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Squirrel Encounters At The Park


Guest greyhound_in_LA
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Guest greyhound_in_LA

I took Coe with me to pick up my son from summer camp at our main public park, and these squirrels -- these urban park squirrels that have lost fear due to a lack of predators -- they are all over, but one was so bold. It came scampering toward us and came within five feet of us as we were waiting on class to let out. Coe went nuts. I held him by his collar. If I hadn't, he would have gone for it. He could be held as I talked to him calmly, but I couldn't move him away from the spot. He's uninterested in the wild rabbits we see on our street!

 

What do you do when your greyhound is fixated on a squirrel and wants to get it?

 

I can't take Coe to this park. That's today's lesson.

 

 

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I stand there and let her watch, then we go back the next day, ad nauseam. Brees loves squirrels and I love Brees (shhhhh!). Walkies are for her amusement.

 

It does get easier to get them away from squirrels. Joe once tried to climb a phone pole to get one, and Brees did a flip and landed on her spine another time. That was scary. Nothing exciting like that has happened in a good long while!

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Guest Houston1219

One time Houston dead locked on a rabbit that came with feet of him. It was one of our proudest training moments, actually! Our command is "leave it" and I let out a stern VOG (voice of God) LEAVE IT! With a stomp of my sneaker on the pavement. He instantly did a 180 and locked eyes with me. I was floored. I think the highlights of this play were sound like you are serious and do something out of the ordinary to get their attention. Be more serious and more interesting than the rabbit (or in your case the squirrel)

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Guest greyhound_in_LA

Thanks. I will have to find a better day to do some training. I don't want to go to the other park and scare people with my dog that wants to zap squirrels on sight.

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One time Houston dead locked on a rabbit that came with feet of him. It was one of our proudest training moments, actually! Our command is "leave it" and I let out a stern VOG (voice of God) LEAVE IT! With a stomp of my sneaker on the pavement. He instantly did a 180 and locked eyes with me. I was floored. I think the highlights of this play were sound like you are serious and do something out of the ordinary to get their attention. Be more serious and more interesting than the rabbit (or in your case the squirrel)

I hate to burst your bubble....but that wasn't training, that was shock! :rofl

 

But if it works, what the heck :)

 

Re. The OP, familiarity does indeed breed contempt ....when we first took Sadi to our local squirrel infested park it was all I could do to hang onto her....a couple of years and several visits later she could happily walk all the way round the park off leash.

Edited by scullysmum

<p>"One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am"Sadi's Pet Pages Sadi's Greyhound Data PageMulder1/9/95-21/3/04 Scully1/9/95-16/2/05Sadi 7/4/99 - 23/6/13 CroftviewRGT

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My preference is to work with retired racing sighthounds when they are under (prey) threshold vs. lengthy focus on prey, tipping them over threshold. The high voltage situations increase hounds' brain neurotransmitters/excitement so much that it makes it much harder for hounds to relax enough to be receptive to learning desired behavior from a human. Lengthy focus on squirrels often increases hound's prey expectations/excitement during following outings. (Racing Greyhounds are generally encouraged to ignore humans so hounds focus their "tunnel vision" on chasing a lure to win races.)

 

We ignore small animals during walks. We encourage new hounds' attention towards the human and/or looking forward as we move away from small animals. We talk happily "let's go", offer treats, and make a fun game of briskly moving away from "prey".

 

Good to practice very brief "look" or "watch me" exercises just for looking at your face in a calm, non-prey environment first (at home, then outside). Instantly reward hound with treats and verbal praise each time he looks at you during 1-2 minute sessions. Later you can use this term to engage his attention towards you when needed during outings.

 

Please be sure Coe's martingale collar is adjusted properly so he can't back out of his collar. (Martingale collar should be snug enough on hound's neck so a human needs to "work at it" to get it over the ears to get it off. The most narrow part of a Greyhound's neck is just behind the ears.) If needed, a harness can be used also. (I use both a martingale collar and harness on eager new fosters.)

Edited by 3greytjoys
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Guest Houston1219

I hate to burst your bubble....but that wasn't training, that was shock! :rofl

 

But if it works, what the heck :)

 

 

 

We had been practicing leave it in the greyhounds only training class we took with Houston. The appropriate response to "leave it" is to ignore or leave alone whatever has their attention, and *look up at you* shifting focus from the distraction to the handler. I added the foot stomp for good measure in the heat of the moment when I was sure I was going to otherwise be drug across the street. Rabbits are his kryptonite. But this was in fact our trained response to previously reversed cue. We use the same routine when we pass people who don't want to be greeted, tempting looking trash on the sidewalk, treat displays at Petsmart, etc. I was more shocked than Houston. His response was more like "ooh, I know this one!" He didn't turn around looking guilty, he turned around looking for a treat!

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We had been practicing leave it in the greyhounds only training class we took with Houston. The appropriate response to "leave it" is to ignore or leave alone whatever has their attention, and *look up at you* shifting focus from the distraction to the handler. I added the foot stomp for good measure in the heat of the moment when I was sure I was going to otherwise be drug across the street. Rabbits are his kryptonite. But this was in fact our trained response to previously reversed cue. We use the same routine when we pass people who don't want to be greeted, tempting looking trash on the sidewalk, treat displays at Petsmart, etc. I was more shocked than Houston. His response was more like "ooh, I know this one!" He didn't turn around looking guilty, he turned around looking for a treat!

It was actually a joke.....clearly missed its mark :dunno

 

Btw. I have been teaching Johnny the same and to my utter amazement he actually did it perfectly yesterday when a cat popped out of the hedge a couple of feet in front of us....he just turned and asked for his treat without a murmur from me :omg

<p>"One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am"Sadi's Pet Pages Sadi's Greyhound Data PageMulder1/9/95-21/3/04 Scully1/9/95-16/2/05Sadi 7/4/99 - 23/6/13 CroftviewRGT

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Guest Houston1219

Didn't mean to sound offensive, that's just one of the really tough ones we have conquered and are proud of :) he was very small animal reactive when we got him and through training and patience he has come a long way! Glad you have had success with a similar technique!

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I sing to them when they become fixated on a squirrel or rabbit. My singing is so bad that they forget about the animal long enough for me to easily walk them away. Yes, this is true.

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Guest Wasabi303

My girl was very squirrel focussed when I first got her too. She would attempt to climb trees/phone poles and become very fixated. I agree that working on 'leave it' in calm environments is a great way to go. If I am out on a walk and she stops to investigate a squirrel, I like to ignore her and keeping moving, and say 'let's go' or whatever loose leash commands you like to work with. She has gotten to the point where she knows that she can look, but the actual chase is never gonna happen, so she doesn't freak out like she to. Like everything, consistency is key. Make sure your response is always the same, and they will get the picture pretty quick!

 

Good luck with Coe, looks like a beautiful boy! :nod

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I sing to them when they become fixated on a squirrel or rabbit. My singing is so bad that they forget about the animal long enough for me to easily walk them away. Yes, this is true.

Maybe I should try this...I have to admit my singing is pretty bad too :blush:lol

<p>"One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am"Sadi's Pet Pages Sadi's Greyhound Data PageMulder1/9/95-21/3/04 Scully1/9/95-16/2/05Sadi 7/4/99 - 23/6/13 CroftviewRGT

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