Activities For French Bull Rat Terriers

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Introduction

While admittedly the name of this breed of pooch doesn't sound super appealing (throw the word "rat" into anything and it can make it sound icky), the dog itself is entirely adorable. French Bull Rat Terriers are the clever mix of the much-loved French Bulldog and the American Rat Terrier. These little hybrids are feisty, perky, and fiercely loyal to their pack. French Bull Rat Terriers have a bit of a reputation for being stubborn (especially when they really don't want to listen to you), but in the end, they want nothing more than to truly please their owners. 

While this breed of doggo might be a little difficult to train, they're entirely too smart for their own good, have a delightful disposition, and are great with other pups and even kiddos. Because of their short stature and clever minds, they'll need plenty of physical and mental activities to keep them in shape and fully stimulated.

Barn Hunting Game

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
treat or reward
barn hunt club
Activity description
Your doggo probably has a bit of rodent catching built into their instincts — rat terriers are known for their hunting and rodent catching abilities (as well as their sweet temperaments). That being said, just because it's in their DNA doesn't mean you necessarily want to harm little creatures. That's where this fun game comes in! (No small animals are harmed in the game of barn hunt.)

Your pup is clever and cunning, a trait they inherit from both their parent breeds. Barn hunting is a great activity for your doggo because it's both physically demanding but also mentally stimulating. Keeping your pup mentally stimulated is going to work wonders for their temperament (and keep them out of trouble, too). In this game, you'll have to implement rules like "don't touch the hay" (or whatever command you want your dog to follow), so this will require some good listening skills, too. Your dog will find the rats (who will be safe inside an aerated tube) all while going through specific obstacles. 

Step
1
Find a club or event
If you're not comfortable with playing this game at home (or handling live rodents), find a club near you that offers barn hunt games. The national Barn Hunt Association hosts events all over the country, and its website features all sorts of information for newcomers to the sport. If you just want to test the waters, sign up for a training clinic.
Step
2
Introduce your dog to the game
Here's how barn hunt works: live rats (who are usually family pets themselves!) are placed into aerated tubes with bedding to keep them comfortable. These tubes are hidden throughout a hay bale maze, and dogs are then set loose to find them. Competitive barn hunt events are timed. When you first start, it might be a good idea to collaborate with an experienced barn hunt dog and owner team to learn the ropes.
Step
3
Teach your doggo the game
All your dog needs to do is navigate the maze and find the tubes to progress through the game. The rats often sleep or groom themselves while chilling out in their tubes, and some of them enjoy interacting with the dogs! You'll want to work with an experienced barn hunt team to learn the ropes and teach your dog to complete the course within the allotted time frame. Treats and praise will go a long way for this step!
Step
4
Practice and compete
If your dog takes a shine to the game, register your pup with the Barn Hunt Association to compete in local barn hunt events. You'll need to pay a one-time registration fee. Other than that, you and your French Bull Rat Terrier are all set for barn hunt!
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Walkies

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
leash
waste bags
Activity description

Your doggo is likely either very lethargic (hello, French Bulldog side of your pooch) or incredibly energetic (that's the American Rat Terrier side talking). Either way, your dog is in desperate need of daily exercise to ensure they're staying healthy. 

As a pup that's relatively small in stature (only about 18 inches tall at max and about 25 pounds at most), it's easy for weight to sneak up on your doggo. Ensure that your pup is getting the right amount of exercise with daily walks. 

If possible, try to get your pup moving about a mile a day (more is great, too), as they need about eight miles of walks per week as well as about 45 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy and trim. Make sure your pup is leash-trained and willing to abide by the rules of the road (being courteous to dogs passing by, not barking at passersby, etc.) before you take them out and about for walkies.

Step
1
Ensure your dog is polite and behaved
This breed of pup is pretty well-known for both barking and being stubborn, so before you take your pup out and about for an outdoor walk, ensure they know the rules. Train them to be courteous and quiet while walking and not to pull at the leash.
Step
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Walk daily
Pick a safe, convenient, and exciting location to walk your dog every day. Try to change up your routine as much as you can, if possible, because dogs get bored with the same activities over and over — just like people. Keep this in mind when implementing your daily walks!
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Agility Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
treats
household obstacles
leash
Activity description

The great thing about this breed is that they're incredibly clever, willing to learn, and great at picking up new things. The bad thing is that they have the tendency to be stubborn when they're not keen on listening — that's the only reason we listed this activity as hard. 

Your dog is going to be smart and energetic enough to learn how to run an obstacle course (they'll probably be doggone good at it, too), but if they're not into it, you can bet they're going to let you know it. Take it slow with your pup as you gently introduce them to homemade obstacle courses. You'll find that if you're firm and encouraging with your doggo, they will likely find real joy and tons of mental stimulation out of this physically demanding challenge. If you think your dog has a real knack for this, look around your area for dog agility training classes.

Step
1
Start slow with household objects
Don't dive headfirst into this activity by enrolling your dog in agility classes — first, see if they even enjoy this type of challenge. Set up safe, convenient household objects, like cardboard boxes, as an obstacle course and try to guide your pup through. Reward them with praise and treats when they make it through an obstacle successfully.
Step
2
Get to the good stuff
Gradually increase the challenges and obstacles within your unique homemade obstacle courses over time. Work with your pup on this for several hours, days, or weeks to familiarize them with the rules, the game, and the objectives. Once you're unable to challenge your doggo on your own with your own personal obstacle course, it might be time to invest in some agility training classes.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hide and Seek

That clever pup of yours might need a little more brain stimulation than a simple walk around the block every day. Teaching your doggo a challenging game of hide and seek can be incredibly beneficial for your dog's physical health as well as their mental stimulation. Pick your pup's favorite toy, teach your dog the toy's "name", and play several rounds of "where's the toy?" to transition into full-blown hide and seek.

Fetch

While the French Bulldog half of the breed won't want to do anything strenuous, the American Rat Terrier is likely going to be bouncing off the walls if you don't — that's where fetch can come in handy. If your pup is particularly energetic, they'll be more than willing to play an hour of fetch in the yard. If they're less than enthusiastic about moving around, then a toy or treat incentive for fetch is a great way to get your pup exercising for an hour or so a day.

Conclusion

Your beloved French Bull Rat Terrier is likely the apple of your eye and the light of your life — but remember, their stubborn streak doesn't have to make them your biggest frustration. By encouraging your pup to engage in daily activities that are both physically demanding and mentally stimulating, you're teaching them that you're in charge, getting out their excess energy, and keeping them in tip-top physical condition. 

Because your dog can either have a low energy level from the French Bulldog side or a hyperactive energy level from the American Rat Terrier side, it's important that you monitor their daily activity levels. Try incorporating some of the fun activities we suggested into their schedule to switch up their routine and engage them — try walking daily, barn hunting, agility training, and even fun variations of hide and seek to keep them consistently stimulated, in great physical condition, and out of trouble!