
Activity description

The American Rat Terrier will typically excel at dog sports, one of which is Rally or Rally-O. Rally-O is a fast-paced version of traditional obedience exercises now offered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). While competitive, Rally-O is conducted in a relaxed setting, where the judge develops a course that the dog and their handler embark upon, following numbered signs and performing the exercises listed at each station. In Rally-O, the handler can use their upper body and talk to their dogs to encourage them. Rally-O is ideal for a dog like the American Rat Terrier who needs a lot of exercise (physical and mental) to keep out of trouble and be at their peak health. Training is not costly but the physical and mental payoff for your pup is enormous!

Step
1
Learn more about Rally-O
Rally-O involves signs throughout a course that will list different tasks for the dog, who will heel at the side of their handler. There are fifty different signs that can be used and tasks can be simple to difficult. You can train your dog for each of these signs, which will increase their list of skills as they master each one. Rally-O will provide mental and physical stimulation for your pup, which is important for the American Rat Terrier.
Step
2
Begin training
Once you know a bit about Rally-O, you can begin training with your dog. Review the different tasks and choose one or two to begin working on first with your pup. While it will likely take some time for your pup to learn each task, it is time well spent as you will be working together, which will further enhance your bond. Once your American Rat Terrier has shown mastery of the first tasks you have chosen to work on, you can move on to additional ones. Keep training as your pup builds their skills.
Step
3
Compete In Rally-O
Once your dog has mastered many of the tasks that are a part of Rally-O, you can consider competing with your pup at the novice level. Competing in Rally-O with your pup is another great way for the two of you to spend time together. Novice dogs will compete on leash, Advanced competitors will compete off-leash and Excellent level dogs do extra difficult tasks while off-leash as well. Competition does not have to be scary for you or for your pup; just go out and have fun together, no matter the results!
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Scenting Games

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Cardboard Boxes
Activity description
As a breed that has excellent tracking and hunting skills, the American Rat Terrier will excel at scenting games. These games are also great for providing your pup with a physical and mental workout. There are a variety of scenting games that you can play, from hiding a treat in a box among other boxes or in one hand and having your pup choose the box or hand with the treat, to hiding treats in different locations in your home. Regardless of what game you play, these pastimes require your attention only, and your pup will appreciate the activity and the time spent with their special friend...you!
Step
1
Which scenting game
First, choose a scenting game to play with your pooch. The game you decide on can be simple, like putting a treat in one hand and having your pup choose the right one, to a more complicated nose work game, like finding treats or other items hidden around the house. While dogs have a sense of smell about 2000 times greater than that of humans, they do use their eyes often when searching. Nose work will teach them to focus on smells and to use their nose as opposed to their sight to find things. No matter which game you choose to play, it is recommended you start by hiding a particularly smelly treat.
Step
2
Get started
When hiding things in your house, start by having your pup sit in "stay" position. While they "stay", go ahead and hide the treat just outside of their line of sight. Then tell your dog to "find it". Your dog should then go and locate the treat. You can encourage your pooch should they not locate it right away. Do your best to make it fun for your dog and praise them with enthusiasm once they locate the treat. If your pup seems to struggle to find the item, you can also rub it along the floor so that your pup can follow the scent.
Step
3
Add to the challenge
As your pup shows that they can "find it" in easier to find locations, you can increase the challenge by hiding objects on chairs, behind furniture, or on window sills. Continue praising your dog as they locate the hidden item. Continue playing for as long as you and your pup like.
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Hoop Jump

Popular
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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Hula Hoop
Treats
Activity description
The American Rat Terrier is an athletic breed that will likely excel in physical activities like jumping. Working with your dog on jumping through a hoop will offer both a physical and mental workout for your terrier as well as a simple, easy set up for spending quality time together. You can work with your dog on jumping through a hoop both indoors and out, making it an activity that your pooch can engage in regardless of the weather conditions. Get some treats as well as a hula hoop so that you and your best pal can get started!
Step
1
Hoop and treats
Fortunately, to work on jumping through a hoop, you won't need many things. A standard hula hoop as well as some dog treats will cover it. You can choose to work with your pooch on jumping through a hoop either inside or outside. The activity may require some patience, so take a deep breath and be ready for some quality time with your dog!
Step
2
Start simple
When working with your pup on jumping through the hoop, you will want to start simple. Place a part of the hula hoop on the ground and then hold the hoop up. You can then direct your dog to walk through it. Once they do, reward them with a treat. After your pup walks through the hula hoop a few times, lift the hula hoop a small amount off of the ground. Then, encourage your pup to walk or jump through. Each time they do, reward them with a praise and a treat.
Step
3
Increase the height
As your dog gets the hang of jumping through the hoop, continue to raise the hula hoop higher. Each time they master the height, you can raise it a little more. This will keep things interesting for your dog as well as allow them to build on their skills.
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More Fun Ideas...

Give A Puzzle Toy A Try

Made of hard plastic or rubber, a puzzle toy will provide a job for your dog to take on that will give them a mental and physical workout while keeping them out of trouble. There are different types of puzzle toys; choose one and fill it with the recommended item (usually kibble, treats or a sticky, yummy substance like peanut butter). You can then present the toy to your dog, who will be focused upon accessing whatever edible item is inside. Your pup will have to manipulate the toy just so in order to get the item that they are seeking. Enjoy watching the wheels in your dog's brain turn as they seek to solve the puzzle!

Play Hide and Seek

You can keep your American Rat Terrier busy by playing some rounds of hide and seek, either indoors or outside. If your dog has not mastered the command "stay", this will be the first thing that you want to work on with your pup. Once your American Rat Terrier is able to stay on command, you can find a place to hide and then call for your pup. They will then have to find you. Start with easy hiding places and then make things more challenging for your pooch. You can increase the difficulty as well by having more than one person hide or by hiding one of your pup's favorite items.

Tug-of-War

American Rat Terriers can meet a lot of their activity needs indoors; one way is through a heated game of tug-of-war. Get a thick rope or dog toy and you and your pup can have a blast playing together. While your American Rat Terrier may not be large, they will be strong, making them a challenging opponent for you to take on. Play tug-of-war for as long as you and your pooch are willing; even play multiple times each day. This is a great way to engage your pup, no matter the weather.

Conclusion

American Rat Terriers like to be kept busy and have energy to spare. Fortunately, they enjoy participating in a number of activities, so with a little effort on your part, you can be sure that they get the mental and physical activity that they require. You and your pup will have the chance to spend quality time together during these activities, which will further increase the bond that you have with one another. And keeping your American Rat Terrier engaged means that they are less likely to look for their own activities where they may get themselves into trouble!