Sunday, 23 March 2014
Understanding your dog's prey drive!
I have had greyhounds and cats for the last 23 years. Even high prey greyhounds which I trained off the cats. The difference now is I own older cats and a young high prey Greyhound and a young Border collie. The border love to chase and herd the cats but our new addition doesn't want to herd he wants to hurt.
He has a strong predatory behaviour forget the stalk and chase for him its about the capture. I don't think I would have to much of a problem redirecting his innate behavior, if it wasn't for his pack member egging him on. He has a very high food drive which will be a huge advantage training him to leave the cats alone. He has only been with us a short time. The cats and he are separated when we go out other precautions are instilled to make sure everyone is safe and happy.
Over the years herding dogs instinct to kill prey, has been modify to chase and specialize in moving their targets without injury. I know the squirrels in my yard feel otherwise.
Hunting dogs like greyhounds, whippets, beagles, prey drives has been fined tuned and bred into them over generations.
Predatory behaviour can be managed with continual training and redirecting. Really the only times this behaviour is a big problem is if the dog is off leash not responding to his owner and not aware of the surrounding like run across traffic in a chase. Another problem is children many high prey dogs
pose a danger to small children. Movement and high pitched crying or screaming from a baby or young child can trigger prey mode. Always be careful with any dog and children but especially dogs with a higher prey drive.
Dogs that have high prey drive also usually have high energy so involving your dog in lots of energy
burning activities will help.
Modifying high prey is possible but takes time and lots of patience. Avoiding trigger situations, alway use positive training, and never trusting that you have completely modified the behaviour.