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High prey drive

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by shibby, Mar 30, 2011.


  1. shibby

    shibby PetForums VIP

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    I don't know much about this subject and was just wondering how one would deal with this? We often see dogs who will chase down squirrels and try and climb trees to get to them (mostly terriers). We see some owners who kind of resign themselves to the fact their dog chases squirrels and will let them bark up the tree for ages. If you had a dog who chases birds/squirrels etc. how would you deal with it? Is it possible to teach them a solid command? Or is there anything to manage it?
     
  2. Trackerbob

    Trackerbob PetForums Junior

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    With my lot their No 1 favorite is Deer.

    The Beagles & Bassets would hunt for hours- until the scent dissipates or until they were physically too tired to carry on.

    Luckily Koda (being sight rather than scent orientated) will spot them first, go and say hello, and then return in a huff when they run away!

    The only way I have been able to stop them from hunting/ drawing for prey is to use bribery.

    On the walk they all know that at certain points they will recieve a treat if they are sat waiting (ie stile/gateway) and they also know that if they put up a deer, squirrel, rabbit or fox they will be rewarded if they make a point of not chasing!

    They still have their moments but food is definitely the best way to distract or discourage them!
     
  3. Freyja

    Freyja PetForums VIP

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    It can be possible with the right dog to train it not to chase. My friend has working lurchers she has permission to take the rabbiting on some farm land and she also has some land of her own. Were they lve there is a lot of hares and deer and she her dogs go after either of these she can call them off the chase.

    I know people with whippets that can call them of the chase if they go after rabbits. Saying that a lot of whippet people will allow their dogs to chase and catch rabbits they say its natural for them as it is what they were bred to do.

    I have heard before when people have being sayiong on a whippet forum that I go on that it is actually illegal to hunt squirrels with dogs and if you get seen allowing you dog to chase them you can be prosecuted. I'm not sure if that is true maybe someone else can confirm it but as far as I know the only animals you can legally allow your dog to chase are rabbits and rats.
     
  4. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    You (generalising) could no doubt get away with allowing your dog to chase and kill grey squirrels, as they are classed as vermin I believe, but not red squirrels which are rather rare.
     
  5. GoldenShadow

    GoldenShadow PetForums VIP

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    I think it totally depends on the dog but it's the reason Rupert doesn't go offlead. He doesn't chase to kill he chases to pick it up and come flaunt it in my face about how much of a clever boy he is. Too easy for him to chase onto a busy road here so he simply doesn't go off. Spent forever trying to sort it and now accepted I can't and to just leave it as it is, he seems to prefer playing with Milo to going out anyway.
     
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I've read countless articles on this, bought a book dedicated to prey drive, have posted quite a few threads on this but have yet to overcome this with my two.

    I constantly practise calling them away from distractions, when in mid chase (after their ball), etc but although I have been able to manage this in certain circumstances they both still love chasing & I don't think that will change.

    I have found that really high value treats will win Toby over at times but then he is a greedy boy who i can bribe easily, Roxy is not so food orientated & although she loves certain toys they are still no match for the thrill of chasing a rabbit/ppheasant/squirrel.

    I just have to be mindful of where we are, what I can see around me (I am constantly on the lookout) & roads before I let them off lead.

    I think it is probably easier if you have your dog from a puppy but both mine are rescues who were never really walked in the previous homes so now they find chasing animals very exciting - why wouldn't they? (unfortunately!)
     
  7. GoldenShadow

    GoldenShadow PetForums VIP

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    This is the weird thing with Rupert, he is food, food is his life. But even with raw bits of chicken in my pocket he wont be called off a chase :nonod:

    My next move with Rupert is asking him to sit and wait when I see a distraction. In reality imagine having to turn your back on something you're chasing or want to chase and come to your owner who's not massively fun? It means he can sit and watch where it goes and wait for me to go get him and reward etc, but it seems to keep a hang of him a bit more because his sit and wait command is very strong.

    I had Rupert as a puppy and tbh have no idea how I would have stopped him after that initial chase. Sadly here as well everywhere is labelled with 'dogs on lead' signs or has loads of animals about that I wouldn't let them off to go. If there aren't many animals Rupert will go and flush some out to chase himself :rolleyes::

    I think once they have chased you may very well have a big problem for a very long time. If I knew chasing and retrievers could be such a problem and had been on here before I got Rupert I probably would have had a better recall with him but I think I only joined roundabout when it happened. He didn't have a bad recall but it could have been more solid. He is really quite a well trained dog aside from chasing, its a shame it really is :(
     
  8. fessie

    fessie PetForums Junior

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    my dog likes chaseing everything so i cant let him off he how ever has a rabbit
    who he plays with if he gets to anoying the rabbit bites him my dog trys to dig him out
    he also anoys the cats alot its so hard to get him to leve anything moveing
     
  9. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I remember the day that Toby's prey drive 'switched on'. When he came to live with us his desire to chase was non existant, I walked him many times where there were rabbits & he was never interested.

    Until one day when he was getting all excited for his ball (he LOVES tennis balls) & just as I was about to throw it a muntjac deer flew out of some trees & he was off! I had never seen him run so fast (he was a right fat boy at this stage). I was nearly in tears as I didn't think he'd come back - no amount of calling him made a difference. He did return though, pleased as punch with himself & realised what fun it was to chase.

    As you say, I've tried making myself more exciting (& ookked like a loon!) so they are more likely to concentrate on me but this only works to s certain degree. It was easier where we used to live as where we are now there are large, open fileds so you can see for miles. the fields are also edged with dykes where loads of pheasants love to hide & bloody hares that run the full lenght of fields, deer grazing in most of them - I used to love seeing all the wildlife out but now it just make me nervous that the dogs will spot something & b*gger off!
     
  10. GoldenShadow

    GoldenShadow PetForums VIP

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    Its a pain isn't it :rolleyes:

    Where my godmum lives which was near where we lived they could all go off easy enough. Its the Lincolnshire wolds and you can take them to places where they run down and have huge steep hills every side to get back up so they never make it all the way up if they can find anything to chase anyway :lol:

    Rupert's first chase was the day he got the all clear from his neutering op. Didn't realise how much energy he had he was tearing about up the fields, saw a rabbit and we have had no recall around animals like that ever since :rolleyes::

    Its funny how fast fat animals can go when they want to lol! My friends thoroughbred cross was meant to be hugely unfit and was very fat. He still managed to tank off down a main road and run for 2.5 miles though complete with me onboard :scared:

    I thought golden retrievers were meant to be easy to train and not have chase instincts but since getting Rupert a surprising amount of golden retriever people have said they are tricky for it. Some days I just want to let them off etc and not worry faffing about with lunge lines but I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to them :nonod:
     
  11. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I know I constantly worry about my two. In 'normal' circumstances their recall is brilliant but I know that I have no hope if they spot something.

    It's the deer that make me worry so much as they can go for miles & I knwo that Roxy being so young (& crazy!) would jkeep going as well.

    She started to swim across the river the other night after a duck, luckily I think she scared herself so tunred & came back. I had visions of me having to get in & bring her back :rolleyes:

    LOL, I know even when Toby was huge I couldn't believe how fast he took off.

    Because of this I am constantly looking out for things, my OH can't belive how I can spot rabbits/hares, etc a mile off.

    Bloody dogs!
     
  12. Doolally

    Doolally PetForums Senior

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    I know i've said this before so sorry if I'm repeating myself.

    I have a terrier. He's been bred for hundreds of years to hunt and kill small furry things. IMO to deny him that is to deny his very existence. Sure I can play chase and 'kill' games with toys, but that's not the real thing and he damn well knows it. I don't like him catching and killing things, but if I was so against it I wouldn't have got a terrier.

    He's allowed to catch rats at the yard, and rabbits. He's allowed to chase (grey) squirrels but he's never caught one. He's not allowed to chase deer (I dread the damage a deer would do to him if he caught it), game, or cats.

    IMO he's a delight to own as he is allowed to use his instincts. He leaves the contraband furries because he's allowed to chase some furries. I've taught him from very young so I couldn't being to describe how I taught it, but he knows NO, LEAVE, DROP and COME and I can use them at any time and he'll always respond. He'd drop a rabbit before he did a kill bite if I told him to, but I know by the time he's done a grab bite it's' not got much chance so I have to suppress all human desire to scream AHHH DROP IT all girly like and let him finish the job.

    Yesterday someone came into work wanting to PTS a 6month old JRT as it was biting feet and being yappy and snappy, someone else has rehomed it otherwise i'd have it in a shot, i'm pretty damn sure the poor thing is just immensely frustrated he's not being allowed to do what he's been bred to do.
     
  13. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I was the same with Toby in that I found the more I restricted his access to animals the worse he got with lunging (if he though the branch of a tree moving was a squirrel). In the end I did start letting him chase rabbits, the area where I let him to do this was miles from roads & I knew that the rabbits would just run back to their burrow (not far away) so meant he wouldn't be off for miles.

    The problems I face now is the deer mainly, if I could manage to call them back from certain chases then I would be happy - I also do not want to stifle their natural urges but in the same way I want to keep them safe. I do not feel that i can fully do this at the moment hence I am so vigilant when we are out. I do allow them both off the lead walks as they love running around but only when I know the area & can see the deer in no where in the eye line
     
  14. Doolally

    Doolally PetForums Senior

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    I do agree that it is nigh on impossible to call a dog off the chase. I can call my dog off a chase, but whether that's my fantastic training :rolleyes:: or he's just a little freak of nature is anyones guess lol. But if you can get their attention before the chase starts you've won more than half the battle. I'm always on the look out and get Alf's attention if I see something before him, then if he's allowed to chase I say go on then, or if he's not allowed to chase I say leave, that way I'm always in control of the chase and he's always guessing if he can go or not, and that split second of distraction gives the rabbit etc more of a chance to get away and 9 times out of 10 they'll get away. My friend has got lurchers and she has an ok to chase and a dont chase signal.
     
  15. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    The only way to deal with it in a Mal is to keep it on a lead when out, other than that if anything comes into the garden it's "every man for himself!"
    The good thing is that Mals are not quick off the mark and a cat/squirrel/rabbit will usually be able to get away, they are not as energetic as Sibes and no where near as agile.

    They can get on well with family cats and mine take no notice of cats when out but if a strange cat came in the garden and was cornered I wouldn't like to think what may happen. Having said that I know of Mals who walk amongst chickens and one in particular who has rats as her best friends, letting them crawl all over her, so it is possible to train them with family pets but has to be started when a very young pup. :) Still it's risky though IMO.
     
  16. Amethyst

    Amethyst PetForums VIP

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    Most people keep terriers as pets/companions without letting them kill other animals. I had a little terrier cross for 17 years, she was happy to rip up and disembowel her toys, but nothing else ;)

    Although I was always careful, she was great around tiny kittens and small furries, bless her. I had her well trained mind you.

    My aunt had a "purebred" JRT bought from a farm, he never killed a thing in all his 19 years to my knowledge ... very happy and fulfilled dog for all that :)

    Some terriers (and other breeds) will without doubt have a higher prey drive than other's and it must be difficult for those who need to discourage it for safety reasons or want to out of compassionate ones :(

    Personally if a dog is really "game" I'd say caution always needs to be taken and they are unlikely ever to be 100% even with an owner willing to put the time and effort into stopping them killing and chasing things?
     
  17. shibby

    shibby PetForums VIP

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    Thank you for all the interesting responses! I feel a little more enlightened on the subject :) I suppose the reason I posted the thread was out of genuine curiosity from what I've witnessed in parks and another reason is our Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who has a very strong sense of smell. When we are in the park, he will find dead frogs and sometimes he'll see a squirrel and will track it's movements (he's on lead). He only tends to do it with pigeons/ravens/squirrels and will ignore the ducks and swans who are usually stationary. He's always on lead around such things. We tell him to leave it and he will, sometimes it will take 2x 'leave it's though so it's something to work on.
     
  18. Phoenix&Charlie'sMum

    Phoenix&Charlie'sMum PetForums VIP

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    Charlie has VERY high prey drive, I think with the Saluki in him, if he smells something, he will run miles to get it and chase it down that along with the Saluki hearing i have to be extra careful where i can let him off lead. Luckily there is somewhere near me that i can let him off and it is all enclosed.

    Phoenix & George are both workers and the OH has trained them very well on their recall he can call them off whilst mid chase. So depending on your dog, hard work and training it can be possible. Just depends on the breed i suppose. ;)
     
  19. shibby

    shibby PetForums VIP

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    That sounds promising :) Our Staffie is quite blase about it, but I wouldn't take any chances.
     
  20. GoldenShadow

    GoldenShadow PetForums VIP

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    I think the difference and key point is Phoenix and Charlie's Mum's dogs are workers and are allowed and able to chase. For normal dogs like mine, chasing isn't his work. He's simply not allowed to do it so its not like I can set him up to chase, he knows he can do it when I say but I can call him off other times. He simply must never, ever do it.

    I think that's why we wont get far really. There is nowhere round here far enough away from roads to even let him do it and try that logic sadly either.

    I just imagine Phoenix and Charlie's Mum's dogs will know that when called back, oooh I can't chase this one but I bet I can chase the next one, kind of a thing. Basically because they are allowed to as part of their work at times. If you call your dog back and back and back from every chase they will begin to be like but why, this is my only chance to chase sort of thing..?
     
    #20 GoldenShadow, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
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