How to Train a Rat Terrier to Sit

Easy
1-3 Weeks
General

Introduction

Rat Terriers are energetic and loving dogs that make great pets for a variety of families. Though they are small, they can be stubborn and not always willing to please, so starting training early will make this process easier. One of the first obedience tasks to attempt is to teach your Rat Terrier is to sit. This common command will prove to be the foundation of your training and one of the most useful tricks in your book.

Rat Terriers are not like many other small dogs. They love to run and hike outside and have the stamina to keep up for miles. They also love to play, so make training a fun exercise for him. If you start early and are consistent, training your Rat terrier to sit will be one of the best investments in his training. When he sits on command, you can teach him more tricks, keep him safe, and make sure he's paying attention to you.

Defining Tasks

The most important thing to remember is that rat terriers want to have fun. They aren't as interested in pleasing you as other dog breeds, so make sure training is fun and rewarding. Make it part of your daily routine and set aside 15 minutes twice daily to work on training commands like 'sit'. The best time to teach is after the dog has had some time to play and just before he's had food so he'll be more motivated to get treats.

Make sure you get on his level by either sitting or kneeling, or bring him up to your level by placing him on a crate or stool. Use a firm but gentle voice. You are much bigger than he is and a loud, angry voice will intimidate him. You want training to be fun and rewarding for him, so have patience and give him time to try. With time he'll learn that sitting leads to good things like treats and games, and he'll be happy to listen to your command.

Getting Started

'Sit' is a simple command, but you'll still need a few items to make sure you're successful. You can pick these up at a local pet store or use items from around the house.

  • Tasty treats for small dogs
  • A quiet place to learn
  • A leash and collar
  • Lots of patience

Below you'll find three methods to teach your Rat Terrier to sit. Read through each one and determine which one will work best for you. With some commitment, your dog will know how to sit on command and will be ready for the next trick.

The Capturing Method

ribbon-method-3
Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Load the clicker
Mark good behavior using a clicker for better accuracy. Start by loading it. Click the button and immediately give your dog a treat. Do this 10 times so he associates the click with a treat.
Step
2
Watch for the behavior
Watch your dog closely and each time he sits, click the clicker the second his butt hits the floor and give him a treat.
Step
3
Give it a name
It won't take your dog long to figure out that sitting down makes you happy and willing to give him a treat. When you see him sitting purposely, start to say "sit" after you click and before you give him a treat.
Step
4
Test the association
After a week or two of clicking and saying "sit," ask him for a 'sit' verbally. Say "sit" and if he does, give him lots of treats and praise. Make sure to keep practicing.
Step
5
Use distractions
Up the difficulty of the trick by asking him to sit in more and more distracting areas. Try it with other people in the house, out on a walk, and even at a dog park. Each time he listens to you, give him lots of praise and treats.
Recommend training method?

The Luring Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Hold a treat up
While your dog is standing, hold a treat just above his nose.
Step
2
Slowly move it back
Slowly move the treat behind his head, he should try to follow it by bringing his head back.
Step
3
Reward a 'sit'
Naturally, he should sit down to try and reach the treat. As soon as his butt hits the ground say "yes" and give him the treat.
Step
4
Practice
Keep practicing until he starts to sit as soon as you move the treat back.
Step
5
Name the command
Start to say "sit" right when he sits and before you give him a treat.
Step
6
Remove the treats
When he's sitting as soon as you give him the command, start to slowly treat him less and less.
Step
7
Sit with distractions
Before you're finished training 'sit', practice the command while outside on walks. Make sure he's on a leash and paying attention. Being back the treats and give him a reward each time he sits instead of getting distracted.
Recommend training method?

The Modeling Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Start in quiet spot
Start training in a quiet spot without too many distractions.
Step
2
Guide the 'sit'
Gently guide his hind end down into a 'sit'. As soon as he is in the position say "sit" and give him a treat.
Step
3
Practice
Keep practicing this until you feel your dog move into a 'sit' as soon as you ask.
Step
4
Remove the guide
Start to ask for sit before guiding him down. When he sits without your hand guiding him, give him lots of treats and praise.
Step
5
Take it outside
When your dog is consistently sitting for you in a quiet place, practice outside with distractions. Don't be afraid to gently guide him at first and work your way up until he is confidently sitting at your command.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Katie Smith

Published: 02/27/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Mani (shor for Manitou)
Rat Terrier
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mani (shor for Manitou)
Rat Terrier
5 Months

Incessant barking at noises or other animals or people.Reluctant toilet training.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
239 Dog owners recommended

Hi. I am going to send you some detailed information on potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior.

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Question
Marcus
Rat Terrier
4 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Marcus
Rat Terrier
4 Years

When he tends to meet new he tries biting he's way too protective of his owner

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michael, Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A It sounds like he needs a lot of structure and boundaries in general to build respect. Have him work for everything he gets for a while by having him perform a command first. For example, have him sit before you feed him, lay down before you pet him, look at you before you take him outside, ect.. If he nudges you, climbs into your lap uninvited, begs, or does anything else pushy, calmly but firmly make him leave the room. Teach him a Place command and work on him staying on place for up to an hour, even when you walk into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where his nose does not go past your leg. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or possessive aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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