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Hello all. My dogs caught their first baby antelope squirrels tonight (Antelope squirrel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) - Aero didn't eat his, but Max ate both of them, from head to tail. Max also seems to find dead things better than Aero, and also eats feces (when Aero doesn't).

Could it be because he's from East German work lines that he possesses more wild instincts? Or would it make a difference if his father was a narcotics police dog? He seems to have more traits like a husky, but it's still obvious he's pure GSD. Comments?
 

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I am not sure about the desire to chase and catch critters is an indication of anything but prey drive not redirected early enough to a toy and you find that drive in all the lines.

Last thing you would want any detection dog to do is chase animals. We corrected this at a VERY early age. FWIW in So Cal area I would worry about it because small vermin can carry lepto.

I can't talk to the independance aspect.
 

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Its not a problem in domestic dogs in which prey drive is bred out or redirected.

My GSD wouldn't hurt a fly. :)
 

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I am not sure about the desire to chase and catch critters is an indication of anything but prey drive not redirected early enough to a toy and you find that drive in all the lines.

Last thing you would want any detection dog to do is chase animals. We corrected this at a VERY early age. FWIW in So Cal area I would worry about it because small vermin can carry lepto.

I can't talk to the independance aspect.
Exactly this. My dog has extreme prey drive, but it has been re-directed onto toys from a very young age. I wouldn't allow them to chase and kill small animals; you never know what one of those little critters might have or have gotten into that might make your dog sick.

NormanF: It's still an issue. Given the chance, my GSD would happily chase down any little critter that darts through the yard and he does if I don't spot it first. Having a great recall/emergency platz/leave it is what helps, plus the re-direction onto toys from a young age.
 

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My overweight, low energy, no drive, couch warming mutt dog catches and will eat squirrels and rabbits. I'd say it has more to do with him being a *dog* than what lines he is or who his father is.
 

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My GSD has low prey drive. But he will snatch a kitten and shake it to death in a heart beat. He can't be trusted around cats, period.

My Lacy has high prey drive. He will chase anything that moves, from bugs to birds. He'll eat what he catches if I don't redirect him before he makes the kill.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am not sure about the desire to chase and catch critters is an indication of anything but prey drive not redirected early enough to a toy and you find that drive in all the lines.

Last thing you would want any detection dog to do is chase animals. We corrected this at a VERY early age. FWIW in So Cal area I would worry about it because small vermin can carry lepto.

I can't talk to the independance aspect.
What is lepto? Anything that can be covered by vaccines? I wonder if most of that stuff was corrected in Aero - he has better recall than Max, but still has a desire to chase, including cats (even though they both live with one).

The other thing that's annoying (that I don't know how to train) is how to teach Max to not eat other animals' feces.
 

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Beau has and Grim had enormous prey drive for a ball and tug. Grim to the point that he ran into a tree with a ball, knocked out his upper incisors, dropped the bloody ball with blood dripping out of his mouth, and is boucing up and down for me to throw it again.

But both dogs are/were kindly, gentle, and inquistive with small critters. (even large ones for that matter). The closest I came with Beau was a few weeks ago when we were staying at a friends house, Beau was in a pen, and a young chicken got in. I heard squaking and he was throwing it up in the air playing fetch with himself. Some damage to the chick (because they all seem to squeeze the toys) but mainly just slobbery. He lets chipmunks run in the yard right in front of him.

Cyra had less toy drive and was an absolute killer. I could control it but her desire was, in no uncertain terms, to chase, kill and eat small animals. Even birds in low flight she had caught.
 

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It makes you wonder what is going on in their heads. Is it a meal they are looking forward to? Or could it be the entire process - chase, catch, eat?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Or both? I know Aero's caught some sparrows in the past (because I doubt the cat caught them) - I found parts (beak, feet) on the floor with some blood. The cat used to catch mice and kill them after 35-45 minutes of play, but neither he nor Aero ate them (didn't have Max then). Aero has also killed 3 possums and 1 pet rabbit, but he doesn't seem to have as much of a desire to eat them as Max.

As for play drive - they both get so excited when I get home, they start playing with each other, biting the other's faces and chasing one another and all the stuff that packmates do during play time.
 

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All dogs have prey instinct. Some just have it more than others. Prey instinct is what makes them chase things that move - whether it is another animal or a frisbee or a tennis ball or a stick.
 
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