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Sorry if this is long, I feel the need to share the story to get it out and help process. I literally feel sick to my stomach from watching my puppy kill a rabbit right in front of me. My 11-month old cairn terrier mix puppy Fitz has been chasing rabbits out of our fenced backyard for the last few months. I never thought he'd actually catch one as they go so fast and get out at various points under the fence that Fitz can't go. But today he was out in the backyard and he caught one. It was horrific, the rabbit starts shrieking this awful, loud cry/scream. Fitz has firm mouthful of the backend of the rabbit shaking it back and forth with blood and rabbit bits going all over. I tried to get Fitz to leave him/come to me but wouldn't you know he completely ignored everything (despite being very good in normal situations). I tried luring him with several of his favorite things but he wasn't interested. I finally got him to let go of the rabbit by whacking him with a broom but then he was just running around it barking and occasionally going back and trying to bite the rabbit again. I finally chased him away from the rabbit and into the screen porch where I closed the door. He was covered in blood all down his front and so proud of himself. I grabbed him with a towel and put him in the shower. It took forever to get the blood out of his fur. I then left him to dry off and he started shaking uncontrollably. I think because he knew I was mad at him. So i took pity on him and wrapped him up in a towel and held him a bit and the shaking stopped. But i cannot figure out what to do about the dead rabbit - I am so grossed out by the idea of even looking at it. Unfortunately I have no boyfriend/husband/friend that is not grossed out by these things to help me dispose of it. But that's kind of a side rant. My real question is should I be worried about my dog at all? I know its natural for dogs to hunt but the viciousness that he displayed and how much he enjoyed torturing the rabbit freaked me out. Should I be worried about a violent streak? I am afraid to let him loose in the fenced backyard because of something like that happening again. Also, I have read that rabbits can carry diseases and he definitely got a lot of the rabbits blood in his mouth - do i need to take him to the vet?
 

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Ok first he is a cairn terrier LOL it is what they do THEY HUNT it is what they were BRED for. anyway I'm sure it was very traumatic for you but in his eyes he did a GOOD thing and he killed himself some lunch. I would let him eat it to be honest I don't think rabbits carry that much bad things, HE IS NOT VIOLENT. Just because the dog DID WHAT HE WAS BRED to do doesn't make him violent and hungry for human flesh. I personally own a rabbit and although this would break my heart I wouldn't blame the dog, he was just doing what his instincts have taught him to do naturally. I don't know if rabbits carry anything but you can get him checked out if you want to. Dogs have stomachs that can handle a lot so I think he would be ok.
 

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You have a terrier mix. They are prey-drivey dogs, and hunters. Rabbits are prey.

There is no need to be worried. I get that you're upset - I've watched my dogs (also terrier) tear apart mice, moles, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, baby birds and recently a baby rabbit. The cuter and fuzzier, the more upsetting it is for me on an emotional level. That's as natural as the dog killing them. But it's totally, totally not a problem with the dog. It's what they do. It doesn't mean he's going to be aggressive with people or has a temperament issue. If he ATE it, you may want to have him wormed, but otherwise I wouldn't bother.
 

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Your dog is fine and normal. There is no need to take him to the vet as long as he's up to date on his shots and behaves normally. He was most likely shaking because of the bath. Most of my dogs have had a tendency to shake a bit after a bath until they dry off and warm up.

Dogs are carnivores and predators. Your dog enjoyed killing the rabbit because that is how carnivores get their food. He lacks any moral capability to see why it should in any way be wrong to hunt and kill that rabbit and even why it should be fun to do so. To him, it's no different than us enjoying trying a new restaurant. He was not intentionally "torturing" the rabbit. That implies that he made a conscious decision to cause the rabbit unnecessary pain. He was a predator following its instincts to kill prey and, biting and shaking prey is how canines kill their meals. This is a part of life and is a part of sharing life with another predator. Do you think the way our meat is killed is pretty or without blood and gore? Or the way animals are killed to make dog kibble? Nope...both involve bloodshed.

If you're unable or unwilling to clean up the rabbit carcass, you could just let the dog finish his meal and then clean him up after. As far as being afraid to let him outside? Chances are that the rabbits will learn to avoid your backyard. If they don't, he may catch another meal, but it really is not the end of the world. It is the way of the world.
 

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Cairn terriers were bred to do this, your puppy has this hunting instict from the Cairn Terrier. You should have read about it before getting the puppy. You might need to see more of this if you don't watch him.
When he sees a pray, he won't listen.

I am sorry you had to see this.
 

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All dogs have a prey instinct, I wouldn't be worried that this is a sign of a violent streak, he's a terrier... it's what they're meant to do.
As long as he's up to date on all his shots, I wouldn't be too worried about diseases either unless he begins showing signs of illness.

As for the rabbit... do you have a shovel? dig a hole that's a good 3 feet deep and bury it. Just use the shovel to "kick" it into the hole and don't dig far from where the rabbit is right now. Once it's in the hole you could even put a layer of gravel over it before covering it with the dirt, just to be sure your dog won't dig it back up.

It sucks, and it's traumatic to witness something like that, but that's dogs for ya. My friends GSD brought home a deer once, imagine how much clean up was involved with that.. lol.
 

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Don't worry. He's just a normal terrier with a good strong prey drive. It doesn't mean anything except be careful with him around small animals. It shouldn't effect his interactions with people (or anything else he doesn't see as prey).

I honestly wouldn't worry too much about him and the blood. One of my old dogs once actually killed and ate half a rabbit before we found out and got it away from her. We called the vet and all he said was to watch her. I was more worried about worms than anything else. She was fine. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I knew they had a high prey-drive - I guess I thought it was more for little things like mice and birds. He's killed two birds, a lizard and a mouse but those didn't freak me out as much. Then again he just killed them (and ate a couple when I couldn't keep him from it) and he didn't torture the poor things. He did get violently ill after eating the lizard, he puked for about 2 hours and couldn't eat anything for 2 days. But he did survive it. This rabbit was almost as big as he is (he's only 9 lbs). I just can't get that horrible shrieking out of my head. I think it was the shrieking that is freaking me out more than anything, that and the fact that i was completely unable to control him or get him to come to me. What if that had been like a baby dog or something? Maybe that's something I should just realize is normal while he's killing something. I do work on training with him continuously but he's been so good at come lately I'm not sure how to train for an extreme situation like that. Anyway, thanks guys for listening to my freaking out - I'm sure with some time I'll settle down. If I hadn't witnessed it I would just be like "that's a dog" but it was just so awful to watch.
 

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He's a terrier. Get used to it :p. No, you don't have to worry about a "violent streak"---killing rats and rabbits is exactly what Cairn terriers were bred for, so he's just exploring his heritage :D. So nothing to worry about unless you want to have a pet rabbit. . .which I don't recommend. If it makes you feel better, go outside before he does and stomp around a little to scare the rabbits out of the yard.

I agree that it is freaky to see and hear it happening :(. The cat we had when I was a teenager was a great hunter, and he would get baby rabbits. . .hearing the poor things scream is terrible.

The most common thing rabbits carry is tapeworm so you might want to ask the vet for a tapeworm pill. There are other diseases that aren't so common so I don't think it's anything to worry about, but if he does happen to get sick it would be good to mention his rabbit incident to the vet. There are thousands of farm dogs who kill (and eat) rabbits daily and live long lives.

For disposal, do you have a shovel? Dig a hole and toss the rabbit in. Otherwise, get 2 or 3 large garbage bags, turn inside out, grab the rabbit's leg and turn the bag back over him (like using a poop bag). Garbage companies will usually take small dead animals if they're well-bagged (not any different than a chunk of bad meat, really)
 

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As an aside and discussing traumatizing incidents:

Small animals screaming really is awful. It took the dogs ...longer than I would have liked to kill the rabbit they caught, because they were fighting over it. The sound that poor animal made was haunting.

Still sleep with the dogs and trust them, acknowledge it's my issue, but it really is unpleasant.
 

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should you be worried????... yes you should be concerned you wacked your puppy hard with a broom in your excitement and then your pup went to shaking violently. I would go have him check out to see if you did any long term harm or damage to him. Not saying that you meant to do him harm.. but it was a very poor choice on how to handle the situation.. That would be my fist immediate thing to do... As far as the dead rabbit get a trash bag and dispose of it. You know now, you dog will go after the rabbits,, so leash him before he goes out into the back yard to clear them out before you let him loose.. and work on strong leave it, drop it, and recalls for him.. Nothing wrong with your dog, no violent streak,, just a dog and even a terrier just being themselves... It's a hard learning experience for you, and I hope your pup is physically ok...
 

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should you be worried????... yes you should be concerned you wacked your puppy hard with a broom in your excitement and then your pup went to shaking violently.
I grabbed him with a towel and put him in the shower. It took forever to get the blood out of his fur. I then left him to dry off and he started shaking uncontrollably. I think because he knew I was mad at him. So i took pity on him and wrapped him up in a towel and held him a bit and the shaking stopped.
It sounds to me, more as if the dog was cold after having a bath rather then seizing on the floor violently because of brain damage from being whacked with a broom.
 

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I knew they had a high prey-drive - I guess I thought it was more for little things like mice and birds. He's killed two birds, a lizard and a mouse but those didn't freak me out as much. Then again he just killed them (and ate a couple when I couldn't keep him from it) and he didn't torture the poor things. He did get violently ill after eating the lizard, he puked for about 2 hours and couldn't eat anything for 2 days. But he did survive it. This rabbit was almost as big as he is (he's only 9 lbs). I just can't get that horrible shrieking out of my head. I think it was the shrieking that is freaking me out more than anything, that and the fact that i was completely unable to control him or get him to come to me. What if that had been like a baby dog or something? Maybe that's something I should just realize is normal while he's killing something. I do work on training with him continuously but he's been so good at come lately I'm not sure how to train for an extreme situation like that. Anyway, thanks guys for listening to my freaking out - I'm sure with some time I'll settle down. If I hadn't witnessed it I would just be like "that's a dog" but it was just so awful to watch.

Odds of him being the same with a puppy are not high, though I would be really careful with cats. Otherwise, like I said - I get the reaction. Forget the dog shaking -I- shook for a couple of hours after listening to the bunny my dogs caught and fought over. That's a horrid sound and responding negatively to that's normal. Just don't let it change how you view your dog.
 

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As an aside and discussing traumatizing incidents:

Small animals screaming really is awful. It took the dogs ...longer than I would have liked to kill the rabbit they caught, because they were fighting over it. The sound that poor animal made was haunting.

Still sleep with the dogs and trust them, acknowledge it's my issue, but it really is unpleasant.
My labrador used to kill rabbits and birds, even foxes. I hated it. The animals would cry loud and just...
I decided to take her to... hunting classes? I don't know, but she won a lot of titles and stopped hurting the animals. I never let her hunt, though, sometimes it happened.
 

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I'd cook the rabbit personally. No need for it to go to waste. Also, using some paragraphs when writing on here makes it much easier for people to read your post.
 

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It sounds to me, more as if the dog was cold after having a bath rather then seizing on the floor violently because of brain damage from being whacked with a broom.
Seizures are fairly hard to miss - I say as an epileptic and previous owner of epileptic dogs. It's POSSIBLE that it was a seizure, but it doesn't sound like he was flat out and seizing. Sounds like he was excited/scared and cold.
 

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My labrador used to kill rabbits and birds, even foxes. I hated it. The animals would cry loud and just...
I decided to take her to... hunting classes? I don't know, but she won a lot of titles and stopped hurting the animals. I never let her hunt, though, sometimes it happened.
Heh. Frost has earth dog titles. Our fenced in back yard is a patch of woods. I don't have to LET them, I can't STOP them. I can stop them chasing, but once they're on a tree or have an animal cornered there is NOTHING calling them off.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Odds of him being the same with a puppy are not high, though I would be really careful with cats. Otherwise, like I said - I get the reaction. Forget the dog shaking -I- shook for a couple of hours after listening to the bunny my dogs caught and fought over. That's a horrid sound and responding negatively to that's normal. Just don't let it change how you view your dog.
Thank you for being nice to me! I am sure I will get over it eventually and I won't view my dog differently though I might be a bit more careful about letting him loose in the backyard. Like others said I maybe should go out there first to shoo anything away that might be in there and watch him with cats. But I probably should have been doing that the whole time.
 

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I would still let him eat it...it must have been very hard for him to catch that rabbit...he'll clean up the mess for you. I would not however let him eat the brain or eyes...I've heard animals carry diseases (can't remember what they are called) through the brain and eyes.
 

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Thank you for being nice to me! I am sure I will get over it eventually and I won't view my dog differently though I might be a bit more careful about letting him loose in the backyard. Like others said I maybe should go out there first to shoo anything away that might be in there and watch him with cats. But I probably should have been doing that the whole time.
Go out and make some noise, and it'll help. You might also want to patrol the edges of your fence to make sure he's not working on escape tunnels. I KNEW my dogs were terriers and hunters, but that doesn't stop you from having an emotional reaction. Emotional reactions are okay. Just get a plan together if it happens again - like even leaving him to it, so you don't burn out your recall command. It'll be okay, and so will you.
 
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