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I have a dog with what I would describe as pretty high prey drive (but no ball/fetch drive). When we see something small and furry, she becomes very fixated on it - and can't be distracted or re-directed with treats. She does not chase people running or on bicycles or anything like that, but she can at times get a little prey-driv-ish towards other dogs (especially small dogs). Has anyone ever had this problem?
 

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She is middle-aged. I've had her for several years now.
When she gets fixated, it is usually in response to another dog that is running. She gets where what she really wants to do is chase the other dog. If she can't (because she is restrained by a leash, or if she sees another dog running from behind a barrier) she goes into a high-pitched bark. She doesn't take treats when she's in this state.
 

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but like rawfedogs said what is her breed? that has a lot to do with prey drive
 

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She is middle-aged. I've had her for several years now.
Has she done this all her life or is this a new behavior?

She gets where what she really wants to do is chase the other dog.
Wants to chase the other dog to hurt it or play with it and how do you know?

If she can't (because she is restrained by a leash, or if she sees another dog running from behind a barrier) she goes into a high-pitched bark. She doesn't take treats when she's in this state.
You shouldn't be giving treats when in this state. That is rewarding a behavior you want to stop. You should be rewarding before she begins the behavior and stopping the treats immediately when she begins it. You want treats to go away when she is behaving inappropriately.

I still need some questions answered before I can give any recommendations. I'm not sure this is prey drive. It may be normal play drive or aggression or protection. So far I haven't seen anything in your post to indicate it's anything more than wanting to play with the other dog.

I still don't have a good description of "fixated on" nor the breed.
 

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Thanks for the replies.

It is not a new behavior. She gets very excited about squirrels and rabbits and cats. She is a mix, but a herding type.

She plays "chase" with other big dogs she knows well. She sometimes has to be corrected for getting nippy with their back/tails, but doesn't go on the attack. However, I haven't let her do this with little dogs. A relative brought her baby yorkie over (not my idea), and started to set him down with her in the room. She didn't bark or growl, but as soon as she saw him she lunged. I really can't say for sure what she would do if unsupervised. She has such a high chase instinct that she can get into a super-aroused state fairly easily.
 

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She is a mix, but a herding type.

She plays "chase" with other big dogs she knows well. She sometimes has to be corrected for getting nippy with their back/tails, but doesn't go on the attack. However, I haven't let her do this with little dogs.
As a disclaimer, I have not seen this dog and can only go by your words. When I read posts describing behaviors, I watch a little movie in my mind that is created by your words. If my movie is off, so will be my analysis.

From your description she sounds like a normal high drive herding dog. I think she is herding or trying to herd the other dogs. A good herding dog will try to herd anything that moves.

Nipping is a normal part of herding. I wouldn't be concerned with this behavior and I don't think you will ever be able to stop it. I wouldn't worry about her around small dogs either. I think all she is going to do is try to herd them.

Herding dogs are also notorious car chasers. Whenever you see a herding dog chasing a car, it is actually trying to herd it. Many of them will even nip at the tires of a moving car. When I was a child we had an english shepherd and that dog chased cars all the time. To keep him from getting run over, we gave him to a farmer who later said that dog made the best herding dog he ever had. He could just signal the dog to go get the cows and he would go into the pasture, find the cows and bring them all back up. No one had to go with him or direct him.

I really can't say for sure what she would do if unsupervised. She has such a high chase instinct that she can get into a super-aroused state fairly easily.
She has a high herding instinct not a chase instinct. Most herding dogs can also be a nuisance to thier owners and other people. :smile:
 

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I have that same problem with my two year old, 25 lbs corgi/heeler possibly daschund mix, Milo. He used to be really bad about passing cars, he'd always try to go after him. With lots of consistency and training he's gotten over that for the most part. Now he just looks a them longingly but doesn't really go after them.

The problem lies with him and my cat. My cat is 13, and declawed, so she has no real means of defending herself. Milo will fixate on her and usually crouches down and stares at her, sometimes he'll even start shaking. Then if he decides to go for her, he'll either creep up to her really slowly, notice we're watching and sprint away; or else he darts up to her and acts like he's going to nip at her face, notices we're watching, and sprints away. Usually if we catch him going for her we'll tell him "leave it" which always works. But I'm mostly concerned about what he'd do if he was left unattended with the cat in the open house.

When we first got him from the rescue, they tried him with a kitten and he was like "This kitten belongs in my mouth" opened up his mouth, and the rescue lady who wasn't paying attention practically put the entire kitten in his mouth before I pulled him away and the rescue lady was like "Oh hey now!" So you can see why I'm a little concerned about what he'd do if he actually got a chance alone with her.

Any advice on that one?
 

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But I'm mostly concerned about what he'd do if he was left unattended with the cat in the open house.
My guess is he won't do anything more than he does now. My 2 Danes love harrassing the 2 cats. Usually the cats can get away from them pretty easily. However every once in a while, a dog will get a cat cornered. When that happens the dog will walk up to the cat, touch him with his nose then let him go. It's like he is saying "gotcha this time" :smile:

Often the dogs will charge a cat just to watch them run, I think. :Smile:

They are all alone in the house together often. I've never seen any blood on the carpet or walls anytime except the time the cats killed a rabbit inside. :smile:

You're going to have to judge for yourself about your dog and cat depending on the behavior you observe.
 

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My guess is he won't do anything more than he does now. My 2 Danes love harrassing the 2 cats. Usually the cats can get away from them pretty easily. However every once in a while, a dog will get a cat cornered. When that happens the dog will walk up to the cat, touch him with his nose then let him go. It's like he is saying "gotcha this time" :smile:

Often the dogs will charge a cat just to watch them run, I think. :Smile:

They are all alone in the house together often. I've never seen any blood on the carpet or walls anytime except the time the cats killed a rabbit inside. :smile:

You're going to have to judge for yourself about your dog and cat depending on the behavior you observe.
Let's liven things up again with a wee bit of friendly disagreement. :eek:)

You cannot compare your Danes with Rann’s dog, Raw; I don't think you have too much to worry about with your Danes, either. But all 3 breeds Rann mentioned - Corgi/Heeler/Dachshund – are extremely high prey drive.

It’s possible that the activity will never escalate. But the fact that Rann's dog becomes “fixated” on the cat should send up warning flags. If it were my cat (and my dog), I wouldn't leave it to chance...

Unfortunately, it's often a natural progression for the chasing/herding behavior of otherwise “sweet dogs” to turn more serious - especially when it comes to small "prey" animals such as cats, rabbits, squirrels etc.

Over the years, we’ve seen this happen many times, with many dogs. And at the risk of sounding melodramatic, once the dog has a “taste for blood”, it’s a very hard behavior to overcome ...

A typical example is that of a friend’s Standard Poodle. He was a sweet, mild-mannered dog who happened to enjoy chasing squirrels. We often heard that, “He would never actually hurt one; he's just playing.” ... that was until one day the dog finally managed to corner a squirrel. With no recourse, the squirrel attacked, and was quickly dispatched. After that, this sweet Poodle became an expert squirrel killer.

Without having all the details, from what I've read, I would consider supervising some ongoing bonding between the dog and cat. This is one of those (rare) instances where I would use treats ... lots of treats!

I’d go into more details, but I think you get the idea. And I’ve already given Raw enough here to tear apart. :eek:)

Enjoy and good luck!
 

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Let's liven things up again with a wee bit of friendly disagreement. :eek:)
Hehe, you know I am not one to shy away from a friendly disagreement. However, in your post there is not a lot I found to disagree with. After a lot of study, I did find some minor points. :smile:

You cannot compare your Danes with Rann’s dog, Raw; I don't think you have too much to worry about with your Danes, either. But all 3 breeds Rann mentioned - Corgi/Heeler/Dachshund – are extremely high prey drive.
You could be right about that.

It’s possible that the activity will never escalate. But the fact that Rann's dog becomes “fixated” on the cat should send up warning flags. If it were my cat (and my dog), I wouldn't leave it to chance...
It's always possible but if the dog and cat have lived together a good amount of time, not very likely. I suspect that if the dog really wanted to kill the cat, the cat would already be dead.

Unfortunately, it's often a natural progression for the chasing/herding behavior of otherwise “sweet dogs” to turn more serious - especially when it comes to small "prey" animals such as cats, rabbits, squirrels etc.
My dogs chase, catch, kill, and eat rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals. They also chase and sometimes catch cats but never hurt them at all. What they will do, if they see a cat eating a freshly killed prey, they will chase the cat off and eat it themselves.

Sometimes the cats chase the dogs and do a lot more damage to the dogs than the dogs do to the cats. I have seen my dogs with bloody legs from being ambushed by a cat. :smile:

Over the years, we’ve seen this happen many times, with many dogs. And at the risk of sounding melodramatic, once the dog has a “taste for blood”, it’s a very hard behavior to overcome ...
I don't buy the "taste for blood" myth for a second. My dogs eat a raw diet, catch and eat their own wildlife pretty regularly and never try to hurt the cats and are not aggressive with cats, dogs, or humans. Often I will catch a dog and cat lying together even to the point of touching while both sleep.

After that, this sweet Poodle became an expert squirrel killer.
I suspect he just learned to catch the squirrels. Once he learned how, he could do it more regularly. I used to have two goldens when we lived in the suburbs. The squirrels in our back yard were the safest ones in the neighborhood because those two never learned how to catch them although they chased them all the time. If they came upon a road kill squirrel and could get to it before I could stop them, they would eat it.

Without having all the details, from what I've read, I would consider supervising some ongoing bonding between the dog and cat. This is one of those (rare) instances where I would use treats ... lots of treats!
I think just them hanging out together without human inteferrence is the best way to go.

I’d go into more details, but I think you get the idea. And I’ve already given Raw enough here to tear apart. :eek:)
Who? Me?? :smile:
 

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I don't buy the "taste for blood" myth for a second.QUOTE]

No problem. You're not buying. I'm not selling.

The "taste for blood" was purposely put in quotations marks. Of course, nobody is suggesting that the dog will turn into Cujo. And I can't speak for you, only my personal experience and observation over 3o+ years of dealing with dogs... that sometimes (and I'd like to say "quite often", but I'd be guessing there as to the actual frequency) when a dog has learned to kill it's "moving squeakie toy", killing can become a natural part of "the game".

:wink: And then, as I'm certain you'll agree, only Cesar Millan would be able to fix the problem. :wink:


I suspect he just learned to catch the squirrels. Once he learned how, he could do it more regularly. QUOTE]

Sorry ... knowing our friends , their dog, and the entire story, your suspicions are incorrect (again).


I think just them hanging out together without human inteferrence is the best way to go. QUOTE]

If it weren't my cat, and I didn't give a darn, and especially if my dog was on a raw food diet, I'd let them "just hang out, too". :eek:

fin

Now you can stick it to me, Raw, even tho' you're wrong, in advance. :biggrin:
 

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My thoughts! My 2 Bull terriers who have a high prey drive are regularly left alone with my 2 cats, sometimes I come home and my boy kitty is laying with my new rescue who is by far more aggressive with the cats, and sometimes he will have new scratches on his nose where my older female(13) has let her presence be known that she doesn't want anything to do with him. I have not clipped my cats nails for this reason, but I've never come home and found cat hair any where either, they always have some place high to go to if they have to.
 

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I thought I'd add my two cents to this discussion. I had a beautiful chocolate labrador who would chase down, catch, kill baby rabbits and squirrels and leave them for me to find. And, besides that we had a maltese and always had a cat or two in the house at the same time and she pretty much left them all alone. So, I don't agree that once they taste blood they will always want it.

At this time, I have a standard labradoodle rescue (I've had her one year and she's 4 yrs. old) who will chase after squirrels and any one of my three cats. But she leaves my other labradoodle (a mini) alone. The kitten will zip and run away then come back and plop down by the dog's face while the two bigger cats (16 and 20 lbs respectively) will either stand their ground (they are front declawed) and they touch noses and the dog will go lay down or they will run away. The cats don't hiss at her because they know she doesn't mean it. NEVER has she hurt them. I figure if they were going to be hurt they would have been hurt by now during the time when I work. But the two larger cats have learned to slink by her if they don't want to be chased. It is fun to watch too!
 

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My thoughts! My 2 Bull terriers who have a high prey drive are regularly left alone with my 2 cats, sometimes I come home and my boy kitty is laying with my new rescue who is by far more aggressive with the cats, and sometimes he will have new scratches on his nose where my older female(13) has let her presence be known that she doesn't want anything to do with him. I have not clipped my cats nails for this reason, but I've never come home and found cat hair any where either, they always have some place high to go to if they have to.
This'll be last comments on this post before I'm barraged by all the outraged dog owners whose dogs, "would never ... "yada, yada, yada". :rolleyes:

You and ChattyCathy are absolutely right. I'm sure your dogs are exactly as described (really!). And we all know high prey drive dogs who get along quite nicely with other family pets. We also know of high prey drive dogs who will chase, but not harm other animals. I've owned 6 such dogs myself, but...

Aside from the fact the cat in question has been "declawed so she has no real means of defending herself". , the point which we seem to be overlooking is:

"Milo will fixate on her." Assuming the word "fixate" was used correctly and accurately ("to focus or concentrate one's gaze or attention intently or obsessively"), I think it's safe to say that generally speaking ...

When a high prey drive dog "fixates" on another animal, it is either wanting to act, preparing to act, or looking for an excuse to act.

The actual "action" then depends largely on the nature and temperament of the dog.

And I hesitate to bring up this related "hot" topic, but we've all heard and read tragic stories of dogs, most of whom are "high prey drive", who have supposedly been "model citizens" and wonderful family pets all of their lives, and then ... "snap". Certainly one can't believe that all of these stories are fabrications? (And, for the record: I personally think that breed-specific bans are worse than useless.)

I'm done. :smile:
 

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This is true, but since he's mainly herding dog and only possibly part hunting dog, is it possible he's just trying to herd the cat?

The way he slinks up to her seems to be more a herding behavior than a hunting one, but I've never seen a daschund hunt before so I guess I don't know for sure.
 

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And I can't speak for you, only my personal experience and observation over 3o+ years of dealing with dogs... that sometimes (and I'd like to say "quite often", but I'd be guessing there as to the actual frequency) when a dog has learned to kill it's "moving squeakie toy", killing can become a natural part of "the game".
Speaking from my 15 years as a professional dog trainer and working with thousands of dogs, hundreds of problem dogs, I would say what you say would probably be correct with the neighborhood squirrels and other wild critters but it would be very rare with the house cat he lives with.

Sorry ... knowing our friends , their dog, and the entire story, your suspicions are incorrect (again).
Thats not an answer that can be replied to, therefor not an answer. A non-answer so to speak. :smile:

If it weren't my cat, and I didn't give a darn, and especially if my dog was on a raw food diet, I'd let them "just hang out, too".
If you are dog savy enough to know what to look for, there wouldn't be a problem. Thats what people used to pay me big bucks for. :smile:

Now you can stick it to me, Raw, even tho' you're wrong, in advance.
Hehe, you are really pretty easy. :smile:
 

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OK. Hang me by my toes. I have to say I agree w/all of you including me (ha, ha). :biggrin: From my humble inexperience I have the following to say...

I do believe, even though a dog may be domesticated and trained there may be one in every "bunch" that may not be completely "right." And, therefore, may have a harder time w/their "prey" drive. I also agree that w/the right training, these actions should be able to be controlled. I believe you said the dog was middle aged. And because the dog is older, it may take longer to train.

I baby sat a Shih-poo for several months who just went crazy with cats and wouldn't leave them alone. (He was about 2/3 yrs. old.) At the time I had two cats. I just had to be constantly consistent w/him and say Leave it! or No! all the time until he got it. I have to say he's much better now and rarely runs after the cats. My son adopted this dog and when he comes to visit he pretty much leaves my now three cats alone.

I also think that when your dog becomes fixated on an animal is the time to divert her attention to something else that is "fun" for her. But, I believe, (IMO) consistency is the way to go with whatever you choose to do. And, it will take awhile if you do these things. You'll need to be patient w/her as it won't happen overnight. (It took awhile w/the Shih-poo above too.)

LL Blue: And, because of the high prey drive, you may just have to watch her around small animals until she gets that it isn't ok for her to attack them.
 

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I have a dog with what I would describe as pretty high prey drive (but no ball/fetch drive). When we see something small and furry, she becomes very fixated on it - and can't be distracted or re-directed with treats. She does not chase people running or on bicycles or anything like that, but she can at times get a little prey-driv-ish towards other dogs (especially small dogs). Has anyone ever had this problem?
My 2 cents about this subject is, find a good training facility that will teach you and your dog agility and other fun stuff to keep her busy. She is a working breed that just requires more activities. I have a feeling that if you can put cues to her actions and make them happen on command, a lot will change in your house. Good luck with your dog.
 
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