Training Your Dog

Where did the rat go?

Looking for me?

Start your puppy with mice.
Wild mice
can be trapped with a "tin cat" trap (see net links, Chagnon's Trapping Supplies) and placed in a small wire cage to stimulate the dog's interest in quarry. When the puppy is attacking the cage (start your dog around 4 months old), release individual mice on the lawn or patio for the dog to attack.

Graduate to lab rats.
Once your dog has mastered wild mice, move up to lab rats available from any pet store. Ask for the "feeder rats" (for snakes) kept in the back of the store. If you have your dog kill a few lab rats before moving up to wild rats, it will increase his or her confidence. Contrary to popular belief, your novice dog will probably try to bite the rat to death instead of shake it. Shaking the rat to break its back is a learned behavior.

Track lab rats.
Getting your dog to track rats and other game by scent is a necessary skill that needs to be taught to most terriers. Your dog also needs to learn that you and he/she are hunting as a team. Rat scent can be made by soaking old rat bedding in water for a day and then straining off the water into a spray bottle. Spray the rat scent on a trail leading to a cage of rats hidden under a board, under brush,or in a thick clump of grass. With your dog on a leash, follow the scent to the caged rats and then allow the dog to briefly work the rat cage. If you want, you can allow your dog to "get" one of the rats or mice during this exercise. Once you have trained your dog to track and kill mice and rats, you are ready to graduate to in-the-field killing of wild rats.

Click here to learn how to find rats.

Let your paws do the walking . . .


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