Help With New Trick


Experienced Member

After watching Evie stalk our rabbit and guinea pig at every free moment she has, I though it'd be really cool to add 'stalking' or 'being sneaky' to her list of tricks.... but uh, where do i start?

Do I start by rewarding her when she stalks the rabbit? (not a behaviour that i really want to reinforce) and then continue by adding a verbal or physical cue to it?

Thanks in advance


Experienced Member
Our one year old BC does "closer"

Personally I'd try and get her to stalk another object to avoid confusion later O_o

when we throw the ball sometime she misses and we have to help her find it
if we are too close she doesnt rush to pick it up so we encourage her to get "closer " to it slowly by pointing to a spot a little ahead of where she's at and make her sneak up on the ball.
then we kick it so she will run and grab it.

can't say we really taught her rather than shaped the behaviour.
wished we named it "be sneaky" though ... thats cute


Honored Member
Don't make mistake i did,:( don't end up with a dog you can NOT call off chasing's a pain, let me tell you! Prior to encouraging, or rewarding your dog for going after prey,
DO read this:

If *i* had a small animal to work with teaching Buddy to IGNORE the small animal, wowza, would i ever start to work on getting Buddy to ignore the small animal.
There are a bazillion OTHER cues you can work on with Evie, you can make sure her recall is sharp like a razor, that Evie will return to you, from far away,
from around distractions,
lots of cues to work on with a young dog.

Praising or encouraging your young dog to stalk prey, might not be your best move. i'm just sayin.
In the meantime, i'd carefully read Running Dog's advice on how to desensitize your Evie to be able to ignore your pet rabbit and pet guinea pig.

YOU have a marvelous opportunity,
to train your dog to ignore small creatures............wish i did.


Honored Member
Evie is a border collie.
Most border collies will "be sneaky", and stalk and chase and herd up animals
without you teaching her to.

I gave my border collie some laundry baskets to herd. He loves them. He herds his laundry baskets every day of his life, for years. When the baskets get too raggedy, i get him some fresh ones.

Even though we never ever ever trained any of this,
He sneaks up on his baskets, head butts it all over the house,
stalks it, piles them all together,
and so on. for hours.
You might be able to find some "sheep substitute" for your dog, too, maybe. If you notice Evie head-butting or stalking some type of item, get a few of those items,
and let Evie have a blast "herding" those items.

You can train "be sneaky" as a cue, for Evie's items that Evie naturally wants to herd.

and DO work on training Evie to be calm next to your bunny and guinea pig.


Honored Member
If you want any help teaching Evie to ignore your bunny and guinea pig,
let us know.
You want to be able to have Evie be calm right next to your bunny and guinea pig, and YES, you CAN do this.


Experienced Member
Evie will be calm around the bunny while we're around. She will just sit and watch them. I can even have her off leash while my sister has the bunny out of the cage in her lap and she will just sit and watch like a good puppy... but her hearding instincts are well and truly there.

Evie accidently got into my sisters walk in guinea pig cage and went straight to guinea pig hunting, but i yelled her name and 'no' and she stopped dead.... however..... she LOVES rounding up my horses. When i'm with her at the horses, she will just run around keeping a nice distance from them, but while i'm riding, she insists on running tight circles around us and every so often snapping at my horses nose :unsure:

I can tell her to sit and 'wait' (stay) while I'm riding, but currently she can only stay for like 30 seconds at a time before she must move again.

I suppose, considering all of this, that I have the right tools available to me to teach her not to chase prey, guess it's just a matter of commitment from my side.


Honored Member
Reading what most people with high prey drive dogs say on DTA, several of us seem to have lost control of the prey drive when our dogs were around 1 year old. It is worth working on as your dog can have so much more freedom. Zac will be calm and even friendly with a cat being held or in a carrier once it is on the ground he switches into terminator mode.

For pet guinea pigs and rabbits I'd check out the links in this thread about chasing cats.

I don't think that stalking should be too hard to capture from other stimuli - my sister's lab/collie has started stalking Zac while Zac is trying to fetch me his ball. It is such a hard wired behaviour that sooner or later you are going to see a context where you can safely capture it.


Honored Member
whew, Evie, it sounds like your dog is better than my dog! whew! far. And it sounds like you are doing a lot of things right, to keep it that way.

Like that is great you stopped your dog from getting a guinea pig!!! :D YAY!! I used to be able to do that, too. I can't now.:(
Runningdog and i once had an interesting conversation, about both us sorta think that there might be "lines crossed" for dogs with prey drive-------that once "crossed"-------it's harder to UNcross those lines. :(
What i mean is, it seems that sometimes, IF or when a dog ever DOES chase a prey on his own, he has now "crossed" that line........if and when a dog ever does catch a prey, that might be one more "line" that the dog has now "crossed"............ and so on.
So it is most wonderful, that you did not allow your Evie to get that guinea pig:D . You are doing better than i did, Evie!!

and that is awesome, that you are working on helping Evie be calm around the guinea pig and bunny, yay!! And so far, so good! YAY!!

//"but while i'm riding, she insists on running tight circles around us and every so often snapping at my horses nose :unsure:"//
That worried me a lil bit, i hope Evie never causes your horse to rear up, etc.:eek: It's too bad Evie only does this for your horse,
otherwise, you could maybe work with Evie to stop doing it while other ppl rode by.

Will Evie do this if other ppl ride your horse? (i wonder if Evie gets too excited cuz of that particular horse, or cuz you are on the horse?)
I hope someone comes by with good ideas of how stop Evie doing THAT before your horse might ever rear up, etc. With you ON the horse, it seems it could limit your ability to train the dog..(?)

This might not be same thing, but, my border collie used to do this when he got wayyyyyyy too excited----leap up and make an air-snap to a face----- not to horses, since he was never around horses,
but he did this once or twice to humans:eek: ---when he was way overly excited. He just outgrew it, as he matured a bit, and got more used to being around humans, and when i got better at keeping him calm at times he should be calm.

and yeah, i hope you can capture that stalking behavior being triggered by an OBJECT, or item, cuz it would make a cute and unique trick, "be sneaky":ROFLMAO: Or maybe someone who knows herding training can come by and give some advice, if clicking that sneaky-stalk, could give YOU control over it, (?)i don't know...

and probably, if i did NOT have a dog i can no longer call of prey,:(
i would not even worry about you possibly ending up with a dog you can no longer call off of a chase, either. so sorry if i do worry about someone else ending up with a dog like mine,:rolleyes: but, better safe than sorry, cuz Rdog is right,
a dog who CAN be called off prey, gets way more freedoms.