Can Dogs Hear Rats?

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The thought of having rats inside the home or in the immediate outdoor area strikes fear into many people. Rats are known for carrying and transmitting disease and they can also be quite vicious. Many people use one of a range of rat repellent solutions to try and get rid of rat problems, but this is only after they have identified that there are rats present, which is not as easy as you may think. 

If you have a pooch at home, you may find it easier to determine whether there are rats present because your dog is able to hear and smell rats. 

Introduction of Can Dogs Hear Rats?

Signs Your Dog Hears Rats

If you have rats, the sensitive and excellent sense of hearing that your dog has means that it will be able to pick up on them. In fact, dogs are so good at hearing, smelling, and sensing rodents such as rats that they have been used over the decades as ratting and mouser dogs by those looking to root out and get rid of these rodents. 

When your dog hears rats scuttling around and going about their business, you may pick up on a variety of signs. It is a combination of the dog’s great sense of smell and excellent sense of hearing that enables it to pick up on rat activity.

If your dog detects rats in the vicinity, it may keep running back and forth to a particular spot. Alternatively, it may go to a particular spot and then be rooted there for quite some time. You may notice your dog head tilting in the areas where it hears the rats and, depending on where they are, your pooch may start scratching at the ground or walls in that area. Dogs often whine, growl, and bark when they realize that there are rats around. Some will also burrow when outdoors, as though trying to dig the rats out.  

When it hears and smells rats, your pooch may also display certain body language signs. For instance, you may notice it running to and from the spot where it hears the rats or it may circle the area. Your dog may start pawing or scraping at walls and floors depending on the location of the rats. Some dogs will display signs of being over-excited at their find while others may show some signs of aggression such as raised hair along the nape of the neck. By watching your dog’s body language, you will be able to get a pretty good idea of where the rats are hiding out. 

Body Language

A few clues that your pooch has found a rat include:
  • Growling
  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Digging
  • Whining
  • Scratching
  • Sniffing
  • Back hair on edge

Other Signs

More things to watch for if your canine has heard a rodent are:
  • Running back and forth to one spot
  • Circling an area
  • Excited behavior

History of Dogs as Rat Catchers

History of Can Dogs Hear Rats?

Over the centuries, dogs have been used in many different capacities and in a wide range of industries. One of the jobs they have been – and still are used for – is to sniff things out because their keen sense of smell enables them to do this with ease. 

However, they also have a very good sense of hearing and can pick up on sounds that we would not even realize where there. In years gone by, dogs have been used in various industries to keep rats and mice away and this is because they can easily detect these rodents through their sense of hearing and smell.

While some dog breeds are more adept at hearing and sniffing out rats, all dogs have this ability because of their great hearing and sense of smell. Over the years, we have come to realize just how good dogs are at hearing rats and other rodents, so although you may not be able to hear anything you should pay attention if it looks as though your dog can hear their presence. Dogs are known to be very focused creatures and once they pick up on a particular sound or scent, they can be hugely determined to get to the root cause of it. 

The Science Behind Dogs Hearing Rats

Science of Can Dogs Hear Rats?

Their determination along with their senses of smell and hearing are what has made dogs so invaluable in certain industries, including those that involve the detection of rats and mice, such as in the farming industry. 

Some dog breeds have been trained to be able to hear and smell rodents including rats, but all dogs have the excellent sense of smell and hearing that is required to do this. They are able to hear rats with ease even though we may not be able to hear anything. Even the scratching and scuttling noises made by rats can be heard by most dogs.     

Teaching Your Dog to Listen for Rats

Training of Can Dogs Hear Rats?

If you like the thought of having a rat-catching pooch of your very own, you can actually train your dog to listen out for rats. You can then observe its reactions so that you know what signs to look for as an indication that it has heard or detected a rat somewhere inside your home. While some dogs are better than others when it comes to rat detection, largely due to breed and training, you can train your own little fur-ball to alert you if and when there are rats around.

In order to train your dog, you need to get it used to the sounds associated with rats. This is something that many trainers do – they expose the dogs to rats that are in confinement, such as in a cage, so that the dog can familiarize itself with the sound and smell of rats. 

By observing its reactions over a period of time, you will then know what to look out for and what signs your dog is likely to display if it does hear rats. By providing your dog with training in this way, you can protect it from the rats in case of an attack, but at the same time, you can let it get used to the sounds and smells of the rodent.

In order to ensure there are no issues and to monitor the reactions of your dog when it hears rats, you should supervise the training sessions rather than leaving your dog on its own with the rat. Keep a close eye on things and make sure your dog is not distressed. If your dog has not been exposed to rats before, it may be a little wary to start off with. However, it will then start to show various signs that will prove important later on down the line when it comes to alerting you to the fact that there are rats around. 

What to Do to Create a Rat-Detector Dog:

  • Provide your pooch with exposure to a rat that is caged.
  • Allow it to get used to the rodent and build confidence.
  • Monitor your dog's reactions when exposed to the rat.