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Old 02-10-2013, 05:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Dobes and their chasing instincts

We all know Dobermans have certain built in instincts, ie they are naturally protective of their humans, they velcro, they chase things. And whilst some folk train their dogs to hone these instincts, protection sports and the like a good many of us don't which got me wondering.

How do you deal with say, prey drive?

You see in Toby's case he is a natural born chaser, he has high prey drive, so much so that anything that moves is toast in both home environ or out and about.

He has successfully caught and killed a couple of rabbits and a grouse before today, (wild ones) and has unfortunately dispatched an errant chicken who thought escaping out into the main compound instead of staying in its own was a good idea. Not to mention rid my farm of several rats the size of housebricks.

Now whereas I encourage my Terrier to do his stuff regards vermin control I try to stop Toby, mainly because I am not sure it is good for him to chase and kill anything.

So I was wondering, what would you guys do?

Would you actively try and train him not to chase? How would you do it?

Bear in mind we do not go out looking for animals to kill, we tend to disturb them as we are walking and a fleeing rabbit is one heck of a temptation for a dog with a high prey drive as I am sure you will understand.
Toby's recall is nigh on 100%, well it is until he literally has a rabbit run from under his nose and then it is probably more like 80% within the first hundred metres or so, rising to 85% the following 50 metres going up to 100% if he hasnt caught it after a chase of around 200 metres.

He personally is in no danger from traffic where we walk. There are no hunters around, otherwise he would be kept on the leash and muzzled. We are literally in the wilderness where our biggest danger is Wild Boar and Snakes. (Toby doesnt chase either of them by the way just the small prey and stuff that won't bite back with venom laced breath)

I do not want to have to keep Toby on a leash as he really does enjoy his walks without being fettered by leash and muzzle.

So please, any advice would be gratefully received.


I in no way wish to offend those of you who own rabbits etc, I understand you have them as pets and perfectly understand that they mean a great deal to you. Toby only goes after wild ones (we do not have domesticated ones on the farm) an instinct which seems to come from within him, not because I have trained him to do so.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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if Deck had been a drivey dog, we were going to get him into a sport like Schutzhund.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falnfenix View Post
if Deck had been a drivey dog, we were going to get him into a sport like Schutzhund.
I thought about trying to channel Toby's drives through Shutzhund (even though I am not into it) but it turns out he is fear reactive and I was told by many folk heavily into the sport he was the last type of dog you would want doing it. Now whether others agree with this or not I do not know, but I took this advice and have tried to give Toby other things to do.

He loves tracking, but I have come to believe the nose to the ground position he takes up to do it isn't helping us avoid Rabbits.

Honestly he doesnt go off after them that often, but I find myself wondering, is it a good thing he has killed something, because now he has, will it be nigh on impossible for him to stop.

Drives must be obeyed so to speak.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Maybe keep an e-collar on him during walks if you don't want to leash him.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When Eli's sister live here (for 5 months) she caught several kangaroo rats, she caught 3 gophers and mice. I wasn't unhappy about it except apparently (which I didn't know) kanagroo rats are on an endangered list here. This was all on my fenced in acre. When we were walking I always had her on a leash because we also have tons of wild rabbits and I didn't want her taking off after any in the open desert.

To your question I free hiked with my dogs most of my life until we lived down here, most were stick and ball crazy and would only give a half hearted chase to a squirrel. I think it depends on how you feel personally about him chasing, catching and killing rabbits and the like while you are walking. If it bothers you either keep him on a leash or train with an electric collar, those are your options. If it doesn't bother you, I don't see how it would hurt him really, I mean he is kind of a large terrier...terrier is in their backround. I have focused Eli's prey drive towards that ball and if a rabbit ran along side it and made a turn he would chose the ball at this point. Now out hiking in the desert here he has chased a couple of rabbits but I call him back because of the evil sticker bushes and dangerous type of cacti. Otherwise I'd probably let him run.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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We also live in an area that abounds with wildlife, and Wheeler's thing is Deer. I am not worried about him catching and killing a deer, but I am worried that he would chase a Deer across the road. Thus, a couple of years ago, we worked with our trainer, taught W about E collars and now when hiking he wears an E-Collar. Never have to use it, if he ignores the recall, using the page function is enough to bring him back.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Rocket will chase anything that moves. We do a lot of hiking during nicer weather, and what works for us on the prairie is an e-collar. If we are in a wooded area, I tend to have him on an e-collar as well as dragging a long line. If we are somewhere that requires dogs to be on leash (most of our state parks do, around here) I just have him on a super heavy duty Flexi lead.

I'm a worrywort, so better safe than sorry has always been my mantra when he's off leash.

It's not something that I've found I can train out of him - it's ingrained, so I just work with it. We do lure coursing to give him an outlet for chasing, and play with a flirt pole a lot for fun. Chasing the cat in the house is what we still struggle with, so we try and keep it him under wraps when the cat is around. "No kitty" works pretty well, but he just doesn't have the self control when Ruby decides she wants in on the "corner the cat" game. We manage it the best we can.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My old dog Rusty had HUGE prey drive. He was a box/rott/pitt. I bought him a slew of toys that he NEVER played with. He had no interest in bones. Nothing. All he wanted to do was hunt. The only animal he never quite got was a deer. He got geese, squirrels, rabbits, etc. He never chased other cats or dogs. Idk, I didn't like it, but he was a natural born hunter.

Jasmine is the complete opposite. She chases squirrels and other animals, but she has no desire to kill them. Once she caught up with a squirrel and it just froze. Jasmine then drops down and sticks her butt in the air and starts wagging her tail. To her, everything and everyone wants to play lol.

Is this kinda what's going on lol: 'Fenton! Man Chasing Dog Chasing Deer' Video Goes Viral: 'GMA' Play of the Day - YouTube?
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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While Kaylee is great with my cats (probably because my cats know not to run around the dogs) ... her chase drive AND prey drive are through the roof when it comes to animals/things other than cats. I don't know how she makes the distinction.

When we hike, she's either in an ecollar with a long line, or a heavy duty flexi. Sometimes she's in an ecollar with the flexi too.

To keep her happy, we take her lure coursing.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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E-collar. A very good one, not one of the cheapie pet store models.

Jack's recall is pretty good, but we hike him every day either in the country or in an urban bush area that is home to deer, foxes, coyote-wolf hybrids, rabbits, etc. If he's off-lead, he wears an e-collar. Period. This has saved his life at least twice when he has taken off after wildlife.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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each of my dogs has had different 'reactions' to 'prey'.

i just try and teach them certain things that help us all get along.

on the property..........

LEAVE IT means..............stop whatever the heck it is you are doing.

COME...means.......... .get your arse over here right now.

DROP IT or SPIT IT OUT........means just that.

and......GET THAT RAVEN OUT OF HERE.................... means..do whatever you need to do to keep that black menace moving along.

off the property...........

STICK AROUND...means...........don't you dare run off and chase anything.

all off lead in safe areas where no cars 'live'.

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Old 02-10-2013, 01:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I am an advocate of the e-collar of that there is no doubt and whilst I have used it on him maybe once or twice in the time I have owned Toby I was rather hoping there was some form of training I could use to get him to stop the killing side.

I rather like the idea of 'lure coursing' and am going to look into it, maybe it will give us something else to do to occupy him when he is out and about.

Oh today he started off after a feral cat but came back at about 40 metres when I shouted for him to stop.

I would like to think he wouldnt kill a cat, but I think maybe if he did catch one he just might. This is one of the reasons I want to work on his drive before such a horrible event happens.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Tessa has an insanely high prey drive. So much so that we have to keep our cats completely separate from the dogs in their own room during the day, and when the dogs are in their room at night, the cats roam free.

Our oldest cat will not run from dogs, so instead of charging after her, Tessa will stand there and incessantly bark at her until I call her away from the gate. Unfortunately, our other cats are afraid of all dogs now, and they will run when frightened. I think if they didn't run, there might be a very slight chance they could cohabitate but we just don't risk it. Any kind of introduction stresses them out and she gets overexcited so we avoid it altogether.

I have an e-collar that I haven't yet used with her but have considered using in order to improve her recall. I also bought a DVD by Leerburg on e-collar training, but after learning more about positive training and the differences in some of his "old school" tactics, I'm not sure it's the approach I want to take to training her. I think I'd rather learn by observation and practice rather than attempting to train her based on my interpretations of his instruction. Hmmm, probably should've thought about that before I blew $50 on it.

Her recall, without any distraction whatsoever, is at about 80%. If she catches wind of a prey animal, it drops to a flat 0%. That's where I hope the e-collar would come in. She becomes so intently focused on what she sees and/or smells, that it's all-consuming. My former trainer told me that there's really "no way to train prey drive out of a dog". All you can do is practice and perfect their recall/obedience, and avoid putting them in situations where they may fail.

I'm not overly concerned about her drive outside of the house. She's never off-leash unless we're in an enclosed area and, fortunately, she hasn't killed anything. I rather want to encourage her to enjoy this instinct outside in order to give her an activity to enjoy, which is why we're trying out at a lure CAT next month.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Kyrah hasnt bolted from me to chase anything yet while out unless I told her she could. She was trained on an e-collar when she was young so I dont know if thats why or not. Now her backyard is a different story anything is free game. I have never tried to call her when she bolts for a squirrel b/c I really dont think she would listen and it seems they just love doing it. Dexter who is ball crazy would not for anything stop focusing or couldnt even think straight around a ball. I couldnt get his attention to train him to wait bT/c Kyrah or Cujo were going to have a turn. I have been working with him on an e-collar and finally the other day he did a sit and wait while playing. It was freakin awesome! I had Cujo, Kyrah and Dexter rotating in and out playing fetch one at a time with the other two sitting and waiting their turn.

My opinion is that at home anything wild is fair game but when out you cant just take off. But with Lexi(rip) I dont know that it would ever have been possible.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I find dogs that will focus on a toy are the easiest to train, and I would be working tons of distractions, and incorporating ways to satisfy the prey drive into my training. We use tug ropes, tennis balls, and bite wedges for rewards. This way, we train, and have fun doing it.

If I had a dog who's favorite thing was to chase, I would be using a flirt pole, tennis ball, frisbee, something like that as a reward. I would most certainly not try to teach him not to chase, I would just redirect it into a way that's more beneficial for all of us. I would even let him chase me, I know Dakota loves playing tag.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:12 PM   #16 (permalink)
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train a regular recall using positive reinforcement. From day 1 (ok 12 weeks ) my dogs are off leash at the river with me. We train from the get go to be off leash safely. I don’t use ecollars and we run at the river. Flirt did catch a squirrel once and I was able to tell her to drop it and leave it. They occasionally chase rabbits and I let them run IF we are in the safe area. I also train hunting dogs with high prey drive. Recall is recall to my dogs.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Mocha is off-leash trained but there is a leash law in our city. She is not a doberman, just a chow mix with low drive, but she recently found an interest in catching low-flying birds. She has caught a starling and a few robins straight out of the air, one squirrel, and several rabbits as well all in our yard. The ones she has caught were only because we didn't realize she was after something in time- we have been able to call her off of every chase we notice (sometimes she jumps in the bushes and we can't see her). None of these animals were killed and the starling was only injured because it flailed because as soon as she caught it we would yell BAD DOG DROP IT and she spits it out like it stung her. The only one she continued to harass after dropping was the starling, and she left it alone as soon as she heard the LEAVE IT. The starling was delivered to a wildlife facility, rehabbed, and released alive btw.

I would like to get Skoll up to that point as well but sadly until I have a yard all I can do is impulse control with a flirt pole. Chase is one of his favorite things although I can call him off of even barking at dogs offleash with a SKOLL, COME so I have hope.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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You know this is a truth for me also. Since I free hike and every dog except Sebastian was raised free hiking at the lake recall was recall period. I also make sure my dogs all do a down immediately wherever they are. One time I had three aussies and a doberman mix out hiking. We ran into a small herd of wild burros (one baby and three adults), yes they were wild from the old miner days in my area. I did a down and all the dogs who were in various stages of "oh my God, look at that" running as fast as they could toward the little herd and they DOWNED and stayed down and then I called them to me, used that recall Adara was talking about and of course they all came. I was VERY proud because they could have gotten hurt. I never used an ecollar on any of those dogs in fact I've never used one for a recall. I trained the old fashioned way on a 30 foot line, even with Eli although he took a MUCH longer time to be reliable than the other dogs. Of course I started them all as puppies. I can call Eli off a rabbit if I need to. Bundy wasn't mine and no way would she have come to me.

I think there are three basic commands when free hiking with your dog, a solid recall, a solid down from afar and a solid wait. Sebastian is my first dog who hasn't been raised free in the mountains all his life. His recall is good at 8 months but I plan to take him to the mountains this spring and work on the 30 foot long line as squirrels dash by.



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train a regular recall using positive reinforcement. From day 1 (ok 12 weeks ) my dogs are off leash at the river with me. We train from the get go to be off leash safely. I donít use ecollars and we run at the river. Flirt did catch a squirrel once and I was able to tell her to drop it and leave it. They occasionally chase rabbits and I let them run IF we are in the safe area. I also train hunting dogs with high prey drive. Recall is recall to my dogs.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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You know this is a truth for me also. Since I free hike and every dog except Sebastian was raised free hiking at the lake recall was recall period. I also make sure my dogs all do a down immediately wherever they are. One time I had three aussies and a doberman mix out hiking. We ran into a small herd of wild burros (one baby and three adults), yes they were wild from the old miner days in my area. I did a down and all the dogs who were in various stages of "oh my God, look at that" running as fast as they could toward the little herd and they DOWNED and stayed down and then I called them to me, used that recall Adara was talking about and of course they all came. I was VERY proud because they could have gotten hurt. I never used an ecollar on any of those dogs in fact I've never used one for a recall. I trained the old fashioned way on a 30 foot line, even with Eli although he took a MUCH longer time to be reliable than the other dogs. Of course I started them all as puppies. I can call Eli off a rabbit if I need to. Bundy wasn't mine and no way would she have come to me.

I think there are three basic commands when free hiking with your dog, a solid recall, a solid down from afar and a solid wait. Sebastian is my first dog who hasn't been raised free in the mountains all his life. His recall is good at 8 months but I plan to take him to the mountains this spring and work on the 30 foot long line as squirrels dash by.

Bold mine. I do not see this stressed enough and it can save your dogs life. In my book of must haves, a DOWN has to be firmly imbedded in their doggie brains. It can stop them from running in traffic, stop them bolting after ______ you don't want them chasing. Once engaged on the DOWN, you have broken the "Rabbit! Chase!" thought cycle that was spinning him up to begin with.
Down is absolutely essential. He needs to hit the deck instantly, no matter what else he is doing.

Now with regard to Toby, I guess you need to decide if it's acceptable to you. Is he ever loose on the property without you? I have a very drivey pup too. She will still take toys as a substitute. If you don't want him taking off at mach10, you need to figure out what it will take with him to provide a substitute. You know your obedience training is solid when you can stop him chasing that one thing he seems to want more than anything.

It takes a lot of time to get there. Time, patience and fairness.

Good luck!

Bev
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:41 AM   #20 (permalink)
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We are walking now with a bite toy.

Toby carries it wherever he goes, it seems to stop him looking around so much for something to do. If he sees something I ask him to 'give the toy' and he is learning that, that means I will throw it for him.

If I am honest the chasing of wildlife such as rabbits and grouse doesnt bother me too much. I do fear what would happen if a Wild Boar and he were to come face to face, he has met one thus far in his life. He took off after it but stopped when I called him, whereas my Terriers and Boxer didnt. On the whole he is a good dog, his recall is pretty spot on, but when he is 'in the zone' as I call it, he can be a little hard of hearing but not so much as he doesnt stop, not unless he is right on top and about to go in for the kill.

I always knew Dobes had terrier in them, heck Pinscher means terrier doesnt it? But honestly I thought it so way back that it wouldnt be really that much of a problem.

I know full well what my Terrier Russell is like, he is a natural born hunter and maybe it doesnt help that he takes off after things and has never been stopped because he pretty much is unstoppable. Add to this if he catches a rabbit he gets to eat it for tea I think Toby is perhaps thinking this look pretty neat.

Whilst we walk in remote areas and there is no danger of him crossing into traffic or the like I think I will continue on redirection if possible and work on my recall for those times he does take off.

Wish us luck.
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