It is easy to say “danger is inherent to work” and it is quite another when an accident strikes close to heart. Today we lost our mojo, and the back bone of the Mongrol Hoard.
A day out rat hunting with close friends took an unsuspected turn with a simple freak accident. A small puncture wound of unknown origin was quite deep and punctured the liver, and a vibrant rat slayer was laid to rest to ease his suffering.
People often comment on once in a lifetime love, and once in a lifetime dogs. This cannot be more relevant than in the case of the irreplaceable. While you often see this idea in motion the hole left behind makes it crystal clear.
I was given a dog, a dog that started all this rat catching and terrier mayhem. I named him “ Sir Grumps A lot” Grumpy lived in a chain link kennel and was fear aggressive before I met him but he had a look that caught my eye. It can never be said as more true, “it was Grumpy who taught me, the ways of the terrier “
I may be at a loss the rest of my life to find a finer example of the American Rat Terrier. Grumpy was a alert and handsome male weighing perhaps 16- 17 lbs and a fierce hunter of vermin and varmit alike. Grumpy battled the challenge of severe alopecia, medially luxating patellas, and under-socialazation. But even with these faults you could not ever doubt his desire to hunt.
If I had to pick one dog, for any job it was not much of a choice. Anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching him work would say the same, “Grumpy is amazing”. You might not ever get to pet him or even touch him, unless you sat down and relaxed. But if you needed a job you could not go wrong.
It would be impossible to count times he dragged me through berry patches after a coon, chased varmints away from my poultry, went back home because walking in the rain sucked (when you have no hair and alopecia), or jumped through the window of my vehicle to sit at peace in the sun. Like all real terriers he had a mind of his own.
How would I prove this supposed value? Simply put, he killed more rats that I can count.
Grumpy Dog, may you sleep in the sun where thunder and guns do not exist to disturb your rest, and all dreams are of chasing rabbits.
“My Heart is shattered “
A response to the daily questions we get about where to get a dog just like ” Levi the Leviathan”.
While yesterdays post ( our loss of ” Sir Grumps Alot ” ) was a reminder of fine example of a working terrier that has passed. It was also a reminder of a terrier gone wrong. What happens when a terrier is in the wrong hands and how they end up in shelters and being put down.
Grumpy was a fearful, anxiety ridden, bored, and human aggressive dog that was given to me or would have likely been put down.
This is what happens to a “cute” terrier dog, in the wrong hands. Through proper exercise, stimulation and hunting he blossomed over time into a fine example of a working dog despite his faults.
I represent terriers, a small dog that loves to live face-first in the earth and has a strong desire to chase and destroy vermin and varmints. They are stubborn, bad listeners and have insane energy levels.
I care about what a dog can do, how healthy it is, and how it effectively works in motion.
I do not care what breed it is or what color it is, as long its fit the needs I have and does its job well.
Hunting goes far beyond simply having a dog on a farm that occasionally catches a mole, vole or mouse. This is a legitimate use for a terrier, but this is farm dog, not a hunting dog.
A hunting dog gets loaded and taken off its home site. It has to perform consistently in all conditions and situations. It is this testing of skills, courage and stamina that shows the true nature of the beast.
Considering I have visited more farms than most fertilizer salesmen, and have photo proof of my dogs’ true nature, it could be said that I own something along the lines of performance hunters.
This is what you might see:
You see cute dog.
You see handsome dog
You see what you think looks like a fun dog, or useful dog, and think this looks awesome.
This is what you do not see:
You do not see the hours and hours of training and exercise that goes into the making of a well behaved performance terrier.
You do not see the daily hiking, biking and walking.
You do not see the 10 year commitment to a lifestyle. A lifestyle that is determined by commitment to the dogs.
You do not see the hours I spend driving my dogs to hunting locations where they can can exorcise their energy into rats that end up dead.
You do not see the destruction one these small energetic dogs is capable of when ignored and without stimulation and exercise.
BASICALLY, YOU DO NOT WANT ONE.
What my dogs are, and where they came from is not important.
They are terriers, and I assure you that just because you think they are cute, handsome, a magic solution, or awesome, that does not mean you should get one.
The shelters are stock full of terrier type dogs for the reasons listed above. Dogs that if they had the needed love, supervision, exercise and stimulation would be wonderful dogs for you.
You can not buy dogs from me, now or ever.
What breed are my dogs? That is easy, my dogs are terriers.
P.S. For actual farmers that have serious need of dogs, we talk in person to learning about your purpose. It is only through personal connection and knowledge of experience and need that a recommendation of terriers is made.
I get asked this a lot ” how do i keep my dogs from killing chickens ” and it is simple really.
The best way to keep a dog from killing chickens, is to put it on a leash.
99 percent of bad behavior is lack of exercise or lack of supervision.
A supervised dog on a leash, can not kill a chicken, and can be corrected and rewarded for positive and negative behavior.
I start all young dogs on a short leash attached to the carpenter hammer loop on my pants. This is how the dog travels around the farm meeting animals on all daily chores. The leash has a carabiner and can easily be hooked to fences or gates as they progress. It is typically just a matter of time until they graduate to a longer leash and eventually running free and still dragging the leash.
The dog will never ever, be loose, off a leash ( minus a way to catch and control ) or unsupervised until it is safe around chickens.
All lunging, staring or excessive interest in livestock or poultry will be met with a strong vocal command and a leash tug.
I have struggled with one dog killing guinea hens until I started crating her overnight in the guinea pen, and after a week and a half of crated nights inside the coop she has never looked at a guinea again as they apparently bored her to tears.
A cat is much harder to train dogs to be safe around, unless you have a cat that will not run and trigger the prey instinct.
Buy a good bell and cats will be warned of the dog and stay far away from him/her https://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Swiss-Cow-Bells-GENUINE/dp/B003NYWUA8
I keep typically keep a few small, good flying bantam roosters that are free range to test the resolve of young dogs and monitor the progress of their interest in poultry. It allows me to have the dogs run free without the leash, because there will be a lot of commotion long before the death of a bird . If a bird is harmed common which in not uncommon with a terrier pup ,it is not a prized fowl on a job site.
I use biothane straight leads no handles when dogs are running free, they are almost impossible to tangle
How would you respond?
Email of the Weekend
I feel extremely compelled to tell you that I find your business extremely offensive. You’re subjecting rats to extreme amount of pain and torture. being attacked by an animal to be killed is extremely violent and inappropriate. Also the fact that you’re subjecting your dogs to diseases and infections that they can pick up from conflict from the animal bites/scrapes/cuts is shameful, ask any vet. we live in a sophisticated country at this point and I think what you’re doing is completely inappropriate and you should feel terrible about yourself. I’ll be sending your ad to the animal welfare agencies and also animal activist clubs. I wish no good luck for your company and I hope it fails quickly. I also hope that no harm comes to any of the animals involved because you’re basically just having them fight each other and that’s very very uneducated.
My Response –
Thanks for the time you took to write a email.
My personal guess is that you do not know much about country living or farming. Growing your own food and meat is good, and eggs too. Unfortunately with hay and grain and other food around, you end up dealing with rats. This especially happens when people that have no country living skills start little hobby farms and homestead.
If you have not dealt with a infestation level of rats first hand, they you also likely do not have any experience how aggressive a Norway rat is. Ive been called to farms where they are killing baby and adult chickens, and also to farms where they are chewing on baby cows. This is not even to mention that feces in the feed can cause animals to abort and other issues. They are no joke and they also cause damage by undermining foundations and can cause buildings to fall down eventually.
The next thing I would mention is that you should go and research rat poison. I had a dog poisoned and that is one of the reasons I started catching rats. It was through that experience that I learned a rat takes 3-7 days to die while in terrible pain and bleeding from the internal organs. If that is not bad enough then any animal, hawk or owl that eats the rat will also ingest all the poison and die. There was bobcats and mountain lions this year in CA that were tagged animals in studies that died from just that, there are studies that show almost all the raptors hit by cars have ingested rat poisons.
I work sometimes in education talking to groups about the danger of rat poison in the environment and also with children. I forgot to mention that certified organic farmers can not use poison.
While we may live in a sophisticated country as evidenced by sophisticated Donald Trump ? We are less connected to nature and our food than we ever have been before. I am not ashamed of myself, and the conclusions you draw are not based in the reality of who I am, or have anything to do with me or the work that I do with dogs.
I wish you all the best of luck in love and life.
P.S. All the dead rats that I catch are donated to raptors
I think this offers a good education opportunity.
Many people might look at this and see working dogs, or what they they think of working dogs. Maybe that means the dogs are doing things that they think is work, or perhaps they have never seen dogs actually working.
What do you see when you watch this video? Please tell me in the comments or via social media.
What I see? Well that is easy.
First I see far too many dogs. There is a mayhem of dogs. If your object is to work dogs you don’t need a milling mass unless there are tons and tons of rats and the need for extra handlers.
The second thing I see, is that none of the Sealyham dogs have their nose to the ground actually searching for rats, or locating rats. If you want to catch rats, you have to be able to find rats.
A dog that has the nose and the drive to actually locate rats is the most valuable dog that you own. Who cares if you have dogs that kill rats if you can not find rats to kill. A terrier by definition is a dog of the earth , its nose should be to ground.
Third, I see dogs that are totally lacking in focus. Just like athletes good working dogs need to be kept in practice and training to be sharp. My own personal dogs need to catch a few rats typically in order to calm down and get to business, but the focus they settle to is amazing. Running around aimlessly like the sealyham’s in the video is not working. There is not focus with eye or nose on anything rat related.
There are also a few Jack Russels cleverly disguised among the Sealyham. My assumption is they are likely the farmers dog’s although I don’t actually know. If you watch the video you will notice it is the few JRT that actually are working and deal with the rats.
My conclusion, is that this is what most terriers removed from work act like. These are show bred dogs that retain mild amounts of drive and instinct ( and likely bark at squirrels from kennels ) but are far from working quality.
This is likely a way to have great fun for the dogs and a way of judging the small amount of instinct they have. Like barn hunt a fun game does not make a working dog , it makes a fun game for dogs especially on rainy days in covered arena’s.
Real working ratters are focused, quick, and efficient at both locating and dispatching rats.
I am not trying to discouraging, go out there and have fun and work the dogs at hunting and at games.
Working your dogs is the only possible way to learn about the actual working traits and characteristics of your dogs.
The Leviathan has landed … aka Levi
For those that didn’t know, the Mongrol Hoard has emigrated
North of the bay area to rural land in Oregon, Grants Pass is the official address. It’s a big and very scary move after living in Sonoma county and also the Bay since 1998.
I do not have friends and farm contacts here and although it offer a lot of opportunities the present can be tough.
I spent not quite a decade visiting farms with the Mongrol Hoard and developing a cult following. It’s sobering and humbling to look at that from a far and be in a new and unknown place, where my dog’s are just dog’s and I don’t know where to start at finding rat’s.
Wish us luck as we struggle to share our work and worth in a new place , on our mission of traditional rat catching. Using quality dogs to keep poison off farms and confirmed dead rats on our board for counting.
we will continue to road trip an hunt rats in our home haunt as often as the opportunity allows.
I am going to be real clear what my farm service is about. : It is about Purpose and Passion, not about Business and Profit.
I started on this pathway after a life changing move to California landed me on a variety of farms, getting me involved with agriculture and gardening. It was the poultry with its connection to vermin and varmit that eventually developed into my love affair with terriers and my devoted confrontations with rats.
The mild climate of affluent northern CA is an excellent breeding ground for the Norway rat. There is a lack of public space and dog friendly areas and big game hunting is hard to access, costing quite a bit of money to lease hunting rights. This and marijuana production kept me on farms and out of the woods during the fall deer season. While I might have never imagined what a working rat pack in motion was, I can now say that I fully embrace the challenges and foe I have chosen, and the characters and friends I meet along the way. One of my personal dogs nearly died from rat poison and the first hand experience has kept me on my pathway.
While catching rats with dogs is a traditional method and there are many good dogs in the USA and world, there are few people on the West Coast or entire USA that are actively seeking out rats on a regular basis like I do. I do not have the best dogs in the world. I am just a regular guy, with regular dogs that loves to spend time on farms.
Once of the things we face, is how to actually get what we do out there to the world. This traditional method has been mostly forgotten or people think that is is a joke. “YEA, YEA, YEA, some guy catches a couple rats.” I am very thankful for the element of business professionalism that K.Ruby has brought to my communication and farm service with a website and logo http://themongrolhoard.com/ from her expertise running the http://www.iuhoakland.com/. I have a GED and little technical skills, yet I am highly motivated and put in a strong and skillful effort at every farm I visit. Ruby’s skills have helped people to take my passion seriously. I also traded fruit tree pruning for my website, another skilled agriculture trade.
While we may run this in some ways like a business, it is because we want to show we are serious and not surfer bro dudes or slimy scum bags. We show up when we say we will, and we have incredible endorsements from the farmers and farms that we visit. We train our dogs not to chase poultry and livestock and give every location our best effort. We are not a pest control business or residential service and we don’t crawl around under houses no matter how much people ask us to.
When we share our posts to the greater world, it is for a couple reasons. One of those reasons is because I love showing off my dogs. I am fortunate to have been given time with some incredible dogs none more important that Grumpy, for those that know me personally or saw him work http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-terrier-that-truly-lived.html. Two, we are also showing off through photos that we are an effective solution and seeing is believeing–there is no other way to show it other than first hand. Three, we have to share what we do in order to find farms with rats that are not throwing out poison, and those are few and far between.
I have a job and am deeply steeped in agriculture. I am a sheep shearer. I have done many kinds of work (truck driver, skilled winery worker in organic grape and wine production, gopher trapper, tree pruner and so much more) all deeply involved in agriculture. What I do with rats is my hobby in my free time. I continue to find ways to spend time on farms because that is where I want to be, and that is what I love doing.
I want to be real clear for those people that can’t read and understand this.. I dont go to a farm or homestead that I do not think I will be effective at or without confirmed rats. I will not return to farms where farmers will not make a effort to clean up or change management practice to deter rats in the future. I get to work with people I enjoy and the farms that I want to support. I help people that develop an ongoing personal connection with me and my extended farm family.
I will lay it out. If this was for-profit I would be charging $300-500 dollars per hour for my time including drive fees or contract costs. Do you have any idea how many people contact me and say this is what I should be doing? That I should make this a for-profit business structure. Do you know how many people contact me and say, “Wow, great idea I am going to start doing this as a for-profit business”. Well great, I wish more people caught rats with dogs and kept rats off farms and you can learn the same way I did, by trying it.
Should you contact me about a rat issues and the service that I provide. I will send you the stock information that includes a questionaire and asks for pictures so I can get a feel for the infrastructure of your farm. I will schedule via email and I don’t give out phone numbers as a public figure that polarizes PETA style activist hate and threats. I charge a small fee to keep people from wasting my time over the fear of supposed rats and to defray the high costs of food & care of my dogs.
I charge a small fee to keep people from wasting my time over the fear of supposed rats and to defray the high costs of food & care of my dogs. I currently ask a whopping fee of $100-150 and a box of beer for a farm visit of 3-4 hours. I have driven 900 one way miles to reach a farm without changing this and we are often bringing 2-4 people and 5-8 dogs. no one is getting rich here. I will take farm products or meat in trade and will work with anyone who really has rats and is not able to meet this request. I have asked for farmers on road trip to allow me to stay on the farm and to feed me instead of a monetary amount.
I dont know how anyone that is stable minded thinks that I can raise, train and support at least 4 adult rat catching terriers, and the associated costs of dog food, shots, vet care, first aid, specialty tools, gas and vehicle maintenance on this type of service stipend.
My family and friends will vouch for the truth of my words. I do what I do because I love doing it and am passionate about it. I love being on farms and hunting with dogs. This is what I do to support organic farming and homesteads. I continue a tradition of hunting with dogs while having fun on farms and meeting some great characters.
I am thankful for all the wonderful family and friends that I have met along the way and for those personally that have supported my work as relentlessly and passionately pursue rats, with dogs, farms.
We represent the past and the future in photos “Sir Grumps Alot” and our newest prospect is Mad Max aka Emperor Maximillian
A few blurbs back I shared a comprehensive guide to the two most common species of rats, Rattus Rattus and Rattus Norvegicus. Of the two, the Norway rat is clearly larger and more aggressive. It has a strong burrowing instinct and can sink barns and buildings by undermining foundations and move tremendous amounts of dirt. Its aggressive nature can be seen when treating chickens that have been attacked in the night as they were catatonic or babies chicks that have been eaten. Other rats will even eat their own kind if they have been killed in a trap.
When on a site visit I have seen Norway rats turning to face the dog and sometimes actually jumping straight at a dog (most dont live that long to get the chance). We also deal with rat bites to the dogs after every hunt and treat them at home. Yes, working the dogs is inherently dangerous. But so is driving a car.
What do you think of when you think big rat? I doubt many real creatures inspire more myth or creative imaginings. A few rat droppings, creatively imagined turn into hundreds of rats. A big rat turns into a cat size urban myth. Three juvenile rats entering in a nest burrow is fodder for a fire of fevered fear of infestations.
In my own tale as a rat catcher I have not kept track of my total sum of dead rats, though this would be interesting. I also do not keep journals or notes on rat biology. I do, however, take the time to weigh and measure the occasional very large specimen and have learned a few things. I do see big rats and I see them at many locations. I consider any rat over .85 lbs.to be a big one. This turns the fever pitch of imagination into reality. While big rats in the .85 lb. range are common, when you start to get bigger than this is when you are truly seeing a rat. Here the weight range become more compact with less variance and slight weight difference become less common. I have been weighing rats 3 or 4 years in this time I have killed (guesstimate) several thousands of rats. On locations with good amounts of available food sources we often see rats in the 1.1 lb range. The largest I have ever seen and my personal record for largest specimen was a 1.272 lb. buck and no specimens ever came close although I eagerly weighed many. In fact this is how I learned a big rat is .85 and bigger because that is what big rats weigh when you weigh them enough.
This past weekend on a dairy farm I was able to raise the bar on my personal experience and catch a rat with my dogs that was truly a monster of the species. Caught as a breeding pair both the maie and femaie are exceptional in size. These rats are not easy to catch or kill and do damage to the dogs. It takes courage, skill and bravery to confront such a beast knowing they will take a beating or bite. As much as I know you have enjoyed reading this, I also guess you are wondering what a personal best and monster rat weighs.
As large as a full size 750ml bottle of wine and weighing in at 1.440 lbs. This is true monster !
We get asked a lot about this Barn Hunt, what is this and with such good hunting dogs, why aren’t we doing it? So here is a quick stab at our thoughts.
As an activity for dogs barn hunt is a wonderful fun game. There are many people who cannot or will not ever visit a farm with a dog, or are physically incapable of the manual labor that rat catching entails. Barn hunt could also be a wonderful and appropriate learning experience for a puppy, who you wouldn’t want to expose to the realities of real farm hunting situations.
We do not want to criticize the people who put on Barn Hunt and certainly not those who participate. However we do have some concerns.
We are personally against dogs as a business model or plan, as are most reputable breeders. We are not in this for money and do not sell dogs for this reason. Barn Hunt is clearly a low cost infrastructure model that makes someone in an office somewhere a very handsome profit.While there is nothing wrong with making a profit, I do not like people making a profit off dogs. Dogs are my passion they are not my ATM machines.
Secondly, despite the name Barn Hunt resembles actual hunting or rat hunting in no shape or form. Barn Hunt is targeted scent training in a sterile fenced straw bale environment with domestic or crossbred rats. A clean domestic rat smells nothing like a wild Norway rat and unlike the wild Norway rat which is incredibly aggressive and even cannibalistic these rats are mild and tame. Real hunting on a farm requires the dogs to locate wild, intelligent and aggressive rats in barns and coops. The rats are often inside walls, under 18 inches of manure, around cows, goats, chickens, parrots, emu, horses and more, with working machinery and farms in motion.
We also have the concern that Barn hunt actively stimulates the dogs prey drive and instinctual arousal level without the outlet ever allowing that instinct to be fullfilled. Rat catching dogs can become frustrated and destructive in this situation. A dog that awakens its instinct but is never allowed to experience it, this is the ultimate blue balls syndrome.
Finally we are concerned about “show dog and conformational dog breeders” who have no intention of ever catching rats with terrier breed, using this game format and ribbons to sell dogs as “WORKING STOCK.” A dog that can find a tame caged rat in sterile small fenced environment is a far cry from a real real rat catcher, and they should not ever be represented as such. The value of a dog is not based on its ribbons or flash, it is found in its ability to do a job. Since when did traditional methods pest control and killing rats with dogs to keep poison off farms turn into ribbons and NO RATS HARMED for profit?
In summation, Barn Hunt is a fun activity for people who can’t rat hunt but it is not hunting in any real shape or form