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TL;DR: Do you let your dog kill rabbits?

So for several months now I've been having rabbit issues in my small suburb backyard. The yard is very small and also fenced in. When I let my dogs out, I always go out with them, but they're unleashed. One pitch black night my GSD bursts out the door and I can immediately tell he's chasing something. It runs under the deck, starts banging stuff around and comes back out and it seems to try leaving the yard under the fence, but wasn't fast enough. Long story short, he mortally wounds a rabbit. I yell at him to make his drop it and I finish the job. Since then, I'll take him out with a leash because I'd prefer him not to kill things. The problem is, it's as if I no longer own my already tiny backyard and it just seems ridiculous at this point. Rabbits in my neighborhood are pretty rampant and I see house cats killing them on a regular basis. Should I just let him do whatever? I discovered a rabbit den when he tried digging at it. He grabbed one of the pinky bunnies and brought it into the house unharmed. I picked it up, brought it back to the den. I made sure he left the den alone and I got to watch the rabbit grow to adolescence, incident free. My dog has always had a crazy high prey drive, so I'm assuming he didn't hurt the bunny because it couldn't run. It seems as though those rabbits haven't left my yard though. They seem to keep returning and now my yard it littered with rabbit droppings that my poodle keeps trying to eat. Anyways, I'm just trying to paint a detailed picture. Those who have had to deal with this, what's your solution? It's going to be a while before I'm able to go though and "try" to rabbit proof my backyard. I have a deck and walk in shed that's against the fence, so that's going to be a tricky project.
 

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I have a lot of wildlife in my yard. I do my best to teach the dogs to leave it alone. I have two indoor pet rabbits. My dogs do not interact with them, but they see them from time to time. Obviously, I would not like them to get the idea it was OK to kill a rabbit. It seems that the rabbits have moved away from yard, since I got the second dog.

My dogs thing bunny poo treats are the best.
 

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Had a TON of rabbits on my old property. It was a non-working farm on 20acres. Partially my fault since I 'attempted' to turn a barn stall into a rabbit pen....yeahhhhh.....the two rabbits got out and that spring I had every color combination of rabbits running amuck all over the property. It was a GSD (or any dog's) dream come true....

Given it's a different scenario, natural predators and my dogs seemed to run them off/pick them off. None of my dogs ever killed one (that I'm aware of) but the rabbits quickly learned to move elsewhere. It only took a few months. They're not dumb enough to stay where they know their offspring are threatened.

I'd be very surprised if the problem didn't fix itself...and quite frankly, I'd let your dog do what it wants (in your yard) to expedite the process. But that's just me. I'm an animal lover, too. And hate seeing any living creature harmed...but...it's your yard and your dog can fix that issue quicker and cheaper than you prob could!!

Best of luck!!
 

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As much as my girlfriend would hate it, I would let him catch a rabbit in our yard. Wouldn't allow him to eat it, though, as a precaution of it possibly being ill (although I wouldn't mind feeding him some rabbit as part of his raw diet, if I could find some decently priced).
But most rabbits don't dare to enter our yard once he came about. Only a few, as they are well aware of the tiny hole at the bottom of part of the fence. The neighboring houses seem to get a lot more bunnies on their yards. Funny thing is, he'll just chase them away and follow parallel along behind the fence...a fence that he and I both know he can easilly jump. He's been very close to grabbing rabbits, but they always have a huge head start to run to the passage of safety.

Really though, it just comes down to whether or not you want your dog to. Just be sure to let him know hunting while leashed is a no-go (assuming this is a companion dog. I don't know how people train those search dogs), and that the recall is solid enough to call him back from the hunt.
 

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Your smarter wild friends are smart enough to stay away from your yard. The ones that aren't well, Darwin at its best.
Personally I wold not keep my dog on leash in my own fenced yard and let him do whatever. Like a well-trained hunting dog, he should know know when it is ok to go after a rabbit and when not. It is good meat. A GSD from the past ate an entire litter of newborn bush rabbits. My hubby's reply: they will learn to have their babies under the blackberry bushes from now on.
 

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Rabbits can carry a disease that is not good for dogs(I do not remember the name if it). My sisters St Bernard that ate a rabbit died. He got really sick and they didn't know what was the issue, the vet kept going back to the rabbit.

So based on this I would not allow mine to eat wild rabbit.
 

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We have wild rabbits that will come into our yard and eat my garden. Rosko seems to be able to know that they're out there long before he leaves the wood patio. He'll sometimes take 2 steps out the door then it's full sprint trying to catch a rabbit. This usually happens at 3AM when I really don't want to yell Rosko come. So I will let him chase long enough for the rabbit to bring him back up my way then I'll call him off. If it's day time I'll just call him back. My fear with letting him eat the rabbit is parasites/worms. Or other diseases. He is on interceptor for heartworm ringworm, etc... But I figured best to play it safe. I do like to use it as a recall tool.
 

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Rabbits can carry a disease that is not good for dogs(I do not remember the name if it). My sisters St Bernard that ate a rabbit died. He got really sick and they didn't know what was the issue, the vet kept going back to the rabbit.

So based on this I would not allow mine to eat wild rabbit.
I know leptospirosis can be transmitted through rabbit excrement. My dog is vaccinated for that one because rabbits are rampant in my city.

They seem to stay out of our backyard because of the dog, but you can buy repellents. My neighbor uses one to keep the rabbits from eating her garden.
 

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I don't allow my dogs to kill animals. They can poke, prod, nuzzle, lick, play, etc., but violence toward other animals is not tolerated. Teach leave it, off, no, whatever command you use if you don't want him to kill and you don't want to leash him.
 

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Rabbits can carry a disease that is not good for dogs(I do not remember the name if it). My sisters St Bernard that ate a rabbit died. He got really sick and they didn't know what was the issue, the vet kept going back to the rabbit.

So based on this I would not allow mine to eat wild rabbit.
Tuleremia, I believe (sp?). Characterized by white spots on the liver of the rabbit.
 

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.....They're not dumb enough to stay where they know their offspring are threatened......[/QUOTE said:
I'm glad you have smart rabbits, I've only encountered really dumb ones. They dig their dens in the same places that the dogs have raided in the past, they hang out in our half acre only to be flushed and nearly killed, Orick will do it one day, he's at least as fast as they are, often he's gaining on them when they get under the fence... Just to name a few of the really dumb things I've seen rabbits do in a yard commanded by prey-driven dogs. I had one dog swallow two babies whole because she knew I'd take them away from her... I want to rabbit-proof the fence, but right now the cost is over what I can afford. Maybe start doing it gradually...

Susan
 
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