Need advice on German Shepherd with high prey drive (just killed one of my pets) - German Shepherd Dog Forums

Increase font size: 0, 10, 25, 50%

GermanShepherds.com is the premier German Shepherd Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 06-25-2012, 06:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
New Member
 
kindhearted's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 15
Unhappy Need advice on German Shepherd with high prey drive (just killed one of my pets)

Hello, I'm looking for some advice on my spayed 3 1/2 years old pure bred German Shepherd. I had got her when she was 7 weeks old. 3 days ago, she killed one of my pet bunnies who was 6 years old. I take full responsibility for this and I know this was my fault and not the dog.

Let me tell you my situation. I have a separate outside add-on hallway that the dog isn't allowed in and it's strictly for the bunnies (and cat) to get their exercise. Some days when it's hot and they can't go out there, I'll let them exercise in my bedroom supervised with me in there, and the door locked. There hasn't ever been a time when I let the bunnies loose in my bedroom without me in there with them.

So 3 days ago (Friday) I was in a rush to go out and meet with some friends. I took my rabbits out of their cages in my bedroom to let them out for exercise because I haven't gotten around to letting them out for the whole day so I felt bad. I cannot lock my bedroom door unless I am actually in the room with them. So the door wasn't locked, but was fully shut when I left. Basically I planned on only being out for 10 minutes (this is why I allowed the bunnies out and didn't think much of it)...well 10 minutes turned into an hour and a half.

I got home, couldn't find my dog anywhere because she always barks when someone is at the door. So I check all the rooms, then finally checked my bedroom last, and she comes busting out of there. That's when I saw my poor bunny laying in the middle of the floor with her neck snapped and leg broke. There weren't any bite marks or even a single drop of blood so I'm thinking the dog literally trampled her with her paws by putting all of her weight on her. The other bunny was alive and hiding behind my large entertainment center.

The dog's crate is also in my bedroom where the bunnies are kept in their cages, the cages are high enough to where she cannot get them. However I cannot trust this dog around these animals now. The dog is crate trained however, if one of the animals walk past her crate and if she's inside it, she will bark and lunge at my yorkies and cat like she is guarding her territory. I feel that she gets more frustrated in the crate so this is why I gave her a little bit of freedom roaming the house. Plus whenever I leave the house, I leave her out because I want her to protect the house if any intruders were to come in.

She is fine with the other dogs in the house, she got into 2 serious scuffles before but she was corrected and never happened again. We never ever let the yorkies alone with her when no one is home, we put our yorkies in the master bedroom and just leave her out. All of the yorkies are dominant with her and will put her in her place when needed.
The cat has a large tree house so she stays up there all day until the dog goes back in her crate.

We have a screened in lanai with an inground pool that she enjoys very much. One of my yorkies likes to bark and run around the pool like a nut, so the German Shepherd will go into stalk mode, lock her eyes on him and then chase him and mouth him while growling. My other yorkie who is calm, doesn't run around the pool so the Shepherd is fine with her and won't go after her.

These are all of the problems we have with her. She isn't aggressive towards me or anyone at all, and she knows commands such as sit, down, stay, paw, roll over, ect. But whenever she gets fixated on something (other pets) she ignores my commands and I have a hard time snapping her out of that state of mind. I cannot pick up and hold my cat in front of her because she will jump on me and try to take the cat with her mouth. The cat will hiss, growl, and spit at her which makes her even more excited and prone to chase her.
When I hold the bunnies and get them to calm down, I'll show them to the dog but not put them on the floor, she will lick them and won't try to bark at them as long as i'm keeping them still and calm. But when I carry them to a room, she gets very excited and tries to mouth them. Also when she is in her crate in my bedroom, and when I take the bunnies out of the cages, that's when she lunges and barks.

I'm really having a hard time understanding all of this behavior, and after this tragedy happened, it really has opened my eyes that I need some serious training to do with her, and I have let her get away with to much. I love her and honestly don't think I could get rid of her like everyone is telling me to do.
I've grown up with German Shepherds, but they all never had high prey drive so bad like my dog does.

I need all the tips and advice I can get. Also has anyone else had their GSD kill one of their pets?
kindhearted is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-25-2012, 06:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Beautiful Pacific NW
Posts: 11,005
Default

My sheltie mix killed a bottle baby goat we had. Our hearts were broke, and this baby goat was gorgeous, a lovely baby.
It's just how dogs are
msvette2u is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 07:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
Crowned Member
 
Sunflowers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: The Sunshine State
Posts: 6,688
Default

Sorry this happened to you.
__________________
Norden von Narnia (Hans) DOB 1-15-2012
Sunflowers is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 07:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
Elite Member
 
marshies's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,586
Default

At least there were no bite marks or blood. It was likely really just an accident. Rabbits are very very delicate and their little bones can be broken easily. My dog would try the same things as your dog if she were left alone with the rabbit. I can't really blame her since I play with toys that encourage prey drive.

More knowledgeable members can chime in on training solutions, but I recommend better containment.

Your dogs and your rabbits don't need to be friends. The poor rabbit has nothing to gain from this arrangement. Please contain and secure them better. In case something like this happens again, maybe put more shelters for them in your room that they can run to.

I'm sorry this happenend as well. Feel better.
__________________
Amaretto von Huerta Hof -Adventures and Dog Product Reviews-
marshies is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 07:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
Crowned Member
 
Stevenzachsmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Maryland
Posts: 4,056
Default

I have two rabbits and a GSD. The rabbits live indoors in bunny condos. My dog can see them, but ignores them. My rabbits only have play time when the dog is locked on another level and we are there. Matter of fact, the rabbits are not a bonded pair and cannot be together. They would kill each other. I would never, never, never trust my dog not to kill a small animal. That is asking too much. Now that you know your dog can and will, beef up your containment. It is the best solution.
Stevenzachsmom is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 07:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
Elite Member
 
marbury's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Columbus, GA
Posts: 1,250
Default

There's certainly no reason to get rid of your dog, the folks who are telling you that probably don't have much experience with breeds that have any kind of natural drive.

Just be more careful next time, if you're anything like me you'll never make the mistake again. It sucks that it happened, and the best you can hope for was that your dog got in there and did the duty with one quick snap so the bunny didn't suffer. If you aren't renting you could always grab some really basic hook-and-latch hardware from Home Depot to secure the door you can't lock from the outside if you have to do the same thing with the bunnies in the future.

Good news; your dog has drive! Try lure coursing or a flirt pole, your dog will probably love it. Channel those behaviors into something fun for everybody, and something that doesn't end with blood. If you know anyone locally who is into herding maybe they can help you each basic herding skills. I have a ton of fun, and I'm a complete novice. But that drive can be locked onto sheep and they learn a lot of self-control.

My dogs haven't killed anything, I raised them around ferrets and rats. I would never leave them unsupervised, of course. But I know for sure that one of my GSDs would snap a cat in half if I'd let her. My neighbor's cat, though... she's just a cold blooded killer. Can't trust them cats!
marbury is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 07:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Beautiful Pacific NW
Posts: 11,005
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevenzachsmom View Post
I have two rabbits and a GSD. The rabbits live indoors in bunny condos. My dog can see them, but ignores them. My rabbits only have play time when the dog is locked on another level and we are there. Matter of fact, the rabbits are not a bonded pair and cannot be together. They would kill each other. I would never, never, never trust my dog not to kill a small animal. That is asking too much. Now that you know your dog can and will, beef up your containment. It is the best solution.
As a rescue we sometimes have people who have bunnies or ferrets or birds.
I tell them the same thing.
I agree, containment, super strong and don't let the dog be loose in the house, ever, unless the rabbits are way away, behind a locked door, etc.
But even then I don't know as I'd leave the dog loose in the house with them.
We have Dachshunds here. They are hounds bred for killing badgers. They are hunters extraordinaire. We do not have any small fuzzies for that reason, although I'd dearly love to purchase a pet baby skunk

BTW herding instinct is just prey drive that's been modified to where the dog doesn't "finish" the chase with a kill.
Many individuals within the herding breeds out there have not been trained to not kill, or the drive wasn't completed and they do kill, instead of just herd.
My Libby is one of them
msvette2u is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 07:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
NWHeather's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Puget Sound PNW
Posts: 354
Default

I'm sorry that you lost one of your beloved pets
I agree, there's no reason for you to get rid of your dog & anyone saying so doesn't understand the prey drive in dogs.

I keep ferrets as well, & have had cats in the past. Luckily, my dogs got along just fine with my cats. Now if any other cat crosses my dogs paths, my female will chase them-I don't *think* she would hurt them, based on her living with my cats, but I know that there's potential for that, so I keep her inline.

My ferrets are never out with my dogs, even though my dogs have never shown any aggression toward them, I know that there's a logical chance that either one of my dogs could kill any one of my ferrets, even if accidently.

On the note of ferrets, I have seen many people that have lost birds, due to their ferrets killing them.

Unfortunately, it's something we need to keep in mind, when keeping varied species of animals.
__________________
Rory 8yr GSD/Lab
Alexa 1.5yr GSD/Mal
R.I.P. Koda
NWHeather is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 10:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
Crowned Member
 
lorihd@comcast.net's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: hillsborough nj
Posts: 3,595
Default

sorry to hear about your bunny i have to be on top of things when my budgies are flying around, lexie would love to nail one. I would never trust her with the birds, never! but sometimes accidents do happen
lorihd@comcast.net is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-25-2012, 10:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
Crowned Member
 
GatorDog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 3,564
Default

Aiden would kill a small animal like that in an instant if I let him. I could never ever let him around one without expecting some damage to be done. Unfortunately, it's the way of the breed and accidents happen.
__________________
-Alexis
Aiden v HausDaka - (HOT) IPO3x2, FH, CGC, TT
Carma - superstar in the making
Tulah v Maringaland- puppy in training!
GatorDog is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:32 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.3.2
PetGuide.com
Basset.net DobermanTalk.com GoldenRetrieverForum.com OurBeagleWorld.com
BoxerForums.com DogForums.com GoPitbull.com PoodleForum.com
BulldogBreeds.com FishForums.com HavaneseForum.com SpoiledMaltese.com
CatForum.com GermanShepherds.com Labradoodle-dogs.net YorkieForum.com
Chihuahua-People.com RetrieverBreeds.com