Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s my number, can you give me a call?
Our preferred method of contact is email, except for a confirmation text or call on the day of a hunt. We’re busy farming and hunting and are rarely available by phone. For serious hunting inquiries use our hunting inquiry. Once we have your answers and we’ll determine whether we can be effective. If we are not sure, we may schedule a consultation, which is different than a full hunt. We’ll then schedule with you by email. We will confirm the hunt a couple days before by email. On the day of the hunt we will text or call you when we are on our way.

Your dogs are so handsome, what breed are they?
We are more interested in dog types and what a dog can do than in dog breeds. We do not care so much what our dogs look like, although size and weight impact working ability. Our dogs are American Ratting Terriers and Farm Feists. This appellation refers not to specific breeding but to what the dogs like to do and are effective at. These dogs excel at digging, chasing and dispatching vermin and varmints.

bury emWhat do you do with the rats? Wouldn’t it be good to give them to wildlife rescue?
How about you store them in your freezer? We have had contact with most of these organizations and they want us to deliver to them. After 3-4 hours of hunting in dirt and muck, we want to tend to our dogs or go for bites and beer, not drive an hour or more out of our way. These rats could also be poisoned, we have no idea, so this makes them bad candidates for rescue food. Instead we do with them the most natural thing—we feed them to the vultures.

Where did your dogs come from? Can I purchase one from you?
We do not breed dogs and we do not sell dogs. We don’t have kennels full of dogs. We are a working kennel and only keep four dogs. Dogs are personal things between friends and hunters. We also don’t recommend high drive dogs to inexperienced owners, just because they think these dogs are friendly or handsome. Without regular hunting and activity these dogs are highly destructive. They need to be exercised or worked hard and/or need to live on farms or in hunting homes where they can express their high drive in a positive manner. If you are attracted to terrier style dogs or think you have a few rats on your property we suggest you look at a rescue dog—the shelters are full of terrier mixes who would be glad to hunt a few rats and you are doing a good deed by adopting one of these mutts. On farms we hunt we will at times help farmers evaluate and train rescues to solve their long-term rodent issues.

I really love what you are doing. Can I come along?
We don’t allow spectators as people not intimately involved rarely understand and usually offer nothing but criticism. We have a circle of friends that we draw from when we need extra help on a hunt, but we do occasionally need extra help if these folks are not available. If you are willing to get dirty, move piles of wood and do hard digging, you are welcome to send us a polite introduction via our contact page. We get lots of requests, so be patient and don’t take it personally if we do not jump at your offer.

I have a dog, can I bring it along?
Our working pack consists of 3-5 intact dogs that work together as a team. We also work hard to train our dogs not to chase chickens cats and other livestock. We have no idea how your dog will interact with our dogs or the livestock on site, if they will be aggressive or disruptive to the hunt. If you come on several hunts with us as human labor, or if you are a farmer with a dog, over time we may work with you to evaluate your dog. This is done based on existing relationship and is not offered as a service to the public.

My dog catches rats too! How can I connect and share?
We would love to see pictures of your dog and her conquest!  We know there are lots of you out there who have wonderful dogs and we love to know about them whether they catch rats or you just wish they would! We have a fan-page and clubhouse on Facebook just for this very purpose.  Go to Furry Friends of the Mongrol Hoard and Rat Catching Rascals Clubhouse  and ask to join.

Isn’t this dangerous for the dogs? Aren’t you worried about rabies?
Life is risky. There are inherent dangers in any kind of activity and like commuting, moto-crossing, hiking etc., we are taking a measured risk when we go out to hunt. The most common dangers we encounter are rat bites and contusions, both of which heal quickly and can be treated with regular first aid. The worst thing we have encountered was a puncture wound, which lead to the death of a dog. But this was a freak accident that could have happened anywhere. We have not had any trouble with rabies or leptospirosis, the two things that people seem most worried about. There are only six recorded instances of rabies in rats, all in Eastern Europe after WWI & WWII. Healthy active dogs build immunity to disease through contact.  Want to know more about wild rats as disease vectors?  Here is an impressive amount of information:

You ask for case of beer when you come hunt. Are you serious? And what kind of beer?
Yes, we are serious about the beer. Although we are not heavy drinkers we think of beer as the best kind of currency and we like to have plenty on hand to share with friends. As far as what kind, surprise us. Just please don’t give us Budweiser. We’ll take everything else, from coors light to homebrew and we like light, dark, IPA, cheap, fancy and everything in between.

How do you train the dogs? Is it instinct?
A dog needs genetics, instinct, training and opportunity. These four things combined with time and experience make a good hunting dog. You can have the best genetics without instinct or the best instincts but the dog never has opportunity. You have to yourself, be passionate about the hunt or why should your dogs bother?  My dogs do what I like to do and expect me to work as hard as they do. Puppies are exposed slowly and not expected to do serious hunting, but to get used to the sights sounds and smells. We hope for a puppy that shows interest and curiosity in the hunt and who follow what the older dogs are doing. We are not so much training dogs as we are raising dogs for this work.  To learn more, please see our Training Page and video.

Do the dogs hunt gophers too? What about ground squirrels?
The dogs hunt gophers on their own time. We won’t hunt them for you. If you have a gopher problem the best solution is to trap them. We sometimes hunt ground squirrels but don’t have them in large numbers locally. We excel at catching and dispatching the Norway Rat.

I have rats in my walls, under my house, in my attic…. Can you help?
We are not a residential service, we are a farm and homestead service. We do not work inside or under houses and are not interested in crawling under your house or in insulation. Occasionally during a consultation, we’ll use a dog to locate entry points, but the best solution for residential vermin is exclusion, which is what a residential pest control service will excel at.

What about Barn Hunt?
We get asked a lot about this Barn Hunt, what is this and with such good hunting dogs, why aren’t we doing it?  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.  But despite the name, Barn Hunt does not resemble actual rat hunting in any way. 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 they unlike the wild Norway rat, they are not aggressive. Real hunting on a farm requires the dogs to locate wild, intelligent and aggressive rats inside walls, under 18 inches of manure, around cows, goats, chickens, parrots, emu, horses and more, with working machinery and farms in motion.  For more of our thoughts on Barn Hunt read our full blog post on the subject.

Can you come hunt at my urban homestead?
The city is full of rats, you can catch hundreds there, right?
While it is true that some cities, especially older cities in restaurant districts suffer from large rat infestations, they also offer great hiding places for rats in sewers and under concrete and tarmac that our dogs simply can’t get to.  And while we are glad to visit your urban homestead and try to catch your rats, 9 times out of 10 you have “commuter rats” that feed in your chicken coop but live elsewhere in unaccessible neighboring yards or under the many buildings, sidewalks and roads available in the urban environment.  The most rats we have caught at a single homestead in the city is 13.  The second largest number was 6.  More typically we are lucky to get 2 or 3.  The best approach for urban situations is to limit feed sources and hiding places next to coops (see best farm practices).