Diminishing prey drive - how would you do it - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Diminishing prey drive - how would you do it

okay experts, I've already decided to bring in some professional help on this one because I am way out of my depth but since I love reading everyone's training techniques so much on this forum I thought I would ask how you guys might tackle our problem:

Gigi is our 10 and a half week old Working line GSD, bread and chosen by the breeder to be our family dog because she was the lowest Drive puppy in the group.

she is smart as a whip and doing well with basic training and obedience including potty, crate, and some basic commands like look at me, leave it, drop it, sit etc.

however, as some of you might know, we live with three Maine Coon cats. she has wanted to chase them from the very beginning and her prey drive has only escalated in the last 2 weeks. The cats consistently run away from her when there's nothing in between them, but they will gladly sit in the same room, go nose-to-nose across a window or Give her a sniff when she is in her crate. In those situations she is less reactive, but if she happens to encounter a cat with no barrier in between them she goes bananas and wants nothing more than to chase them.

Today I let her go pee outside and was working with her off leash on coming when called and just generally following me around and making eye contact. I got lazy and opened the door to go back inside before securing her leash. as the door opened there was a cat and there went Gigi full speed after the cat who ran as fast as it could into our bedroom and up to the top of the cat condo where Gigi sat at the bottom barking like a three-time champion IPO dog having just cornered a bad guy. impressive as it was, it was absolutely the total opposite of the behavior I'm trying for. I know as a puppy she's going to be curious and want to chase, but I can see her prey drive coming on exponentially over time and I really want to do everything I can to nip this in the bud as soon as possible. While I'm waiting to find the right pro and get them into my house to work with me, tell me how you might approach this problem!

As always, gratefully looking forward to your responses!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:28 PM
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I'm no expert and couldn't keep my pup from chasing the cat. Keep the pup on a drag line and teach it not to chase the cat by stepping on or taking hold of the line and teaching No and leave it. When your puppy is ~7 months old you may have to use an e collar in conjunction with a leash in the method Lou Castle recommends. Good luck.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Ozymandiasmv View Post
I got lazy

I'd start there..........

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:53 PM
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You can't diminish prey drive, it's genetic and non negotiable. But this is an obedience issue. Do whatever it takes to teach your dog that chasing cats is not allowed. Not force, not tools, just consistent, firm, communication. Or you can bypass training and go with an e-collar...might work and may even be quicker, I'm just not a fan and don't see the need...And certainly not on a little puppy!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 11:09 PM
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I would use toys, drag leashes and baby gates. The word leave it is a great word but needs to be practiced with minor distractions at first. Once your pup enjoys playing with you and the ball it helps to redirect and let your pup know what to chase. It is important that the cats feel safe so they are not in defense mode all the time. It is just a lot of patience and takes a lot of time. In my opinion if you have a fearful cat who runs it will take much longer or they will have to be kept seperated.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 11:36 PM
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You can't diminish something that is innate, but you can suppress it via punishment, or else channel it into and activity you want.

Personally at this age I would simply manage the behavior, keep her from chasing the cats. You could also teach a more appropriate behavior in the presence of cats like eye contact or the opportunity to tug. In my experience young puppies don't have great impulse control, GSD's are also a herding breed and are programed to chase things. It's like a 2 year old running after something that has caught their eye, there is a lot of doing, but not much thinking involved. Work on impulse control around things like toys and food, like maintaining a place command around a moving toy or food rolling across the floor.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 08:33 AM
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I'd save your money on a trainer at this point. The suggestions to keep your pup on a light line when attended is the best you are going to do at this point.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Happy to report that the drag line and a LOT more vigilance has made for some progress in the last two days. It'll be a long time coming but cats and puppy are slowly getting more comfy with each other.

We're working on encountering a cat (on purpose) in the house while on leash, and issuing an immediate "leave it" while luring with a treat. The second she slacks off on the leash and sits/looks at me, "YES" AND TREAT. so far this is starting to result in her being much less jumpy around the cats. It takes a supreme amount of vigilance. But I can see light at the end of the very long tunnel.

Oh and the cats love her new bigger crate. 🙂
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