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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping to get some advice with regards to my 10mth old male who seems to have a very high prey drive.

We first noticed it when we took him to the dog park. He was fine for the first few months but as he got bigger we started noticing him running after (I'd say almost running down) the smaller breeds. Because he is faster and bigger, he would scare the heck out of these dogs. He would never bite them. He would then make loud growling noises with an open mouth and wouldn't let them move.

I know this sounds like a dominance issue however he plays fine with other dogs. He refuses to play with husky's or shepards (he's very submissive toward the ones at our park) but is fine with other med to lge breeds. But as soon as he sees a small dog run past, he completely stops what he is doing and chases.

We now have a 13wk old female and they get on great. He may be in the yard distracted, chewing on a bone and she will be walking around sniffing etc but as soon as she runs, he see her and gives chase. It has gotten to the point where she will look for him before she runs.

What can I do? My vet told me to have a mat in the corner of the room with a lead and put him there if he does the wrong thing. I'm not sure because this seems to be instinct driven and not really a bad pup thing.

*Some background info at home* He can not come inside unless he lays down and is calm and only when we give him a release call. He can't eat his food unless he is down and only again when we release him. We control when and what he plays with. He has just started to alert bark which we are watching closely. He is allowed on the couch but only in one spot. He is allowed on the bed but only when we say for a morning cuddle.
 

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My girl is/was the same way. When she plays with dogs she really likes she is really grumbly and barky but all in play.

She chases the cat a lot in what used to be a very similair manner, thankfully the 6lb cat can handle herself and has all her claws, so she taught the dog how to "play nice" or get a claw in the face. She has been trained by the cat and a little bit me(lol) that if the cat stops running, that you have to play nice or you get clawed or crated.

So for me the issue of prey drive in that case resolved itself, hopefully someone else can chime in with a good way to help you, but it is/should be solveable. But a suggestion I have is to work on putting boundaries on his drive. It is a good thing to have but it needs boundaries and rules just like anything else.
 
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sufferin succotash
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I would channel this prey drive into some type of job or game. Are you familiar with flit poles? They look like this: Chase It Pet Toys - NipandBones.com

Teach a command like 'watch me' and use this command as a means to earn something fun, like a high value toy to play tug with. Help him to learn focus on you.

I would be careful taking him to the dog park. The last thing you want is for him to hurt a small dog while he's in the 'prey drive' zone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would channel this prey drive into some type of job or game. Are you familiar with flit poles? They look like this: Chase It Pet Toys - NipandBones.com

Teach a command like 'watch me' and use this command as a means to earn something fun, like a high value toy to play tug with. Help him to learn focus on you.

I would be careful taking him to the dog park. The last thing you want is for him to hurt a small dog while he's in the 'prey drive' zone.
Thanks! I'm definitely going to look into that. I was hoping to channel this drive rather than punish it with time outs etc.

We haven't taken him to the park for a very long time. Once we saw this behaviour, we knew what was happening and we stopped entirely. We now take him to the breeder to play with other dogs and keep him socialised.
 

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sufferin succotash
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Flirt poles are easy to make at home. If you have a tack store or farm store, purchase the lunge whip and tie a toy to the end of it.


Thanks! I'm definitely going to look into that. I was hoping to channel this drive rather than punish it with time outs etc.

We haven't taken him to the park for a very long time. Once we saw this behaviour, we knew what was happening and we stopped entirely. We now take him to the breeder to play with other dogs and keep him socialised.
 

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Thanks! I'm definitely going to look into that. I was hoping to channel this drive rather than punish it with time outs etc.
Bronson has high prey drive. He loves the flirt pole, and playing fetch and tug.

Heres some toys he loves (these are NOT chew toys though, they get put away after we play)
throw em, tug em, he runs around like a crazy man
Leerburg | 15" Nylon Tug
Leerburg | Bites Bungee Bar Tug Toy
Amazon.com: Nylabone Rhino Rope Tug Dog Toy with Rubber Football: Pet Supplies
Leerburg | Leather Bite Rag
Fire Hose Dog Toys - Dog Toys

Made a flirt pole out of PVC pipe and rope. Tie pretty much anything to it and he'll chase it. Rags, pieces of leather, those stuffless toys shaped like foxes/raccoon/squirrel, rope toys.

Hank had prey drive but he only liked playing fetch. He LOVED fetch more than anything in the world.

Just have to find out what your dog likes best. Once he learns to play tug/retrieve then you can work on waiting before he chases, so he can learn to focus, stay.

Hank was CRAZY for the ball when we got him, he would knock you down trying to get it. Took a while but eventually he would focus on you in a down stay drooling until you released him to get the ball.
 

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My dog has very high prey drive as well. It started really becoming apparent around 9 months old, when her fascination with flying birds surfaced. And from there it progressed to anything that moves - birds, squirrels, deer, etc. Her prey drive also gets triggered with running kids, small running dogs, bikes, etc. So I can completely relate.

I agree w/ Sam & Mack's mom re- the flirt pole. I have one and Lucy loves it. I also agree about the dog park. There's no way I'd take my dog to a dog park. Organized playdates with trusted dogs? Absolutely. Dog parks? Definitely not.

But most importantly, with a dog that has super high prey drive, I would be working big time on focus and recall exercises. I would use a long line when working on recalls, so you have full control of your dog and can reinforce a recall. Check out the DVD "Really Reliable Recall". I found it to be pretty good.

In my own personal experience with my dog as she has matured, if that prey drive is triggered ie with a squirrel or something, my dog can totally lose focus and could be gone in the blink of an eye. We have worked very hard on this to avoid that. If you have strong focus and a solid recall with your dog, then you can redirect him to you when he starts chasing your pup, and more importantly avoid any future issues should he decide to take chase with something more dangerous, like a deer in the forest. But based on my experience with my own dog, it takes a lot of hard work and consistency to have that level of control around major prey distractions...

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just have to find out what your dog likes best. Once he learns to play tug/retrieve then you can work on waiting before he chases, so he can learn to focus, stay.
He does love to chase the ball but we have issues with him bringing it back so we're working on that at the moment. He tends to fetch it and then run around the yard a few times and eventually bring it back. :rolleyesww: But I'm looking forward to working on his focus!
 
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