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Gilly91

Killed a Rabbit

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HI guys,

Soooo, i was out with Trev on a standard walk through some fields and he was off lead. He is usually very good and walks behind me, he has occasionally chased a squirrel but doesnt go for anything else such as cats/small dogs etc. Anyway, he suddenly shot off into a bush and i heard a squeek and He came trotting out with a rabbit in his mouth, which i got him to drop immediately. The rabbit was dead. He usually the most placid and gentle thing i have ever known, and although i knew he would probably chase a rabbit at some point when he was off lead, i honestly didn't think he would kill it (maybe just play).

Now my question is, 

1. Should i have told him off? I did, but thats what he was breed for and its in his instincts.

2. Will this likely make him want to chase down and kill more things?

 

Cheers


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My old dog Doc coursed and killed a squirrel once on a walk in our local park. The death was very quick - he grabbed it by the neck and shook it like one of his stuffed toys. That broke its neck and it died instantly I think, though it was still twitching a bit when I ran up myself. I think Trev probably did exactly the same with his rabbit. Like Trev Doc surrendered his rabbit to me straight away - didn't want to maul it or anything.

Like you, I told Doc off but was not actually cross with him - as you say, it's a basic instinct, reinforced by thousands of years of selective breeding.  In a funny sort of way while sorry for the squirrel (a silly young one who kept running across the grass, instead of up a tree) I felt privileged to have seen that instinct kick in. Doc was so swift, and so effective, and of course so pleased with himself afterwards.

I think you can anticipate Trev wanting to check out that particular bush again on future walks for quite a while!  But it sounds as if it may have been a largely opportunistic kill; how strong would you say his chase instinct is, in general? Some greyhounds have a much stronger one than others - Ken's is quite weak, compared to Doc's. But Ken too would grab and shake a rabbit or squirrel if he found one in a bush, I expect.

Even with Doc I was able to work on this; we had reached a point where I could just scan the horizon for squirrels on walks; if I saw them first I had time to say "Doc!" and get his attention before he went into chase mode. But that morning it was raining heavily, and he spotted it first.


Clare with Ken (Boomtown Ken, born 01/05/2011), and remembering Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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It's instinct and what he is going to do when the opportunity presents itself.  If you don't want him killing wildlife, he will need to remain on a leash on walks. Other than being leashed and in your control, there are no guarantees and anyone who tells you he won't do it again would be wrong. 


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Missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket and the home of Petunia, MW Neptunia

 

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42 minutes ago, Time4ANap said:

It's instinct and what he is going to do when the opportunity presents itself.  If you don't want him killing wildlife, he will need to remain on a leash on walks. Other than being leashed and in your control, there are no guarantees and anyone who tells you he won't do it again would be wrong. 

 

:nod  

 

 

 

 


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Nancy...Mom to Ruby (Watch Me Dash),Nigel (Nigel) and Sid (Peteles Tiger)

Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope,BillieJean,Bandit and especially Nixon (Starz Sammie) waiting at the Bridge.

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His instinct is not that strong, it was when i got him but ive since been able to recall him when he goes into flight mode. The only exception is squirrels which he always goes for (although never gets one). He usually just walks directly behind me when off the lead so ive never really been worried. I just dont want him thinking 'i got that rabbit, now im going to look for anything i can get' sort of thing, which will put him back a step in regards to recall.


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We had the most gentle, laid back boy a few years ago.  He killed a rat in our backyard (came from the hoarder neighbor's yard), then later on killed a squirrel and a rabbit. We live in the middle of the mountains and he had a doggie door into the fenced backyard at that time.  The squirrel and rabbit he brought into the house and gently laid at my feet.  He was so proud of himself!  I understood it's his instinct, but it was still hard to deal with the dead animals.  I didn't really say much to him, other than saying it scared me to death and please don't do that again.  He was just so pleased that he could give me such great gifts.  Plus he took criticism way too hard; even a gentle No upset him.

I miss that boy.

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This is tough, on the one hand it's awesome that he brought it back to you (rather than running off somewhere to eat it) and awesome that he easily dropped it - those are both things I'd want to encourage, but then you get into "am i reinforcing the hunting behavior?"

Our first hound caught his first and only bunny just a few months before he went over the bridge, and it was tough finding anything good enough to trade up with to get it away from him. We'd never needed or trained "drop it" with him prior, and it came back to bite us that night.

Our current hound has a kill count of 5 (we have a fenced in yard, but it's not rabbit proof yet) and thank god, someone at the adoption kennel had worked on "drop" with him while he waited for us. So we have a much easier time getting it away from him, but still not as easy as you it sounds like!

4 hours ago, Gilly91 said:

I just dont want him thinking 'i got that rabbit, now im going to look for anything i can get' sort of thing, which will put him back a step in regards to recall.

I do think you need to realistically be ready for this, especially if you let him off lead. I, personally, don't have much sympathy for the critters but I would worry about all the things that can happen when an off leash dog takes off after something. And if he gets a hold of something like a raccoon you're going to have a whole other problem.

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Sounds like you have 3 choices: leash walk, carry a shovel to bury the bunny, or learn to make hasenpfeffer. :bunny


Wendy and The Whole Wherd. American by birth, Southern by choice.
So many right-winged Christians...so few lions.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"
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If you don't want to have him on leash you need to do a refresher on his recall training.  This should be done every so often anyway.  

As far as prey drive goes, I think the common belief is that it is a fixed behavioral characteristic (I'm sure I'll be corrected if that's not the case!).  A dog is born with a certain amount of prey drive and that is what they deal with throughout their life.  You may see a little more interest in that area of the field and wanting to check out the place he caught the rabbit, but he should still be as "recallable" after the bunny incident as before.

 


Chris - Mom to: Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Lilly, and Felicity ( DeLand )

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), and Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby),

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Milo has the highest prey drive of any dog I've known.  He wants to chase and kill everything.  But he is able to contain his instincts when on leash -- he does not pull even when he sees prey (an exception was when a rabbit burst out of the underbrush right in front of us).  More recently, he had a cat cornered behind some tools on the back porch, and even though he was in a barking/attacking frenzy, he was able to follow the recall command and come inside.  Frankly, I was amazed.

So I think we can control the instinct to some extent.  But I would never scold/punish a sighthound for hunting outdoors.  

FWIW, Stanley Coren, a psychologist with a focus on dogs, divides up dog hunting behavior into six stages.  I think they are tracking, stalking, herding/chasing, attacking, killing, and eating.  He says that humans have bred dogs into specializing in some stages and not others.  For example, border collies have been bred to track, stalk, and herd/chase and have been selected not to attack, kill, and eat.  Sighthounds have been bred to stalk, herd/chase, attack, and kill, but not to eat their prey so that the human has time to get the carcass.  

Quote

Sounds like you have 3 choices: leash walk, carry a shovel to bury the bunny, or learn to make hasenpfeffer.

:lol 


Ellen, Milo, and Jeter

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

 

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As others have said he did what greyhounds have been bred for and I would take some consolation in that he killed quickly and not playing/tormenting like a cat would with a mouse.


Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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We were experimenting with Buddy being off the lead up until a few weeks ago... he chased a rabbit which he didn’t catch. He came back to us afterwards when we called but unfortunately the next thing he came across was a small fluffy dog and before we knew it the dog was in his mouth :eek.  And so the experiment ended.

We didn’t tell him off because we didn’t really read the signs of his prey drive properly (and we assumed, rightly or wrongly, that the dog attack was linked to his prey drive having kicked in), but to answer your second question, we haven’t found that he is more interested in chasing small animals of any kind - certainly no more interested than he was before ‘the incident’.

The other dog was ok by the way. Buddy didn’t even break her skin but I suspect that was to do with three of us holding his jaws apart and stopping him from from shaking her as he does his squeaky hedgehog. Lesson learned. (I’m still feeling guilty, hence the confession).

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I have a fenced yard, which rabbits made the mistake of coming into.  My Sobe would nab them, quick head-shake to break the neck, then bring them to the door.  Greyhounds are very efficient.  No fear or pain, or playing with the prey.  Kill quickly and done.  And present the trophy to the master.  It's ingrained.  

In regard to recall - I have no experience.  I know that my dogs on-leash would've gone after a rabbit if they weren't on-leash.   I think recall training is great - but it must have its limits.  I can't imagine calling a grey off a rabbit - but other have done it.  

Do you live in the UK?  Most posters on GT'ers are in the US - and we don't walk greys off-leash generally.  It's just not "done" here.  I know it's quite common in the UK, so those posters could probably give you the best advice.  

 

 

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He has been bred for over 5,000 years to hunt. He IS going to do it whether he catches anything or not because prey drive, hunt drive, and other such is in his genes. The genetic drive he was gifted with determines his motivation, not the amount of prey he catches. And you can forget recall as even with well trained police dogs sometimes the drive overrides the obedience and they will blow off commands.  It happens.  Yes he will be more alert in the area where he got the rabbit because he knows he was 'rewarded' there by the catch. IMO you should praise him for being such a fine boy! It will not make him hunt more but will enhance the relationship you 2 have when he knows you are proud of him.

Edited by racindog

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Mine have gone so far as to rip them to shreds... I mean a head here, half a body there, etc.

It's happened 2x. 

We didn't yell or scold them. It was in our backyard and they probably attacked together. 

Meanwhile, in the house they were and STILL are terrified of the cats LOL

If it's outside it's fair game apparently. 

 

 

Edited by 2greyhoundMINI

Greyhound: Sidney our Brindle Bean (Kanes Seminol)

Kitties: Raider my old man, Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box

Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19), Bella, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer.

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