Jump to content

Dealing With A High Prey Grey?


Guest Impossiblealto
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Impossiblealto

My greyhound-pit mix Smokey was the quietest dog at the shelter: he never barked, never played with the other dogs. Since he has come home with me, he has built up a lot of confidence, which is generally a great thing, but also has the urge to constantly search out and chase prey. He is attracted by squirrels, birds, rabbits, and small dogs (never was an issue at the shelter, which happens to have acres of hiking woods right across the street from it).

 

I understand that prey drive is a natural instinct in dogs, but since he's half grey, he is even more attracted to motion. He always sniffs the ground and the air. I used to play fetch with him, but now I can't trust him off-lead due to the lack of fencing on the sides of the house.

 

1) Do head collars (i.e. gentle leaders) act as a good deterrent for lunging and fixating when going on walks?

 

2) What exercises do you do with your dog to help tire him out?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience the best way to tire out any dog is hard off leash running. If recall is not reliable and/or prey drive is a problem you may need to do this in an enclosed area (fenced baseball diamond). I hike my dogs off leash at a conservation area and also take them to a dog park at the same park. For the pup who still has tonnes of energy I will also jog with her off leash along the trails for a half hour or so (and then maybe still stop by the dog park on the way out! lol). If you can track down a fenced ball diamond you might be able to jog with him in there, or at least play fetch.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

Like us on Facebook!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Impossiblealto

In my experience the best way to tire out any dog is hard off leash running. If recall is not reliable and/or prey drive is a problem you may need to do this in an enclosed area (fenced baseball diamond). I hike my dogs off leash at a conservation area and also take them to a dog park at the same park. For the pup who still has tonnes of energy I will also jog with her off leash along the trails for a half hour or so (and then maybe still stop by the dog park on the way out! lol). If you can track down a fenced ball diamond you might be able to jog with him in there, or at least play fetch.

 

Thank you for the advice! I plan to take him hiking on the woody trails that I live near once it gets colder (it's infested with ticks and fleas this time of year). We don't have a dog park anywhere nearby, but I do know of some fields and baseball diamonds with complete enclosures. We are still working on recall, but I got him a Gentle Leader to help our walks go smoother - if we can go for longer walks without him lunging at something, that might help too.

 

 

No suggestions but that is an interesting mix. Hurry up and get to 30 posts so you can post pictures, lol.

 

Ha ha, thanks! I have introduced him, under the topic "A Mutt, but Still a Love", and posted his picture. He basically has the body of a greyhound, and the head of a pit. Overall, his temperament and personality is greyhound. That's why this forum has helped me so much in understanding his little peculiarities and needs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would try a harness as opposed to just a collar. High prey drive seemingly depends on the "day". Shadow could do a "180" in the air - come down without his collar - and get the LWF if he wanted. We got him a harness PDQ. Good luck and enjoy your pup!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Giselle

1) Do head collars (i.e. gentle leaders) act as a good deterrent for lunging and fixating when going on walks?

No. A head collar is simply a tool to help walk the dog. It does not act as a deterrent. If a highly driven dog sees prey, he will get interested and pull - no matter if he's wearing a shock collar, a choke chain, or a head halter. An aroused and untrained dog will see prey, get excited, and act without thinking no matter what tools we use.

 

To prevent lunging and fixating, then, you'll need to teach the dog impulse control and strong handler focus. Modern dog training techniques generally promote teaching impulse control and strong handler focus through positive reinforcement and negative punishment. Essentially, shape the dog's focus by rewarding him in small successive steps (start in low distraction environments and slowly build up to high distraction environments with squirrels and other prey). Meanwhile, disrupt his ability to fixate on prey by removing him from those situations when he cannot focus. You may also try body blocking him to punish the fixation and then immediately asking for calm focus on you. The key is to use fun exercises to keep him focused on you and making sure your timing of rewards is accurate. By emphasizing the importance of YOU, the dog will actually learn to value the squirrel/bunny/deer/prey less, and he'll actually choose to focus on you even in high distraction settings. I generally use three games to help teach handler focus with easily aroused dogs, and they're explained here: http://www.progressdog.com/modifying-aggression.html

 

2) What exercises do you do with your dog to help tire him out?

Depends on what you mean. Do you mean.. what kind of physical activity would be beneficial for the dog OR how can I train the dog to become calmer and more focused? The first question is mostly physiological. There are a wide variety of physical activities you can do with the dog to ensure that he is well exercise and in good physical condition: running on-leash with you, playing in a fenced off-leash area, structured dog sports like agility, etc. If your goal is to create a calm and focused dog, however, this is not so much an issue of physical exercise but of high quality training. For the latter, see #1 above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Impossiblealto

1) Do head collars (i.e. gentle leaders) act as a good deterrent for lunging and fixating when going on walks?

No. A head collar is simply a tool to help walk the dog. It does not act as a deterrent. If a highly driven dog sees prey, he will get interested and pull - no matter if he's wearing a shock collar, a choke chain, or a head halter. An aroused and untrained dog will see prey, get excited, and act without thinking no matter what tools we use.

 

To prevent lunging and fixating, then, you'll need to teach the dog impulse control and strong handler focus. Modern dog training techniques generally promote teaching impulse control and strong handler focus through positive reinforcement and negative punishment. Essentially, shape the dog's focus by rewarding him in small successive steps (start in low distraction environments and slowly build up to high distraction environments with squirrels and other prey). Meanwhile, disrupt his ability to fixate on prey by removing him from those situations when he cannot focus. You may also try body blocking him to punish the fixation and then immediately asking for calm focus on you. The key is to use fun exercises to keep him focused on you and making sure your timing of rewards is accurate. By emphasizing the importance of YOU, the dog will actually learn to value the squirrel/bunny/deer/prey less, and he'll actually choose to focus on you even in high distraction settings. I generally use three games to help teach handler focus with easily aroused dogs, and they're explained here: http://www.progressdog.com/modifying-aggression.html

 

2) What exercises do you do with your dog to help tire him out?

Depends on what you mean. Do you mean.. what kind of physical activity would be beneficial for the dog OR how can I train the dog to become calmer and more focused? The first question is mostly physiological. There are a wide variety of physical activities you can do with the dog to ensure that he is well exercise and in good physical condition: running on-leash with you, playing in a fenced off-leash area, structured dog sports like agility, etc. If your goal is to create a calm and focused dog, however, this is not so much an issue of physical exercise but of high quality training. For the latter, see #1 above.

 

Thank you for your in depth answer. In the long run, training the dog instead of just blocking the dog is the best for his mental balance. I will check out the exercises. At my shelter, the trainer just handed me a gentle leader and said nothing about how to use it. He gave me the wrong size too (he gave me a small, Smokey needs a large)!

 

It helps me pull him away from the situation, but I like how you emphasized it simply helps in walking the dog. I need to remember it doesn't stand in for training and leadership. His problem is mental, not physical, so only a mental correction can be the most effective.

 

Once again, thanks :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Giselle

Yep, a walking tool is just that. It's a piece of fabric that helps keep the dog tethered to you, but it isn't a substitute for training! I'm sorry the trainer didn't guide you better about how to use the head halter. I personally don't use it, but it can be very effective when used by a skilled trainer!

 

Also, I'd caution against calling it a "mental correction". We're not "correcting" his behavior as much as we are modifying it. It's a subtle change in language, but it means a lot to us because dogs can't tell the difference between right and wrong behavior. To the dog, lunging and staring is totally normal and totally "right". We just don't like it, so what we can do is change his behavior by showing him that alternate behaviors (like focusing on you) are much more fun and rewarding. I find that starting with this mindset usually makes dog training much more relaxed and efficient :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It helped us enormously when I changed my expectations of a walk. Our walks are now just for exercise, not potty time. So there is no stopping to sniff, stare off into the distance, etc. We walk. And I usually use a 2 foot leash. Welcome, good luck and I'd also love to see more of your pup.

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g240/mtbucket/siggies/Everyday-2.jpgJane - forever servant to the whims and wishes of Maggie (L's Magnolia of JCKC) and Sam the mutt pup.[/b]

She's classy, sassy and a bit smart assy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest DeniseL

My galgo, Izzy, is very high prey drive. She would spend most of our walks hunting squirrels...it got really out of hand. The best thing we ever did was get her a front lead harness. I think it is called an easy walk. I am not sure why, but taking the pressure off of her neck really helped. Yes, she still hunts squirrels, but I don't get pulled down the street anymore. Also, we practice a lot of watch me and look with yummy treats to keep her attention on me. This has also helped tremendously with her reactivity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

have you ever considered obedience classes as a way to start communicating and also learning ways to handle the situation. it's easier to pick up on techniques in person than on the web. check out the akc and american pet dog training association(apdt) for certified dog trainers and obedience classes. also ask at the shelter where your dog was adopted. there are a good number of schools in your area.

 

i deal w/ 2 in lower westchester county, if it's not too far i would suggest white plains school of animal training. they have conducted all greyhound classes, the staff has worked w/ rescues for many many years, small classes and one can join even if a cycle has started. jeannie the owner does excellent private lessons. they are a tad wordy but the staff(jeannie and deb do the beginner dogs) has the experience. the other school/club is portchester obedience club. i personally love mary elizabeth simpson, she's focused and the best(she does advanced classes at wpsat). they do offer a $50 discount on rescue animals but it's difficult to get into their classes, don't ask. it just might be worth the tolls- best of luck,

 

oh, i've used wpsat for over 20 years- of course different dogs and did 1.5 years at portchester. both have totally different styles, with a real problem wpsat might be your answer- give jeannie a hollar and maybe a couple of personal consults might do the trick. tell her andrea and felix sent you.

Edited by cleptogrey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shelters only guess at what a dog is mixed with. If you operate under the assumption a dog is half Greyhound, you may see "high prey drive" where only normal dog behavior exists.

For what it's worth, my pitbull mix was a very efficient and deadly hunter of all things rodent or rodent like! And trust me, there was no Greyhound in him!

 

I think we need a picture!!


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shelters only guess at what a dog is mixed with. If you operate under the assumption a dog is half Greyhound, you may see "high prey drive" where only normal dog behavior exists.

For what it's worth, my pitbull mix was a very efficient and deadly hunter of all things rodent or rodent like! And trust me, there was no Greyhound in him!

 

I think we need a picture!!

agree 100%, anything that has a slight tuckup these days or a pretty head- 1/2 greyhound....i've met more mut owners who say their dog is 1/2 greyhound. then i correct them...no unneutered greys out there and we're not in the west dealing w/ beautiful stag hound mixes on the east coat(especially).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Impossiblealto

agree 100%, anything that has a slight tuckup these days or a pretty head- 1/2 greyhound....i've met more mut owners who say their dog is 1/2 greyhound. then i correct them...no unneutered greys out there and we're not in the west dealing w/ beautiful stag hound mixes on the east coat(especially).

Please check out the topic, "A Mutt but Still a Love" under Introductions and Biographies. I'm sure you'll agree with me that he is a lurcher (sighthound/non-sighthound mix).

 

Shelters only guess at what a dog is mixed with. If you operate under the assumption a dog is half Greyhound, you may see "high prey drive" where only normal dog behavior exists.

For what it's worth, my pitbull mix was a very efficient and deadly hunter of all things rodent or rodent like! And trust me, there was no Greyhound in him!

 

I think we need a picture!!

The shelter said he was a Doberman mix. I understand your point - for him, this is normal behavior. It's simply high prey drive for me.

But in all my research, most every breed of dog was used for some sort of hunting :) Please check out the above topic under Intros :)

My galgo, Izzy, is very high prey drive. She would spend most of our walks hunting squirrels...it got really out of hand. The best thing we ever did was get her a front lead harness. I think it is called an easy walk. I am not sure why, but taking the pressure off of her neck really helped. Yes, she still hunts squirrels, but I don't get pulled down the street anymore. Also, we practice a lot of watch me and look with yummy treats to keep her attention on me. This has also helped tremendously with her reactivity.

Yes, that is by the same company as thew Gentle Leader. I used it to walk one of the dogs at the shelter who usually drags you down the street if you let her, but it lowered the pulling by at least 60%! It's great!

 

I'm also doing the same exercises with him, along with the "Leave It" and "Take It" commands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have 3-1 is very high prey drive. There is no way I could walk her in a harness. When she sees a cat, squirrel, etc, she cant focus. With a regular leash and collar and constantly being alert on my end we do fine. With a harness, she could put muscle into pulling on me. She is very well mannered in every aspect but prey drive. It's not always a training issue-some are just too driven. She is the only one of my 3 that cannot ever be off leash and we got her at 12 weeks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a high prey drive dog and live in a neighbourhood infested with bunnies...I'm not an expert, but here are a few things I've learned along the way...

- harness is the best thing for walks. They will try to do anything to get out of a collar and after a few attempts they get really good at it

- When I'm out of the city, I put a few jingle bells on my dog in the hope that critters will hear us coming and be out of sight. My boy will chase anything - deer, wild turkey, etc

- watch out for screen doors/windows - the dog will easily break through it if there is something tempting on the other side

- if he does see a target somewhere he will want to go back there and check it out next time we walk past the spot (long memory)

 

This might sound like a lot, but it gets to be normal. His prey drive is one of his endearing qualities and always keeps walks interesting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aston came to us with not only a high prey drive (not safe around cats OR little dogs), but also a tendency to get overexcited (crying) and fixate if ANY other dogs were within eye- or ear-shot. The Look at That training mentioned in Giselle's link has been a godsend. His impulse control has improved IMMENSELY. He glances at other dogs, then goes back to his sniffing business without a peep; if they are reactive and start growling/barking at him as they walk by, he might emit a low whine, but then he'll look at me before going back to walking normally.

I set out to make every.single.walk a training session, making sure to leave a wide, wide berth around other dogs at first to make sure that we didn't cross whatever Aston's workable threshold was at the time. If a dog got close enough to the point that Aston lost control and started crying/drooling, I would back him up to where the dog was out of eyeshot, let him calm down, then proceed more cautiously with more constant click/treats on the next go.. or if it was too much for him, we would proceed to find a quieter walk route and then work back up.

At first, I used an actual clicker, but I eventually ended up adopting a very particular high-pitched "good!" that I would use whenever I would have clicked otherwise, which served the same purpose but didn't require carrying the clicker around. I use tiny slivers of doggie beef jerky, "dried" hot dogs (i.e., cut up into tiny pieces and then microwaved to DEATH, but these are sparing because they're so salty)... little "tastes" of food but not big treats, since especially in the beginning, I had to time my clicks REALLY close together to catch Aston before he went off the deep end around other dogs, so a LOT of treats got gobbled each session.

I also learned that at least for Aston, training sessions like this seem to tire him out just as well as physical exercise. A few bouts of click/treat around passing dogs, and he would start panting as his brain started to fry. The training walks were cut short if he seemed to be mentally overheating / stressing. Our neighborhood is very busy with dogs -- on-leash AND off-leash -- so in the beginning, learning impulse control was mental overload for him.. I had to be really careful to keep things in easy pieces.
Aston would always knock out completely (well, more quickly than usual) when we came in from the training walks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Impossiblealto

I have a high prey drive dog and live in a neighbourhood infested with bunnies...I'm not an expert, but here are a few things I've learned along the way...

- harness is the best thing for walks. They will try to do anything to get out of a collar and after a few attempts they get really good at it

- When I'm out of the city, I put a few jingle bells on my dog in the hope that critters will hear us coming and be out of sight. My boy will chase anything - deer, wild turkey, etc

- watch out for screen doors/windows - the dog will easily break through it if there is something tempting on the other side

- if he does see a target somewhere he will want to go back there and check it out next time we walk past the spot (long memory)

 

This might sound like a lot, but it gets to be normal. His prey drive is one of his endearing qualities and always keeps walks interesting!

Smokey is not small dog or cat safe either. I think the jingles will spook him - I tried a similar method with the bell on my bike, and he started developing an aversion to the bicycle (completely my fault - I stopped and now he loves bike rides). He has busted through our screen door once, not because of prey, but because he wanted to my dad (he has issues with SA - he has greatly improved since). I have noticed the long memory as well!

 

 

Aston came to us with not only a high prey drive (not safe around cats OR little dogs), but also a tendency to get overexcited (crying) and fixate if ANY other dogs were within eye- or ear-shot. The Look at That training mentioned in Giselle's link has been a godsend. His impulse control has improved IMMENSELY. He glances at other dogs, then goes back to his sniffing business without a peep; if they are reactive and start growling/barking at him as they walk by, he might emit a low whine, but then he'll look at me before going back to walking normally.

 

I set out to make every.single.walk a training session, making sure to leave a wide, wide berth around other dogs at first to make sure that we didn't cross whatever Aston's workable threshold was at the time. If a dog got close enough to the point that Aston lost control and started crying/drooling, I would back him up to where the dog was out of eyeshot, let him calm down, then proceed more cautiously with more constant click/treats on the next go.. or if it was too much for him, we would proceed to find a quieter walk route and then work back up.

 

At first, I used an actual clicker, but I eventually ended up adopting a very particular high-pitched "good!" that I would use whenever I would have clicked otherwise, which served the same purpose but didn't require carrying the clicker around. I use tiny slivers of doggie beef jerky, "dried" hot dogs (i.e., cut up into tiny pieces and then microwaved to DEATH, but these are sparing because they're so salty)... little "tastes" of food but not big treats, since especially in the beginning, I had to time my clicks REALLY close together to catch Aston before he went off the deep end around other dogs, so a LOT of treats got gobbled each session.

 

I also learned that at least for Aston, training sessions like this seem to tire him out just as well as physical exercise. A few bouts of click/treat around passing dogs, and he would start panting as his brain started to fry. The training walks were cut short if he seemed to be mentally overheating / stressing. Our neighborhood is very busy with dogs -- on-leash AND off-leash -- so in the beginning, learning impulse control was mental overload for him.. I had to be really careful to keep things in easy pieces.

Aston would always knock out completely (well, more quickly than usual) when we came in from the training walks.

Smokey is very similar. No small dogs, cats, and he gets excited around other dogs. I am doing those exercises as well, and it really is helping! I'm not a fan of clicker training, simply because I do not always have a clicker on me and you really have to be wealking around with that in your hand and click at just the right time. The hot dogs sound like a great idea though! Teaching Smokey tricks and teachiung him focus and impukse control really helps with his energy - he's not hyper, but he becomes rather unmanageable if he doesn't get the chance to run around for a good 15 minutes in the backyard everyday. Teaching him agility also helps him constructively channel his energy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...