Help! My dog killed a squirrel...

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Barked: Sun Oct 16, '05 11:34am PST 
Chase and some other dogs in the park were chasing a squirrel up a tree. At first it was cute, but then the squirrel fell from the tree and all the dogs circled around it. Chase got a hold of it in his mouth and I think he killed it…. There was blood around his mouth. I was, and am still, quite disgusted by this. I pulled him away from it but forgot to scold him right after. Missed opportunity.

A friend told me that this might make my dog more aggressive towards small animals since he has tasted blood. Is this true?

Worried doggie parent.

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Barked: Sun Oct 16, '05 12:08pm PST 
wow i dont know belgian has killed tons of birds(we hunt he retrieves them i shoot it),a lizard,a cyote, 2 rabbits

we dont see any aggresion in him ( the vet says he has killed all these animals maybe because t went through our property and he knows they shouldnt be there)

we hope he wont get aggresive

Such a Happy- Girl

Barked: Sun Oct 16, '05 1:09pm PST 
He doesn't know it is the blood of ONLY a small animal. If he were going to become aggressive because he tasted blood, he would be aggresive towards EVERYTHING that had blood. BUT, this is not going to happen. Blood is a normal part of a canine diet (although many don't actually eat it nowadays). What your friend said doesn't really make sense.

He might become more excited around small animals, but the reason wouldn't be from tasting blood.

Dogs are hunters and many are born with a high natural hunting drive that makes them want to chase chase chase small animals.


Barked: Sun Oct 16, '05 5:30pm PST 
Monkey has killed 10 or so mice. She is a terrier and that is what they do. She is not aggressive at all. She is afraid of most other dogs.
She loves our cat maybe to much.
Freebee- (Free)

Barked: Sun Oct 16, '05 5:46pm PST 
this is a normal thing for a high prey dog to do. its instinctive, not cruel. please remember, they are not people. this will not make him more aggressive towards people, but for him, this was a "win"...so it may drive his prey drive a little higher. if you fear that, then you should keep him out of areas where there are small prey animals he can hunt. you cant train out prey drive...its how they were bred, what they were meant to do....

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Barked: Sun Oct 16, '05 10:28pm PST 
Whew! Thank you everyone for sharing your experience and insight. You made my day.

I'm not begging- if I can't see- you!
Barked: Mon Oct 17, '05 12:21am PST 
Hey, if you think that's bad, I showed my squirrel kill (well, my half) to a bunch of little kids at the park. I was so proud! They didn't think it was nearly as cool as I did, and they all ran away screaming. Whoops. Same thing happened to me and my doggie friend as sounds like happened to you and yours. We were just at the park minding our own business. Mom wasn't there, but the way whe understands it, dad was playing frisbee with my friend, Finn, and I was running around being my usual happy self when we both saw the little furry thing run accross our paths and up a tree. The squirrels in that park are VERY used to dogs, and seem to know how high most dogs can jump. They seem to enjoy actually taunting dogs from their safe-spots. Well, this one mis-judged how high I could jump, and we got it. We divided it in half like the good and fair dogs we are, and both went parading around with our halves 'till Dad finally got us to drop it, and then he took it away. Darned dad.

It's called prey drive, and it's part of a dog's instinct that's always lurking. Some dogs recognize it more than others. Some choose to take action on it more than others. It's there weather you're big, little, playful, lazy, old, young, well, you get the idea. The other dogs on this thread are right in that 'the taste of blood' does not have an effect on aggressiveness (towards humans, other dogs, or other creatures). It's usually a moving target we hone in on, and the chase is as much or more of the activity than the actual kill.

Here's some proof that it's not the taste of blood, or the desire to kill smaller animals just for the sake of killing. About two years later ( and honestly, a couple more incidents with squirrels and rats), we were at a party. Storm included. The people having the party had several chickens in a small chicken coop in the same area as the party was being held. Storm is a very friendly dog, and was making her rounds visiting with people. She was not in our sight every second, and at one point my huband said to me, "Hmmm... I haven't seen Storm in a bit, have you?" I realized I hadn't seen her in a bit, either. We asked some people, and no one had seen Storm. We started to get a little concerned, and as we searched around, we suddenly saw Storm's rear end --- sticking out of the chicken coop. Well, despite our faith in Storm's obedience and friendliness, we figured no dog could probably resist a bunch of live chickens, and thought we'd have a little explaining and appologizing to do. Turns out we had nothing to worry about. All the chickens were alive and well, and just hangin' out all around Storm, who was laying on her own feather bed. She looked up at us, as if to say, "Oh, hi mom and dad. These are my new friends, the chickens. Can I come and play with them again sometime?". She had jumped the little fence that blocked off the chicken area. So much for the critter-eating-monster image.

A Doggie Scholar
Barked: Mon Oct 17, '05 12:54am PST 
I agree with many of the posters here. I think "agressive dogs" might like killing little animals and other things (maybe attack a human or two too!), but I don't think a little bit of hunting makes a good dog aggressive. smile

Barked: Mon Oct 17, '05 5:29am PST 
Mom was pretty shocked the first time she saw me kill something too...you see I am usually so nice and gentle, it was hard to imagine me killing anything. But I am not a human, and I really don`t have moral thoughts about killing small animals. When they run it is great fun to catch them! I have killed (and eaten) two rabbits, too many mice and birds to count, 2 or 3 squirrels, and a duck. Mom tries as hard as possible to prevent these...I am always on a leash, or in a fenced area but sometimes these things just wander into my yard. I am a particularily high prey breed..so while mom doesn`t encourage me when I kill things, she doesn`t overly scold me either.

Killing small animals has not made me more aggressive...although perhaps I get a little more excited to chase things once I have caught a few. But mom has many small pets like hamsters, rats and rabbits who I will leave alone for the most part.
Rosalita Lola "Rosie"

Love is never- being told you'- naughty!
Barked: Mon Oct 17, '05 5:54am PST 
Oh you guys are sooooo bad and sooooo yucky! Mummy is glad that we are too small to do that sort of stuff! UGH!
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