How to Train Your Dog to Not Kill Small Animals

Medium
1-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You’re out on a walk enjoying the pleasant weather and unusually quiet surroundings, when all of a sudden your dog nearly pulls your arm out of its socket as he leaps towards a small rodent. You could forgive him if it was just the once or twice, but he has developed a habit of chasing anything small, furry and breathing. That includes your daughter's pet hamster, rabbits, and even other dogs. 

While it all seemed like harmless fun to start with, he has sunk their teeth into a variety of small animals, including the odd pet, and has now developed a taste for the kill. This behavior is serious, if he attacks and kills other small pets, he runs the risk of being put down or making you liable for hefty vet bills.

Defining Tasks

Thankfully, getting a handle on this killing behavior is achievable in just a few weeks with rigorous obedience training and by taking a number of steps to limit his attacking ability. If your dog is a puppy he will likely respond to the training swiftly, if your dog is older he may be more stuck in his ways and require an additional couple of weeks to finally kick the habit.

While getting this training right is essential if you want to prevent unnecessary death and avoid significant vet bills, there is also another serious reason to put an end to your dog's killing streak. Dogs that start off killing animals can find the experience so stimulating that they start attacking humans as well. If he does attack a human or other pet, he runs the risk of a court ordering his destruction. 

Getting Started

Before your training campaign kicks off you will need to get a number of things together. Treats or your dog's favorite food will be needed to incentivize and reward him. You will also need a quiet outside space, free from the distraction of small animals.

A long leash and a muzzle may also need to be used until you have got the aggressive behavior under wraps. If he is big and strong, a body harness may help you keep control and reduce strain on his neck.

Once you’ve got all of the above, you will just need 15 minutes a day for training, a proactive attitude and then you’re ready to get to work!

The Socialization Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Setting up
Secure a small animal such as a rat, chicken, or pet in a cage. Once the animal is secure, take your dog outside on a leash and bring a pocket full of treats. You are going to slowly familiarize him with small animals and drill positive behavior into him.
Step
2
Head towards the animal
Slowly walk towards the small caged animal, holding onto the leash firmly. With every step you take that he doesn’t lunge for the animal, praise him and give him a treat. You are showing and reinforcing to him how to correctly behave around small animals.
Step
3
React promptly
As soon as he shows signs of aggression, pull him firmly in the other direction and walk away. By pulling him away you are showing him that if he displays signs of aggression he won’t be able to go in the direction he wants. Once he has calmed down you can head back towards the animal, repeating the positive reinforcement.
Step
4
Practice
Practice this routine every day for 15 minutes and slowly edge closer to the animal. After several days of the above routine he will be able to get closer to the animal before displaying signs of aggression. Continue with this routine every day until you can walk him within a few feet of the caged animal without him trying to attack them.
Step
5
Lose the rewards
As he becomes totally calm even when he is close to the animal (which may take several weeks), slowly reduce the frequency of treats. Continue with this until no longer needs the promise of food to behave around small animals. Do not let him off the leash or out of his muzzle until you are fully confident he won't lunge towards any animals. It may take many weeks but this rigorous training will slowly break his bad habit, so be patient!
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The ‘Down’ Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Preparation
Take a bag full of treats and take him into a quiet room, free from distractions. You are going to teach him to fall to the ground as soon as he displays signs of aggression. This will also cement your position as the pack leader and increase the control you have over him in other aspects of his life.
Step
2
'Down'
Hold a treat in front of his nose and firmly say "down". Don’t shout at him, as you don’t want to scare him, but ensure he knows you mean business from the tone of your voice.
Step
3
Guide him
Lead him to the ground and reward him with the treat as soon as he lies down. You may need to encourage him the first few times by gently pulling his legs down, but he will soon catch on. It is important he gets the reward as soon as he lies down, so he associates the food with the behavior. Practice this training every day for 10-15 minutes until he becomes a ‘down’ pro.
Step
4
Introduce distractions
You now need to practice the training even when there are distractions around. You can use a small cuddly animal toy, another dog on a leash or even a family member. Just have him walk 10 yards away from you and have your dog lie down as soon as he shows signs he want to run over to them. Keep practicing this and rewarding him until other dogs and people can walk closely by and he’ll still drop to the ground.
Step
5
Cement control
Slowly reduce the frequency of treats when you are confident you have cemented your control with ‘down’. When he still responds to you even with distractions around, you can cut down on treats until he drops without the promise of food. Keep him on a muzzle for the first few walks, but when you feel confident that the 'down' control always works, you can lose the muzzle and leash too.
Recommend training method?

The Focus Training Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Head out
Take a hand full of treats and head out to a quiet field. You are going to train him to frequently be looking to you and to quickly come running to you when called. If you have total control over him you can stop him dead in his tracks as soon as he even looks at a small animal.
Step
2
Cue
Make a sound, such as a whistle or a clicking sound. This sound will be the cue for him to look at you and return to you, so pick something you can use with ease whatever the situation.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as he looks at you and comes over to you, give him a treat and shower him with praise. It is important he receives the treat as soon as he looks at you so he associates the reward with the behavior. You may need to be patient the first few times, so don’t worry if it takes 30 seconds before he focuses his attention on you, he will quickly pick it up.
Step
4
Practice daily
Practice this training everyday for 10-15 minutes. It is important you religiously practice this training until he quickly responds to your sound. As you become confident he is getting the hang of training, introduce distractions such as other people and then a pet he is already familiar with. You may want to keep him on a long leash to start with, or a muzzle.
Step
5
Cut down on treats
Once he responds to your sound every time, even with serious distractions around, slowly reduce the frequency of treats. Continue reducing treats and rewards until he comes to you without the promise of food. When you are fully confident he will respond, you can lose the leash and muzzle when you are out on walks.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Pippa
Australian Kelpie
3 Years
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Question
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Pippa
Australian Kelpie
3 Years

Pippa is a rescue we saved her 2 weeks ago she is very unsocialized with other animals. I have done my best to keep her away from the smaller animals but to no avail she has still managed to get our rabbit last week and knocked guinea pigs cage resulting in it having what I believe to be a heart attack as she didn't actually physically touch it I got there in time but she still died. We still have 4 chooks birds and 2 other dogs to think of if I can't correct this behavior I'm saddened to say that we would have to rehome her again. I would like to get a handle on this behavior as I would down the track like to replace my kids other animals

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amanda, Since it sounds like this is prey drive, you can't get rid of prey drive. You can manage it better through training and management though. I suggest keeping all the small animals (except other dogs) in the same room or area, and teaching an avoidance of that area in general. You can train an avoidance using e-collar training, or you can place a pet barrier device in the area and adjust the range that corresponds to a collar she wears, to reach the room doorway but no further. Check out the videos linked below on teaching an avoidance. Whether you teach the avoidance manually through a remote collar or let the barrier device do the correcting automatically, you can still use similar training to help her understand that she should stay away from that area and to reward her for listening and leaving it alone - so she understands that it is a rule and not just random correction, so she can control if she gets corrected or not by knowing what causes her to be corrected. Day 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNbWCK9lFc Day 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpf5Bn-MNko&t=14s Day 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3nMvvHhwQ Day 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrGQ-AZylY Example of Pet Barrier device (this device would go near the cages and create a radius, that when she gets within that radius, she is corrected by a collar - sort of like a backwards electric fence - being corrected for going into an area instead of leaving an area: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/petsafe-pawz-away-outdoor-pet-barrier-transmitter-1288288?store_code=&cm_mmc=PLA-GG-_-PTC_P_SUP_PLA-GG_FY19_SBU04_Electronics-_-68034639285-_-A&kpid=go_1843231380_68034639285_346185779429_aud-474167082863:pla-789417669274_c&utm_config=tad0iunwp&utm_campaign=PTC_P_SUP_PLA-GG_FY19_SBU04_Electronics&utm_source=google&gclid=CjwKCAjw7anqBRALEiwAgvGgm9eaLC8VKdw7lT8htZKhrbY5JEM2pu3wqs3ng875-yuOF2K66THxYBoC7H8QAvD_BwE Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jasper
Mutt
7 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Jasper
Mutt
7 Years

How to train my dog not to kill small animals such as bunnys chipmunks and hamsters>

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lydia, If Jasper has never killed a small animal before, then try using the "Socialization" method from the "How to Train Your Dog Not to Kill Small Animals" article you commented on. If he has already killed a small animal, then you will need to teach him to avoid those animals by creating a strong distaste for chasing those animals using a Remote Training Collar. Remote Training Collars are wonderful, very effective, powerful tools, that can be grossly misused. Either hire a professional trainer with experience using E-collars and teaching avoidance or do your own homework and learn how to properly use and fit an Electric collar. Do not simply open the box and put it on your dog and use it! Bellow I have included a link to James Penrith from Take The Lead Dog Training's YouTube channel. He talks about how to use an Electric collar to stop sheep chasing behavior, but the same training can be applied to other animals that your dog chases. If your dog cannot chase and catch an animal, he should not be able to kill it. Take The Lead Dog Training also talks about how to properly condition a dog to an Electric collar and fit the collar. When you choose a collar avoid lesser quality, cheap ones. They can be dangerously inconsistent and high powered. Instead choose a quality hunting dog collar, such as E-Collar Technologies, Dogtra, SportDog, or Garmin. Only choose a model that has a dial up feature like a nob and not just a button that you have to push to increase the level. You will need a dial up feature to help the chasing feature. Here is the link to the YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpdvFaXnvyg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
lulu
Black lab/German shepherd mix
3 Months
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Question
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lulu
Black lab/German shepherd mix
3 Months

My dog killed one of my chickens this morning so now she is locked up until further notice. Which of these methods do you recommend for her? Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gerard, I suggest working on the "Focus Training" method, to teach her to come to you and look to you when she is thinking about chasing the chickens. That will help her develop impulse control. If she will be on the farm, loose around the chickens without you present later in life, I also suggest teaching a strong avoidance of the chickens in general. One of the easiest ways to do that is to keep the chickens in a coop and in a fenced-chicken-wire area, where she can see and approach them but not harm them, and they are relatively contained. There is a device called a pet barrier device that emits a signal from wherever it is location (near the chickens in your case) and the signal is picked up by a collar that the dog wears. Whenever the dog gets too close to the barrier, the collar is stimulated like an electric fence collar would be, teaching the dog to avoid a certain area even when no one is present. You want her to associate any corrections with the actual chickens and being near them and not just you, so that she will avoid them even when you are not looking. Set up the chickens in the fence and coop with the barrier device for a while until she avoids that area, then move the chicken fence with the chickens to a new location and set up the device there. Continue to move the chickens and the barrier device around - so that she learns to associate the corrections with the actual chickens and not just that area of the yard. Have the range on the device set low enough to where she would have to approach the chickens fairly close before she is corrected, and wouldn't be correctly for accidentally just wandering past the coop. If she is sensitive, you can start with just the training from the article with Come and focusing on you, and always keep her with you while you are still training her in general (which is good to do at this age anyway), and use the barrier device later when she is older and ready for more freedom on the property without you always right beside her. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Calvin
Doberman Pinscher
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Calvin
Doberman Pinscher
8 Months

So just today my dog killed my neighbour's rabbit. It fell from their roof to our front yard and my dog attacked it. Calvin didn't hurt the rabbit nor sunk his teeth but the rabbit died. He has killed a small lizard as well. I'm worried this will continue and become his habit.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aastha, I suggest teaching a high level "Leave It" command and once he knows the command practice it with living and moving things with safety measures like a gate, leash or muzzle in place to keep the small animals from being harmed. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Leave It" command to teach him what the command initially means, then you can continue the training around moving things and eventually living things - being extremely careful to keep the live animals safe around him. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Prey drive is an instinct and instincts cannot be changed. Left to to his own decisions a dog will follow instincts. A solid Leave It command allows you to stop the dog when something like the rabbit appearing in your yard happens while you are present. You can also teach a dog to like or avoid specific animals, but that training is done with a specific animal in your home or group of animals outside - like avoiding all sheep in a field nearby, and the training will not stop a general prey drive around all small animals. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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ivy
Akita Shepherd
1 Year
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ivy
Akita Shepherd
1 Year

Ivy is a service dog in training and she learns very quickly and is very well behaved in public. The only problem is that she wants to kill small animals (small dogs, squirrels, cats). She has killed a guinea pig and attacked my chihuahua. When we are on the streets she will gently pull towards dogs or cats. However, sometimes she will lunge at them or even bark. She rarely lunges and barks but it causes big problems for me as a handler. I have two rats and I have to leash her to my bed so she does not hurt or kill them. Now due to some circumstances, my mother is moving in with her cat and I am so scared that she will hurt her. I am also scared that she might act out if she ever encounters a rouge dog while we are training. I really want her to learn to ignore my animals and other animals so that we can live peacefully.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Juliana, I suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you. You are likely going to need a high level of obedience to manage her prey drive. Unfortunately, prey drive is not something you can get rid of. It is inherited. What you can do is work on advanced obedience around lots of distractions, including small animals. I suggest keeping your mom's cat and Ivy in separate rooms with an additional baby gate at the door, unless you see a large change after going through professional training with her. As a Service Dog I am sure you are aware that that type of prey drive, especially toward other small dogs (who could be service dogs) disqualifies her from becoming a full Service Dog, so a professional could hopefully help I'm that area as well. Ask a lot of questions when you look for a trainer. Make sure they have comparable experience to what you are needing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sam
Ridgeback mix
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Sam
Ridgeback mix
6 Years

My dog killed a small deer this morning in the neighbours back yard. He has in the past killed a groundhog and racoon.I feel I have trained and trained, most recently with an electric collar that he now ignores.He comes unless there are Spring attractions that are more interesting. Yes, it is of course my fault.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Phyllis, It sounds like your dog has a very strong predatory instinct. As a Ridgeback he has a lot of speed, strength and courage I am sure so is not deterred by game. Electric collar training is one of the only ways to stop livestock and game chasing of that degree. Without knowing exactly what you have done with that training I am unfortunately little help here. Check out the YouTube channel linked below. The trainer, James Penrith teaches dogs in the UK not to livestock chase using remote collar training. He teaches it two ways: https://youtu.be/CpdvFaXnvyg He uses lower level stimulation, long leashes, obedience commands, and repetition around the animals while the dog is on the long leash and e-collar to teach the dog not to chase when the owner is with him. He also uses higher collar corrections associated with only the livestock and not the person (this is done while the person is far away or out of sight), so that the dog associates the correction just with the animal. This is typically done after the first training with the owner present is done and the dogs access to the animals should be stopped during the training period unless it is during a session where things are controlled - so that the dog doesn't get away with animal chasing with a correction or being able to stop it with the long leash. Both types of e-collar training need to be done to help the dog develope the right skills. The collar also needs to have a large enough range of levels (at least 40) and a level that is the right level for your specific dog (called a working level and 'act of God's level) for the training to work property, since different dogs respond to different levels. Without the right foundation training many dogs will assume the correction is something they need to fight back against and it might make them even more aroused toward the animal instead of them responding to the training by stopping- because they have formed a habit of coming to the owner or leaving an area when they feel the collar pressure. That's where the training aspect comes into play to make the e-collar affective instead of confusing. It is very possible that you have done all of this though and your dog simply cannot be trusted around animals because of the high level of drive. I suggest watching James Penrith's livestock chasing videos and see if there is anything there you have not done and might be able to implement to help. https://youtu.be/CpdvFaXnvyg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Karl
Rottweiler
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Karl
Rottweiler
5 Years

Karl was a pound rescue. Karl is fantastic. My spouse has two bunnies who live in our home. Karl is aggressive towards them. Karl readily accepted our other dog, but not the bunnies. How to have everyone co-exist in the home?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shane, The answer to your questions depends a lot on what type of aggression he has. If he is prey driven toward the bunnies, you may not be able to change his aggressive tendency toward them. Instead you would need to focus on keeping the animals separated when you cannot supervise, teaching Karl to avoid Bunnies, and working on high level obedience commands like Out (which means go away), Leave It, Come, and Place. While teaching him to avoid the bunnies, you could work on teaching him to run to a crate whenever he sees the bunnies, and condition him that he will be rewarded once in that crate. This will be a long-term careful management situation though with prey drive. You may want to separate the animals into two different ends of the home where they will not cross paths most of the time to increase safety. Take safety measures. If he is aggression toward them because he feels like they are intruders, he is suspicious of them, or scared of them, you can work on rewarding him whenever he is calm in their presence. Reward him (while on a leash or in a crate for safety) whenever the bunnies enter the room before he has a chance to react negatively - so that their presence is associated with something good. Also reward him whenever they do something he thinks is strange, before he reacts poorly - like when they hop, scratch themselves, or do anything else that seems to especially get his attention. Also, work on his obedience commands using a lot of positive reinforcement and play games with him while they are in the background so that he learns to ignore them, and their presence is also associated with something good. If his aggression is another form of aggression, such as being possessive of you around them, you will need to work on building his respect for you, teaching high level obedience commands, and using positive reinforcement to calmly reward his tolerance when he does well around them. I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced with aggression to evaluate him around the bunnies to get a better idea of what's going on with him around them and how to move forward. Look into references or reviews for the trainer you choose, and ask a lot of questions, making sure they are experienced with both aggression and prey drive (not all trainers work with or are experienced with aggression or similar things). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

HI Karl, when we realized our rottweiller wanted to attack my sisters poodle, we kept them separate. We tried our best but one day someone forgot to close the gate and my dog went for the poodle. He killed him instantly. We are now hoping to train him to stop this aggressive behavior, but I just wanted to warn you to be very careful with the bunnies. Once a dog has fixed his mind on a prey, they will not give up (unless trained). Good luck! PS- we love our rottie and with our family, he is the most protective animal on the planet. My daughters are safe with him!

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Apollo
Rottweiler
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Apollo
Rottweiler
2 Years

Apollo lives with Zoe (a pittweiler) who is 7 years old. Zoe is a hunter who kills animals that wander into our yard. However, she has never attacked a pet or anyone outside the house. Apollo on the other hand has killed possums and iguanas and tried to kill the neighbor's cat. Recently he killed my sister's small poodle in one quick attack. I feel he learned the aggressive behavior from Zoe, but him being a pup still, he has no boundaries. Zoe does. He is great with my kids 8 and 10, but if a small child suddenly walks into our home, he will bark and seem aggressive until we introduce him to the child and let him know the child is not an intruder. With our children, he is so protective, we cant even raise our voices to them. He literally will push me out of the way if he feels Im hurting them (like when we play tag). Should I worry that he will hurt a stranger or can he be trained to stop this aggressive behavior?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Annalisa, Honestly I would be concerned. It sounds like he is most likely to be a danger if he thinks someone is breaking in (think about everyone who comes to your door or enters to leave mail or something while you are gone, and even more concerning - other kids). If one of your kids friends or parents seemed to be too rough with them - which play can look like, he would likely attack. I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in aggression and protectiveness to help you. When he is protective of your kids with you that can actually be him being possessive of them and a sign that he thinks he owns them and is in charge, and not you. That is dangerous. It is never okay for a dog to keep kids from their parents unless their was true abuse in the home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rosco
German Shepherd
9 Months
0 found helpful
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Rosco
German Shepherd
9 Months

Rosco is a wonderful German Shepherd pup who is super smart and is a wonderful family dog. However we live on a farm and he attacked and ripped off a calf's ear and damaged the other ear pretty bad. He also has killed a couple of chickens and a cat. Rosco also like to chase our goats from outside of the pen(he can't get into that pen). I am fearfully that once started that it will continue and we won't be able to train him out of these behaviors. Do you have any advice for me? I am more concerned now as we have neighbors brining cattle to the pastures around us and I do not want my dog to hurt anybody's livestock.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jenna, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who is very experienced with remote collar training, who uses fair discipline but also a lot of positive reinforcement as well. Check out the videos linked below and work on teaching him a strict avoidance of cats and chickens using those methods. Right now I would not trust him off leash. The more opportunities he has to attack other animals successfully the worse the behavior may get. He needs to have life structured while you also work on e-collar training an avoidance of the animals and reward him choosing to stick close to your family around the farm when he is able to be where you are for your family members to keep an eye on him. Check out James Penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining. He has a Youtube channel. He works with dogs that chase and sometimes will kill livestock. Day 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNbWCK9lFc Day 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpf5Bn-MNko&t=14s Day 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3nMvvHhwQ Day 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrGQ-AZylY Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Daisy
Siberian Husky
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Daisy
Siberian Husky
6 Months

We have a small 'farm' I have a whole lot of cows and chickens and bunnies and recently Daisy has been killing chickens like today she killed a rooster and she ate? It we keep telling her not to and for awhile she stopped and then she did it again and this time it's worse and I don't know what to do and I was wondering what we could do to control her instinct

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rosie, Check out James Penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining. He has a Youtube channel. He works with dogs that chase and sometimes will kill livestock. To stop the killing you would need to pursue training like that, creating a strong avoidance of all chickens. Day 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNbWCK9lFc Day 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpf5Bn-MNko&t=14s Day 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3nMvvHhwQ Day 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrGQ-AZylY Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Walee
Terrier mix
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Walee
Terrier mix
2 Years

We have 2 dogs in our family, they are littler mates, and a chihuahua-corgi-terrier mix.
One of the dogs has always show a strong prey drive towards small animals.
He has killed birds, moles, and a young wild rabbit
Now we also have 2 rabbits as pets, and we have to be careful to keep them separate. We have cats as well, and Walee has always done great with the cats...zero aggression, if anything a great bond and friendship.
Recently he dug one of our guinea pigs out of its cage and killed it. So this is the first incident of it being harm to a family pet. I understand that much is a natural drive and instinct, him chasing squirrels and going after rodent type animals, especially having that Terrier in him. But, it's heart breaking and worrisome with him having that killer drive. He is also an important member of our family, but I fear things getting worse. We work and are gone most during the day, and the dogs have the run of our large backyard (fenced). We are also planning to get chickens within the year and I'm concerned how that will go.
Appreciate any advice or tips you have.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Allison, Check out the two videos linked below. You can do those types of protocols with him around the animals to help. Cat aggressive dog - less extreme case. Training can be done with different animals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojIQmMuOwns&t=85s Cat aggressive dog - can be done with other animals instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y Be mindful though, that constantly having him in situations that are very tempting - where it's close quarters and he can't remove himself from the situation, isn't good for training though. Your management of all the animals will need to be really good too. The chickens need to be somewhere where he is not constantly running into them loose. The Rabbits need to be somewhere that is not easily accessed by him. It is possible he is fine with the cats - some dogs view them as different than other prey if raised with them - just be aware if you start to see signs of him fixating on them, stalking them, chasing, ect... You can get something called a Pet Barrier device that will emit a signal that corresponds to a collar he can wear, and stimulates the collar if he gets too close to the device. The device can be put near the hen-house and the radius adjusted to just include that area of the yard - the chickens shouldn't be free ranging though. The device will teach him to avoid their area but loose chickens outside that area will be a different matter. You can also use electric collar training to teach a dog to avoid certain types of animals - but this type of training is really only effective and fair to the dog if the animal that they are avoiding is something they can actually avoid - like the neighbors' sheep or stray cats, not your other pets that are in close quarters all the time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Macko
other
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Macko
other
2 Years

Hi there,

We took Macko from the local shelter when he was still a puppy. He is a very mellow dog and you can even take the food from his mouth without him getting aggressive or agitated - he just seems always calm. He knows all basic orders and listens when at home. BUT then there are other animals.. We live near a forest and big fields and whenever we go for a walk and Macko smells the deer he runs away and chases the poor creatures. It's gotten worse recently and he attacked our friend's cat and now killed a small bird and a mole in the garden. When he gets the smell of an animal or sees a cat his whole body tenses up and he gets 'deaf' to whatever we say... What would you recommend for us to try? Thank you very very much

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gabriela, Honestly I would hire someone very experienced with off-leash e-collar training to teach Come, heel, staying close, leave it, ect... to help manage the issue. You can teach an e-collar avoidance of certain animals but since his chasing is very general to all prey animals, you can't cover all of those bases using avoidance training without being present. Instead, I would limit his off-leash freedom to when you are nearby and do e-collar training so that he is always under voice control. Off-leash training can be done for many dogs without the use of an e-collar but with a high prey drive it is likely needed to give you the amount of consistency and interruption of his arousal needed to earn his focus in those situations. Check out the video linked below from a trainer who specializes in animals who chase and kill livestock and the way he trains using e-collars. Look for a trainer with a similar philosophy and know that when done right e-collar training will still require off-leash training repetition and work on your part - practicing with the long leash also, teaching the commands you will later pair the e-collar with using rewards, and practicing around distractions. E-collar training isn't a quick fix, but if done right it can work really well even with highly aroused dogs - look at hunting dogs and them being under voice control around the thing they love most in life - birds and prey. When done right e-collar training is mostly low-medium level stimulation, a lot of repetition, and often includes rewards for good behavior. It isn't just punishing a dog over and over again - who hasn't learned the skills needed to succeed through repetition, rewards, long leash practice, and other work yet. e-collar come: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtJxSXu4rfs&t=429s The trainer from the video linked above also has some good how to videos to learn more. You need to learn how to find a dog's working level stimulation level, how to properly fit the collar, and what timing should look like before you even get into specifics of using it though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Scooby
Boxer Shepherd
13 Years
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Question
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Scooby
Boxer Shepherd
13 Years

My parents and I have been thinking about getting a ferret but we keep thinking about our dogs killing them and we don't want to put an animal in that situation. Scooby is a Boxer and German shepered mix. We also have a Britney Spaniel named pippie who is about 8 or 9 months old, two boxers, Gunner and Bella, Bella is 9 years old and Gunner is 6 years old, and an English Bulldog named Ellie, she is 9 months old. Do you have any advice for training them before we get the animal? Or which training method would work best?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Savanna, You want to first work on really high level obedience with commands like Place, Stay, and Leave It around distractions. Second, you will want to evaluate their prey drive. Are they especially prey driven - if so I wouldn't suggest adding a small animal to your environment unless you can be 100% sure they cannot access the animal at any time - including where the cage is and the room it stays in. This can be really hard to do, so I personally wouldn't recommend it if it were me with that level of management. If the dogs do well around small animals and show potential to accept one without too much prey drive, and are mostly just curious of want to chase, you can start working on the dogs one at a time staying on Place and just being in the same room while you have the ferret in it's cage. Correct any fixating or unwanted behavior - especially predatory, reward ignoring the ferret, calmness and tolerance while it is in the room. Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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