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.
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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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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
912 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
912 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
912 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
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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
912 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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Sam
Ridgeback mix
6 Years
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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
912 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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ivy
Akita Shepherd
1 Year
0 found helpful
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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
912 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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Karl
Rottweiler
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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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
912 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
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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
912 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
912 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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Luna
Pit bull
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Luna
Pit bull
4 Months

My dog's prey drive is becoming unbearable. What can I do to help curb it? I am tired of finding birds, squirrels, and any other small animal on my porch. I think she is a pit mix.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Catherine, First, limiting access to the yard to times when you are supervising will give you the more opportunities to train. While you are out there, working on a long leash recall, commands like Out - which means leave the area, and leave it can all help. Giving pup something other than tracking animals can also help - like a dog food stuffed chew toy or puzzle toy to work on - but don't leave food out overnight or it may attract animals. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Check out the Premack principle from the article linked below: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Finally, check out James Penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining on Youtube. He specializes in livestock chasing dogs and off-leash reliablity. He has a number of videos discussing the training involved to deal with such behavior. Below is his video on recall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfpvg6DJJHk Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Daisy
Siberian Husky
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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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
912 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
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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
912 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
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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
912 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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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
912 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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Copper
Beagle heeler mix
9 Months
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Copper
Beagle heeler mix
9 Months

We own chickens and rabbits. Our other dog Butters leaves all the small animals alone. My daughters new puppy has gone over to the outside rabbit hutches and knocked the latches open and the rabbits got out twice and each time he has killed 2 of the rabbits. He has only done this when we are not home. Is it possible to break him of this bad behavior to not kill small animals or is this something that will always be an issue? We have tried working with him and he leaves the rabbits alone when we are present, again it is just when he is alone he will go after them.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Regina, If the chickens are always in their coop and the issue is consistently that he is breaking into the coop and not that the chickens are free where he can attack them while you are gone, I would start by purchasing a Pet Barrier device - such a device would be setup next to where the chickens live, it would transmit a signal a certain distance out from the device (the distance should be adjustable). You would adjust the device so that anywhere within three about feet of the chickens would be inside the device's range. There is a corresponding collar that your dog would wear (like an electric fence collar) that would correct your dog if they went within the device's range near the chickens. I would practice with the device on pup and you present to tell pup to move away from the birds - then if he disobeyed he would be corrected - but would understand that he was corrected because he got too close when you said not too. Once he has learned to give the birds space while you are not around. I would pretend to leave and spy on pup while he wears the collars - the device should correct him while you are not around - teaching him that he can't bother the birds when you are not there also. If for any reason the device isn't effective, you will be spying on pup the first few times to ensure the birds' safety if needed. If that's not an option for some reason, you need a more general avoidance of the birds while they are free also, or the first option isn't effective, then 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. Whether this is doable will depend on your level of dedication, willingness to learn, and how large the space he is in is. If he is in tight quarters with the chickens, like in a very small yard, then the temptation will likely be too great, and he will either resort to killing them or will be in a constant state of stress trying to avoid them. If the chickens are on the far end of the yard and he has plenty of room to go somewhere that they are not located to avoid them, then the training is feasible. Using e-collars, you would either need to spend a lot of time learning how to use an e-collar properly (James Penrith also has videos on e-collar basics on his youtube channel) or would want to hire a trainer who is proficient with them to help you with this training - which is why I suggest trying the barrier device first - it would ultimately be cheaper and easier to try. Pet Barrier Device example: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/petsafe-pawz-away-outdoor-pet-barrier-1288270?cm_mmc=PLA-GG-_-PTC_P_SUP_PLA-GG_FY19_SBU04_Electronics_SMRT-_-81360571434-_-A&kpid=go_6526243173_81360571434_384015452324_pla-350427167964_c&utm_config=tad0iunwp&utm_campaign=PTC_P_SUP_PLA-GG_FY19_SBU04_Electronics_SMRT&utm_source=google&gclid=Cj0KCQiA9dDwBRC9ARIsABbedBM6tmMamqq2EUCezSQFnJYaR-6jpUoNZxUQPzIhBPP5edLXkkdSKYgaAqchEALw_wcB 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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Calvin
Goldendoodle
4 Years
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Calvin
Goldendoodle
4 Years

Calvin has very aggressive behavior and loves to play rough with his older dog mate in the house. He always bites the other dog’s collar but it is all in good fun. Only problem is he is not welcoming our 3rd goldendoodle puppy into the family. I fear he is going to pick the puppy up by the neck and throttle him, perhaps killing him or doing severe damage. How can I ease Calvin into recognizing the pup is part of the family and not a “possum”?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Patricia, If you feel overwhelmed, things are getting worse, or there is a bite, then I would seek professional help. Aggression is something best addressed immediately or it can get worse, so if you feel good about working through it yourself you can try the below suggestions, but if you are not seeing improvement or feel overwhelmed by it, then you may want to hire someone who is very experienced with aggression to come to your home and help one-on-one with you (obedience classes aren't enough - you need someone who has a lot of experience with behavior issues to address it with the dogs and teach you how to manage it in real time). First, I highly suggest crate training the puppy. Almost all puppies will cry the first two weeks of crate training - it is new to them and they have to be given the opportunity to learn to self-sooth and self-entertain to prepare them for environments they will have to be in later and prevent dangerous destructive chewing habits that happen without confinement. Use the Surprise method from the article linked below to gradually help him learn to be calm in the crate and to relax by using rewards for being Quiet. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Once he is crate trained then life with both dogs can be a lot easier for everyone. Crate pup at night and when you leave, and you can use an exercise pen with some toys in it also. When you cannot directly supervise the dogs together, puppy should be crated or in the pen. When you are supervising, teach both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed. This is important - the dogs are not to be together unless you are standing right there at this point - keep pup safe during the transition. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your older dog when he is trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your older dog, blocking the pup from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your older dog. If your older dog growls at your pup, make him leave the room while also disciplining pup for antagonizing him if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off their relationship - you want the dogs to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and to learns respect for each other because you have taught it to them and not because your older dog has had to resort to aggression or was allowed to bully - or pup was allowed to pester. If you want pup to be free but don't want to chase after him while you are home, you can also clip him to yourself using a six-foot leash, so that he has to stay near you and not wander near your other dog. Whenever puppy enters the room, give your older dog a treat while pup is not looking. Whenever he is calm, relaxed or tolerant of puppy also give him a treat. Try not to let puppy see you rewarding him though so that he doesn’t run over and overwhelm him - leading to food aggression. Finally, work on some structured obedience with Calvin to help manage his interactions with pup, ensure he respects and thus listens to you well around pup, and increases him impulse control and ability to be calm in exciting situations - which is probably whenever the puppy is around right now. Don't try to make Calvin Alpha over puppy (not that you are but it's commonly done), instead you want both dogs respecting you so that they aren't competing with each other, disciplining or pestering each other, or being too rough - so you can give boundaries, teach calmness, and they will both listen. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo If you find that Calvin is resource guarding you from pup, not listening, being pushy, or generally exhibiting other such behavior issues, the following commands and methods are also good, gentle things to practice to work on overall behavior - to then help manage the dogs altogether. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Pearl
Pitbull mix
5 Years
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Pearl
Pitbull mix
5 Years

My dog is terrible around small animals and unfortunately has killed a few of the stray cats in our neighborhood that have wandered into our yard. I'm at a loss as to what to do anymore, I'm afraid it's too late to train her to be better at this age. Is it?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stephanie, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced with e-collars, working level e-collar use, who uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections, and comes well recommended by their previous clients whose dogs had behavior issues that needed help. 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 cats. Whether this is doable will depend on your level of dedication, willingness to learn, and how easy it is for pup to choose to avoid the cats (probably not too hard for pup to avoid the cats if she want to since it's neighborhood cats and not your own). 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 Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Severe cat issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y More e-collar work with cats with the same dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8lkbX0dhT0 Many trainers are not qualified to do the above training so be sure to ask a lot of questions and make sure you hire someone who really knows what they are doing when it comes to e-collars and behavior modification. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jack
Australian Cattle Dog
1 Year
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Jack
Australian Cattle Dog
1 Year

I adopted Jack in November of 2019. I have been taking him to the dog park three days a week for about a month. the last two days, yesterday and today, he has attacked a Husky puppy at the park. He hasn't injured the puppy but I'm afraid he's trying to kill it. The attacks seemed unprovoked and very vicious. The puppy was not approaching him first, he approached the puppy both times. I'm not sure if it was the same puppy both days but it looked like the same puppy. Jack gets along fine with all the other dogs including Chihuahuas and other small breeds that are smaller than the Husky puppy. He also does fine with children. The dog park i go to has a separate area for small dogs and puppies but most of the small dog and puppy owners don't use it. Jack is an Australian Cattle Dog mixed breed, about 38 pounds and about 1 year and two months old.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. The fact that Jack is attacking one specific breed makes me wonder if there was a problem with a Husky in the past, before you adopted him. Of course, this new behavior is not acceptable and no doubt upsetting to you (and the other owner!). How is Jack doing in his obedience training? If you haven't taken him yet, now is the time to start. He has to know his commands impeccably - and being the breed that he is, no doubt he will excel. Here is an article on training your dog not to attack other dogs: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-attack-other-dogs There are several videos here that may help you https://www.youtube.com/RobertCabralDogs . It's important to take care of this problem right away and I am pleased to see you are doing so. All the best!

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Ollie
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
3 Years
1 found helpful
Question
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Ollie
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
3 Years

The other day someone left ollie with our turtle outside and usually if we’re outside with the turtle he wouldn’t hurt her and would listen to us when we tell him no. But he was by himself with the turtle outside and sadly hurt her and she didn’t make it. How do I help him to not hurt animals like that?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elizabeth, Teaching pup commands that can be used while you are present, and practicing those commands on a long leash in the presence of other animals, like birds, cats, and squirrels in your yard, can help when you are there. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Come: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall You can also reward him for automatically making good choices on his own around other animals - when you catch him ignoring a nearby bird or squirrel - give a treat that's in a ziploc in your pocket you keep with you. Finally, for pets, intentionally practice structured obedience that builds self-control around those small animals in a controlled environment; 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 Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Even with great training, always take precautions around small animals - even a well trained, non-prey driven dog might play too roughly with a small animal and hurt it when there is no one there to intervene. Working on self-control and the correct responses around small animals ahead of time can decrease the chances of something bad happening to small animals though - so it is still worth the time. Always take precautions like a back tie leash or barriers when practicing around small animals - to ensure those animals safety, just in case pup bolts or nips. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Happy
Mixed
2 Years
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Happy
Mixed
2 Years

My dog doesnt like it when I put a leash on her. This doesn't let us go for walk often because she begins to cry and whine especially when she is not in front of my other (2) dogs. I've walked her off leash to throw out the trash and she acts fine with other dogs and my own but when I put a leash on her she begins to attack other dogs and people but then runs away with fear. Is there a way to stop this behavior? It really gets in the way of trying to walk all of my dogs simultaneously and peacefully.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dulce, First, you will need to work on this process with just her - without the other dogs first, until she does well, then you can introduce the others back in, one dog at a time. If she is using a harness, make sure that the harness is not chafing her anywhere, and spend time desensitizing her to it without going anywhere yet, using the method from the video linked below. Harness introduction how to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Also, spend time desensitizing her to the leash and leash pressure in a calm location, once she is used to the harness (skip to the leash if no harness is used). https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash Once pup is used to the harness and leash, simply take pup outside - in your front yard, a nearby cul-de-sac, and other calm areas nearby. Simply spend relaxed time outside in those areas without adding in walking yet. Take a book and sit outside for an hour, sprinkle treats on the ground (away from pesticides or car fluid) and let pup find them, play games on a long leash like fetch, tug, or Round Robin. Once pup is relaxed about simply being outside - which may take a while if the issue is actually that pup is afraid of the outside world - so be patient and practice often, then progress to walking. Check out the heeling article linked below. Work on teaching pup to focus on you and heel calmly in calm locations using one of those methods. Start with just your front yard, then progress to harder areas as pup improves - like the cul-de-sac, a field, other parts of your neighborhood, the park, ect...Go from less distraction and more familiar, to more distraction and less familiar very gradually as pup improves and can stay focused and calmer during the walk. Heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Once pup can handle even hard locations walking on their own, then add in another dog who is also able to stay calm - work on a calm heel with the other dogs during this time too if they are highly excitable or competitive during the walk, so that they can walk together calmly when it's time. If there are two adults in your household, begin walks together with the dogs a couple of feet apart being managed by separate people, progressing to walking more closely together, then to one person holding both leashes. When pup can do well with the other dogs both independently, then put them all together again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Molly
Bichon Frise
3 Years
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Molly
Bichon Frise
3 Years

We have a lot of hummingbirds coming to our deck where our dog hangs out. Sometimes one will not have enough energy to fly away until it catches its breath but the minute one stops, my dog runs to kill it. How do I stop this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Corinne, I suggest practicing impulse control with pup around the humming birds - using a back tie leash so that if pup gets off Place while watching the birds, they cannot reach them. Reward ignoring the birds to desensitize pup to them. Although the below videos are with cats, they still demonstrate teaching a pup to have self-control around another small animal. 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 If pus is especially determined, you may need to use a vibration collar to interrupt pup's fixation on the birds - to discourage chasing and catching. This tends to be needed for dogs that have a stronger prey drive. Either way, the impulse control building through practicing obedience commands around the birds needs to happen first though, so start there. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bailey
border collie cross
4 Years
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Bailey
border collie cross
4 Years

Just last week Bailey killed a possum.
He has previously killed a blue tongue lizard and two Rats and a black bird.
I am recognising obsessive tendencies e.g waiting by the tree, pacing, jumping up and barking.
He chased the possum and grabbed it in his mouth and was running around the yard shaking it.
He would not come to me or drop the possum. He actually ran past me and around me.
I was so distressed that I whacked him with a plastic rake and he let the Possum go. I then shoed him away and had to put him on a lead and secured him.
How do I get him to stop, drop/release, avoid the possums and most importantly come to me?
I need someone to help me train him
He will not come to me

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Cute picture of Bailey! This may be tough - when a dog has a strong prey drive, it is often hard to control. This article is very detailed and is specific to high prey drive dogs. Look at the link as well, about games to teach impulse control. It may be very helpful - you will have to be consistent in the training and put a fair amount of work into it. It will be worth it! https://journeydogtraining.com/how-to-control-dogs-with-high-prey-drive/. How is Bailey with his obedience lessons? Take him for more classes to reinforce the commands and the bond required for him to listen. You can look for a private trainer as well, to come to Bailey's environment and work together with the both of you. In the meantime, try these methods for getting Bailey to listen, in particular, The Consistency Method:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you. You may need the help of a professional as mentioned, but give the methods a try and if needed, call someone in. All the best!

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Mocha and Latte
pitbull
3 Years
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Mocha and Latte
pitbull
3 Years

Hi
my dogs keep killing cats and whenever they want to bite or kill another dog when we walk with my dog. Treats doesn't work when we outside... I really don't know what to do for them...

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I suggest a professional trainer come to the house and work with your dogs. This is crucial, otherwise, a situation may occur that is dangerous (killing cats and trying to kill dogs is already unacceptable). Please contact someone right away. Do not let your dogs out unless you have them on the leash and having someone with you is suggested so that you can keep your dogs under control and other pets safe. Look on the internet for a trainer in your area who deals with prey drive and aggression. Don't delay. All the best.

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Brooklyn
American Pit Bull Terrier
5 Years
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Brooklyn
American Pit Bull Terrier
5 Years

Our adopted dog was being used for breeding she is very sweet to our kids and other big dogs. We recently got a kitten and she killed it, the cat wasnt mutilated in any way no puncture wounds or anything. Then a week later we were visiting family and she tried picking up their little dog in her mouth, again not breaking the skin but the small dog did yelp in pain. Im wondering if this is an aggressive act or maybe some kind of motherly instinct she has with small animals.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Without observing pup in person I cannot say, but either way she likely posses a danger to small animals, whether it's because she is too rough while playing or she intended to kill. I would work on teaching pup an avoidance of small animals if this is prey drive and she will be around small animals. Otherwise, teach directional commands and work on reliability of those so that you can steer pup away from other animals as needed and her be responsive. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ You may also want to hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues and has a lot of experience with prey drive and other types of aggression, to have them evaluate pup in person. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rae
Saint Bernard
3 Years
0 found helpful
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Rae
Saint Bernard
3 Years

She doesn’t like other dogs. We have two other dogs. She and the golden retriever have no problems. Her and the cockapoo have issues. She tolerates him but has attacked him before. But other dogs she sees she luges and barks at. I think I’m part of the trigger sometimes she is really attached to me.

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Dexter
Pharaoh Hound boxer mix
4 Years
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Dexter
Pharaoh Hound boxer mix
4 Years

My dog wants & has attacked 3 small dogs killing one....I don't know if I should put him down or if I can get him trained....I love him but I can't let him kill small animals... please help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Danielle, I suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you with the following. Look for someone who has experience in this area and can teach an avoidance of cats. 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 cats. 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 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 Severe cat issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y More e-collar work with cats with the same dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8lkbX0dhT0 Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long, Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the kitten in the same room. You can also back tie pup while they are on place - connecting a long leash attached to pup to something near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Uley
pet bull
12 Months
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Uley
pet bull
12 Months

My dog recently killed a small kitten that accidentaly climbed in his cage. Now my family dont care for him and even want to get rid of him. I feel for the baby cat but I also feel for uley because when a human kills another human the other human is automatically responsible but what about when an animal kills another small animal who do we hold responsible the trainer or the animal itself.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, this is an unfortunate situation. I do not think the blame should be laid on anyone but it is essential that Uley is kept away from small animals. If you have other kittens, keep them where they cannot approach Uley. If you do not have any more small animals, kittens, or otherwise, I would not have any while Uley is part of the family. Remember that it is essential that you take Uley to obedience classes with other dogs so that he is well socialized with dogs and people. It's the best thing for dogs and gives them the knowledge and the confidence to behave well in all situations. Don't allow Uley to be pushy, teach him that he needs to be calm and act appropriately at all times. You can start some obedience at home before classes start. https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-great-dane All the best!

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Cosette
Welsh Terrier
6 Years
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Cosette
Welsh Terrier
6 Years

Cosette has become very aggressive, she usually will only chase small animals like chipmunks birds and rabbits, however lately she’s taken to killing (and sometimes eating them). I’m concerned that we aren’t reinforcing her behavior in the right way, because she has taken to biting both me, my dad, and our other dog. The aggression is unprovoked, and concerning for her future interactions with other dogs. What do you recommend to do?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, my apologies for the delay in reply. I think the best thing to do is to call in a trainer to come to the home to work with Cosette. It is often hard to change the prey drive of a dog, but because the behavior is recent, there is a good chance things may be trainable. But because the aggression is now moving to people as well, I really think that an in-home trainer as soon as possible is the safest solution for everyone. Search online for a trainer in your area. There are great tips here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-rottweiler-puppy-to-not-be-aggressive, but I do think one on one with an experienced trainer is needed. As well, I always recommend a vet visit in case there is a health reason for the new aggressive personality. Just to rule out a medical issue that may be causing pain. All the best to you and Cosette!

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Coco
American Staffordshire Terrier
21 Months
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Coco
American Staffordshire Terrier
21 Months

Killed two chickens and female turkey

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. This is something that with some time and patience, can be turned around. Coco needs to learn that the chickens (or turkeys) are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach your dog to become less excited by the chickens. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching him "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking him out on leash.Any time the even looks at a chicken, you give the command leave it. Once he breaks his attention away from the chicken, you reward him with a treat. Ideally, you want to him to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as he isn't focused on the chicken, you can reward him. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the chickens until he is no longer interested in the chickens. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dogs. The chickens need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Frida
Border Collie
1 Year
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Frida
Border Collie
1 Year

I have a border collie/cattle mix. My husband and I have reptiles, and want to get a bunny (because I’ve always wanted one). But my dog goes completely INSANE when she sees small animals. Weve tried introducing to her a chick but basically just wanted to kill it. She does fine with our reptiles but not with furry small animals. I want to know if there’s a way I can break this bad habit?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Claudia, You can teach high level obedience using e-collar training to teach pup to avoid the bunny - you cannot get rid of an inherited high level prey drive though - only manage it. You might be able to manage the situation well enough if the bunny is kept away from the dog most of the time, but I would not recommend getting one since it will require constant supervision, enforcement of training, and an initial off-leash level of training for a dog with a strong prey drive. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Aries
Mix
4 Years
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Aries
Mix
4 Years

I have a small farm and my dog has recently developed the bad habit of killing the other animals she’s gotten a few rabbits, chickens, ducks and even grabbed a young pot belly pig. She shows no sign of aggression towards any of them while I’m with her she knows she’s not supposed to bother them but as soon as I go inside I’ll hear the sounds of her prey and run out to catch her with an animal in her mouth. She’s extremely smart and sneaky. How can I make her stop killing the livestock especially when she knows it’s bad already

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. This is something that with some time and patience, can be turned around. Your dogs need to learn that the animals are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach her to become less excited by the animals. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching her "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking her out on leash.Any time she even looks at a animal, you give the command leave it. Once she breaks his attention away from the animal, you reward her with a treat. Ideally, you want to her to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as she isn't focused on the animal, you can reward her. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the animals until she is no longer interested in them. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dogs. The animals need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Suki
German Shepherd
7 Months
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Suki
German Shepherd
7 Months

She killed a cat and a dove and 3 duck
I don’t know what to do i tried to put her in the Cage as a punishment and she keeps killing plz help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Are the animals she is killing your animals, or animals that wandered onto your property? First, at this age I recommend keeping pup inside or on a leash or fenced yard - so that you can help her learn the rules and enforce them as she matures. Second, I recommend working on impulse control around other animals. Check out the videos linked below for some examples of how this is done. 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 Severe cat issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y More e-collar work with cats with the same dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8lkbX0dhT0 Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long, Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the kitten in the same room. You can also back tie pup while they are on place - connecting a long leash attached to pup to something near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Below are some other commands in general you can practice to help pup develop better impulse skill/self-control - impulse control takes practice for a dog to gain the ability to control herself. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rua
Irish Setter
2 Years
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Rua
Irish Setter
2 Years

She has killed a baby brush turkey in our yard and now 2 lizards. I dont want her killing anything

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kirsten, I recommend working on Leave It, and monitoring pup while she is in the yard. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Parker
Bouvier des Flandres
4 Years
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Parker
Bouvier des Flandres
4 Years

Hello there,

here is our problem:

When we first got Parker we had a cat named Luna, Parker was good with her. However, when Parker was six months old, Luna passed away. Then, a year later, we adopted a sweet little kitten named Jacques. We knew Parker had an intense prey drive, but we thought she would be okay with having a cat around because of the fact that we had Luna before and Parker did not attack her. Sadly, Parker wanted to annihilate Jacques. So we kept Jacques for about five months but, after a really close call we chose to give him to a close family member. We still visit Jacques to this day however, we miss having a cat and are absolutely determined to get him back. So please tell us, how can we get Jacques and Parker to coexist in the same household?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
912 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marie-Eve, For a dog with a high prey drive who has shown intent to hurt the cat, you are often looking at teaching pup to avoid the cat. Check out the videos linked below. I would only pursue that with the help of a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues and is familiar doing this type of training, which many trainers won't have experience with, so you will need to do some searching and ask questions. The first two videos will likely not be enough in your case, but it can still help to see how impulse control around the cat is worked on, because that's where you would start still. Also, it's important to use a back tie leash for pup to ensure they can't get to the cat during practice, to keep the cat safe. 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 Severe cat issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y More e-collar work with cats with the same dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8lkbX0dhT0 Below are some other commands in general you can practice to help pup develop better impulse skill/self-control - impulse control takes practice for a dog to gain the ability to control herself. Crate manners: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ There may always be some risk to the cat if pup's prey drive toward the cat continues to be high. I would have a professional evaluate pup in person to see what they think the outcome with training may be before committing to bring the cat home for good (although they probably can't make a guarantee before starting the training and seeing how pup responds). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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