Chasing Rabbits

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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I swear it- wasn\'t me
Barked: Sat Jul 2, '11 6:06pm PST 
How do you get your dog to stop chasing rabbits or other small animals. Max see a small animal run by and he is off like a flash then I am the crazy neighbor running down the road yelling max come back...
Bella and- Daisy CGC

I'm a Meanie
Barked: Sat Jul 2, '11 6:53pm PST 
You walk your dog on a leash.

Hanta Yo, in a- playful manner I- come
Barked: Sat Jul 2, '11 7:03pm PST 
To begin to correct this behavior you first must have your dog on a leash. Take a small treat and toss it on the floor. When you dog makes a move to pick it up, give a sharp correction with the leash and tell it to "LEAVE IT". You them pick that particular treat up and give a different treat for a reward. You never give the treat you toss on the floor as a reward, always a different one. When your dog understands the "leave it" command, meaning it will obey this command 100% of the time, you are ready to use it on live prey.

I have trained both of my Siberians this command. I can recall Sage at any time when chasing any cat or rabbit while off leash.


I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Sat Jul 2, '11 8:47pm PST 
Correcting a dog for disobeying a command he does not know is not fair.
There are much better ways of teaching a leave it.

A good place to start is to have a treat in your hand, make a fist, and then reward pup as soon as he stops licking/chewing/worrying away at your hand. This progresses to an open hand, treat on floor etc.

OP, it starts by keeping pup on a leash until he has proven that he is ready for more freedom.
Impulse control games, recall games, and lots and lots of practice come first! smile

Barked: Sat Jul 2, '11 8:49pm PST 
I highly disagree with what Sage said. That is not a good way to teach leave it.

And even so, leave it won't get a dog to stop chasing animals.

Kato chases rabbits all the time. I can harness it by using the Premack principle, but I can't expect him to never chase in any circumstance. So in areas where it is highly dangerous, I do what Bell and Daisy said...walk him on leash.

That's your best bet. Prey drive is a VERY hard thing to deal with.

Cave canis- vigilo omnis
Barked: Sat Jul 2, '11 9:57pm PST 
A flirt pole can help teach impulse control, but until then you should leash your dog way to go

Barked: Sat Jul 2, '11 11:01pm PST 
How do you teach impulse control? I need tips on that with Lily!

Scruffy will give chase or at least try but he will usually respond to a leave it, with Lily I can say a leave it till I'm blue in face so I don't say anything if she starts spazzing out wanting to chase something we just walk off in the other direction. Right now A leash is the only thing that can stop her from chasing any small animal. Prey animals are highly arousing to a dog, they are small and they run and its fun to chase them.

Kikopup has a great video on youtube to teach leave it.

Edited by author Sat Jul 2, '11 11:05pm PST


I swear it- wasn\'t me
Barked: Sun Jul 3, '11 5:45am PST 
Thank you so much for all of the great tips. When we go for walks we are on a leash. The rabbits and small prey is when we are in the yard which is fenced and he goes right through it to chase them. The problem is that max is 6 and this is something that just started recently. Well a year ago.
Shayne CGC,- RL2

Shayne- Disc Doggin in- the 'Burgh!
Barked: Sun Jul 3, '11 6:33am PST 
It's Yer Choice and Premack are what I used with my pup who has crazy prey drive and is pretty obsessed with squirrels.

He can watch squirrels run by, and he won't chase unless given the cue to chase. I got this great behavior and I didn't have to hurt him to get it accomplished.

PREMACK: is like, you do what I want and SOMETIMES you'll get to do what you want. Because dogs want to do what they want to do, it is HIGHLY reinforcing. So with your dog on leash and you see a squirrel (who has an escape route).... you ask your dog to SIT or look at you or get into heel position. When your dog has held that behavior sit/eye contact/heel/etc... you can cue the chase. You STILL HOLD THE LEASH and chase the critter with your dog... then continue on. The first few times you reward and then the next time get the behavior (sit/heel/etc) you say "good job" and you cue the dog to come with you and no chase. The end result is that the dog sees the squirrel automatically sits/downs/etc and you can either reward with the chase or not.

It's Yer Choice is like leave-it w/o ever having to cue it... it's an automatic behavior... they don't take or chase things because if they choose not to they are rewarded. I use this more for "don't pick up strange thigns while on walks" but I have used it for don't lose your mind when you see a squirrel.

End result of It's Yer Choice work

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Sun Jul 3, '11 7:11am PST 
If Max runs through the fence, fix the fence or keep him on a leash when inside that particular fence. (A fence a dog can run through is no better then no fence)

I don't know why he only started chasing a year ago, but prey drive can be very hard to stop and managing it is about all you can do.

Good Luck.
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