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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ella tries so hard to catch some rats/rodents on the fields. Every day, twice a day (when we`re in the country). And fails :p

As soon as I let her loose, she`ll start "hunting" .. but she`s really terrible at it. She looks so hard and digs but never gets anything, poor thing (not that I`m complaining).

Maybe it`s because she`s really a city dog and hasn`t had much practice until now.

My family`s dog would pick up rodents left and right without much trouble. (which was pretty disturbing ..).

Is this something they have to learn?

I know about prey-drive but what about skill? I thought this would come naturally to all dogs.

PS it`s not about me wanting her to kill animals or something of the sort, I`m just surprised that not all dogs are .. able to feed themselves :p
 

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Kabota is quite the successful hunter. You know that head-first dive into the snow foxes do? He does that. He can also catch birds on the wing if they swoop too low.
 

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Dogs generally aren't hunters in the hunt-to-feed-self sense, they are scavengers and survive that way. Also, I think that a lot of hunting skill in wild mammalian predators is learned, especially from the mother. So it would make sense that they're not all naturally skilled hunters...though sometimes they can surprise you!

Grover caught a gopher some weeks back for all of ten seconds. He lunged at the grass at the side of the sidewalk and suddenly there was a gopher in his mouth. He's a chihuahua mix and all of 12 lbs so the gopher was almost the size of his head, and when he tried to shake it, it went flying off into the sidewalk, where he barked at it as it limped back into a burrow. It was hilarious.

Ever since then, he's obsessed with looking down every hole that might have a gopher in it...
 

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Lexy has caught several wild turkeys before. She doesn't mess with much else.

I don't think that Sophie would take to hunting. She might chase, but that's about it.

I think Chisum would be a great hunter. He's got a fantastic nose and a very high prey drive.
 

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Stella is only 7 months so she's not really hunted anything well. She's much more prey driven to birds than anything else. That's different than my other dogs, so weird for me. My other dogs successfully hunted rabbits, groundhogs and squirrels. There were a few other little rodents here and there, and a few birds that got caught in the grape vine net and gobbled up. Some dogs hunt better than others, just like some people dance better than others. I also noticed different dogs and breeds have different styles. Perdy, a beagle mix, used to stalk quietly, using the environment to hide well, then she would sprint (which was impressive for such a chubby dog!), grab her prey by the neck and do a kill shake. Barney and Teckel were Doxies, and I was always impressed at how they seemed to recognized the other's strengths and weaknesses. Teckel would sound the alarm once he spotted the prey, alerting his faster brother to run down the prey. Barney would rush it, getting a good hold while Teckel chased after him. Barney usually took the head and Teckel took the back end, and they tore it apart. They were literally a more "in the face" style of hunting that was kind of scary really! We always tried to stop them but from an animal behavior point of view I was always fascinated by watching it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@traciek88 what an effective duo :)
@PoppyKenna wow at your dog for catching turkyes... I don`t know about the wild ones but the domesticated ones are huge and very, very mean ... :D

Ella gets excited over every bump in the grass thinking it leads to a mouse`s "cave" .. she just jumps around on the fields from one grass bump to the other, ha. It`s fun to watch. She really tries sooo hard but never gets anything.
 

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to my luck both of our dogs had not much hunting skill.
teo once chased a freeroaming chicken, I think.
Sancho looks at rabbits, but he's not chasing them... he is also much to slo to chase anything...he's a good insect killer though.
nothing more cute than a dog letting a giant dead spider fall in front of your feets and expects to be praised. Xp
 

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Cats are an unfortunate favourite for my dogs. But hares, ground squirrel and the odd bird are also firm favourites. They love nothing more than to be allowed into the veld in front of the house where they will chase ground squirrel for hours on end. They will come back so covered in dust they look like they're all tricolors. Coughing and chocking on all that dust it's not funny.
 

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Most dogs have some hunting instinct but only some are good at it. It's both learned and instinctual I think. Chessa and Echo(both beagle mixes) sniff and hunt a lot. But only Chess is good at it. She's extremely sneaky and patient. Whereas Echo sees something and bolts and scares it haha. Chess has gotten snakes,possums,rabbits,squirrels,lizards,birds,chickens,ducks,chipmunks,mice,moles and the list goes on. If she sees a small animal run, she pounces at the speed of light. It's quite impressive. I don't mind unless she eats it, then the next day is none too pleasant. Also, sometimes her and Echo decide to play tug of war with the dead animal, and cleaning that up is disgusting.
 

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My Labrador was bred to hunt and naturally has a high prey drive. We never went down the path of using him for hunting because I spoiled him to much haha He loves going out in the fields though and sniff out the bunny dens and chasing them around, thankfully he hasn't caught any yet because those darn bunnies are to fast!

Also anything with wings has his full attention, he'll swim to the ducks in the pond and try to retrieve them.

Most dogs have a small prey drive but only few have the skill to hunt successfully! (Grizzly's just to clumsy and loud ) I think its a fun game that stimulates them, plus its good exercise as long as well they don't kill anything right in front of you!
 

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Quenya will very quickly catch and kill any of my small rodent pets if they get loose. I only have a few rats as pets now, but I used to breed mice and gerbils and they'd escape with semi-reasonable frequency. Quenya would stalk the house until she'd found and killed whatever it was. Only a couple times did she eat them, though. Outdoors she chases things all the time, but hasn't ever caught anything.

Victoria will chase, but she's never killed/caught anything. Skipper hasn't had the chance.
 

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Alva is not interested in hunting at all. A rabbit or bird can spring into full speed in front of her and she will just stare. She is more interested in sniffing them (maybe she thinks they might be some interactive toys) than feasting on them.

She though has some instinct to chase moving things. She chases toys. She has also learned that cats run if you scare them. She also has some interest in squirrels and actually she once tracked one into a tree. The track was probably fresh because I saw the squirrel too. But she does not follow other animal tracks and I wonder why she actually followed the squirrel's trail. Does she have a well hidden prey drive which has never been ignited except somehow for fresh squirrel (maybe when I was walking her earlier and teased an angry squirrel by clicking and tssting my tongue when s/he clicked and tssted back from the tree)...

Alva is totally safe to have off-leash. She does not leave for animal trails or chasing something. She does not dig holes to find moles and the hedgehog we met got a curious sniff but turned boring because it did not move.

If Alva went feral, I would expect her to scavenge trash bins or steal other animal's food. But maybe, maybe hunger would surface the hunter in her and she would try to catch some rat or rabbit. Try, she would not be good at it at all...

Our Belgian Tervueren dug holes when she smelled some rodents underground but she seemed to have more fun in digging and wheezing at the dust and smell than actually killing the prey. She once dug up a nest and tiny pink baby something but went on digging. She probably did not even realise the prey was already revealed. Another time she found a rodent but it was killed because she accidentally stepped on it while investigating, what it was. This dog chased rabbits but returned soon after. She chased anything moving, skiers, bikers, motorists, rabbits, joggers etc. She grew out of it or learned it was futile.

At a dog camp a Finnish spitz killed rodents. He was tied in front of his owners tent only meters away from ours when they were not at some exercise like agility. He killed and probably ate rodents. Our Terv was not interested.

My aunts JRT killed her daughter's hamsters when the dog was accidentally forgotten in a car with the hamster boxes.

I think a dog needs to have instincts and drive to hunt, something to trigger it and keep it up if the instinct is not powerful enough, and practice to get good at it. I also wonder if the drive to hunt and kill small rodents really is the same instinct that drives the hunting dog for larger prey.
 

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Mia has quite the mouse body count. She is scary good at it too. The first couple were a bit messy but she got really efficient.

Hank is crazy prey driven. So far no kills but I think it's a matter of time. He loves lure coursing (simulates sight hound hunting) and is very good at it. He turns into a screeching nut at the sight of the lure. On walks he dives into bushes over noises I can't hear. He is not off leash in wilderness type areas for obvious reasons. Hank also barn hunts and is very good at that. So yeah... basically he lives up to his terrier half!
 

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Oh and once I did let him off leash at my dad's acreage. He saw an armadillo and took off after it into the woods. I only found him because he was screaming at the top of his lungs at it. He was digging frantically trying to get the armadillo out of its den.
 

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Tully killed a mouse that had gotten into my attached garage. At least I assume he did. I know I didn't catch it, and I found it with a neatly snapped neck, and he is, supposedly, some sort of terrier mix, so it seems likely that was his work. He's also chased birds out of the shrubbery, but then when they fly off, he just stands there and watches them, so I think he's simply amused by being able to make them do that as opposed to thinking he can actually catch them. I once caught him silently staring up a tree trunk at a squirrel who was staring back down at him, but nothing came of that. Honestly, I don't know if he chased the squirrel up there or just noticed the squirrel in the tree and went over to watch him. The squirrel did not seem especially intimidated, and Tully was not barking or carrying on about it. I only found out the stare down was taking place because I went to the back door to see what was taking him so long to bark to come back in (the yard is fenced and he was out to take care of business). He will give chase to get a cat out of his yard, but I don't know that there's much intent to do damage there. If a cat just leaps to the top of the fence and sits and glares at him, he just sits and glares back--no big attempt to try and get at it or hysterical barking that it's sitting there. In addition, if the cat tries to take a swipe at him, he's not interested in fighting with it. For that matter, if we're visiting neighbors with cats, he'll show nothing more than polite interest--if they want to sniff him, he'll sniff back, but he doesn't want to chase them or play with them. He'll also tolerate being sidled by a friendly cat. So I don't think it's that he hates cats or wants to kill them. He just doesn't want random straying cats in his yard.
 

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Tessa once caught the scent of a rabbit when off leash at a friends acreage. She was quite far off when suddenly her entire body went rigid, I was terrified that she had seen a coyote but she was too far off to catch up and call her back. My friend laughed and said it was just a bush bunny. Well she ran off into a bush and came running straight back at me, the entire time being chased by a gigantic Jack rabbit that was almost the size of her lol.

I don't think she could ever kill anything, unless it threatened me.

For reference, this is a bush bunny:
American_Rabbit.jpg
this is a Jack Rabbit (they're usually the size of a small border collie here):
jackrabbit.jpg
 

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Molly (Shih Tzu) acts like she is hunting, chases birds and chipmonks etc.....I dont know what she would do if she ever caught one.
 

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When it comes to proper hunting, Jayne is a nob. She follows her nose so hard she doesn't bother looking up to see what she's tracking is literally within spitting distance. However, when she plays with other dogs her instincts shine through. She stalks and pounces. When all the dogs are chasing a dog, Jayne waits until they circle around back and flanks the dog.
 

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Like many hunting dogs he has strong drive to scent and track, and like many hunting or herding dogs he has strong drive to chase, and like many large curs he wants to bite what he finds.... that said, it is not clear to me (yet) whether he really has much serious terrier-esque "kill drive" or mostly just wants to track and chase things, as is often true of hunting/herding/other dogs with modified prey drive. He hasn't really had any opportunities to kill. I keep an eye on him because he's large and things could easily get out of hand with a haphazard cat, etc. He does like to shake his toys to death.

I suppose I'll find out soon enough how strong his prey drive actually is, because we're getting quail that he's going to have to learn not to bother in their hutch. Part of my logic in getting them (aside from eggs) is actually because I think exposure to small animals will be good for him. That's also why I try to practice his impulse control with the flirt pole often - I really can't afford him hassling someone's livestock, he has to be call-off-able.
 
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