Do Dogs Keep Mice Away?

Dog hunting mice

A lot of non-dog people assume that dogs are really good at keeping mice away because they are a superior being on the food chain.

And while it is true that cats chase mice away and dogs chase cats away, it is not a given that dogs will have that kind of implied effect on rodents.

This might be disappointing if you wanted a list of dog breeds that will do just this. But keep reading and that answer is in this piece too, along with other essentials you need to know.

What We Know

It is possible that you might be noticing more rodents in and around your home after you get a new dog. And if you don’t know whether dogs actually attract mice or keep them away, you’ve come to the right place.

Now, we know that cats and mice are not big fans of each other because we all studied the food chain or watched Tom & Jerry. One is a predator and the other is prey.

When it comes to dogs though, a lot of small animals are quite scared of them. This includes cats which have the same predator-prey equation as the canines.

And so, it is natural to assume that rats feel the same way and hence do their best to avoid dogs. To an extent, this is true.

But if you’ve been seeing more rodents around, it can get you really confused. So, here’s what we need to know about the situation.

What Research Actually Says

A group of researchers from the University of Florida actually looked into this. They studied the relationship between pets and rodents in many African villages.

The goal was to see if dogs are capable of repelling rodents and particularly mice at that. Just what you wanted to know.

And here’s what they found.

Having a pet like a cat or a dog does reduce the presence of mice in a house. But if the house has only a dog and not any other pet, there is a small change in the equation.

Turns out, mice are not entirely terrified of dogs and more of them seemed to have shown up after a dog came around. The researchers concluded that having a dog alone does not guarantee that the mice will stay away.

But having a combination of cats and dogs can be an effective deterrent. They said it’s because two different types of these predators existed and that presented a menacing front to the rodents.

But it is not conclusive that this same fear study applies to the US. Now, you can use other methods to make sure that mice don’t come into your house.

Here are some ideas.

  • As suggested above, get a combination of pets to solve the problem.
  • Clean the house regularly and make sure you inspect it for rodent infestations on a regular basis. Focus on sealing places where the mice can enter from.
  • Don’t make food or water available in the open places because that is a direct invitation.
  • Food that your pets have not eaten should be thrown away in a garbage can that has a lid. If you want to store it, do so in containers that are sealed.
  • Typically protein food like meat and cheese tend to attract mice and cockroaches. So, make sure you don’t leave them around.
  • Take pest control seriously and find the root cause of the problem instead of just getting rid of the existing infestation.

Also Read: Why Do Dogs Kill Birds?

Breeds That Get the Job Done

Even though dogs are not meant to do pest control for you, there are some breeds that can help you take care of a pest problem.

Many breeds were meant to hunt down rodents and smaller animals from attacking livestock and crops. So, it’s not like there is no solution in a dog.

But it’s not always enough and it’s one thing to chase off an occasional mouse visitor and a whole other to take down an infestation. So, if you’re looking to add another layer to your solution, here are the breeds you should consider.

  • Cairn Terriers
  • Dachshunds
  • German Pinschers
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Lakeland Terriers
  • Papillons
  • Rat Terriers
  • Yorkshire Terriers

As you can see, a lot of them are small dogs but plenty of terriers are on the list. This is because they were working dogs and were bred to hunt small animals.

They are small, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, they are kept that way so that they can be agile and dig up holes and stuff to get these underground rodents out and get rid of them.

Also Read: What Dogs Kill Snakes?

Can You Train Them?

This might not be the easiest thing to do, regardless of the breed you have. It can be easier for dogs to chase mice if they are hunting dogs that have it in their DNA.

But if not, you are going to have some serious work to do. However, if you are committed to the mission and have come armed with many treats, it is doable.

This isn’t Mission Impossible and you don’t have to channel your Ethan Hunt to make it happen.

The first thing to do here is to make sure your dog can identify the rodent. This means you might have to get a real-life mouse and let the dog hang around and see what the mouse (in a cage) is all about.

Keep an eye on how your dog reacts so that they don’t accidentally become unlikely friends. Typically, you will see them move around the cage and sniff the mouse which is a good sign.

After this, you must encourage them to treat it as a pest and something to chase. You don’t have to actually get them to murder the mouse but conditioning them to chase the mouse away is a pretty good way to go about it.

Also Read: Why Do Dogs Chase Squirrels?

Summary

Now you know that some dogs can help you chase mice away because they have hunting DNA in them. Some others can be trained to do this, although there are no guaranteed results here.

The fact of the matter is that not all dogs can do this and even when they do, they are not exactly equipped to demolish entire infestations.

But research tells us that you might have better luck if you get a cat and a dog because that combination is apparently quite terrifying to these little rodents.