When you have rats in your home, life can become very difficult. The last thing most people want is to have unhygienic and dangerous rodents running amok, particular those if they have young children. However, sometimes we don’t realize that we have a problem with rats until it has got out of hand and turned into something of a rat infestation.
If you have a dog, however, there may be help at hand. While dogs are not rat-catchers in the same sense as cats are, they are excellent rat detectors. A combination of their fantastic sense of smell and their incredible hearing means that they are able to sense rats with ease.
Signs Your Dog Senses Rats
If your dog senses rats, you will most likely notice some rather peculiar behavior from your pooch. Dogs do react differently depending on the nature of the dog. However, there are some common traits to look out for and this can give you an idea of whether you may have a lone rat wandering around your home or even a dreaded infestation.
The behavior of your dog will also depend on the location of the rats that it can sense, smell, and hear. Some dogs react with curiosity while others are more aggressive. It often depends on any experience they may have had in the past with rats.
Some dogs may simply sit and stare at the area where they sense the rats are. Some will also head tilt while staring. Your dog may start scratching and scraping at the walls or the floor. If it is outdoors, it may start digging at the floor. Some dogs will run back and forth excitedly to and from the area where they sense the rats.
Other common traits include barking or whining incessantly, growling, sniffing at the area where the rats are, and refusing to leave the area even when you try to get your pooch away.
You should make sure you note your dog’s body language too, as this will enable you to determine whether it senses rats in the area you are in. Your dog may sit or lie directly next to the area where it can sense the rats – you may find that trying to move your pooch becomes nigh on impossible.
You may also see your dog circling the area or running back and forth because it can hear and sense the rats moving around and is following them. You will immediately be able to tell if your dog becomes fixated on a particular area as it will ignore everything else around it other than the rats that it is focusing on.
History of Dogs as Rat Catchers
Dogs have an incredible sense of hearing and smell, which is something that researchers have come to realize over the years through a variety of studies into dog senses. The remarkable effectiveness of a dog’s smell and hearing means that it can more easily sense things that we cannot.
As a result of this, dogs have become enormously useful in a variety of jobs over the years, with many becoming valuable working dogs due to their ability to hear, smell, and sense things far better than humans. In fact, in recent years many experts have claimed that dogs are more efficient at sensing and smelling things than high-tech equipment.
We have also come to realize that there are some dog breeds that are better at hearing and smelling certain things than others. Some dogs are bred to be able to smell and sense rats and this makes them ideal for working in industries such as farming. However, all dogs have the ability to do this, so you should make sure you pay attention to your pooch if it does start displaying signs that it senses something scurrying around. This could help you to sort out a rat problem at home before it gets out of hand.
The Science of Dogs Sensing Rats
Dogs are extremely focused and determined animals, so when they sense something such as rats, the chances are they will not give up the chase easily. This is why you will often find your dog hanging in the area where it senses rats.
One of the things that helps dogs to determine where rats are is their ability to hear very high-frequency noises that we cannot hear. Rodents can produce high-frequency sounds, which makes it easier for your dog to pick up on where they are. The excellent sense of smell of your dog also aids the ability to sense where the rats are.
Training Your Dog to Detect Rats
With a little training and persistence, you could actually train your own pooch to sense and recognize the presence of rats. Some dogs are professionally trained to do this, and they often work in various industries such as farming to help keep rats and other rodents at bay.
Training your own dog to sense rats is done in the same way as it is by many professional trainers – by ensuring your dog is exposed to rats so that it can come to recognize the smells, sounds, and characteristics of the rats.
This does not mean you just let your pooch run riot amongst a load of free-running rats. This needs to be training done in a very controlled environment, which means allowing your dog to get used to rats by placing it in a room with a caged rat.
This will keep both your dog and the rat out of harm’s way, but at the same time, will enable your dog to get used to the rat and the way it sounds and smells. Continued exposure over a period of time can turn your dog into a very effect rat detector, which, in turn, can help to reduce the risk of you having rat problems that you know nothing about until it is too late.
Your dog may be wary around the rat at first, which is natural -particularly around nervous dogs or those that have never been exposed to rodents before. However, you should continue the training for a while and make sure that you are present to keep an eye on things while your dog is with the rat. This will provide your dog with increased reassurance and will help to ensure that there are no problems or mishaps for you to worry about. Make sure you monitor the way your dog acts during this training.
By a Boston Terrier lover Reno Charlton
Published: 05/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020