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994 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Laurelin
This was never a problem before since I lived so far away from neighbors but now that I live in a typical neighborhood it's a bit more of a concern.

When I lived at my dad's there was a tree there that often had squirrels in the back yard. Mia would go bark at the tree when you'd let her outside. Eventually her barking turned into a dog that would scream when you let her outside then go and start biting the tree.

It was fine after I moved out until a few weeks ago. She'd go out to potty like a normal dog. Occasionally she'd bark but nothing like before. Three weeks ago there was a squirrel in our tree and she chased it up there. Since then, she's started screaming and biting the tree again. Last night the neighbors were having a party outside and I was trying to apologize over the fence about the racket my dog made. It does not last long, 10-15 seconds maybe? But it's a god-awful noise.

I've tried a few things with it. First I tried teaching her to wait at the back door. It seems to ramp her up more and make the screaming worse. Even a normal stay, she sometimes screams at the release. I've tried carrying her out there but the physical restraint also makes things worse.

I guess I could leash her to let her out in the back yard but would rather not. After the initial scream, she's fine and will go potty calmly. I've tried leashing her for the beginning but she whines and shrieks wanting off the leash to get to the tree. I know with time I could probably make this work but it would take time and patience to listen to the racket until she stops. But she frustrates very fast.

She also does something similar with a cabinet inside where we saw a mouse once. If you say the word mouse, she races to the cabinet and screams and tries to dig behind it. I've done some work with that and most the time if she races to it now she won't scream and will call right back. I've done this by letting her run to it and then rewarding her when she comes back. It's gone from a run and scream and dig to run there and run back as fast as possible. Definitely an improvement. I've thought about doing something like that with the tree.
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Though I am no expert ....

I think you should try what you did with the mouse and the cabinet ... but with the tree. As a person who had a dog (Leeo) who was a huge ratter and high prey drive guy ... the only thing I could do was let him have his way with his target ... to keep him from "screaming" from the excitement of the hunt! lol! :) This would calm him enough to re-direct him to what I wanted him to do.
Perhaps you could try to use a flirt pole, in order for her to drain out all her pent up "prey drive" energy.
So it's a game where she can chase something and then she won't want to chase after the tree or the cabinet because she is all chased out for the day and since she's tired of chasing, you won't be hearing that scream.
My dog likes to sniff around a lot, so I usually play games with him that involve him sniffing and using his nose to find treats, toys etc, and then when I take him out he pretty much ignores whatever is outside, since he's all "sniffed" out.
Mia plays a lot of chase games. She's plays ball multiple times daily and plays flirt pole quite a bit too. The flirt pole doesn't get her going as much as a squirrel does. Tennis balls do but I have yet to see her worn out by tennis balls. She will keep going and going until she's forced to stop.

I'm really yhinking of premacking it. It's amazing to me how one incident with the mouse or the squirrel manifests and how long she remembers and how quickly it builds on itself.
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