Activities For Rat Terriers

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Introduction

Rat Terriers may be tiny dogs, but they have big personalities to match their even bigger hearts. These pint-sized pups are feisty and loyal, but they need plenty of guidance from their owners to learn the proper way to interact with people and other dogs and to take their energy out in productive ways instead of through mischief. Activities for Rat Terriers should challenge and encourage them without intimidating them. These dogs do require consistent exercise and their stubborn personalities make it vitally important to train them as early as possible. With proper care and training, Rat Terriers can make some of the best companion dogs for a variety of people.

Agility

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
Leash
Tire Jump
Hurdles
A-frame
Dog Walk
Activity description
Agility is one of the best activities for Rat Terriers because each obstacle challenges them both physically and mentally. Though many people think of big dogs when they think of agility, Rat Terriers can excel at this sport using pint-sized equipment and lots of patience. Agility will also strengthen the bond the two of you have together and will help you out in other areas of life. Your dog will learn to concentrate and look to you for directions in every situation. This is important, as this breed of dog is known to try and take control when they don't sense a natural leader. You and your dog will learn important lessons through agility training.
Step
1
Basic obedience
Before you can get out on the agility course, you and your Rat Terrier need to know the basics. Taking a basic obedience course will not only teach your dog how to sit, stay, and come, but it will teach you how to communicate with your dog. Look for a trainer who specializes in small, active dogs with stubborn streaks. They can teach you the techniques that work best for your dog to get results.
Step
2
Teacup agility vs regular
Most agility courses allow for both big and small dogs to compete. The challenges of a regulation course differ for small dogs and their owners, and your dog may need special training to navigate some of the obstacles. However, Rat Terriers have plenty of energy and grit to compete with the big dogs and often do. If you want to "level the playing field" you can try out Teacup agility which uses a course and obstacles designed for small dogs and only allows small dogs to compete.
Step
3
Consistency equals agility
Whichever agility system you choose, your dog is going to need a consistent schedule in order to see improvements and the benefits. Agility challenges them both mentally and physically, which means they will be tired and content with a consistent schedule. They also need consistent practice to build up the skills they are learning. Plan to attend classes or practice once or twice per week for maximum benefit.
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Small Dog Meetup

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Leash
Collar
Activity description
Socialization is one of the most important activities for Rat Terriers, but rolling around with pups much larger than them can be intimidating and dangerous. If your dog loses confidence, they can become aggressive to others. One of the best ways to socialize your dog is to let them play with other pups just their size. There are many other small dog owners just like you, looking to find safe, pint-sized playgroups around the country. Look for a local group to join, or consider creating one yourself. When dogs gain confidence playing with dogs their own size, they are much better behavedĀ and less intimidated when they meet bigger buddies.
Step
1
Find a group
The first step is to connect with other small dog owners. There may already be a small dog playgroup near you. You can check online, look for Facebook groups, ask local breeders, or even check with the city government to see if anyone has started a group. If you can't find a small dog group close by, why not start one yourself? There are most likely other people with small dogs like Rat Terriers who would love to join a group to socialize their dog.
Step
2
Make new friends
The first time your Rat Terrier attends the small dog group, they may be intimidated or nervous. Encourage them to meet other dogs, or find a dog that is friendly and non-dominating to introduce them to first. Your dog may start out hiding behind your legs, but they will soon start to feel comfortable and will jump right into play. Watching your dog's confidence increase in front of your eyes will be an amazing sight.
Step
3
Be consistent
It will take more than one playgroup session for your dog to learn socialization skills and feel confident with other dogs. Making the small dog playgroup into an important part of your routine will ensure they learn the skills they need to get along with all dogs and feel confident in other situations. The playgroup will also introduce you to other small dog playmates and new human friends for you.
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Earthdog Trials

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 min
Items needed
AKC Rulebook
Scent or rat bedding
Wooden or cardboard liners
Activity description
Earthdog trials are a natural activity for Rat Terriers. These trials test small dogs on their natural instinct to follow a scent into a small, dark area and capture vermin like rats. Rat Terriers were bred to help farmers deal with vermin on the farm, and this trait is still very strong in these dogs. The American Kennel Club has designed a series of trials to test how well these small terriers can use their natural abilities. Working with your dog before an Earthdog trial is a great way to let them use their natural instincts and give them meaningful playtime to work off their energy.
Step
1
Follow that scent
The first step in the Earthdog quarry, the first test in an Earthdog trial, is to see how well your dog follows a scent. You can start working with your dog before the trial by encouraging them to follow scents. Take your dog to an area where squirrels or rabbits are abundant. When you see one of these small animals go into the bushes, lead your dog over to the spot. Encourage them to sniff around and lock onto the scent. If they start to follow, keep encouraging them.
Step
2
Small spaces
When your pup is readily locking on to scents and following them, you're ready to introduce small spaces. The Earthdog quarry will require your dog to go into a small, dark wooden box willingly to find the rat. You can build a few of these boxes yourself out of wood or cardboard to practice. Start by putting treats in the box and encouraging your dog to go get them. It may take a little time for your dog to feel comfortable going through the box, but their natural instincts should help them overcome any nervousness.
Step
3
Follow your nose
Now it's time to put those two tasks together. Ultimately, your dog will need to follow a scent trail into the dark box and get the rat inside. Now that your dog is following scents and comfortable with small, dark spaces you are ready for the next step. If you don't have a rat to work with, head to your local pet store and ask for some used bedding from the rats. You can soak it in water and strain it to create liquid to lay a scent track. Drop the liquid in a line that leads inside the box. Bring your Rat Terrier outside and show them the scent. Once they get on track, encourage them to keep following it all the way inside the box. When your terrier is doing this quickly, you're ready for the Earthdog quarry and trial.
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More Fun Ideas...

Take a Walk

To make sure your dog gets the recommendedĀ 30 minutes of exercise each day, take them for a walk around your house. Always use a leash because these dogs are fast and love to chase other animals.

Fetch

Treat your dog to a game of fetch in the house or yard. Rat Terriers have tons of energy, and chasing after a ball will be fun and satisfying for them.

Conclusion

Activities for Rat Terriers need to take into account their boundless energy and smart intellect. A Rat Terrier loves to play, but will never be forced to do anything. Find activities that make them feel excited, encouraged and challenged. This can be anything from playing fetch in the yard or living room to taking on a full agility course. No matter what the challenge, your little pup will excel if they know you are right beside them. These dogs love family time and playing with you, so make sure you have plenty of time to work with them, teach them manners, and get them outside each day.