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Old 11-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Puppy prey drive

Tried to find this posted elsewhere.. couldn't but if there are any threads on this with puppies, please link me!

I've posted before about Hype and the cat. She's high strung like a mal more than a shepherd.. and acts a lot like her mom did. Very nice good, tons of potential but extremely hard to live with and manage. VERY high energy, constantly whines in the kennel and flips out and barks if she hears me go outside with the other dog. If she can see anybody leave the room.. more flip outs. I have successfully raised an anxious puppy not knowing how or why..

Nothing is enough for her. I can train her for hours without her shutting down or being at the saturation point. Of course this is a GREAT thing, except when I feel like I have a freak of nature puppy built for sport and I can't provide that. Being a puppy, I don't do anything to break her spirits. I think even if I did, she would recover with little damage but still damage, none the less.

Our issue is prey drive in public. In the home, I have no clue how to manage this with the cat. Redirecting Hype to me through treats or toys does nothing. I've tapped her with the side of my foot, yanked on her tail to get a response and poked her in the side. Nothing! She does not nip the cat, but she's extremely interested and not in an entirely playful way. She looks at kitty like prey and in all honesty I'm afraid for the future and safety of the cat! Kitty isn't one to run. She just stands there and holds her ground sort of like why should I have to move for the dogs.. Which I kinda like, I think if kitty ran Hype would chase and it wouldn't end well.

I took her to the pets supply store, I didn't know they also sold a few small pets like ferrets, birds, iguanas and kittens. There was a kitten running loose around the store. Great. Now my pup is going to lock right in on the kitten and birds and everything and go nuts and be over stimulated! She stops, and the only way I can describe it is she basically turns to stone and is super still, with a crazy intense look in her eyes. I have tried redirecting and correcting her it's not working. She is 5 months old! I need help, articles on understanding prey drive and how to manage it and tone it down if possible. I don't want it to escalade. Any help? I'm at a loss.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nobody can help with this?
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How old is she?
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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She's 5 months
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Imagine my pain, I have five cats I think that you need to balance the physical and mental exercise a little bit more. Do shorter sessions of obedience, take longer walks. Mine loves all animals, but she does focus on the cats quite often. She never knows which way she is going, because there is always a cat somewhere. A tired dog is a happy dog. Sometimes it takes more to tire some out then others. Have you gone to puppy classes yet? You have to teach her to watch you and focus on you. I have taught my dog to do this on command and she also checks in on her own. Watch me and leave it are two very important commands IMO. Watch me is as simple as you staying watch me and as soon as the dog looks into your eyes, you praise and reward. This should be a part of every obedience session. Leave it...have a treat in your hand and toss a different treat on the floor...as you toss it tell your dog to leave it, once your dog looks at you, give the treat that is in your hand and praise. If your dog goes for the treat you tossed, you must move fast and cover with your foot and make a noise that gets your dog's attention. Automatic check ins are nice to. Everytime your dog looks at you, give them a treat. After a few times you'll notice that your dog is checking in, eventually fade out the treats.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm probably no help, but what does she do after the intense stare/ turn to stone? Does she attempt lunge or anything? Would it be possible to desensitize her by taking her to the store more often?
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm probably no help, but what does she do after the intense stare/ turn to stone? Does she attempt lunge or anything? Would it be possible to desensitize her by taking her to the store more often?
I think this is a very good suggestion. Mine is very socialized and she is very focused on the cats, but she doesn't try to hurt them and I can call her off. Mine has slowed down as she has gotten older and been around the cats all the time.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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We do 20 minute obedience sessions but I always engage her in play first. Never needed puppy classes as I attended them with a different puppy we were working with at work.. and then I got laid off and Hype stopped coming to work with me! I am considering taking a round of basic obedience classes with her just to have her focus on me with more distractions. I didn't take her to puppy classes mainly because I needed to establish her focus on me and just me at first (her name "Hype" gives it away ahah) and nothing else. I built her food drive and ball drive during the time everybody else took her to puppy classes. Her litter didn't go off the property to get socialized, we did as much as we could there and the pups are all stable enough not to flip out. If they see something for the first time it's just oh hi! thats cool.. back to focusing on handler and whatever handler has.

So now I have to make myself more valuable than a cat that she wants to kill, or she's going to want to kill in the future! This was since I brought her home at 10-11 weeks I think. I had her at work since 7 weeks and housesat during 8-9 weeks old to do some of her crate training and socialize her with older dogs which she did great with compared to the other pups, woohoo! She's fearless, really. I'm super worried because she is a ton of dog, with a ton of drive and everything I'm sure a lot of sport folks would want in a dog other than not being able to balance her prey drive. I am doing a lot of research myself but so far haven't gotten far. Of course I can't be the perfect handler, but I have to try to be as much as possible and work hard with Hype so I don't end up with a dog that doesn't know boundaries.. 75-80 powerful pounds of a hard bitch is not fun to deal with. Nice dog, sure. Great to live with? Not so much.

I don't want to take her for longer walks because her pasterns still need to come up. I guess I could take her down to the beach but I'm still walking 20 minutes downhill to get there with her. She LOVES the beach and sand.. first time she went there she chased the waves and rolled around.

By loves all animals, is this just your dog being fascinated by them and wanting to go up to them? I don't know if having more cats could help or hinder our situation at home right now. But I've thought about it! Tired dog is a happy dog.. if the tired would last more than 20 minutes. She's progressing nicely with everything else but the cat. I'll try to take a video of how she is with the cat, maybe I'm reading her body language wrong.

Hype checks in a lot during walks which is great. If I say the heel command she immediately checks, and touches my hand and gets all prancy, she also gets a treat for doing this half the time.. a little motivation never hurt anybody!

I just can't break her focus on the cat. It seems no matter what I do she is back to the cat right after. Our leave it is me holding a treat in an open hand, if she goes to snatch it I close my hand but never move it away. As soon as she offers a different behaviour on her own she gets praise and treat. I also trade treats for toys with her by telling her to leave it. You can never have enough exercises for leave it!
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
I think this is a very good suggestion. Mine is very socialized and she is very focused on the cats, but she doesn't try to hurt them and I can call her off. Mine has slowed down as she has gotten older and been around the cats all the time.
I thought a lot about this and I think we'll be doing it. It all depends where the cat is, if she can't have the cat (say kitty is up on the windowsill) and I put Hype in a sit or down, she just stares and stares and I remind her 'stay'. If the cat moves an inch she gets back up and tries to get closer. If I'm not actively giving her something to do she will whine and whine at the cat while trying to jump at her.The cat is usually under the couch and Hype knows this and will try to get under the couch even if the cat scratches or bites her. Her dam got taken away when she was 5 weeks and Hype has never been corrected by another dog, our other dog at home is all growl no bite and when Hype was younger she stole a bullystick right from Vida with no hesitation. I think part of the cat problem right be not knowing correction?

If the cat is on the ground Hype will chase her and nose around her smell her and try to jump on her and nip her. She is so intense and locked in it's scary really.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Neither of mine are high drive, medium for Zoey and low for Tuke, but its Tuke that won't leave the cat alone. Our cat does not run either, but its not because she's tough. The cats calm demeanor does keep Zoey mostly uninterested and Tuke to just a brief "investigation". Tuke was obsessed with the cat as a pup, but with time, exposure, and a somewhat solid leave it, she is pretty safe now (1.5yrs latter).
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