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10 week old rat terrier
GEMS RAT TERRIER GUIDELINES FOR NEW PUPPY OWNERS
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Centereach, NY (631) 451-1959
Nothing is written in stone. Adjust as you need to. These are just hints and guides. After raising only Rat terriers for 14yrs. 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 with patience and perseverance. If you feel the need to get a trainer, please check their credentials and experience with Rat Terriers.
Current feeding Schedule:
They are on Iams smart puppy (the regular, not for large breeds). You can change them to Eukanoba puppy food gradually. It is a grade better. Rat terriers do well with any form of chicken. Food with too many vegetables, expensive, organic and exotic food is not always good for them. This is the schedule right now. 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. Better to have more than less. I do not leave food down after they have eaten. It helps with the potty schedule.
9am 1/2 cup or until he is finished and give water.
4pm 1/2 cup of food and give water.
8pm you can give a little snack of food 1/2 cup food 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 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. Eventually they can eat once a day. If they are looking thin, feed them twice or even three times. The teething stage is at least a year so you might have to keep them in a cage when they are not attended to or when you are out. I use elk or deer antler bones. Nylabones are good too. A towel works well in the cage. If it is a young puppy their nails might get caught in the towel. Just make the towel smaller and put it in the back of the cage and use newspaper in the front. I like towels because they can’t chew them and they are easily washable. They love stuffed animals but when they find out there is stuffing in there, it will be all over your house. You then have to get toys with no stuffing.
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 and plastic bag just in case. I would get a small harness and leash if you want walk him. Harness is good when they are young to prevent pulling on their neck. Only use it for. They will try to chew it off and wiggle out of it. It can also be harmful if they get caught on something.
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 rolled up towel or even a couple of them to keep them cozy. 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.
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 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 to space other 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.
Some Rat terriers get sick in the car. Some do not. It's the stoping, going and turning that makes 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 frequently. 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 and some do not. 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 causes health problems. I now use a mix of diluted peppermint oil spray and apple vinegar on the dogs to keep pesky bugs away. You can apply it throughout the summer on their coat. 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. Some people spray their grounds with Neem oil to repel these insects. Just make sure it is completely dry before you let your puppies or dogs out.
Elk antler bones, ice chips once in a while if you see they need to chew. Nylabones are good also. 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 they can get stuck in their intestines. I use the Milk bones brand for puppies and adult treats. Please don't give them any exotic treats. Anything with a flavor attached has a smell that will get on furniture or your clothing not to mention them getting sick. Rat terriers in general have weak stomachs. Any quick change in food or treat can make them have diarrhea. Stick to one or introduce one at a time because they can get sick from some brands. No table food unless it is basic. No sauce, gravy or processed food. It is a treat for him and not a meal. If you decide to change his food, do it gradually by mixing the new food into the old food a little at a time.
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.
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 might have to be crated while unattended.
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. 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. 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 .
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 8weeks old. They do not have the attention span. They usually will not be able to start training until at least 4 months old or a little longer because they cannot hold it. 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 he has an accident in the house, firmly tell him NO and take him out. They know when you are upset with them. He can go out in the cold but not more than 5-10 minutes, as a puppy, in the very cold weather. There are different methods of training. Most of them will work but I would take them directly out. 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, as they get older. They will go to the bathroom on it. If you see them heading for it and 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. If you feed them in the cage, they will not want to make a mess in there but they can't hold it for long periods of times while they are puppies. 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. They can only learn as puppies if they are on a routine to be taken out. As they get older, they can hold it longer and for longer periods of time. Please be patient with them until they are at least 7 months old. Ratties are very smart. Some learn faster than others. Many training methods will work but you have to follow through.
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 have 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:
My opinion on microchipping is simple. It is a matter of preference but I do not believe in them. It is as advertising gimmick that could cause medical problems or infections in your dog. 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. If you lose your dog and it does not have a collar, you can always call the local pound and veterinarian and they will look out for your dog. There are also many local organizations to help you find your dog through social media.
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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