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Teaching this (or accessing the dog's natural drive to do this) is largely genetic. That said, I have shown two dogs how to "sneak up on" rabbits and squirrels around the house. I have a THIRD dog who has learned to sneak up on deer (but she lacks the speed to catch one and when she gets to the woods she doesn't have enough nerve to go in there so she stops and comes back.. ya know.. might be bears in them thar woods... Haha). She will kill anything she catches and would do that to a deer if she could catch it.

The WAY I did this was first invoking prey drive. One dog I taught using a long line (because you also have to teach the call off and recall out of prey drive). Another dog I used an e-collar to teach not to blow off a recall well ahead of ever doing the chase rabbits and squirrels thing so even tho she WORE and e collar when we were going after something her recall was spot on and I never had to use it calling her off prey. The current dog who sends deer packing has never worn an e collar other than a bark collar many years ago.

So, the dog learns first the word "Rabbit" or "Squirrel" and gets excited in the house.. I send them and they are unsuccessful catching because they are seen before they get close enough. It doesn't take long for them to "get" what those words mean.

Next I used a flat collar and a lead and when I see the offending animal outside I say the word, but we go out a different door so we can "sneak" around the house and MAYBE get close enough for the dog to have a shot at catching the thing. I used the line to stop the dog.. I used body language and I used my voice low.. and quiet in a whisper.. so we would slowly sneak around the house until we could see the rabbit/squirrel or whatever.. and then IF the prey moves I released the dog. If the prey does not move we would sneak forward until the pressure makes it move at which point the dog is released. IF the dog is successful and catches the prey that can either cement the sneak up on it lesson (or help to) OR it can mean MORE work because the dog may rush it next time. Depends on the dog and your partnership with the dog in my limited experience.

The current dog (who sends the deer packing) has successfully caught a squirrel, two rabbits along with a few woodchucks and a raccoon. It takes a quick dog to stalk and get a rabbit. Raccoons can be very tough. She is very efficient with those species. The deer not so much and between age and arthritis she has slowed down a good bit so there is that.

I have not taught the "sneak up on it" game for a long time. I think if I were to do it now I would teach the dog to stalk a Jolly Ball (or similar toy type prey item) first to simply cement the stalking behavior based on my voice and body language. I could also teach the call off followed by a release to go back to that item without the concern of the prey item running off and having to use an e collar to get the dog back. Just my thoughts on this although I have no intention of teaching this to my young dog at all and it is unlikely I will teach it again to another dog.

I also have had dogs you could never teach to stalk for a variety of reasons.
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