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Our (almost) 8 month old has got a serious case of the critters. We go hiking/walking a lot and if he is on leash, he really freaks and pulls when he sees a rabbit. If he's off leash, he'll chase after rabbits and lizards if given the chance. How can we train so that he'll stick by us/ not pull on leash, even when presented with a fun game of critter chasing?
 

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Lou Castle has an ecollar technique for crittering that use low stim methods that worked very well for me with a dog who had a severe problem with chasing game. I am not sure what x11 means "take the dog out of the dog" but it is not rough at all. Very low stim its all about the timing. You may be able to fix with a prong but the deal is TIMING. You have to read the dog and correct at the moment he notices the critter, not when the chase begins.

I think 8 months is a tough age for testing the limits too.
 

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if the dog is 8mo and has serious critter chasing issues, to reverse that now after it has been allowed to develop that far and for this long is going to, imo, take some serious re-wiring of the dog's brain;

ecollar away.
 

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Jaeger grew out of much of that once he got closer to a year old. Tonight he was sitting by me as I looked out at the storm brewing up, a bunny ran past, and he just watched it and looked up at me as if to say "Nice bunny!" He didn't even twitch. Oh, he still likes to scare the squirrels early in the morning, but it's just a big romp, not a focused chase.
 

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socialize/training. when my dog was a pup we walked
in the woods a lot. i walked him through flocks of birds,
we walked near horses, i took him to stables, i had play
dates with other dogs and people, had lots of visitors,
mailman petted him daily, etc. i put him in all kinds of situations
to train and socialize.
 

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you never break a dog. you train and socialize. you never take the
dog out of the dog. you train and socialize the dog and the dog
that's in the dog and that's a very nice process.

you will have to take the dog out of the dog and thats not a nice process.
 

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I learned my lesson the hard way with Cyra, (Grim was an adult when I got him) and did not adequately socialize her to massive exposures to other critters as a young puppy and she developed an outrageous drive to chase game by the time she was 6 months old. With Beau we were in pens with goats and chickens and in the woods by 12 weeks old learning to ignore these things and learning that I always had a ball or a tug toy and food, all of which were way more fun.

But now this pup is 8 months old which also puts him at an age where he is testing limits. No offlead for this one right now. It depends on how bad it is. The ecollar technique I mentioned is very very gentle on the dog...very low stim. Some dogs also have higher innate drives to chase than others I think.
 

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I would definitely check out Lou Castle's crittering protocol. I am using his methods for other things and it has helped with a lot of issues we were having.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
He just watches birds now and doesn't seem to have any desire to really go crazy at them when they are in the yard, but the bunnies are pretty new - they had not been in the yard previously - just on walks and he had been alerting to them, but not attempting to chase. We have been making him sit (even though he freaks and pull) when we are out walking on a lead or we walk the other way if it's possible. We walk around our neighborhood daily (where there are bunnies, lizards, horses, other dogs, etc) and go hiking once a week so he's been exposed to these critters but it seems like he just started to notice them.

I have noticed overall though that he's getting a LOT more independent. I do hope it grows out of it after some more exposure/ maturity. It's sure a lot easier to hike off lead than with the leash, but I don't want to lose him in the desert either.

Does Lou Castle's protocol use the ecollar? I am a little nervous about that as I don't know how to use it and I don't think my trainer uses them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
socialize/training. when my dog was a pup we walked
in the woods a lot. i walked him through flocks of birds,
we walked near horses, i took him to stables, i had play
dates with other dogs and people, had lots of visitors,
mailman petted him daily, etc. i put him in all kinds of situations
to train and socialize.
I understand socializing, and we do encounter these critters often, but how exactly do you suggest I train him to not chase them? I mentioned above that we have him sit or we walk the other direction, is the a good way to do it? Any other suggestions?
 

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Lou does use the ecollar - at very low stim - In my case my dog was to be an offlead search and rescue dog and chasing game could spell her death. But there may be other solutions first. I hope you get some good advice on that.

I know my current pup got a lot more independant around that age and pushed all kinds of buttons and is really settling down nicely. When he started developing selective deafness he had to earn his time offlead again.
 

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You have to teach them impulse control from an early age on. Waits and stays and most importantly "Leave It". This is IMHO more intelligent than e-shocking them into compliance.
WD has chased deer and what not, but I can now stop him with "Leave It" in mid-chase. When he sees a squirrel, he'll get excited but won't chase it in my presence and a reminder.
 

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i agree that if its already a learned behavior and wired in with high prey drive the best solution is an E-Collar. if used right, it can be the best solution. but remember that it has to be used anywhere the dog is loose and is doing it, not just in your yard etc. E-Collars have their place and can save your dog from getting hit by a car chasing something or having a run in with a nasty animal such as a porcupine etc.
 

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So you don't have to look it up, here is the crittering protocol that has been mentioned. It uses the Ecollar stim, at the level that the dog can first perceive, for all of the basic work.

Http://www.loucastle.com/crittering
 

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Discussion Starter #16
URGENT! Please help if you have any solution for this. I will be looking into E Collar, but until I can find and be trained with that, any suggestions are welcome!

Thanks, Lou. I think we may have to go this route. I had been practicing "Leave it" with him (he's very good and will leave his balls, treats, bugs, lizards, grasshoppers, etc.) and if on leash, and we spot the bunnies first, he's been better about trying to lunge towards them. He's mostly been alerting to birds but not going after them. But today was a very bad day.

Backstory: Last week we found out there was a family of baby quail in our back yard. A mom and about 20 babies. I'd do a check of the yard to make sure they were gone before I let him out, but one day I missed them. He picked off a baby. I was able to get him to drop it and come inside and the baby was still alive and returned to it's mother.

Today: I checked the yard, but since the last pick I hadn't seen them around. Well, they were hiding behind the hot tub and as soon as I let Fleury out to pee, he was off light lightening. I heard squawking and thought "Oh no, he has a baby" but he picked off the mom...It took a lot longer for him to drop her and leave her alone and come inside, but eventually he did (with lots of commands and shaking the treat bag). She was definitely flustered and laid in our yard for some time before moving to the back yard and some shade. I'm still waiting for her to leave the yard so I can let the dog out. I'm just glad he didn't kill her because then the babies will never leave the yard/ survive.
 

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why didn't you go to the dog and make make him let go of the rabbit
instead of calling him repeatedly? take your dog out on a leash. i spend
a lot of time in the woods with my dog. he was always leashed untill
he learned "no", "stop" and "come". to stop him from chasing birds
i use walk through flocks of geese and ducks in the woods. i would walk
slowly through the birds making my dog heel. sometimes i would feed
the birds because they would come close to you. i would put my dog
through some of his paces, "sit", "stay", "down". with time and training
he showed no interest in the birds. i also took him to this farm where
there was lots of chickens walking around so we could train.

URGENT! Please help if you have any solution for this. I will be looking into E Collar, but until I can find and be trained with that, any suggestions are welcome!

Thanks, Lou. I think we may have to go this route. I had been practicing "Leave it" with him (he's very good and will leave his balls, treats, bugs, lizards, grasshoppers, etc.) and if on leash, and we spot the bunnies first, he's been better about trying to lunge towards them. He's mostly been alerting to birds but not going after them. But today was a very bad day.

Backstory: Last week we found out there was a family of baby quail in our back yard. A mom and about 20 babies. I'd do a check of the yard to make sure they were gone before I let him out, but one day I missed them. He picked off a baby. I was able to get him to drop it and come inside and the baby was still alive and returned to it's mother.

Today: I checked the yard, but since the last pick I hadn't seen them around. Well, they were hiding behind the hot tub and as soon as I let Fleury out to pee, he was off light lightening.

>>>>> I heard squawking and thought "Oh no, he has a baby" but he picked off the mom...It took a lot longer for him to drop her and leave her alone and come inside, but eventually he did (with lots of commands and shaking the treat bag).<<<<<

She was definitely flustered and laid in our yard for some time before moving to the back yard and some shade. I'm still waiting for her to leave the yard so I can let the dog out. I'm just glad he didn't kill her because then the babies will never leave the yard/ survive.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
why didn't you go to the dog and make make him let go of the rabbit
instead of calling him repeatedly? take your dog out on a leash. i spend
a lot of time in the woods with my dog. he was always leashed untill
he learned "no", "stop" and "come". to stop him from chasing birds
i use walk through flocks of geese and ducks in the woods. i would walk
slowly through the birds making my dog heel. sometimes i would feed
the birds because they would come close to you. i would put my dog
through some of his paces, "sit", "stay", "down". with time and training
he showed no interest in the birds. i also took him to this farm where
there was lots of chickens walking around so we could train.
I have found that if I go and walk towards him, even calmly, he thinks that whatever he has has even greater value and runs away starting a game of chase. If I tell him to drop it, leave it and come and offer a treat (or in this case, shake the bag like a mad woman) that he tends to listen to that better. And there's no way in heck that if he started running with it, that I was ever going to catch up and physically remove it from him.

And how can I possibly exercise him in our yard on leash? This didn't happen in the woods, it happened on our lawn. When we go hiking, he gets leashed. A walk, leashed. But in our yard? I'm doing the best I can, but it's pushing 100 degrees here now (and for the next few months). I can't really walk him in that heat to get out his energy, but a bit of time outside playing in the hose or pool can do it and I don't worry about him overheating.

I will see if there are birds at any of the parks that dogs can go to so I can start to train him, but we're in the desert so bird flocks are pretty limited and I don't know of any farms with chickens. He's been pretty good on leash and on walks leaving birds alone. The biggest issue are the ones in the yard.

I'm not trying to dismiss your advice, but I have a hyper puppy, a back yard full of birds and it's too hot to go anywhere else outside. I've had a bad day and I'm cranky.
 

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go out with him leashed and walk around the yard to chase away
birds, cats, rabbits, etc. once you know the yard is clear you can
unleash him. work on recall.

I have found that if I go and walk towards him, even calmly, he thinks that whatever he has has even greater value and runs away starting a game of chase. If I tell him to drop it, leave it and come and offer a treat (or in this case, shake the bag like a mad woman) that he tends to listen to that better. And there's no way in heck that if he started running with it, that I was ever going to catch up and physically remove it from him.

>>>>> And how can I possibly exercise him in our yard on leash? <<<<

This didn't happen in the woods, it happened on our lawn. When we go hiking, he gets leashed. A walk, leashed. But in our yard? I'm doing the best I can, but it's pushing 100 degrees here now (and for the next few months). I can't really walk him in that heat to get out his energy, but a bit of time outside playing in the hose or pool can do it and I don't worry about him overheating.

I will see if there are birds at any of the parks that dogs can go to so I can start to train him, but we're in the desert so bird flocks are pretty limited and I don't know of any farms with chickens. He's been pretty good on leash and on walks leaving birds alone. The biggest issue are the ones in the yard.

I'm not trying to dismiss your advice, but I have a hyper puppy, a back yard full of birds and it's too hot to go anywhere else outside. I've had a bad day and I'm cranky.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Will try that once I get the mama quail to leave the yard, not sure if she's injured or not but they don't fly that well anyway, so she may just be building up some energy. I'm going out to try and find their nest to see if that's in our yard or over the wall. I'm hoping over the wall so there's at least some chance of getting them to not be in our yard. None of my neighbors have dogs and we're surrounded on three sides by nothing - why did these stupid birds pick my yard?! Ugh. Still cranky.
 
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