When you become the guardian of a dog, either as its adopter or foster parent, you make a commitment to be responsible for the well-being of that dog. New Rattitude’s standards for proper and responsible care for our rescued dogs, both before and after adoption, include the following:

Meeting Physical Needs

• A proper amount of a good quality, dog-appropriate food is provided daily.

• Fresh, clean water is available at all times, including when the dog is outside for all but a brief period. The dog is prevented from drinking from puddles, rain buckets, or any outdoor containers that collect rainwater.

• The dog is provided with adequate opportunities for exercise, based on the dog’s age and physical abilities, such as walks, runs, competitive sports, physical play (ball chasing, tug of war), etc.

Meeting Emotional Needs

• Situations that cause fear or distress in the dog are managed or avoided by learning to read the dog’s body language.

• Ample amounts of quality time is spent with the dogs, since dogs are social animals, and most—certainly most Rat Terriers—need and thrive on human company.  

Maintaining Health and Safety

• The dog is kept as an indoor pet and companion, and not left outside at night or in inclement weather, nor kept chained or tied, nor left outside unattended except in a securely fenced yard.

• Appropriate medical care by a state-licensed veterinarian in good standing is provided regularly, including annual medical check-ups, physical exam, vaccinations as required by law (unless deemed harmful to the dog by the veterinarian), and annual heartworm testing.

• Heartworm preventative is given each and every month without fail, regardless of the geographic location or time of year.

• When riding in a car, the dog is kept safely secured either in a stable crate or by a body harness and tether.

• Routine at-home healthcare is provided on an as-needed basis, including flea/tick preventative, maintenance nail clippings, baths, and appropriate care for any injuries or illnesses.

Providing Appropriate Training

New Rattitude firmly advocates using only positive, force-free methods in dog training and discipline. Research shows that such methods are more effective than aversive (forceful, painful) techniques or punishment, which can cause fear, reactivity, and aggression and prevent a trusting relationship. Specifically prohibited with New Rattitude dogs is the use of spanking/hitting/whipping, “alpha rolls,” dominance ear bites, neck jabs or jerks, scruff shaking, leash hanging, kneeing the chest or stepping on toes, rubbing the nose in excrement, using choke/pinch/prong collars or shock collars, or intentional menacing.

New Rattitude has formally adopted a position statement condemning the use of electronic stimulation (i.e. “shock”) devices to control, train and/or modify the behavior of pet animals, recognizing such use as potentially damaging to the animal and not necessary for effective behavior modification or training:

“New Rattitude believes that the use of electronic stimulation devices is an impediment to dog rehabilitation and training, based on abundant evidence indicating that these devices add stress, discomfort, and/or pain to the animal; slow or impede the training process; can result in both short-term and long-term psychological damage to animals; and can actually directly contribute to escalation of unwanted behavior. For the purpose of this statement, electronic stimulation devices include products referred to as: static collars, shock collars, e-collars*, training collars, stimulation collars, e-touch, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit collars, remote trainers, no bark collars, and invisible fence collars. It is the position of New Rattitude that all training should be conducted in a manner in which to encourage animals to enjoy training and become more confident and well-adjusted pets.”

*In this context, an “e-collar” refers to an electronic collar, not to be confused with a so-called Elizabethan collar or “‘cone” to prevent the dog from reaching injuries or surgical sites, which is also sometimes referred to as an e-collar.

We encourage anyone with physical custody of any dog to learn more about positive training on sites such as positively.com, heathypets.mercola.com, and akc.org.

References:

Pet Professional Guild
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
American Animal Hospital Association 
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants 
Applied Animal Behavior Science 
Companion Animal Psychology 
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers 
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association 
British Small Animal Veterinary Association
Australian Veterinary Association
Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB
Karen Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB, CAAB
Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Victoria Stilwell, VSPDT, APDT, IAABC – #1  
Victoria Stilwell, VSPDT, APDT, IAABC – #2