Dog Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,


My newish dog (had her about 3 months now) has been settling in amazingly. She's an ex-hunting dog (we think...) from Spain. Podenco mix. She's quick to learn and nice and relaxed in the house. But the second we're outside, she switches to predator mode!

Ears up, tail up, constantly looking for something to chase. She looks up trees on her walks to find squirrels and will bolt and squeal if she sees something move (even so much as a bug!). She's not been let off lead yet for exactly this reason. No amount of treats, whistling, or calling can snap her out of it, it seems!

I'm not sure what path to take when it comes to helping her reduce this behaviour. Does anybody else have experience with a very high prey drive dog, and how have you handled this?

Any and all help is hugely appreciated! I want walks to be a fun and relaxing experience for both of us...
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Yes, I have a dog with extremely high prey drive like yours. If she sees something she wants to kill (like a squirrel, bird, leaves blowing in the wind) she will start making this horrible blood curdling screaming noise.

She's getting a lot better, but I've been working with her for two years on a variety of different things, particularly her anxiety which is unrelated to this problem.

The best thing I've found is to teach her basic obedience/manners that center around impulse control and focusing on you. I taught Delilah to focus on me whenever I say her name. I did this by saying her name, and reinforcing heavily (lots of tasty treats and praise) when she looked at me. Now I can usually call her name to break her focus.

Other things we practice that help are loose leash walking (I take her entire breakfast and a clicker on our morning walk and click and treat her whenever she's walking by my side, and especially if she's giving me eye contact), recall (I have her on a long lead and practice calling her over to me. If she ignores me, since she's on the lead I can easily reel her in and then reward if I need to), and impulse control (not eating her meals or chasing a toy until I say "okay," It's Your Choice game, "stay").

Just a lot of smaller foundational skills that you can slow build upon and add distractions to has had a lot of benefit for both Delilah's prey drive and anxiety.


In addition to training you can work on channelling that prey drive into something appropriate. Find a toy she really loves- Delilah likes squeaky toys because they sound like small animals, and feathery toys. Use the toy as a reward for the exercises and obedience you work on. Play with the toy but incorporate impulse control into the game- teach leave it and drop it when you play with the toy. Also look into dog sports that are based on hunting instincts like nose work, barn hunt, and lure coursing.

I don't think this is a thing you can ever train out of her, especially if she was a hunting dog and this behavior was encouraged. But you can definitely learn how to control it!



ETA: I can't see what you're walking her on but it looks like a harness that clips in the back. While you're working on this you might want to consider a harness that clips in the front or a head halter to curb the pulling and give you more control.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Agree with above. Also, have her on a halter or 'no pull' setup, to make it easier to control her on lead. Train her, first in a 'low distraction' environment, such as in the house or your backyard, then practice in gradually more distracting environments. And find a toy/lure that you can get her 'addicted' to, to have her focus on that, in the face of other excitement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, I have a dog with extremely high prey drive like yours. If she sees something she wants to kill (like a squirrel, bird, leaves blowing in the wind) she will start making this horrible blood curdling screaming noise.

She's getting a lot better, but I've been working with her for two years on a variety of different things, particularly her anxiety which is unrelated to this problem.

The best thing I've found is to teach her basic obedience/manners that center around impulse control and focusing on you. I taught Delilah to focus on me whenever I say her name. I did this by saying her name, and reinforcing heavily (lots of tasty treats and praise) when she looked at me. Now I can usually call her name to break her focus.

Other things we practice that help are loose leash walking (I take her entire breakfast and a clicker on our morning walk and click and treat her whenever she's walking by my side, and especially if she's giving me eye contact), recall (I have her on a long lead and practice calling her over to me. If she ignores me, since she's on the lead I can easily reel her in and then reward if I need to), and impulse control (not eating her meals or chasing a toy until I say "okay," It's Your Choice game, "stay").

Just a lot of smaller foundational skills that you can slow build upon and add distractions to has had a lot of benefit for both Delilah's prey drive and anxiety.


In addition to training you can work on channelling that prey drive into something appropriate. Find a toy she really loves- Delilah likes squeaky toys because they sound like small animals, and feathery toys. Use the toy as a reward for the exercises and obedience you work on. Play with the toy but incorporate impulse control into the game- teach leave it and drop it when you play with the toy. Also look into dog sports that are based on hunting instincts like nose work, barn hunt, and lure coursing.

I don't think this is a thing you can ever train out of her, especially if she was a hunting dog and this behavior was encouraged. But you can definitely learn how to control it!



ETA: I can't see what you're walking her on but it looks like a harness that clips in the back. While you're working on this you might want to consider a harness that clips in the front or a head halter to curb the pulling and give you more control.
Thanks for the detailed answer, revolutionrocknroll. Really appreciated!

Some of that is precisely what I've been trying. I've been trying to get her to sit and give her paw on command, for a treat, when I notice her starting to get distracted by something. It's easy enough when she's in an open field, but the moment she's anywhere busier there's just no getting her attention, no matter how many treats or commands or noises I use. I'll continue to try her in low distraction areas and gradually work up, as you suggested.

A front clip harness is a brilliant idea, I'll order one right away.

Hopefully, given time and potentially a few training sessions with professional, we'll both learn how to break the focus. I totally understand that I'll never be able to change her nature, but I desperately need the ability to snap her out of her predator mode; especially if it puts her in danger!

Thank you again, it's so reassuring to talk to people who experience similar issues.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top