Goings on at Rat Race Rat Terriers


Not a whole lot going on here at Rat Race Rat Terriers, but there are a few things, so I thought I’d do a new post since I haven’t done one in awhile.

The pup from my friends is still here. We are going to call him Piper, for whatever reason! We weren’t liking Copper as much so found ourselves calling him Puppy or Little Dude most of the time, so we decided, since he responds decently to “Puppy” that Piper would sound similar enough to keep.  He’s almost 5 months old and is now taller than my three girls, but not as tall as his grandma Em yet. So I’d say he’s around 15″ with lots more to go. His feet have grown to be almost as big as Colt’s are so it will be interesting to see how he matures. He’s out and about everyday unless the weather is really bad, which isn’t too often. My husband takes him out on the 4-wheeler at times when he goes irrigating at the neighboring ranch. With quite a few dogs, he has to split the crew up, so sometimes Piper gets left behind with the other dogs. Both are good for him, but I’m glad he gets left home sometimes. He’s not used to being by himself.  Not a good thing. Something that I am working a bit on, but difficult to do in my situation.

I have taken him twice to town by himself and he’s done really well. Yesterday I took him for a walk around the main street, which only consists of a few blocks of stores for the most part. At first some older people spooked him and he got wrapped up behind a planter, but I coaxed him over to me and after that he was fine. There were more people in town than I have ever seen, so it was a good time for him to be out and about. (I heard later that it is graduation weekend, hence the bigger crowds.) Still not a lot of people, but more than Piper has seen. He went into the stores with me and behaved himself, allowing people to pet him and admire him. I wasn’t aware of it, but at this Walmart, you can take dogs in, as long as they are well behaved, so Piper got a nice ride in the cart as I picked up a few items. (I’ll have to make up a small folding business card to explain Rat Terriers a bit, as he was called just about everything but a Rat Terrier by most people. His unusual color adds to the misnomer, as most people expect Ratties to be black.)   He wasn’t fond of being in the truck by himself when I bought gas, but with some work and time, I expect him to be fine and work through it. At Tractor Supply, I talked to a young lady with a 14 week old Aussie. (Fell in love immediately!) Piper and her pup greeted each other somewhat hesitantly, than started to play, knocking a few things off the shelf, but no further damage than that. Good experience for him tho’! While at Walmart, he was safely able to see babies and little kids. One very young girl wanted to pet him, and he was fine with that. She was very quiet and polite! All in all I was quite impressed with him and will continue working with him as much as I can while he is still here.

He has done well with his training, sitting at mealtimes and at the door to go out. He is understanding sit, down and stand well. I will work on stays over the next lessons. I am also teaching him to “shake hands,” “high five,” and “touch.” He did a very small demonstration at one of the stores, sitting correctly and doing a down and stand, within the distractions of the store. That was very impressive, as he’s never been there before, and has never been downtown before. So a totally new experience for him. At night he usually joins me on my chair while I work on making collars and when I go to bed,  I crate him. He wakes up at a decent time in the morning, then joins me in bed for a few more winks of shut eye.

He is very much a “people” dog and is happiest when he is with someone. Much more so than my other pups. He has been fine when left with some of the other crew in the house with no people at home and has so far never gotten into anything nor cried and whined. He is sweet and loving, not too independent but not particularly “clingy” either. But he prefers to be with people, frequently snuggled with my husband or after hubby goes to bed, with me.

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I have had to leave my Maddie at home when I go to work as the irrigation is now on with the threat of open waterways going into pipes and there are foxtails also. Poor girl runs out and begs me to let her go with me, but I just can’t due to safety concerns, no matter how much it breaks my heart. So I promised her that I would take her out by herself to town and let her explore and walk with me. Last night I had to go to the store, so I loaded her up with me and went to the local fairgrounds to let her run. It was almost dusk but still pleasant out, and there were only a few people around. We went by the barns area and were startled by a bully breed intact male. Maddie wasn’t too sure of him, but she accepted his greeting and no growling or fights ensued. He was really a low key kind of dog, very affectionate and sweet. He half followed us for part of the way, but went to a family who was playing in the arena area, so I figured he must have belonged to them, as they had been calling for a dog. Just before we reached the truck, Maddie was being a bit independent and didn’t listen to me when I called her. The grassy area is off limits to dogs and as there is no actual fence, I didn’t want her to cross over. While she was busy sniffing at a lump of grass, I walked over about 20 feet away and hid behind a pole. I could still see Maddie if I didn’t move, so I watched as she finished sniffing, started to trot in the direction we had been going, then discover that I wasn’t where she thought I should be. I was pretty impressed with her as she didn’t panic but pretty much used her nose and started moving in a circle around me and the pole. She did get a bit worried since she couldn’t find me immediately, but as she got almost behind me, I moved just a bit and she thought she saw me. She wasn’t sure, so she kinda started, but then came up to me, ready to trot off if I wasn’t me. And independent little Maddie thought well, gee, there ya are Mom, I knew that was you, and trotted on in front of me when we headed off to the truck.

I did a bit of “heel” work with her by feeding her treats as she walked beside me in approximate “heel” position.  It will take consistency, but I think she will pick it up quickly enough. She’s a quick study and loves to train with me. Actually, its probably the treats I feed her, but hey, I’ll bribe her to get her to do something! And she’s happy doing it. I’m working a bit with “touch” and “find,” but not near as consistently as I should. I need to concentrate more on training her, but have been concentrating more on the pup. She does amazingly well, considering how much time has passed since I’ve worked with her. She will be amazing when I start working more consistently with her.

I have continued to take her to town by herself and she is doing really well. She loves Tractor Supply, as she knows that she will get treats there. She loves to walk down the street and check out all of the trees and planter pots. People are interesting to her, but she’s not the type of dog that is overly affectionate. She acknowledges them, but loses interest fairly quickly and starts to sniff around some more. If time and finances allow, I would enjoy taking her to train for agility. I know she would be awesome at it! Or maybe some Rally Obedience. Maybe later…

Maddie munching on a vole she caught.
EmmaLee being play chased by our heeler, Sage. Piper is peeling away in front of Em.
EmmaLee being play chased by our heeler, Sage. Piper is peeling away in front of Em.


Ah, EmmaLee, what am I to do with you!? Today I took the pack out for a walk across the gully and up on the other side. I was talking to my son on the phone, but noticed that EmmaLee and Sammie were both missing. I called them, but didn’t see them. I figured they were in the coyote willow, which is a large brushy area where they love to hunt, so we walked back around it. I still didn’t see them, but just then Chance went dashing passed me and over the field. He rarely runs that far off without a reason, so I started to walk over there and look more seriously for the two girls. Before I had a chance to get very far, I saw movement across the gully and saw that it was a coyote, and I think I saw Em running towards the house just on the other side of our fenceline. I quickly told my son I had to go as there was a coyote across the gully and I didn’t know where Sammie was, and I thought I had seen Em running towards the house. So I pulled my .22 pistol and fired off a round. The coyote started running north, away from us. I aimed roughly in its direction, knowing I couldn’t hit it from where I stood, but fired anyway. Sammie ran up to me, then surprisingly, EmmaLee. Sammie had a very small wound on her back leg, looks like a bite wound, but EmmaLee must have gotten caught going underneath the barbed wire, as she has a large cut on her shoulders.

I am amazed and a bit concern that this is another encounter with a coyote that she has survived. I can tell by the way the other dogs sniffed her over that the coyote was really close to her in some way.  I don’t think Sammie was involved with the coyote, as she came from a different area, but I’m not sure. Just glad that both are still alive and well!  I haven’t had any problems with coyotes since the big male was shot a few months back, so hadn’t really thought of them.

You should have heard the pack when we came across the path where the coyote had gone. Wow, such a fit of howling and barking! Colt had his hackles up and would have probably tracked the coyote if I would have let him. Chance was doing his coyote howl, Maddie was just about under my feet. Piper didn’t know what the excitement was really all about, but he was adding his two cents in too! It was so noisy I could hardly hear myself think! Luckily, I called them off and crossed the fence to head home with no problems. I am surprised at how well they mind me when I really need them to listen. If I would have had the time, I might have tried to see if they could actually track the coyote, but figured too that it was probably far off by the time I reached that particular spot, as my hollering for the dogs and then firing a few rounds scared it off.


The crew is now snoozing in the house. Right when I got home, it started to storm, with some rain and nasty wind storms, so the dogs are enjoying the lazy day.

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