Dealing with prey drive?
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Thread: Dealing with prey drive?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tollerowner's Avatar
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    Dealing with prey drive?

    My 2.5 year old Toller seems to have outgrown all her problems (guarding, eating poop, snarling at other dogs, hating water, walking poorly, whining in the early morning, and other things I can't think of right now...) But her prey drive is getting worse. My first two Tollers had no prey drive.

    When I walk her on lead she bolts on seeing anything small and alive, much faster than I can react. She will burrow into the brush after it (ground hogs, rabbits, foxes) ignoring anything I do to stop her. Yesterday she pulled the leash out of my hand. It all happens so fast.

    Oddly, it is much better when she is off lead; which is how I usually walk her. She will go like a bullet after an animal 50' away, but will stay on the trail and come back when I call her. I can live with that, but the trails I can walk her on off lead are way too buggy in the summer. (Interestingly, my first dog chased cars on lead, but he ignored them off lead. Same idea; what's going on with that?)

    Any suggestions, other than having faster reflexes?

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    Senior Member Jen2010's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing with prey drive?

    We use "leave it" to deal with prey drive. As soon as the dog sees something we say "leave it" really forcefully and that will usually work (since their leave it command is pretty solid). The closer the dog is to one of us, the more effective the command is.

    You can't really get rid of prey drive, you can just try to control how the dog reacts to it.
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    Senior Member Tollerowner's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing with prey drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jen2010 View Post
    We use "leave it" to deal with prey drive. As soon as the dog sees something we say "leave it" really forcefully and that will usually work (since their leave it command is pretty solid). The closer the dog is to one of us, the more effective the command is.

    You can't really get rid of prey drive, you can just try to control how the dog reacts to it.
    She is in the bush before I can open my mouth. I thought of a choke collar, but fear she would be okay with choking; she is very intense.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing with prey drive?

    Your thumb is the strongest.. Take the loop of the leash and always put it over you thumb with the lead across your palm under your fingers.

    Embrace that you have a way in... A way into training games that you can teach rules on how to play the best games... Skills that will transfer over into real life situations.

    Hold, freeze, leave it, ignore. Don't stifle these behaviors, use them to your advantage they will always be a part of your dog. teach them how to use them and not to use them through games.

  7. #5
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    Re: Dealing with prey drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tollerowner View Post
    My 2.5 year old Toller seems to have outgrown all her problems (guarding, eating poop, snarling at other dogs, hating water, walking poorly, whining in the early morning, and other things I can't think of right now...) But her prey drive is getting worse. My first two Tollers had no prey drive.

    When I walk her on lead she bolts on seeing anything small and alive, much faster than I can react. She will burrow into the brush after it (ground hogs, rabbits, foxes) ignoring anything I do to stop her. Yesterday she pulled the leash out of my hand. It all happens so fast.

    Oddly, it is much better when she is off lead; which is how I usually walk her. She will go like a bullet after an animal 50' away, but will stay on the trail and come back when I call her. I can live with that, but the trails I can walk her on off lead are way too buggy in the summer. (Interestingly, my first dog chased cars on lead, but he ignored them off lead. Same idea; what's going on with that?)

    Any suggestions, other than having faster reflexes?
    I have a two year old poodle that went out of his mind around cats and birds from day 1. I started training him at about 6 months to leave them alone using techniques of desensitization and counter-conditioning. You'll be able to find books and advice on this if you google those terms but having a decent trainer show you the basics will certainly help shorten the learning curve.

    I've had pretty good results with birds. When he's on the leash we can walk within a few meters of birds, even flocks of birds and he will still listen to commands like "come" and "no" (leave it). Off leash he might run up to them but stays within about 20m of me and as soon as they leave he stops and comes back. Here he will now also listen to "come".

    Birds were easier than cats because birds aren't reactive (birds just run, cat's will stand their ground and fight). I'm still working on cats but I'm making progress. We'll get there. For now I can walk within about 7m of a cat without him losing his mind if he's on the leash but he will still chase a cat and not listen to "come" if he's off leash. The key is systematic desensitization and counter-conditioning. It's a process, though, so don't expect a quick fix. It takes time, commitment and patience.

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