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Loves Hunting Groundhogs


Guest IggyDeer
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Guest IggyDeer

Hi! I’ve had my boy Iggy for almost a year now, and recently he has discovered a love for hunting and killing groundhogs. When I adopted him, he had very little prey drive (gets along fine with my cat, small dogs, etc.), but once he got his first groundhog, now he can’t stop. He also enjoys the occasional squirrel or bird, but he definitly has more success with groundhogs.

Other than his blood thirst for giant fuzzy rats, he’s a very well behaved boy. I often hike/bike with him off a leash and he follows me just fine, but once he focuses on a chase, he will not stop. Luckily, he never follows the chase deep into the woods or gets himself lost, but i’m still fearful that he might run away at the wrong time, to the wrong place and get hurt. Also, sometimes the groundhogs he goes after are huge, and he ends up getting his butt kicked.

Before anyone yells at me for keeping my grey off leash, I’d like to clarify that on many occasions when he IS leashed, he manages to spot one that I don’t even see, yanks the leash from my hand (ouch) and dives on his fuzzy prey. So, he manages to get what he wants with or without a leash.

Does anyone have any advice on how to break his interest in hunting groundhogs?

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The no pull no escape harness from One Stop Harness Shop. You can find it on Facebook. I think you have an accident waiting to happen.

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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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Definitely the harness noted above and some training is in order to get him to understand "leave it" or some other command (trainers please chime-in). You should also start some recall training or try a squawker to see if he responds to it.

 

Grip of death on the leash - wrapped around your hand multiple times. If he can get away from you to chase a groundhog, he can do the same thing and run in front of a car. Not sure where you are located, and we know that having greyhounds off leash is more common outside of the US, but with his prey drive, off leash is a really bad idea. He is not under your control if he goes after the prey and doesn't recall when you tell him to.

 

Also - groundhogs can be loaded with parasites such as roundworm. Even on monthly heartworm / parasite protection, he would have a pretty good chance of catching them if he bites into groundhog on a regular basis. You need to keep a sharp eye on his stools and have stool samples checked if he gets diarrhea or bloody / gelatinous stools.

 

He is gorgeous and has that same look on his face as the famous Brees who never met a cat she didn't like eat.

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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Guest Memphsmom

Then there is the ugh factor when they bring their prize in the house for you, we have a dog door so the boys are free to go in or out, any time, day or night. Nothing beats having your mighty hunter drag a half dead wounded critter into the house when both you and he should be tucked away for the night. lol I don't know how you break them of it, when you find out, could you let me know? By the way, Iggy is a doll! How adorable!

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I also have a doggie door. I once grabbed the tail of a large stuffie to pull it out from between my couch cushions. It turned out to be a dead groundhog. I third the idea of the harness mentioned above. Your dog does not sound like a candidate for off leash freedom at this time. Good luck!

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

If you will not leash your hound, then there is nothing you can do. You're setting him up to be lost or worse killed, good luck.

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Guest MnMDogs

I would definitely not off leash him. Period. Also, consider trying to work with a trainer, and with counter-conditioning so that you can prevent him from yanking the leash out of your hand. We have a very very high prey girl, and we walk with our eyes peeled on high alert so we can spot things before she does. We also keep her focused on us as best we can during her walks.

But please don't off leash him.

Edited by MnMDogs
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If you will not leash your hound, then there is nothing you can do. You're setting him up to be lost or worse killed, good luck.

Exactly. You need to be able to hold him. If he gets loose and chases he could very easily die. No, you cannot reliably get rid of his prey drive. It has been bred into him for 5000 years. Saying he jerks the leash out of your hand is a cop out. Your options are simple. 1.) You can let him chase and/or let him get away on leash and you may never see him again or he may die in front of you or 2.) you can leash him, hold onto him, and protect and love him like you are supposed to do and like he is counting on you to do. It really is that simple. My heart just melted when I saw him :beatheart -his expression is priceless and he really looks like a greyt guy. I hope you decide to hold on to him.

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While in unfenced areas, leash your dog, always. To prevent leash burn, use a leather leash. http://www.longdogleather.com/ makes excellent, soft leashes. Loop around your wrist and wrap a few times around your hand (or even do a slip knot around your wrist if you're so inclined, just be warned that if your dog takes off, and you're unprepared, he'll take you down. You may dislocate a shoulder, but you won't lose him :lol) and also hold in your hand to absorb shock. You may want to use two hands so that you've got the leash wrapped and held in say, your right hand, and your left hand holding about 6 inches farther down to act as an additional shock absorber. Hope that makes sense.

 

Just wanted to add: groundhogs have very sharp, rodent teeth. If your pup gets the wrong end of that, he could be seriously wounded.

Edited by turbotaina


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Guest WhiteWave

I used an e-collar on my Greyhounds to stop them from going after prey. Teach the leave it command and heel, or in my case I use "stay on the trail" when they want to go off trail after a critter. It worked really well. Probably about the only thing that will break this habit cause once they catch one, they gain confidence to keep doing it. My guys critter of choice is an armadillo. They drive them mad and after they kill one, the are on super drive the next few hikes looking for another.

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A leather leash wrapped around your wrist is the answer plus a sensible Martingale collar fitted correctly.

Once they start catching critters it drives them mental until they catch another one, and every walk becomes their hunt, not your walk.

Running at 45mph into random woodland oblivious to the trees and rocks is a disaster waiting to happen, and if there are roads too then it's an absolute no-no.. Squirrels are probably worse as they go from the ground right up trees and the dog can collide with the trunk and/or dangerously back-flip. I learned to my cost ($800 equivalent knee surgery) that Greys need to be leashed in squirrel areas.

Greys were not bred for that kind of hunting off track and their skins are so thin, and their long legs so fragile.

 

Your photo was a good one though...

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I used an e-collar on my Greyhounds to stop them from going after prey. Teach the leave it command and heel, or in my case I use "stay on the trail" when they want to go off trail after a critter. It worked really well. Probably about the only thing that will break this habit cause once they catch one, they gain confidence to keep doing it. My guys critter of choice is an armadillo. They drive them mad and after they kill one, the are on super drive the next few hikes looking for another.

Yeah thats dangerous catching an armadillo. On a TV program called Call of the Wild Man they said a lot of armadillos carry and can spread leoprosy!! That was in TX but I reckon an armadillo is an armadillo. Can't be having no armadillo kills hehe.

Edited by racindog
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Guest WhiteWave

Yeah thats dangerous catching an armadillo. On a TV program called Call of the Wild Man they said a lot of armadillos carry and can spread leoprosy!! That was in TX but I reckon an armadillo is an armadillo. Can't be having no armadillo kills hehe.

Armadillos in FL were found to not carry leprosy by the FWC. If they did there would be a wild out break here. Every hog dog out there I bet has killed an armadillo at some point. They are like dog crack. Drives all dogs crazy. Although I still freak out if they get their blood on me. Joey came up and wiped his bloody face on my pants and I almost died right there.

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Armadillos in FL were found to not carry leprosy by the FWC. If they did there would be a wild out break here. Every hog dog out there I bet has killed an armadillo at some point. They are like dog crack. Drives all dogs crazy. Although I still freak out if they get their blood on me. Joey came up and wiped his bloody face on my pants and I almost died right there.

WOW! I didn't realize! Doggy crack -wild! Thanks for sharing!

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Leashing definitely seems to be the way to go with most greyhounds, mine included. Our apartment complex backs up to a huge park and greenbelt, and the deer regularly come up to the complex to drink from the creek. If we didn't have the leash and martingale on Redbo, he would already be living with the deer in the woods. He thinks they're his people or something.

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The no pull no escape harness from One Stop Harness Shop. You can find it on Facebook. I think you have an accident waiting to happen.

This harness will give you the control you need. I got one for my very high prey drive galgo and it is fantastic. Cristiano was literally dragging me after cats, squirrels, and rabbits on our walks when I used a martingale or a combination of martingale and regular harness. He still wants to chase if

one of the previously mentioned critters crosses our path, but now he can't. Toni makes them custom to your hound's measurements. Good luck.

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Guest IggyDeer

Thanks for the tips. I recently got him a thick Climbers leash and that helps with leash burn, plus I feel like i have good control over him with it. Grip of death is not preferred for me. Sorry, but I’d rather just let him run after his prey then come back to me instead of have him dislocate my shoulder or break my wrist when i’m in the woods, 5 miles from my vehicle. He’s super strong.



I’ve also tried wrapping a longer leash around his waist, similar to the harnesses on One Stop Harness Shop. I’m trying to use it to correct him when he wants to go after something, but i’m not sure how effective that is for him yet. We used a regular harness when we first adopted him to teach him how to walk on a leash better, but it rubbed him under his doggie armpits. He walks fine on a leash now, so we never use it anymore.



He has been off leash many times with me since Spring and has always had fantastic behavior. Like, better than many other dogs i’ve ever witnessed off leash. He had almost no prey drive until he got his first ‘hog this summer. Now he has DEF gained confidence in his hunting abilities and has lately he’s been on the prowl for deer since he saw his first one 2 weeks ago. He’s on leash probation until he gets better/we work harder on some commands. PA is just bursted with wildlife this time of summer and his little fuzzy brain can’t handle all the bunnies and squirrels and deer he sees on our walks lately. He just wants them all!



I’m intrigued by the e-collar, though. I might have to look into that one.



And thanks for the compliments! He thought it was funny to chase me around with a dead rat in his mouth before he decided to drop it. What a good pal. :ghplaybow


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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Wow, you really dont get it. Good luck with your hound, i REALLY hope nothing ever happens...

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Guest IggyDeer

Wow, you're really not helpful. So you're telling me there is absolutely no way to curb a dogs interest in wild critters? Do your greyhounds never leave the house?

 

I have found a few other threads that give me hope/advice on how to correct a new bad behavoir. Again, thanks to all who had positive input.

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Wow, you really dont get it. Good luck with your hound, i REALLY hope nothing ever happens...

Ditto. Trust IS a deadly disease for greyhounds. There is a reason it is called a death grip. And as we tried to explain there is a difference between a behavior and a genetically ingrained drive which can never be 'trained' away.

Edited by racindog
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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

You will not find anyone here that would think that a hound that has proven itself a "hunter" a good candidate for being off-leash. Yes there are things you can do to help curb the drive, but you will probably not be able to eliminate it. And regardless, the REASON you don't want to leash your hound is because you don't know how to property restrain your hound. That in itself is another problem. If you adopted from ANY of the groups that I volunteer with and they found out what you do, your hound would be taken back by the group. There is no need for me to give you any advise, you are an irresponsible owner, and I doubt there is much I would be able to say to fix that.

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I'm from England and most people let their greyhounds off leash here. My boy Frisby managed to kill eight rabbits, three pheasants and a pigeon in his years with me, but always without fail would never go out of sight of me and always proudly brought his prey back for me to see. Half the time he hadn't killed, just injured them and I had to finish the job off. Jimmy is now off leash on every walk and like Frisby, he has to keep me in sight. His prey drive is practically non existent. If I call 'wait' he will stop dead in his tracks and Frisby was the same. We quite often meet friends with greys and they love to run together. One friend has four greys and two of them are never off leash as he knows they can't be trusted, but the other two are the same as Jimmy and stay close. It's just the way things are in England. However, where I walk Jimmy is well away from any road. If there are roads near on a walk I will keep him on the leash

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Thanks for the tips. I recently got him a thick Climbers leash and that helps with leash burn, plus I feel like i have good control over him with it. Grip of death is not preferred for me. Sorry, but I’d rather just let him run after his prey then come back to me instead of have him dislocate my shoulder or break my wrist when i’m in the woods, 5 miles from my vehicle. He’s super strong.

 

I’ve also tried wrapping a longer leash around his waist, similar to the harnesses on One Stop Harness Shop. I’m trying to use it to correct him when he wants to go after something, but i’m not sure how effective that is for him yet. We used a regular harness when we first adopted him to teach him how to walk on a leash better, but it rubbed him under his doggie armpits. He walks fine on a leash now, so we never use it anymore.

 

He has been off leash many times with me since Spring and has always had fantastic behavior. Like, better than many other dogs i’ve ever witnessed off leash. He had almost no prey drive until he got his first ‘hog this summer. Now he has DEF gained confidence in his hunting abilities and has lately he’s been on the prowl for deer since he saw his first one 2 weeks ago. He’s on leash probation until he gets better/we work harder on some commands. PA is just bursted with wildlife this time of summer and his little fuzzy brain can’t handle all the bunnies and squirrels and deer he sees on our walks lately. He just wants them all!

 

I’m intrigued by the e-collar, though. I might have to look into that one.

 

And thanks for the compliments! He thought it was funny to chase me around with a dead rat in his mouth before he decided to drop it. What a good pal. :ghplaybow

 

 

You will not break your wrist or dislocate your shoulder if you pay attention and hold the leash properly. I regularly hike with two male greyhounds, both strong dogs, both leashed, both high prey driven, both have chased, caught or killed small animals in the yard. When walking or hiking I have the leash handles looped on my wrist and wrapped twice around my hand. I keep my eyes open and I don't have problems (even though they're the two most disorganized dogs ever). My prior greyhound was huge - he weighed in at about 80lbs and had a high prey drive outdoors. He also chased, caught and killed animals in the yard. I did not have any problems hiking him, and we hiked all over.

 

You need to train your dog to "leave it" and "watch me" so when you see his interest piqued, you distract him. There are a million threads on here for that advice, and I won't go into it here. You need to keep your dog on leash. Not only is he needlessly killing wildlife (I live in rural Maryland and I'm not a fan of groundhogs, but neither do I think it's cool to allow my dogs to kill them), he is also potentially getting himself into some serious danger. You say you live in Pennsylvania. Since I live in Maryland, I'm sure deer are as numerous there they are where I live. Have you ever encountered a buck in rut? If your dog goes after one (and you say he's showing an interest in deer now), he can be killed or severely injured by the buck. If he gives chase, he can be injured by any number of natural objects (search online for coyote dogs and you'll see what happens when greyhound skin meets barbed wire fence). Even a groundhog can cause severe damage if it gets his thin skin with those razor rodent teeth. There was once a GT member whose lurcher cornered a porcupine (in their yard) and was quilled. One of the quills punctured the dog's lungs and he died. You also run the risk of your dog coming into contact with rabid raccoons, foxes, cats, etc. Where I live, bears were recently seen. IT IS NOT SAFE TO LET A PREY-DRIVEN DOG OFF LEASH. I really hope you'll take this to heart.

 

Also, please do not go the e-collar route. They are not humane, especially in the hands of an inexperienced trainer.

 

Look, I get that you want to hike with your pup off-leash and you want to see him have fun. But your dog just isn't a good candidate for it.

 

Best of luck to you both.

Edited by turbotaina


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Guest WhiteWave

You will not find anyone here that would think that a hound that has proven itself a "hunter" a good candidate for being off-leash. Yes there are things you can do to help curb the drive, but you will probably not be able to eliminate it. And regardless, the REASON you don't want to leash your hound is because you don't know how to property restrain your hound. That in itself is another problem. If you adopted from ANY of the groups that I volunteer with and they found out what you do, your hound would be taken back by the group. There is no need for me to give you any advise, you are an irresponsible owner, and I doubt there is much I would be able to say to fix that.

My dogs are all excellent hunters and hike almost daily off leash. They are also well trained. Her dog just needs more training and I do agree she needs to learn proper restraint with a leash. I can hold all 5 of my hounds back on the leash from going after prey. And to be honest it is extremely difficult to take back a dog the owner doesn't want to give up. Most adoption contracts are basically useless in the eyes of the law.

 

And E-collars are perfectly safe and humane, but I do recommend actually going to an e-collar trainer to learn proper use and not doing it yourself. I would look into finding a trainer to work with your dog and you. It is not cheap, but worth it in the long run so you can continue to enjoy hiking together. It will make the walks more enjoyable and safer for both of you.

 

I know people who have used this training service, they have locations throughout the USA. http://www.offleashk9training.com/contact.html

Edited by WhiteWave
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