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Does anyone have any advice on how to introduce rats to dog?

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by C&Hugo, Oct 17, 2020 at 5:42 PM.

  1. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    I recently got a puppy, and I really want him to get along with our 2 pet rats. When we had murpy, our old dog, we had alot of trouble introducing our rats to him, (not the same rats) which was a problem as I like to keep lots of rats, at one point we had 6 at one time. Anyway I really wan't to do well introducing Hugo to Fang and Charlie.

    Screen Shot 2020-10-17 at 17.41.46.png Screen Shot 2020-10-17 at 17.41.39.png Screen Shot 2020-10-17 at 16.56.18.png
     
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  3. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    Critically important is - what breed of dog is your pup?
     
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  4. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    He's an english cocker spaniel :)
     
  5. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    I used to have 7 female rats and my dog (the one in the avitar) was totally fine with them, he even used wash them if they were sat in my lap. But he was probably about 4 years old when I got the rats, I first introduced them by having him sat with me and just letting the rats out in one room, I sat with him to feel his response to them, which thankfully was pretty relaxed, and the rats had no bother with him, so we went from there:) (plus I already knew his character and that he was generally pretty chilled.)
    With a pup, who is going to be naturally curious, I would do the meets in a controlled manner. I would say you will probably be able to get a rough idea how he will react from the first meet. If the rats have a cage, let the pup spend a bit of time watching them and getting used to them with a barrier first, then maybe hold the rats and see how is to them face to face. Also it's about whether the rats are comfortable around a dog too. Slowly, slowly and with common sense, even a pup could really damage a rat... Though I would say even if he is mesmerized by them in the cage and not going for them, don't presume he will be fine with them out of the cage! My friends Alsatian used to sit for hours sometimes watching the cage while the rats all slept but she felt totally different to Jake,(with her it was more like a stake out!) I would not have trusted her an inch with them if out!! :eek:
    Have to say I love rats, but have ferrets now as you get a bit longer between each heartbreak of losing the little buggers:(;)... Also I let Jake in with my first ferrets and he was fine until one jumped up on the sofa and nipped his ear after that I just had to say ' Jake, the ferrets are coming out' and he used to run to the bedroom and wait for me to shut the door!! Good luck, the fact he is a pup may well go in favour of them getting on.
     
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  6. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    Well I have no advice as to how- or even if! I just have one piece of experience re cockers. I was brought up with a cocker who learned to 'tolerate' our budgie- it was allowed out of the cage. The dog watched but never snapped and would be stroked while it sat on my shoulder. One day the dog is lying on the floor and the bird lands on the carpet- not for the first time. As it walks closer my dear sweet cocker boy picks up one front paw and squashed the budgie flat. Really sorry to say they do have what's called a prey drive and you can never know how well it's controlled. I never blamed my spaniel BTW. We were at fault. So don't relax.
     
  7. JacksDad

    JacksDad Member Registered

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    The first thing to remind ourself when two different species are trying to live together, there are never any guarantees. Look at the challenges humans and dogs have living together and we are two that appear to WANT to be together. So, imagine the challenges with two species living together that were they in the natural world, one would likely be prey and dinner for the other or competition to each other over dinner resources.

    Breed of course plays into this. If your dog is a hunting breed (as in actual hunting, not just find it and say there it is or retrieving the game after the human hunter did their thing) the odds are going to be the lowest that you can achieve some safety between your dog and the other species. But even if your dog’s breed isn’t a hunting breed of any kind, there is of course the individual dog. Some dogs regardless of their breed heritage just have that “hunting gene”. So, breed followed by individual is going to be important in figuring this out. Ultimately, we train the dog in front of us, not the breed. Breeds like Terriers, Jindos, Lurcher etc you probably want to just forego having any other pets. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule, and I can hear the furious typing now of the “one offs” that were never a problem. However, these are examples of breeds that were bred to actually hunt and this starts you off on a foot that isn’t in your favor for a successful outcome of peaceful co-existence in the same house. It drastically raises the challenges and training skills/knowledge to be successful to any level.

    As a starting point, you need some idea of what is going on with your dog when they see the rat/cat/bird/hamster etc that are the other pet(s) in the house. Is your dog just wanting to play? Is your dog one of those dogs that doesn’t care who it is human, mouse, duck, cat etc. it’s just fun to play. If you don’t have another dog play with, anything else will do. They seem to know to be gentle, etc. Or, is your dog triggered to chase? Some dogs will chase the other animal in what is like a spontaneous just for fun lure curse. While many do no harm when they catch the animal, others can “tip” with the over excitement and while odds are, they were not out to kill, still do damage. Or, is your dog actually hunting? If your dog starts looking like a cat on the stalk, odds are you have a hunter. This is not good for the other animal. Actual dog hunting behavior is something once seen, can’t be unseen. You will start to recognize it and you will snicker when someone brags about their dog’s “hunting drive” when all they want to do is just chase/be chased and have fun. Hunting behavior is focused, deliberate, efficient. Not bouncy, silly, boisterous. One way NOT to figure this out is just put them together and see what happens. PLEASE, PLEASE no one take this approach. Some species, such as birds can easily become over stressed and die. Start with breed traits, then how does your dog react to similar other animals when out on a walk.

    Regardless, no matter how “innocent” your dog’s behavior is from the dog perspective, we MUST judge it by the effect on the other animal. Even if gentle, friendly curiosity is what the dog is displaying, if the other animal is in clear distress, then it’s not an “innocent”/friendly interaction.

    Each case it its own. You can’t assume because someone else with a similar situation had success, you will too. Nor can you assume because someone else had a disaster, you will too. Ultimately, we train the animals in front of us.

    Finally, it is VITAL that we NEVER forget that when we place two likely incompatible species into the same living space, it is for OUR “pleasure”, not theirs. Also, never forget that is possible you can never achieve an ideal outcome dog and X species living together as buddies. Or that it is possible you may never even achieve safety where for example, they just ignore each. It just might not be possible given the various individuals involved that co habitation is possible. You MUST be prepared for that, and you MUST be ready to take appropriate action such as rehoming of one of the species involved. Quality of life and safety take precedence over our desire to have the two species living with us.

    So that is the human side prep concept prep work.

    Training side -

    What are you looking to achieve/what is your idealized goal?

    What are you expecting your dog to be able to do/not do when the rats are around?

    What does the rats being around look like? Loose in the house? Visible in their enclosure?

    What is the plan for when you are not able to supervise?

    If it looks like any level of a successful and safe cohabitation is NOT possible, what is your plan/what are you willing to do then?

    Tell me more about Hugo.

    Age?

    Current training?

    Has Hugo seen the rats? What was the reaction?

    What interactions of any kind has Hugo and the rats had so far?
     
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  8. Jan Woodhall

    Jan Woodhall Active Member Registered

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  9. Jan Woodhall

    Jan Woodhall Active Member Registered

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    Well if you need to know how, perhaps you should not? All animals have 'natural instincts' HOWEVER!!! They will all respond how the owner'handler responds. So whatever the people on this forum say, keep in mind they are mostly VERY experienced dog handlers, and they KNOW their dogs. They also seem to be VERY good handlers in their own rights. So perhaps your question might be slightly tweaked to, what can I do to ensure a safe meeting and good relationship between my rats and the dog? My Borzoi pup has had mostly quiet interactions with cats, I have been very careful to not do anything to cause the pup to think there is anything different about the cats, however, one cat was clearly frightened of dogs and it froze - in that split second it sent the signal to the dog who went immediately into 'chase' mode! I was quick enough to distract the pup with treats and calming and matter of fact attitude which thankfully worked, I have had similar instances with birds, so realistically you are unlikely to change innate behaviours, but you may modify them - NEVER take your eye of the ball is my advise! Best of luck :)
     
  10. Whippylove

    Whippylove Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hi I keep rats and have 3 whippets, 2 of them are absolutely fine with the rats my other whippet just wants to get a hold of them! We just supervise the dogs around the girls cage the don't ever get left alone. The girls cage is also in a different room so Oliver doesn't stress them. I've met a few people who keep rats and dogs together it just takes time and depends on the dog's personality.
    We had a cocker spaniel when I was young and he happily played with my rabbit and Guinea pig . All depends on the dog.
     
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  11. Rinkydinkydo

    Rinkydinkydo Well-Known Member Registered

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    My terriers and lurchers lived and worked together with ferrets. I'd take the ferrets for a walk with the dogs,they'd be playing chase together. It's funny watching a ferret chasing a lurcher.
     
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  12. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    Tysm for the advice, and yeah I cry for about a week every time one of my ratties die :,(,
    poor budgie :,(
     
  13. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    Tysm for the advice, I just can't tell how Hugo will react, all dogs are indivisuals. I tried yesterday picking him up and holding him by the cage, the rats seemed very curiouse. Hugo, almost didn't notice them XD, once he did, he looked for a while, ears perked, then started to whine and sqirm, not to get to the rats but seemingly to get away from them. Not sure if thats good or bad.... but I'll maybe wait a little until he's out of teething, one bite and....
    I would never forgive myself if I was the one who was responsible for their death :< Also, although I sorta like rats more, ferrets are very fun. I had 2 when I was about 9 and they as babies were like little puppies :,D.
     
  14. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    Who was faster the ferrets or the lurcher? Guessing the lurcher but......
     
  15. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    Yes, that seems understandable. I'll just see how he goes, then if he reacts badly then I'll probably just have to live with it. It may also depend on how the ratties react I guess.. they seem pretty curious, when behind bars but, Hugo once jumped up on the couch and barked which scared the life and of the 2. And, we also had an incident were the nieghber's cat jumped up onto the sofa, where my rattie was whilst I was getting her a treat, and the cat almost pounced on her until a ran over and saved the little ones life. Because of this it may be possible they're not up for a lot of interaction with other animals, but still I'll see how it goes. :)
     
  16. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    Thanks! And, even if it does somehow work out, I'll be supervising them all the time, never alone together.... my cats basically moved to my nieghbers house because of the puppy, only coming in for food poor things.. but they were already VERY outdoorsy cats.
     
  17. Rinkydinkydo

    Rinkydinkydo Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yep but the ferrets were relentless
    We always introduced the lurcher/terrier pups straightaway to the ferrets. We'd put a dish down with some milk in it,the ferrets and pup would all have a drink together. We would just keep them going together daily,just making sure the ferrets didnt get hold of the pup.
     
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  18. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    Ferrets are relentless for sure:D One of mine(the naughty Goose) will always want to go through the door that is shut, the shelf he's not supposed to get to, get into the old fire place that's blocked up etc! And sometimes I think he would rather die trying than think he's missing out on whatever is out of reach to him!!
     
  19. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    aw, thats sounds sooooo sweet having ferrets and pups drinking together like brothers and sisters :<)
     
  20. Jan Woodhall

    Jan Woodhall Active Member Registered

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    LOL, that sounds just like my puppy!
     
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  21. C&Hugo

    C&Hugo New Member Registered

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    Cheeky little one XD
     

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