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Nothing is written in stone. Adjust, as you need to. These are just hints and guides. After raising only Rat terriers for 16yrs. This is a puppy Rat Terrier guide. This is not a guide for all dogs. It is Rat Terrier specific. They are not like other dogs. Most Rat Terriers can be molded to fit your lifestyle. They can be taught almost anything. They love attention and love to learn. They love to do tricks. If you feel the need to get a trainer, please check their credentials and experience with training several Rat Terriers. Puppies cannot fully understand until they are at least 4 months old. That is when they have developed an attention span. Too much stimulation at an early age will confuse them and make them hyper. You have to wait until they are settled in their new home, calm down and are comfortable in their surroundings. They will come to you for attention after feeling safe. With understanding, reading and videos you can train them yourself. It's silly to think you can send them out for training and they will come back all trained. You as an owner are your best bet in training your puppy to develop a best friend bond. Patience and understanding your dog is the key.

Current feeding Schedule:

Please keep them on the same puppy food for at least 6 months. It is important for their health. No table food while they are growing. Certainly no processed food. They do well on chicken or salmon. Rat terriers do well with any form of chicken or Salmon. Too much protein is not good for them. Pick a food that has 27% protein or less. Please be aware of treats with too much protein,sugar or salt. That can make them have too much energy. Food with too many vegetables, expensive, organic and exotic food is not always good for them. They can get diarrea. Grain is good for them. My theory is while they are puppies; do not deny them of food. Give them as much as they want. They are growing and it is important for their health. If they seem to get overweight, then you can cut down. Use your judgment. They all grow at different rates I do not leave food down after they have eaten. It helps with the potty schedule.
10am 1/2 cup or until he is finished and give water.
5pm 1/2 cup of food and give water.
8pm you can give a little more food for the night and give water.
Wait until he goes potty and put him to bed with lights out.
If you want to leave water for you puppy for the day, you can get a bowls that can be attached to the cage to elevate it and the puppy can't knock it over or step in it. When the dog gets older you can feed them once a day.

I will give you a small bag of food for you to go home with. The above is their present schedule. You can change it to whatever you like. Please do not give your puppy any new treats or different foods while they are young. Reason being that you want to know if your puppy is sick or just having a reaction to foods or treats. You have to watch the protein content and sugar in the treats. High sugar and protein are not good for them. You would be surprised how much food plays a part in your dogs health and well being. It is possible that when you take them home, they will not eat right away. Just offer it to them later. It is usually because they are unfamiliar with their new home. Holding them close helps them feel secure. If you offer the food later they may eat it. Keep them on one food and one treat. Please google your food from time to time or when your dog seems sick to see if there are any recalls. All dog foods has been recalled at some point. The teething stage is at least a year so you might have to keep them in a crate when they are not attended to or when you are out. I use elk or deer antler bones. Nylabones are good too (Not edible ones) but if you see any of them splinting or eaten then get a new one. A fleece throw or blanket works well in the cage. They can be cut into smaller blankets and are easy to clean. I have found they love to cuddle with it especially when they just go to their new home. Put it in the back of the cage and use newspaper in the front. They love stuffed animals but when they find out there is stuffing in there, it will be all over your house. They make toys with no stuffing and those are best for then. Most Rat Terriers can rip all toys apart at some point. Please monitor them with their toys because there is a chance they can swallow the pieces.

Food allergies or otherwise:


SIGNS OF AN ALLERGY: Swollen face and eyes. Scratching, licking themselves in spots, red inside of their ears and/or on their belly. Sometimes this can be caused by a flea or bug bite.

MAJOR REASONS I ASK TO KEEP THE PUPPIES ON THE SAME FOOD AND TREAT. You never know what they can get sick from with all the diverse type of foods and treats. I do not like any of them. They are not made with your dog's health in mind. We never have a problem with the foods I suggest and plain Milk bones. We have been using them for 15yrs. without a problem or reaction.

Dogs and puppies can have allergic reactions to food or flowers/plants. Here is a guide of what not to give them Harmful foods. Please be careful of what others are feeding your dog also. Guests love to sneak them food. This is a link to flowers and plants that can create allergic reactions and are poisonous for dogs. Harmful flowers-plants. Any of these things can cause a minor reaction or an Anaphylaxis reaction and even death.
Most allergic reactions can be treated with Benadryl 1mg per lb. of body weight. Generic brand works also. Given 2-3 times a day. They sell capsules you can dissolve in water if the dog will not take a pill. It is important that the dog or puppy does not get dehydrated. You can pull the skin on their back and if it bounces back they are ok but if is takes a while to go down you must seek veterinary care immediately. Giving them water will not help. If you can't get to the vet fast you can try giving them at least 1oz of Pedialyte (No flavor- Generic brand works also) every hour until you can get to the vet.

The trip home:
You can take him in a dog carrier bag, cage or hold him. He may throw up on the ride so I will not feed him two hours before you leave. You will need a napkin, wipes and plastic bag just in case. I would get a small harness and leash if you want walk him. Harness is good only for walking when they are young to prevent pulling on their neck. They will try to chew it off and wiggle out of it if you leave it on.

The First few days:
Keep shoes, clothing, toys and small objects away. They might chew them. He will cry at night for a few days, some take a week but they will adjust. It can get frustrating. They are just like children. Take them in bed if you must! Some people have to work in the morning. ☺ If you have another dog in a cage, it helps to crate them side by side so they do not feel lonely and won't cry. Sometimes a radio can help them when they are alone or at night. I use one and have it on all the time. You can also use a small fleece blanket to keep them cozy. I buy an inexpensive blanket throw. The plushier the better. I cut it and tie it in a knot. They seem to love the material to sleep on. They like body heat and warmth. Rat terriers need human contact and need to know they are safe. Love and attention is all they need. It is important not to bring puppies in a confusing or loud environment when they first come home. Also let them come to you so you can gain their trust. Please note, some Rat terrier puppies can nip in play or if they are scared. This is normal behavior for them. They outgrow it as they settle in. It is a nip and not a bite.

It is a good idea to shampoo your puppy when they get home. They have been in the litter up until the time you pick them up. Please shampoo them gently and make it fun for them. Make sure they feel comfortable. That will help you for future shampooing. Please use a mild puppy shampoo. Make sure you smell it before you buy it. They can be allergic to strong smells. I use Dawn dish detergent! It's great for thier coat. Just don't get it in their eyes.

They usually shed their winter coats in the spring. It could take a month for them to shed all of it. Some shed at different times of the year. Some take longer than others but at that time wash them more frequently. If you find your dog is shedding a lot, it is probably because they have grown a coat over their original one. They make an undercoat rake (for short hair dogs) that you can gently use to remove the undercoat. They will then shed a lot less. Certain dog foods can affect their shedding. Fish oil for dogs is recommended for a thick shiny coat. You can brush them with a small bristle brush but it's not necessary. You don't have to cut their nails if you walk them in the street daily.

Vaccinations and worming:
Please discuss vaccinations for your area with your veterinarian. Your puppy will have its first 5 way shot. I recommend spacing vaccinations out as far as you can and Rabies after 6months if possible. If your dog has a parasite or worms, a vaccination will be detrimental to their health and can cause an irreversible illness. Keep in mind that some of these vaccinations have side affects. We have seen a reaction with Lepto and Rabies. Please take note of their health following the vaccination. More reading on side affects. Please do not let your puppy come in contact with other dogs or wild animals before you have the required shots for your area. Rat terriers are low maintenance. They usually just need a booster shot every year and a Rabies shot. Some kind of worming maintenance is important in Rat terriers because they stick their nose into everything. I recommend a fecal test at least twice a year to keep worms and parasites under control. If left untreated, they can get very sick. Article on puppy vaccinations

Car sickness
Some Rat terriers get sick in the car. Some do not. It's the stopping, going and turning that make them sick. It is usually motion sickness. You can check with your vet for a medication for it. Sometimes they suggest Benadryl. Some people put a little sugar on their tongue before they go. If you are going on a trip, take water and food with you and stop if you have to. Some Rat terriers will not only throw up but they can foam from the mouth. It just means they are getting motion sickness. Some people have told me that holding a dog or pet seems to work the best when travelling. It ads comfort to them and cushions the ride. Some puppies grow out of this. I have read that it is their inner ear that is not fully developed that causes this. It can take longer for some dogs than others. Short trips sometimes helps them get used to the car.

Puppies and dogs can get fleas very easily from each other or from the grass. Unfortunately there have been many reports that these flea and tick medicines can cause sezures. I now use a mix of diluted peppermint oil, citronella oil spray and apple vinegar on the dogs to keep pesky bugs away. Please don't make it too strong. You can apply it throughout the summer on their coat. You can also spray their coat with alcohol and it kills them instantly. It is important to keep fleas, ticks and mosquitoes away from biting your dog. Sometimes a dog or puppy can get an allergic reaction or get sick from a bite. These bites can carry illnesses. They can loose hair, get a rash or get Lyme or other diseases. It is best to try to prevent these bites. Currently I use vinegar, water, Diatomaceous Earth and a tsp of Dawn dishwashing soap mix to spray my yard. Just make sure it is completely dry before you let your puppies or dogs out. If you think your dog has fleas or ticks after going to a certain area you know has them, you can simply spray them with 2/3 rubbing alcohol 1/3water. That will kill anything instantly. Careful not to get it in their eyes.

Elk antler bones, ice chips once in a while if you see they need to chew. Nylabones (PLEASE DO NOT USE THE EDIBLE NYLABONES BONES AS THERE HAS BEEN REPORTS OF SEIZURES ). Absolutely no chicken bones, they can get stuck in their intestines because they splinter when chewed. Please do not use rawhide bones. They love them but there is a chance a piece can get stuck in their intestines. They will need surgery to get it out. I use PLAIN Milk bones brand for puppies and adult treats. Please don't give them any treats with a flavor or has a smell. Not only is it junk but it will also get on your furniture or your clothing not to mention get them sick. Rat terriers in general have weak stomachs. Any quick change in food or treat can make them have diarrhea. My older dogs get table food treats as I think it is healthier instead of treats sold in the stores. Store treats are created to encourage you to buy them. In addition they have recalls from time to time and can make your dog very sick. They can also be the cause of sicknesses your dog can get in the future. A piece of chicken, meat, celery, carrots or bread I feel is healthier for them provided it has no sauce or spices. Sometimes if I have leftover table food I will rinse it in water before I give it to them as a treat.

Puppies with children:
Rat terriers are very active as puppies. While they need as much interaction as you can give them, it is not a good idea to play rough with them. Their nails and teeth are very sharp until they get their adult nails and teeth when they are 4 months old. They can be rough sometimes as they are with others in their litter. They must know that they cannot play rough with you. Stop playing and say NO if they get too rough. They can get an injury and cause injury. All children must be supervised until you feel that they can play gently and safely with each other. Remember these puppies are like babies. They don’t understand that they might hurt you. It is important to tell children this. As the puppy settles in with a new family they will understand how to behave. It can take a few days to a few weeks. Never have children grab them to pick them up. Rat terriers have to come to you. Once they feel calm and safe, they will come to you. Please let the puppies rest after 20-30min of play. It is important as they do not know when they are tired.

Terrible puppy stage:
Rat terriers can be very naughty in their puppy stage. You might have to repeat yourself 10 times, then you turn around and they do it again. Some puppies are more challenging than others. They need interaction and exercise. If they are not getting enough "one on one" time, they will tell you in the form of chewing things and not listening. Your "one on one" time can be as little as 10 minutes a few times a day and it can make a huge difference. They get spurts of energy and then they rest. I can tell you that once the puppy gets older (for some it can be over one year) they will settle in and become your best friend. They outgrow some of the crazy things they do so please be patient. I do think they are very funny during this stage. My advise in this stage is to exercise them as much as you can and keep them on some type of schedule. They will always play but they also must rest. They do not know when they are tired. It is up to you. A good 20-30min of excercise is good a few times a day. Sometimes holding them for about 10 minutes with no distractions calms them down after their excercise. Please Note that too much exercise can damage their growing joints and overall temperament. Please don't overdo it.

Rat terriers sensitive to noises:
Rat terriers were bred to hunt vermin. They are very sensitive to noise. Some are more sensitive than others. They are also high-energy dogs. I have found that a machine called white noise can help them relax. You can use it for separation anxiety and if they bark or cry. I just discovered this after 6 years of breeding. It costs anywhere from $20 to $50. It works for me. It reduces the sounds they hear. You can simply use a radio also.

Rat terriers need lots of attention. I can tell you that if you hold your puppy for about 10-15 min a day, they will feel comforted. It can mean a world of difference in their temperament. They are loyal dogs and thrive human contact. Some are more timid than others. Either way, they still have that loyal instinct. It is important to socialize these puppies as much as you can by walking them and letting them meet people and other dogs. It is important for strangers not to approach them or pick them up. The best way to ease a puppies fear is for strangers to ignore them at first and let the puppy see there is nothing to fear. Let the puppy be interested in them and approach them. If the puppy does not approach them, you can try to give the person a treat or toy to try to interact with them. In this way they will become friendlier. Patience is the key. They need this socialization and it will help them to have a healthy personality. Also if a puppy or dog is constantly reprimanded, they will not be happy or healthy and may become rebellious. There has to be many times where they are praised and feel loved. One on one time is important. With exercise and love from you and others will make a Rat terrier be the best pet they can be. You will see that they become important and fun loving members of the family! Here are some more tips.

Potty Training:
Be aware of breeders saying their dogs are trained with commands. It's impossible. They will not be trained when you get home. :) They are not capable of being trained at 8 weeks old. Starting the process at that age will help them train faster. They usually will not be able to understand fully until they are at least 4 months old or a little longer because they their bladders are small. Please expect accidents from time to time. Just keep reminding them. They will eventually get it and they can be fully trained by 7 months. When you feed them, the protocol is they have to go out 20 minutes later. Keep them out until they go, then praise them and give them a treat. When your puppy has an accident in the house, firmly tell him NO and take him out. They know when you are upset with them. Puppies can go out in the cold weather but not more than 5-10 minutes at a time. There are different methods of training. Most of them will work. If you have another dog that is trained, the Rat Terrier will pick up on their training easily. Please do not use wee-wee pads. Rat terriers will rip them apart and if the plastic gets caught in their intestines, you will find yourself at the animal hospital. They will go to the bathroom on newspaper if needed. You can also safely use newspaper in the cage while they are young and then you can take it out and pace it near the door or even out the door for them to understand. If you see them heading toward the paper or walk in circles, take them right out. I'm sure there are some good training books out there or you can look it up on the Internet. If you want to crate train, please remember that you have to be available throughout the day for them to learn. Puppies have small bladders. You would have to be available every two hours to take them out. If you can't be there to let them out, they will just dirty the crate but as they get older, it will be less and less. Puppies can start the process at any age of taking them out and praising them when they potty outside. Even if they can't hold it and have accidents, they will learn much faster. Another tip is not to come inside until they have done their business. Some may have to go more than once. Keep them out longer even if they have gone. Please be patient with them. Ratties are very smart. Some learn faster than others. Many training methods will work but you have to follow through and repeat the process.

Dog sickness:
Most Rat terrier problems are accident related. They rarely have an illness.
It is very important to Google the treats and food you are giving him for recalls. Almost all dog food has had recalls. This should be the first thing you do if they look sick or have diarrhea for more than a day. You can also try changing the food but do it gradually. They do well on chicken and by products. Expensive organic dog food and too many vegetables are not good for them. They can get diarrhea. They have sensitive stomachs so please take note of what they are eating. If you don't know why the dog has diarrhea and it is for more that one day, please take them for a fecal exam to rule out worms or parasites. If left untreated, they can get very sick.

Rat terrier owner frustration:
Please remember that Rat terriers will make you crazy at some point as puppies. Hang in there as their personalities and behavior does change frequently until they are adults. Don't give up because they will change. They are very smart and will try to dominate you. It is important to be firm with them and follow through. They must learn the word NO. You can't let them get away with anything or they will get confused as to what you want. If they get away with not listening sometimes, they will think they don't have to listen sometimes. :) If you find them doing something wrong, you must take them out of the situation or change something. Rat terriers like to form habits so try not to let them form them. They are very obedient but you have to do your part. The whole family should follow the same rules you set for the puppy. Schedules work great for them. It makes for better and faster training. By one year Ratties come out of their puppy stage and are easier to handle. They are the best dogs in the world, as you will see. ☺

Should you microchip your pet:
Micro chipping is a matter of preference and I do not believe in them. It is an advertising gimmick that could cause medical problems or infections in your dog and them it has to be surgically removed. Keep a good collar and readable tag on your dog and it will not cause any problems. The truth is if a person wants to steal your dog, they easily can and a chip will not help that. Dogs are not scanned unless it is required from a facility or dog pound. If you lose your dog and it does not have a collar, you can always call the local pound, veterinarian, police station and they will look out for your dog. There are also many local organizations to help you find your dog through social media. Chipping may be good for tracking dogs and their owners but for me it is not worth the chance of causing health problems.

Please Note:
It is a commitment to having a dog. You are responsible for their health and well-being. Please do everything you can to provide a good home for them. I do not want to see any of my dogs in any shelter or pound. I breed Rat terriers for the love of the breed and to share healthy dogs with you. The shelters are full as it is and we don't want to add to the problem. Even though we make donations to take care of unfortunate dogs we certainly do not want our dogs there. They are always overloaded and sometimes pass the dog along to another shelter or rescue to make more room. You never know where they will end up. Please don't leave it up to a shelter to find them the right home because sometimes they never get one. If we sell you one of our dogs, then we trust that you will care for them as best you can. Please take care of them. I really hope this guide has helped you and your dog. :)

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