Are rat terriers easy to train? How to potty train a rat terrier? These are just a couple of the most commonly asked questions that rat terrier owners ask. So what is the answer you ask? Well, luckily the answer is YES to all of the questions across the board. Rat terriers are definitely trainable, both young and old. As long as you understand and follow the best rat terrier training tips, you should have no issues with the training of your rat terrier.
Getting Started With Your Rat Terrier Training: The Younger the Better
As with any breed of dog, the earlier you start the training, the better your results will end up being. With that said however, does this mean that older rat terrier dogs can’t be trained? Of course not! The old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” is nothing more than an old wives tale.
Even though we can train both older and young rat terriers, there are a few differences that you’ll notice when attempting to do so:
- It can take a bit longer for older dogs to catch on to obedience training, leash training, and other training methods when compared to a younger rat terrier dog.
- You should definitely come prepared with more patience when attempting to train older dogs.
Remember that all dogs are creatures of habit. As a result of this, you’re not just attempting to train older rat terriers new tricks – instead, you’re training them to ignore their old and formed habits. Teaching them to unlearn the old behavior can take time. Lots of patience can be required at times.
Training a Young Rat Terrier Puppy
Though rat terrier dogs can be trained at any age, the needs of the owners of new rat terrier puppies will be different than those of older rat terrier dogs. The following section will cover rat terrier puppy training.
How to Potty Train a Rat Terrier
Experts suggest that you should start potty training a rat terrier dog when they’re between 12 to 16 weeks old – right around this time is when they start having enough bladder and bowel control to learn how to hold it in. If your puppy is past a year and a half in age, then the potty training process can take a bit longer. It is all dependent on how dedicated you are in helping your rat terrier learn how to potty properly.
The dog experts out there also say that confining rat terrier puppies to defined spaces – like crates – helps with potty training too. As the dog learns that they must go outside to do their dirty business, you can gradually start allowing your rat terrier the freedom to roam the house without too much supervision. When it comes to training a rat terrier puppy to go outside, you should begin by following the below tips:
- Establish a regular feeding schedule that your rat terrier can get used to. Remove the leftover food between meals.
- Make sure to take your puppy out as soon as you wake up early in the morning and then again throughout the day every hour or so. You should also take him outside when he wakes up from napping, after wholesome meals, make it the last thing before going to bed at night, as well as right before leaving him/her alone.
- Another very important tip is to take your rat terrier puppy to the same exact spot every single time. This way he’ll be able to smell his own scent . This will prompt him to go again.
- Stay with him when he’s outside. Micromanagement is super important at this young of an age.
- When your pooch is done going outside, make sure to praise him and give him a treat for a job well done. Another great reward is a short walk through the neighborhood.
These rat terrier puppy training tips can be used for virtually all obedience training: always make sure to reward your pal for good behavior. On the other side of the coin is the bad behavior. Never, ever reward or give treats to your rat tarrier after bad behavior.
Crate Training a Rat Terrier
According to the Humane Society for Dogs and Animals, the first step in a rat terrier’s crate training life is selecting the right crate. It is advised that the crate itself should be large enough for your rat terrier to stand up in and comfortably turn around, but not much larger. However, keep in mind that its just fine to choose a crate for your rat terrier puppy that will accommodate their adult size. This way you wont have to spend additional cash to purchase a larger one down the road.
If you do decide to get a full adult sized crate, make sure to block off the extra space. The whole goal of crate training is to ensure that they can’t potty in one end of the crate and then simply retreat to the other side. Another thing to consider is that some local animal shelters may even rent crates, this would allow you to choose the right size now and then upgrade when the puppy outgrows the starter crate.
The 4-step Crate Training Process For Rat Terriers
When it comes to crate training, it can take days, weeks, or even months to effectively crate train your rat terrier dog, all depending on their age, past experience, and temperament. Start by making sure that the crate is associated with something pleasant and happy. Follow the below list of small steps to avoid going too fast.
- You should slowly introduce your rat terrier to the crate. Go ahead and place the create somewhere where your family – and your dog – will spend lots of their time. Make sure that it is really comfortable and cozy by placing a blanket or towel. Also important, go ahead and leave the door open so that your rat terrier can explore the new create home at their own pace.
- Feed your rat terrier in his crate. Once the rat terrier is used to the crate, begin feeding him the food and meals near the crate. The goal is to eventually end up feeding him in the crate. Doing this will create positive associations with the crate. When he’s comfortable, just start closing the door while he eats and then open it again as soon as he’s done eating. This allows for him to feel safe in the crate, even if the door is closed.
- Increase the amount of time that the rat terrier spends in their crate. When your dog completely gets used to eating in the crate and shows zero signs of fear or anxiety, go ahead and confine them in the crate for longer periods of time while you’re home. Make sure to give him a treat once he’s actually in the crate and. Also, give him a treat when you let him out of the crate.
- Crate your rat terrier when you are not home. This is where the crate training pays off. Once your dog is comfortable being in the crate for at least half an hour, you can go ahead and start crating them when you leave the house. Leave him a few toys to play with and don’t make a big deal out of it – it should be a very matter-of-fact experience.
General Rat Terrier Training Tips
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Learning how to train rat terriers of any age requires consistency and a strict focus on rewarding positive behavior. Avoid training tips that focus on creating negative consequences for the rat terrier as this can really confuse him.
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Leash Training Tips
Many people don’t realize the importance of leash training. The leash training tips that I’m about to share are one of the most important things that you could utilize when training your rat terrier. Whether your pup is young or older, it’s essential that they learn to walk correctly on a leash for a wide variety of reasons:
- Rat terriers that pull on their leashes can frustrate their owners. This can lead to their owners losing temper and going against positive-reaffirmation & good training tips.
- Rat terriers will also feel frustrated when they’re pulling on their leash. This can lead to stress, which in turn leads to your rat terrier dog being less comfortable and accommodating in social situations. Leash pulling can also lead to increased aggression und being undisciplined.
- When your rat terrier is properly trained to walk on a loose leash, he is able to easily signal to their owner that they might be in distress by the action of pulling on their own leash. Without utilizing the proper leash training tips, this communication method wouldn’t be possible.
- Likewise, the rat terrier owner can easily communicate their own tension to their dogs by the tightening of the leash. You pulling on the leash can be used as a way to signal to your rat terrier that they need to stop or be more aware of their surroundings and environment.
- Also important, is the fact that physical problems can result from the constant pulling of the leash. Some of these physical problems include stress on the joints as well as injuries to the larynx, cervical vertebrae and trachea.
Lucky for you, leash rat terrier training techniques are relatively easy to master – well, that is; as long as you focus on providing positive reinforcements and that you are super consistent with your rat terrier training. Here we go with the rat terrier leash training tips
- Make sure to absolutely always walk in front of your rat terrier. In the world of dogs, the pack leader always leads the way. What you want to avoid is allowing your dog to walk in front of you. Walking behind your dog will give your dog a message that they’re in charge.
- Use a very short dog leash for your rat terrier’s training. By doing this, you’ll be able to have the most control. If you attach the leash at the top of your rat terrier’s neck and use a shorter leash, it’ll help you to better communicate, correct, and guide your pooch along his walk.
- Be patient and give yourself plenty of time when training your rat terrier. When first starting the rat terrier training tasks, walking your dog on a leash, you should give yourself at least half an hour to an hour for the session. Though the needs of your rat terrier will vary based on a number of factors, so take things slowly.
- Rewards, rewards, rewards. Always carry rewards with you during the walk. When your rat terrier walks where you tell him to, when he goes to the bathroom, when he isn’t walking in-front ahead of you – these are the times when you should reward your rat terrier. Start with rewarding one behavior at a time and then continually add new behaviors to reward as they catch on to the others.
- The training shouldn’t end as soon as you get home. The whole point of rat terrier leash training is that you are teaching the dog good leash habits for their own safety – as well as your own safety – however, leash habits are also an important part of the overall rat terrier obedience training program. When you get home, make sure that you continue teaching your dog to wait patiently while you take off your shoes and finish undressing after being out.
- The final reward comes at the very end of the walk. When the walk finishes, make sure to give your dog a treat and plenty of praise for a walk well done. You want your rat terrier dog to always look forward to the walks and to not think of them as obedience training sessions.
Rat Terrier Training in Table Manners
One of the most important things that you can teach your rat terrier is how they should behave when they eat. As your rat terrier grows, he’ll become more and more concerned with asserting himself – rat terrier puppies in particular often choose mealtimes as a chance to do just that.
When it comes to rat terrier training in table manners, giving in to your dog’s demands is a mistake because obedience training techniques require you to teach the dog that you will not respond to his every demand. The rat terrier needs to learn that humans can be unpredictable and that he needs to accept that this unpredictability is non-threatening to him.
Help your rat terrier do so by imitating the most unpredictable people of all – the children. Step quickly towards your dog’s food bowl and then immediately drop a treat in it. Now, bump into your rat terrier while he’s eating or playing with a toy and then immediately drop a treat for him to eat. This way of rat terrier training will reward him for behaving calmly.
Make sure to follow these table manner tips on a regular basis for best results – but not at every single meal. If your puppy or older rat terrier ever freezes while he’s eating, growls at you, or even glares at you, stop the training immediately and try again later. Once again, you’re only looking to reward his positive behavior – not to punish his bad behavior.
How to Handle Rat Terrier Barking and Whining
Even though barking is a natural part of your rat terrier’s behavior, certainly you – as well as your neighbors – will really appreciate it if you could get this all under control.
You always need to remember that most dogs do not understand if what they are doing (barking) as a good or bad behavior. This is due to the fact that the human response to barking and whinnying can be a bit confusing. At times, you would ignore your rat terrier, then other times you’d be shouted at him to stop. And on the other hand, the rat terrier might even be encouraged to bark in certain situations – for example, what if a suspicious stranger jumps the fence and enters your back yard.
The solution to this all is to go ahead and teach your rat terrier that he should only bark when you tell him to start. For example, when you say, “Stop barking,” this should be an obedience command – not a punishment. Follow the steps below to train your rat terrier when to, and when not to bark:
- Let your rat terrier bark twice or three different times.
- Then, make sure to praise your dog for barking (sounding the alarm).
- After praising, go ahead and say “Stop barking.”
- Now, hold out a treat for your rat terrier.
- Your dog will stop right away so that he can ear his treat – if only because he’ll focus on smelling the treat.
- When he’s been quiet for a few moments give him the treat.
- Over time, increase the amount of time between when the barking stops and when your rat terrier gets their reward. This will surely help you win your rat terrier training battle.
No one likes to hear their dog whining but if you comfort him every time he does it you could actually be making the situation worse. This is because your rat terrier can start to think he’s being praised for whining. He’ll then get into the habit of doing so when he wants your attention.
The best way to combat this problem is by not going to your pooch when he whines. He’ll quickly learn that whining and / or whimpering is not an effective way to get your attention or approval.
Understand How Your Rat Terrier Learns
It’s important to understand that your Rat Terrier will learn very quickly. As a result, it’s essential to teach your dog from the moment that you get him.
Rat Terrier Dogs learn via association. If your dog does something that you like, make sure that you always reward him. This type of rat terrier training increases the chances that he’ll repeat the behavior again. Also, make sure that the reward is linked to some type of action. All of this should take place within seconds. Treats and praise both do a great job when training a rat terrier.
Your pooch must be taught what he can and cannot do. Most of your Rat Terrier’s harmless behavior can be ignored, but if your dog starts doing anything that is dangerous, then you must interrupt him with a sharp “NO”; followed with a nice reward when he stops the bad behavior and again gives you attention. One thing that you should never do, is to shout at your Rat Terrier. Shouting is not only mean and cruel, but it is also not great for training rat terriers.
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