hunt and kill insinct

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hunt and kill insinct

Post by pagey17 on Tue Sep 20 2016, 11:18

Hi There, hope everyone's well. My male staff age 2 has such a strong instinct to chase and it appears kill any animal... cats, sheep, even horses. he's so quick and alert its hard work. I have learnt never to have him off lead where i feel there is a risk. sometimes it feels like i'm the only staffie owner with it this bad.. as other local owners i speak with they dont have this issue, infact even have cats in the house.. i understand its their natural instinct but is there anything that can be done to help... i.e. try to redirect their focus more.. i would welcome any advice.. thank you Zoe x
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Re: hunt and kill insinct

Post by Mia05 on Tue Sep 20 2016, 13:15

hi pagey17 associate the things with which hinter is trying to chase stop the chase and treat with a really smelly treat fish bites or natures menu hopefully through time he wnt feel the need to chase if you make positive associations with things he finds he wants to chase . take small steps and build it up its normal hes chasing things its his instincts if hes interested in toys use the toy as a reward when he doesnt chase a certain animal itll take a long time but you will get there . its also important when you meet an animal he doesnt like to use a positive voice and body language as staffies in particular can sense when you are anxious . id also stress the importance of keeping your dog on leash in fields around livestock as you are on private land and the farmer has the right to shoot your dog if they feel their livestock under threat Smile

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Re: hunt and kill insinct

Post by pagey17 on Tue Sep 20 2016, 13:26

Thank you Mia.. I appreciate your comments. We will work on that...
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Re: hunt and kill insinct

Post by LizP on Tue Sep 20 2016, 16:17

While I agree that it is a dog's natural instinct to chase, it does sound like the aptly named Hunter's instinct is more intense than average!

I'm the first to promote training, training, training, but in this case I would say that there might be a limit to what you can do and it might also take time. I have taught my dogs not to chase specific things, so we can walk through our own chickens, but I'm not sure I'd trust them with chickens in general.

The problem is that chasing usually outweighs treats/toys/etc. Not only is it instinct, it's also HUGE fun! Very commonly, a dog will just say 'thanks for the treat' and then refocus on the object of its desire.

I would try working in a specific, controlled and repeatable situation and see how it works to start off with. Is, for example, there is a field with sheep that you can walk by on the other side of the fence for double safety?

Work on a loose long line so that Hunter can make choices with you helping him by setting him up to succeed, but not so loose that he can charge around 10 metres away from you. Walk towards the sheep just to the point that he spots them and looks, but no more. Stand quietly, then take a step or two back and ask him to follow you. He may even come with you without asking. Then praise and give him a high value treat. By working at this distance, hopefully the lower intensity will mean the treats trump the sheep.

Keep moving back and forwards, closer to the point where he looks at the sheep (this point should move closer and closer), each time asking him to look and relax, then come away towards you for his treat.

The aim is to pair relaxation near something exciting with good things, rather than the 'prey' itself.

As I say, that's worked for us - all 3 of mine will now walk through the field with the chickens without bothering them. Before the training, both Nola and Chaos had caught and killed. However, their hunt instinct is still there and both will still chase, catch and kill rats and rabbits.

So, I fear that a line of some sort may well be a part of life for the foreseeable future for you and Hunter. A long training line (5m or more) is a godsend, giving him the freedom to bumble about but with the safety net there if an errant beastie does cross your path.


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Re: hunt and kill insinct

Post by pagey17 on Tue Sep 20 2016, 19:46

Hi Liz.. Thank you for taking the time to write.. There's some great advice there for Hunter & I.. I know there's no quick fix., & I'll have to put the work in.., thanks again.. Zoe ;-)
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Re: hunt and kill insinct

Post by LizP on Tue Sep 20 2016, 20:11

You're welcome! Let us know how you get on and yell if you've got any more questions.


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Re: hunt and kill insinct

Post by -Ian- on Tue Sep 20 2016, 20:14

We have used both methods with my Flo. Familiarisation worked really well for the New Forest Ponies/horses and cows aren't an issue either but I would still have her on a lead when they are nearby.

Now Squirrels and sheep are a different ball game altogether, with the Squirrels she will chase them back up the trees, I've even seen her get a paws length away and let it climb the tree when she could easily have caught it but hasn't but sheep... she will gladly have a stare off with sheep and if she could get near them she would probably make a mess. To combat that I use her favourite toy to distract her which works fantastically well in all sorts of situations where I want her focused on me.

I would try the solutions Liz offers but keep something up your sleave to use as a distraction too Smile


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Thank you Ian

Post by pagey17 on Wed Sep 21 2016, 08:40

-Ian- wrote:We have used both methods with my Flo. Familiarisation worked really well for the New Forest Ponies/horses and cows aren't an issue either but I would still have her on a lead when they are nearby.

Now Squirrels and sheep are a different ball game altogether, with the Squirrels she will chase them back up the trees, I've even seen her get a paws length away and let it climb the tree when she could easily have caught it but hasn't but sheep... she will gladly have a stare off with sheep and if she could get near them she would probably make a mess. To combat that I use her favourite toy to distract her which works fantastically well in all sorts of situations where I want her focused on me.

I would try the solutions Liz offers but keep something up your sleave to use as a distraction too Smile
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