My dog killed a bunny...

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tigerlily46514, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    My dog Buddy and me, were out in the yard last nite, and Buddy was nosing among our wall of pine trees, no growling, no warning, just poking his head in there the way he does.........he suddenly leaned into the trees super fast, and one moment later, he pulled his head out, and trotted over to me proudly with a kinda-large bunny hanging from his jaws from it's neck. The bunny stopped kicking his legs pretty soon...

    I told Buddy "NO!" --a word i dont use very often to Buddy, so it usually carries big clout to Buddy, and told him to drop it, leave it, he would not.....He then ran to the door, to show Craig, too, and wanted to bring it into the house in the worst way. Craig, surprised, then messed up and exclaimed "Good boy!" to Buddy, (Craig can be harder to train then Buddy...) Eventually, i got Buddy to release his 'trophy'...took a long long time...

    I'm guessing Buddy would probably kill a cat, now, too... He's never been off-leash around a cat--not since i've had Buddy, anyway--- but he totally stares at them with palpable intent, he does not pull on his leash, nor growl, but he fixates on cats when he gets a chance to see one...

    Anything i can do to curb this? (I'm hoping Craig NOW understands he should NOT praise this behaviour!) Any new health problems i should worry over?

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    bunny bummer :dogblink: I would work on a good solid leave-it first with food then progressing to a real bunny pelt or stuffed bunny with pelt attached starting at a distance and on leash. with GREAT STUPENDOUS treats and/or favorite toys, whatever is most compelling. I just bought a bunny pelt treat pocket which is popular with both dogs to decrease their desire to chase by exposing and rewarding for preferred behavior from cleanrun.com.

    Not to say you or hubby were wrong or right but I would ignore or wordlessly take or trade the bunny for a great treat if he's guarding in any way. Nobody is ever really prepared for this. My tact (with lots of hindsight and research) is to concentrate on what I do want-not reacting to the understandably horrific prize. That he came to you with it is a big trust thing and you want to foster that. But to scold for instinctive behavior may be very confusing and he may just go secretive on kills which would be bad. Then he might ingest bad things or sneak them inside. Trading might seem like rewarding for a kill but he'll most likely associate the treat with a trade if you train and have a trade cue.

    My GSD years ago brought my ex a huge dead rat and he yelled at her. It freaked him out and me too. She never brought him one again but continued to kill rats/birds/frogs. She did bring these to me and I worked with rewarding her leaving them and distracting her from stalking with balls which she was NUTS for and food. Now that I know more out of necessity working with current birdy golden puppy I'm clicking for calm looks at birds and preempting barks with Look at that-click-run backwards a bit and make her come get the treat.

    Hunting animals can be pretty hard to stop but you can desensitize to cats and bunnies and birds with diligence. Just focus on what you DO want like leave-it (fun voice) and Look at it calmly and come play or get treats. It does require carrying around some treats in pockets or having cans of squeeze cheese about and a clicker on a wrist band where it's easy to get to for the unexpected. Set ups with simulations are important too. Here's a link on squirrel chasing that might help.
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    OH, THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH, THIS IS GREAT ADVICE!!!

    That makes sense, Snooks!! Now i'll know what to do next time. At least i only said "No!" once, and nothing else, so there is always the chance Buddy didn't even register it...maybe.... Thanks for great advice and insight! Last thing i want is Buddy eating up critters behind my back!! Squeeze cheese? I never thought of that! Right now, my coats all seem to have lil crumbs in every pocket, ha ha!!

    Ha, Tx, thanks for your great advice, too, and for telling me about your dogs, too! Wow, plucking birds outa the sky? wow...Now i don't feel so bad! I can't picture having Buddy off leash in a high-distraction area, at least not yet!! But it's encouraging to know that can be accomplished. Great advice!
    I do think if i use the techniques you both have given me, i might be able to help Mr. Buddy learn a new way of being. maybe. He is SOOooo a hunter, oh yeah, incredibley intense predator thing going on there...
    Sometimes, me and Craig both think, with certain expressions, and at certain angles, Buddy looks wolf-ish in his face. All the docs and everyone whose ever seen him thinks he is PB, but, i kinda wonder if he mighta had a great grandfather or grampa that was half wolf. It is only his face, and not all the time, but me and Craig both see it most every day, but it doesn't much show in a photo. Maybe, who knows? (But even if there is not a drop of recent wolf in him, i realize a lotta dogs may have this strong hunter thing going on.)

    I don't think this is anywhere near the first bunny Mr. Buddy has ever killed, at all. Nope, he was very skilled and adept at it. When we first got him, he always acted like squirrels and bunnies were lunch going by, and we always suspected he'd spent a long time, if not his whole life, living wild in the woods of Tennessee...Buddy really didn't seem to know much about humans AT ALL. It's been fun though!! Made it kinda more interesting for us, watching him figure out maybe his first human family.

    I'm gonna get on this to help make Mr. Buddy safer outside. It's such a drawback this severe winter weather.... Poor ol Buddy...
    THANK YOU BOTH AGAIN SO MUCH!! I HAVE GOOD PLANS + HOPE NOW!!
  4. snooks Experienced Member

    I have crumbs everywhere esp at the beginning of winter finding last winter's crumbs. eww Squeeze cheese is so easy in the snow and carefullly can be done with gloves. Squeeze out a half inch and hold can down to dog. No wet gloves. :dogbiggrin:

    The worst was a sealed string cheese I left in a pocket for three weeks. It almost exploded in the pocket, green and very puffy with pressure. Thank goodness I found it in time, I never would have figured out where the smell came from. :msngiggle: can cheese never spoils...much safer for me.

    Glad u found the other stuff useful. Hope it works. Don't worry about your intial reaction. Buddy will understand esp if you start with a new program. Dogs do give do over's remember.

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