Continuing Our Dogs’ Education

When we first got our rat terriers, we got them to attack the rats that were gobbling up our chickens’ feed (and eggs). It took them a couple of years to figure out that they were supposed to chase the rats and that if they weren’t fast enough, the rats would get away. Eventually, they figured it out and they are now very accomplished ratters. They’re still hopeless at tunneling, despite what various sources say about terriers being digging dogs, and despite my attempts to get them to go after the rats in their burrows.

It’s warming up and Junglemonkey has cleaned out all the bird feeders. The birds are returning and, as birds do, they’re billing out seed onto the ground. This, of course, is attracting the attention of the squirrels. I just noticed a squirrel sitting out on the back deck, chowing down on a bunch of spilled seed. I got Dagmar’s attention and, stealthily as we might, we went out the back door to the deck. I had to work to get Dagmar to pay attention where I wanted, and this gave the squirrel a two second head start. That was plenty of time, and it streaked off into the forest before Dagmar ever got within 10 feet. Still, it was obvious to me that this year, Dagmar has finally noticed that a squirrel is very much like a rat with a bushy tail, and clearly she enjoys chasing squirrels as much as she enjoyed chasing rats. I suspect she’s going to be spending this summer figuring out how to catch a squirrel.

Or trying, anyway. The cats haven’t yet figured that out, and they’re death on rats, moles, and birds. I reckon it’ll keep the dogs busy, though, and that’s got to be worth something.

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