Encouraging a dog to work? (PICS ADDED)

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Cassandra, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    A few months ago, I got a puppy. She is 7 or 8 months old now. She's half rat terrier mixed with a mystery dog. She's all brown merle with one blue eye. (her other eye has a blue spot in it. weird.) She probably weighs about 15 pounds.

    I sort of just ended up with her. But try as I might not get attached, she is turning into a neat little pet and a good farm dog!

    She is jumpy and excitable, but she seems anxious to please and seems to "get it" pretty quickly when I want her to do something or not. For example, it took my shih-tzu Willow MONTHS to learn to kennel up on command. The new dog, Blue learned this in a few weeks. She also seems to have completely housebroken herself.

    Couple of problems, she brings us presents from the neighbors house (their kids shoes or garbage or stuffed animals, she loves them!) She wants to use our 4 year old boy for a bouncing on chew toy, also. (He doesn't care for it, actually.)

    But! She also brought us a dead rat early on when we got her and yesterday, she caught a young rabbit! (I know, I was heart broken, but my vet tech friend told me I couldn't teach her the difference between a small rabbit and a large rat. LOL)

    Well, we do have lots of rats... Is there any way I can encourage her in this natural inclination to kill vermin around the house? We also have snakes, at the very least and who knows what else.
    We did have a near mishap with a small pullet, at one time (I managed to rescue the cicken who is alive and well now.) But since the chickens have gotten grown, she doesn't seem interested in them as prety. Though she does try to play with them, the way she plays with my other dog, through the fence.

    Oh, I have also seen her chase neighbor dogs away from our yard. But I have also seen her romping around with them. So... any way to teach her to chase them off and not play? LOL

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  2. ChickenFanaticAB

    ChickenFanaticAB Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    I have one rat terrier now, and have had another in the past, and trust me, she will not need any encouraging to kill small vermin. Praise her when she does, although she probably doesn't even need that, and you should have an excellent rat terror, lol. Yes, she will also kill bunnies...my male found a nest of baby bunnies and killed every single one, it was heartbreaking, but they also killed rats, moles, and the occasional squirrel. Both of mine were/are not overly friendly with other dogs. My female didn't like other dogs at all, and my male would tolerate them, but would also bark (especially when the female was around). They also barked(the one that I have now is 16, so he could care less about anything these days...) at people that came to our house. Ours were very good guard dogs, and very protective. Ours were always very good with all of our other pets. While yours could be a mix of anything, we usually made it clear to the dogs that new pets were part of the family and they were totally impartial to them. Watch out for baby chicks though because we did have one instance where we think one got tangled in a net and our male ended up killing it. Otherwise I never worried about letting the chickens/ducks/guinea pigs out with the dogs, and in fact felt safer when they were there. You may want to wait a little while before letting her be with the chickens(if you even plan to) as she is young. We didn't get chickens until my dogs were about 9-10 years old, but they were still very spry! Post a picture if you can! She sounds adorable!
  3. WDPKS

    WDPKS In the Brooder

    Jan 21, 2008
    Norco, Ca
    Our family had had Rat terriers for about 15 yrs now, strted with my dad who is raise in Ark. & wanted a dog he had when he was a boy. Differenet story.

    Well we have rabbits, cavies, chickens, ducks, goats, horse & cats all together, thing is that you have to work with her to teach her whats family & whats not & you should do it while she is young but introduce them while you are there so that you can watch & scould her for wrong behavior, if you are not there then in her ind its fair game, its important that you wotk with her while she is young, if you have rabbits take one out & let her smell it, talk to her let her know that its ok, part of the farm same with chickens, but don't trust her by herself right away.

    If its wild rabbits good luck they have a different smell than domestic.
    We train & encourage our dogs to kill/chase off squirrel, rats, mice,skunk, they can tell the difference beetween wild & domestic rabbits & cats that are ours & chase /kill ones that don't belong to the house.

    We have 2 females that is baby rabbits are born on the wire & craw out onto the ground they have brought them in the garage & tried to nurse them, so yes it can be done, they are smart ONLY IF YOU WORK WITH THEM !!!!
  4. Kev

    Kev Crowing

    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    I agree with the above. It's work.. BUT also knowing WHAT to do and recognizing the various signs.

    Example, the "playing" with any livestock/poultry should not be acceptable, EVEN if its only through the fence or "looks cute". This is actually one form of or can turn into predatory behavior.. showing too much interest in other words. Needs to learn the birds are YOURS and not "her toys/playthings". You are the boss, she needs to listen and obey.. otherwise she will do her thing whenever she pleases, which can include deliberately killing the chickens when you aren't looking or around to intervene. So if she "crouches", "gets a stiff bodied intense look" or tries to play, a simple "hey!" or "cut it!" to suddenly snap her out of it will be enough.. But you probably will have to do this repeatedly. Moving small critters are a very strong trigger for terriers.

    Jumping on and chewing on your son is not good. It's a form of pushing dominance or not really having much respect for the person. Try having her do the same thing with a dominant dog and see what happens.... On second thought, don't do that.. lol (a true dominant dog WILL whip around and teach her a thing or two about respecting her elders!)

    She also needs to learn how to calm down, jumpy and excitable can look cute but if you step in as a calm leader and expect her to respect you she should calm down.. and turn into a really good dog.

    It should be of some concern the dog is allowed to roam free or other dogs easily access your yard.. number one in protecting livestock and poultry is preventing access to them in the first place. Second, just is not a good idea to let a dog easily get out of the yard anyways.
  5. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Livestock that belongs there should become just like another piece of furniture in the house. Playing along a fence line will eventually lead to accident and injury, so it should be discouraged. learning what is and is not acceptable to play with and how is vital.

    Learning the boundaries of the property is another thing to instill in your dog. Knowing what is and isn't their territory is vital for a good farm dog and any dog for that matter.

    Learning that the humans and animals are all part of the PACK and to be respected will make everyones life easier. After learning all this your dog will start to protect the pack and its territory.

    It is a ton of work in the beginning, but in the long term makes for a lot less stressful and safer existence for all.

    I have one dog I raised and three from rescues that came to us between 1-2 years old and all are trained with these basic principals in mind.
    1 shepherd, 2 lab/pits, 1 shepherd/rotty

    IMHO you are going to have to start with basic obedience training and work up from there.
  6. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    Wow. Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. As of now, both of the dogs are kenneled up in the house during the day while I'm at work. (and they sleep inside) So they are mostly only out when I am doing chores outside.

    What I have taken to doing over the last couple of days that I have found helps is carry a switch around me as I am working outside. (A thin, freshly picked tree branch with the leaves still on it.) Like when I open the door to the chicken run, I wave the switch around to chase the chickens and dogs away from the door. So, I tried yesterday, switching the dogs on the rump when they are playing with the chickens. (And let me clarify this behavior: they lay on their stomachs outside the chicken run with their tongues hanging out and bark whenever a chicken comes over near them.) So I swat them with the switch and say "NO" and they go off and do something else.

    No flaming please, I am not beating my dogs. This is the redneck equivalent of smacking one on the nose with a newspaper.

    The fencing situation is kind of weird. We have a lesser back yard, where we park and barbecue and hang out that is fenced, but there is a big cattle gate that stays open all the time because it is heavy and too much of a pain to open and close every time we drive through it. Then we have a greater back yard that is like a pasture that only has a small gate that is easy to keep closed. We get doggie visitors in the lesser back yard. The chickens are in the greater back yard.

    The little dogs in the neighborhood can get through the fences, but we don't really have a problem with them because they are not interested in the chickens, they only want to play with our dogs. Plus they stay inside at their own houses most of the time. We have had a problem with some bigger dogs, but not in a while. And Blue will chase them off if they get into the lesser back yard. I haven't seen any in the greater back yard since we worked on the gate.

    Anyway, I'm getting off track: This is what we are doing so far about the jumping up on (which she does to EVERYONE, but it is only a problem for my small son. the rest of us are big enough to defend ourselves.)

    I read in a dog training book that in a pack situation, when puppies are bothering a dominant dog, the dog will grab the puppy by the scruff of the neck, bark at it, and toss it out of the way. So, the suggestion in the book was, when a puppy is bothering you this way (jumping up on you, licking your face, etc...) to grab the pup by the scruff and say NO and give a little shake--not rattling the dogs brains out, just like a quick jerk one time--and move the dog off of you. It is shocking how effective this is. This is easy to do if we are sitting down and she jumps up in our lap and starts acting a fool. We grab her scruff and say NO (like bark the word no) and push her (not throw her!) down to the floor. She almost always immediately becomes subdued and goes off to do something else.

    We are teaching our little boy to defend himself. and with all of us working together, now MOST of the time, if Brennan (the boy) is sitting on the floor playing and Blue runs up to him, he can point at her and bark NO and she will check herself and approach more slowly.

    This is what I mean by she learns really fast. I know that we are very poor dog trainers, but she seems to sense what we want and make an attempt to comply.

    One reason I think the keeping her off Brennan is not going as fast as keeping her off of US is that Brennan will, when we are not looking, engage in puppy play with her. Brennan likes to curl up on the floor with his hands over ears and let Blue lick him on the head. We catch him doing this laughing hysterically. We stop this when we see it. This is just the behavior that teaches Blue that Brennan is a litter mate to be chewed and pounced on. Sadly, it seems four year olds are slower about learning from their mistakes than dogs are.

    I asked about the dogs mother yesterday. She is a few years old. I was told that she is still very bouncy, but she doesn't nip at people when she jumps any more, which is mainly what I hope to accomplish with Blue. I don't have any delusions that I have the time or skill to train a brilliant herding dog. But I do think she and I have the potential to turn her into a pretty good yard dog.

    I will take all of your advice about zero tolerance with the chickens and I will try look for a picture to post. [​IMG]

  7. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    These pics were actually taken around Christmas time. She has gotten a little bigger since then, but is pretty much the same. [​IMG]



  8. Freebie

    Freebie Songster

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    Is your dog getting darker in color as he gets older? I am just trying to figure out what the mix might be.
  9. happyhens

    happyhens Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    She is adorable! I love her colors, and her eyes! Looks a little like an Australian shepherd to me... the colors and blue eyes. But the head is shaped like a terrier (like you say, maybe rat terrier or jack russell terrier).
  10. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    Hmm. I don't think she is getting darker. Here is another pic I took of her today.


    I was told that her mama was a sure enough full blooded rat terrier. her dad is unknown. The man who gave her to me suggested australian shepherd. But there is no telling.

    Here is a picture of my other dog, too. just for fun [​IMG]


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