Call me crazy, but we’ve got a new family member in our midst. This is an adjustment for our household and to add to the confusion, we’ve jumped breeds too. Perhaps that wouldn’t faze some people, but I’ve been living with ACDs for so long now that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to raise a different type of puppy. But this pup’s breed was a big part of my decision to make the switch and I’m happy to say I’m looking forward to learning what makes this cute little package tick.
His name is Gus. Well, his registered name (That’s right, he’s not a rescue or an adoption. Spare me the lectures, please; I have a rescue dog too.) will be Warren Mountain’s Knight’s Tale. I tinkered with the idea of calling him Tallie for short, but it was just too cutesy for me. “Gus” seems to fit him. He’s not a foo-foo boy by any means and I’m not raising him to be one either. In fact, I got him to hunt vermin on our farm. We’ve been over run by chipmunks since my barn cat died five years ago. I know replacing the cat with another would probably seem like the logical thing to do, but I have a long list of reasons why I’d rather not go that route. I’d hoped we would acquire another cat the same way we got Mac: he just showed up here one day. I knew the minute I went out and adopted a cat or kitten three more would suddenly appear on my doorstep the next week. So I waited and waited and I guess I waited too long. Now my adult dogs are past the point where a cat or kitten would have a fighting chance of surviving their onslaught. And I’m not going to lose a cat to a coyote … that’s just too heartbreaking for me to bear. So I hoping the answer will lie with Gus.
Rat Terriers have vermin hunting in their genes and they tend to be great farm dogs. They have a lot of energy and intensity, but they also have an “off” button and know how to enjoy a good snuggle too. This boy’s temperament is much softer than any of my ACD puppies were at his age. He’s smart but sensitive and because his hunting instincts make him quick to react to motion and sound, I have to slow things W-A-Y down for him. I admit, that’s a challenge for me sometimes! In some ways Gus reminds me of an Arabian Horse: quick and smart, but very sensitive. But being sensitive doesn’t mean he’s a pushover. He has a lot of tenacity, intensity and …. well, GUSto! I know he’s my first Rattie and I probably don’t know squat yet, but I think his temperament is very nice! I can tell he’s a quick study. Name recognition took no time at all and he’s doing very well with basic commands and walking on a lead.
Before Gus arrived I replaced a bunch of our ACD destroyed toys and bought several more that were a scaled down version of what I have for the adult dogs. Naturally, Gus is infatuated with Hazer’s Frisbee, which now has a hole in the center that makes it easy for him to pick up. Right now just about anything is fair game for him to try to steal and play with, but he likes the Frisbee so much that I’m going to have to buy Hazer a new one and let Gus have the old one. (I was going to get a new one anyway … the hole wrecks it for throwing long distance) The trick to avoiding squabbles is to have multiples of the things they like. That way everyone can be happy. I also noticed that Gus likes to grab the Frisbee and bring it over to me, so I’m marking that behavior and working it into our training. Hazer is a fantastic Frisbee player and I’d love to have Gus grow into one too. (Neena is strictly a ball player; she never mastered looking up to follow the path of a Frisbee, but she’s killer quick with a ball!)
Of course, sometimes even the best toys can turn into a bit of a challenge!
Better size, but not nearly as much fun!