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I just adoped a Rat Terrier and I have a behavior question. He does a lot of pacing or walking through the house. It seems that I see him just walking through out the house an awful lot. Not really looking for any thing, just walking. It's not a nervous walk either, just kind of strolling. Ozzy is a 3 year old male that has spent the last 2 months at our local Humane Society. I adoped him on July 10, he is a really great dog that is very laid back with a sweet temperment. I was just wondering why the pacing. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. :confused:

Julie
 

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How much and how long do you walk him? Since you've had him?

What I would do, is take him out for a really long walk... Bring him home and see how he reacts... He could just be stressed, or has a lot of built up energy.

Does he have a clean-bill-of-health?
 

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I walk 3 miles every day, and this will take us about 1 hour. He is very healthy, no problems there. You may be right with the stress. Every thing is new plus I do have two other pups about his age. I will keep an eye on him and see if this slowly decreases.

Julie
 

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(You mentioned it being a "casual stroll" through the house, do you think it's at all possible he's still getting to know his new home? That maybe he's still "checking it out"?)

From what I understand, Rat Terriers are high-energy-level dogs... 3 miles a day, an hour, may not be enough... Are you like, running all out like "I'm-being-chased-by-Michael-Myers" type of run or is it a casual jog? My dog is a Manchester/ JR Terrier-Mix, and I'll tell you, a two mile walk or slight jog at the park is not anywhere close to enough for this dog... We'll get home and he'll just lay down and look at me as if to ask, "Okay. What's next?"

Do you live in apartment or a home with a yard?

I'm just asking because I know my step-mother has three dogs, one is a pug puppy, and when that puppy gets on the older dogs' nerves she sends them outside and keeps the puppy inside... She keeps an eye on them of course, but she stays inside to occupy the puppy...

Like I mentioned about the stress, it's still a very new environment, he's been tossed from his home to an animal-shelter and now to your home... Possibly more times than just once, depending on what his history is... He could be use to being an "outside" dog, he could be use to being home "alone" all the time, he could be used to being the "only dog"... There's a number of things that he could be used to, and it's going to take time and patience for him to realize that he doesn't have those things anymore...

In the mean-time, I would try to find ways to give him some 'alone-time', either put the others dogs up or out, or put him up or out in an area where it's quiet; Is he crate trained? If not, does he do well alone in a bedroom? I would even go so far as to play soft, relaxing music. (Like classical.) Give him plenty of treats or something to chew on, and let him un-wind for an hour... Do that a few times and see if that improves his behavior, if not, if it makes it worse then you can move on and try something else...

I'm not an expert, but I have a dog that I rescued from the animal-shelter, he's a doll, and I actually used the advice I gave you. : ) It might work for you, too!

Good luck!
 

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We have had ratties and they are great dogs.

Let me compliment you on getting a rescue.

I think your issues have more to do with Ozzy being a rescue than with the breed per se. Since you got him directly from the shelter, he has not had any fostering to adapt him to a home situation. So you are starting from scratch. Shelter dogs generally do carry some baggage and it does them take a while to get rid of it.

This doesn't sound like such a bad case so I wouldn't sweat it too much. If you start Ozzy on a NILIF program now you will be giving him something new to think about and that may help with the adaptation.

Exercise is a great thing and all dogs benefit from it. However, ratties are nowhere near as hyper as JRTs, Manchesters, or other terrier breeds, and they actually don't need all that much walking. While your walking program is fine - and you should continue it if you can - what ratties really want is some "free" exploring - obviously with your supervision. If you have a fenced area available Ozzy would really like some off-leash time. One thing to be aware of though - while all terriers dig, ratties are digging machines. They will dig no matter how much exercise they get and they can dig under a fence in record time - so make sure that you are supervising Ozzy on those off-leash excursions.

He may or may not start playing with your other dogs. If he does, that would serve as exercise time as well. But many shelter dogs take a while to come out of their shell, and some of them always keep it at 'arms-length' with respect to other dogs.
 
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