Tips For Dogs That Chase Prey.


Honored Member
thank you for kind words, RunningDog, i think i just type more than other people here!! rofl.

It's possible, different things work for different dogs, like i swear by calming signals, nothing helps *my* dog as much as that does. but, i sometimes suspect, it does not work for others, or for other dogs. but wow, it helps *my* dog, makes my heart beat fast how well it works sometimes.
not every time, no, nope, can't say that.
but, it works better than anything else i ever tried.
and i have tried most everything i ever heard of, for dog aggression.

but, i have not ever tried that NDT thing that Mewzard likes so well, honestly, i don't completely 100% understand it super well, i should try harder to understand that one, since Mewzard likes it so much...

and i am still learning about this prey-thing, but, i CAN see some successes, FROM FOLLOWING YOUR ADVICE!! AND THE SUCCESSES *SEEM* TO BE INCREASING!!

nope, Buddy is not "cured", i can't recall him off prey, and maybe i never ever will.............
but, he is better, he is -----at the least, learning to "snap out of it" faster after he sees a bunny,:ROFLMAO: instead of staying outa his mind for long time.

He is learning that i don't want him to lunge at every bunny on his leash, and is getting better at that concept.
this is a whole brand-new idea to Buddy, :ROFLMAO: that he should just try to be calm if we see bunnies, brand new concept to HIM!! :ROFLMAO:

BUT, RunningDog, i thought of YOU just last evening, i walked Buddy during
"THE bunny hour"
(7pm on my street at this time of year, but, it varies for summer time)
okay, maybe i am exaggerating a lil bit there:rolleyes: ,
but lots and lots of bunnies!!!!! LIke a bunny every few steps, there goes one! there goes one!
LIke a bunnypalooza.

i had clicker, and bag of Liver cookies, and your advice,
and i did get Buddy to walk calmly by bunnies sitting there!!! not far away!! like i did before!!:eek:
i got him to just glance, and not lunge, not react, to a bunny actually hopping along!! in motion!! and Buddy just glanced at bunny IN MOTION and kept walking along!!

THAT IS A FIRST!!!!!! WHOOOOOT!! true, true, Buddy was on leash! and true, the bunny was not in full speed run, just hopping along,
but still,
baby steps,
baby steps.


Honored Member
Tigerlily - I do agree different things work for different dogs - I'm just not not sure about the NDT theory. My theory ;) is that there may well be other reasons than that theory on which the NDT method is based why dogs learn to choose the owner interaction rather than the chase. I do think the method is worth trying out. NDT should actually fit well with the method I'm already using as it inevitably includes desensitisation and very positive dog/owner interactions with a very excited dog in the presence of prey :rolleyes:.

"bunny hour" :cool:

Congratulations on Buddy and the rabbits, That is AMAZING. I told you I didn't think the other rabbit was a once off. And you've made even MORE progress! A moving rabbit! Not sure Zac would manage that now - not many rabbits last year, I think there must have been myxomatosis about :( so he's out of practice.

So HAPPY for you and Buddy anyway :).


Honored Member
was that ME bragging just now on Buddy's progress there?:rolleyes::ROFLMAO:

welllllll, he killed yet another bunny in his own yard last night...

He is getting better and better and better at giving us the dead bunnies, though....
(Buddy used to stand there, bunny in mouth, ignoring our requests to drop the bunny, as if his jaws were locked in place on that dead bunny...)
now, Buddy pretty much understands, WE get the dead bunny, and drops the dead bunnies much more readily now.



Honored Member
So now you get to prove/disprove my theory that desensitisation is not necessarily totally
undermined by killing prey in other contexts... ;)

Cheap dog food? RAW? :)


Honored Member
YES!! YOUR THEORY IS RIGHT!!:) or, at least, for my dog, it is!

You know, i think about letting him eat all his dead bunnies, as a source of raw,
i do,
but i worry about rabies, mites, fleas, lice, diseases, i have no idea, if wild bunnies are safe for my dog to eat, fur and all.

guess i should learn about it!!


Honored Member
So you mean Buddy is still doing okay with his desensitisation to bunnies despite killing one?

If you want to feed Buddy the rabbits but are worried about external parasites then hang it for a while - external parasites leave once the body is cold, once I laid out a fresh road kill squirrel on a board to sketch details from it, I was quite fascinated to watch the radiating exodus of parasites hopping and crawling away.

For internal parasites I think if you freeze it for a few days it kills them off.

As for the diseases I'm not sure, BTW I didn't even know rabbits could get rabies, I had a sudden mental image of a bunny charging around foaming at the mouth biting other bunnies (but yes I know rabies is really a bit more subtle than that ;)). BUT I'm pretty sure that if you cleaned and boiled the bunny any bacteria and viruses would be sorted. It is no longer RAW but is still free meat and at least then the bunny died for a reason!

Don't feed rabbit as a staple diet though just as a supplement - it causes nutritional problems if dogs eat too much rabbit.


Honored Member
wow, fascinating! i had no idea! Thanks!! Now, i have to talk my guy into we'll keep these dead bunnies...:ROFLMAO:

free meat IS free meat!


Honored Member
//So you mean Buddy is still doing okay with his desensitisation to bunnies despite killing one?//

It SEEMS TO be so!! Yes, it seems this way.
Because i have been following your advice, i AM seeing progress with Buddy getting idea that he can and should ignore all bunnies on a walk. We are not there YET, nope,
Buddy is learning how to re-calm down again after a bunny runs by,
and learning to just walk along when bunnies are right there,
and learning to just walk along when bunnies hop by.
I've also got Buddy to sit and look at me and do a simple trick once while a bunny was right there.

Just a bunch of small things like that, i feel i see some progress. MIght not sound like much, BUT, compare that to Buddy charging and lunging at all bunnies, even on leash,
and then, staying stoked/crazy for some time after seeing a bunny.

which is good, so it alerts me to go get the bunny.
see? there is some improvement, imo. Just baby steps, towards my goal of someday, maybe, being able to recall Buddy off of a bunny.

but yeah, Buddy still skillfully kills all bunnies in his own yard. His skills at catching and killing bunnies is getting better and better, too, seems like. Prior to living with Buddy, i had no idea bunnies can make such loud screams, i always thought of bunnies as silent creatures.I can even hear the screams (which sometimes do sound like squeak toys) from inside the house,


Experienced Member
Tigerlily - I do agree different things work for different dogs - I'm just not not sure about the NDT theory. My theory ;) is that there may well be other reasons than that theory on which the NDT method is based why dogs learn to choose the owner interaction rather than the chase. I do think the method is worth trying out. NDT should actually fit well with the method I'm already using as it inevitably includes desensitisation and very positive dog/owner interactions with a very excited dog in the presence of prey :rolleyes:.
Not sure if i was clear enough. NDT is not based on chase/kill "wolf" premise. It's based on the "easiest outlet/satisfaction for energy", (least thats how i chose to see it). So for Oka; her primary choice would be to play with a dog, or chase a bunny, except she's on a line and can't. So her second easiest option is to play/run/tug with me. The primary difference between clicker work and NDT *for me* is that she makes the choice to come and "give me the energy"/play with me i don't encourage/tempt her to do it.

With clicker training she thinks "hmm run and play (or chase and catch) v.s go to mum for a bit of sausage/tug" and the play always wins. with NDT he choices become "run over there and play or run to mum (closer) and play".
I haven't go to the offlead bit yet as it's a slow process for Oka, some days she is not looking at dogs other days she is pulling again.

Yay for Buddy and the bunnies!! Oka will walk looking behind her if she suspects there are squirrels in the trees :LOL:


Honored Member
Yay for Buddy and the bunnies!! Oka will walk looking behind her if she suspects there are squirrels in the trees :LOL://
oh Mewzard, i so understand THAT!! That was my Buddy!!! (and honestly, we are only a few steps away from that point, i should not be braggin! lol)
but, i followed RunningDog's advice there, and began working with Buddy at just that point, at the "just saw a bunny, Mom!":eek: excitement stage, trying to prevent that backwards walk with dog totally mesmerized about a bunny,
making/seeing a lil progress, i now feel a tad of hope.
however------------- probably BECAUSE i was sort of braggin around about this progress,:rolleyes:
well, doncha know, last night on walk, Buddy (on long extenda leash, as it was last, late walk of the day, no one out there but us) Buddy zoomed over and attacked a small item on the ground,
which he obviously thought was a bunny. just BAM, on it!! (it was actually a small branch with some dark leaves lying out on a lawn in a rounded shape)
so, as you can see, we got some work to do..:ROFLMAO:


Honored Member
i can always tell, i DO have a few brains cells which anthropomorphise Buddy,
whenever he makes mistakes, like attacking leaves that he thought was a bunny,:LOL:
or times he goes off onto cardboard pictures of dogs,:ROFLMAO:
or the time he reacted to wooden cut-out of a cat on a lawn at halloween,:rolleyes:
i always half expect Buddy to register some level of embarrassment that he attacked leaves, or attacked a cardboard dog,
of course, dogs don't waste time with feeling embarrassed.:rolleyes:

still, i occasionally find myself watching to see if Buddy will be "embarrassed" for attacking fake things.:ROFLMAO:


Honored Member
Tigerlily - LOL Zac gets embarrassed if he mistakes litter for road kill :D. He pretends he was really looking at something else!

Interesting about Buddy getting better at killing bunnies, do you think that by teaching him to be calm in the presence of rabbits you are giving him the ability to hunt better because he can sort of think more intelligently about hunting rather than being overwhelmed by the whole "Wow bunny" thoughts?

Mewzard - If NDT is based on the easiest outlet satisfaction for energy I don't think it will work for Zac because he doesn't ever really choose easy options. I still think he might enjoy playing tug rather than just getting treats and reading what you have to say has encouraged me to try to lay the foundation more active rewards for the future.

The choices thing I'll have to think about, basically you are teaching Oka that seeing another dog is her cue to come to you and play... right?


Staff member
I just found a thread about this book on another forum. Sounds interesting!

Book: Chase! Managing your dogs predatory instinct, Clarissa Von Reinhardt​


Honored Member
Hilarious about Zac does get embarrassed! i always expect to spot this in Buddy, but, never does. Lol, maybe like humans, dogs have different thresholds for what would embarrass them. I mean for real, shouldn't a dog who went off on a cardboard cut out feel a lil embarrassed?:ROFLMAO:

I have only just begun (this season right now) even attempting to help Buddy get even basic concept i don't want him lunging at bunnies, and that i do want him to calm back down if he has seen a bunny,
but his mastery at bunny-killing, i suspect, is more to do with practice. He's been killing bunnies for years now, and is just a lot faster at it, more "clean" of a kill now, less half-dead bunnies/more fully dead bunnies, better try-vs-kill ratios, it seems. He seems to just get better and better at it, each year, imo.
I could probably have a bunny fur jacket by now if i had kept them all. or at the least, a few hats.
(IF i wore fur, that is).


Honored Member
<----is doing somersaults of joy!!

(which is always what i do, right before i backslide in training:ROFLMAO: so take this news with grain of salt)

Every spring, every single spring, i observe what i call a "bunny pow-wow". I have no idea what is going on, but, late in the evening, i will chance upon a big circle of bunnies, all sitting in a circle, all facing each other. I see one of these "pow-wows" every spring, sometimes i will observe it more than a few times, and it's always in a wide open area, sometimes, in the middle of a cul-de-sac street circle, or a wide open field.
The bunnies are always sitting in a "beg" position, with front legs up, too, for whatever that is worth, if there are any bunny experts reading this.

no idea what they are doing, are they are working out territorial issues for the season? working out mating rights? just hanging out for fun? how do ALL the bunnies know which night they should meet up, and where? no clue.
But, it's amazing to see, looks like a cartoon almost. And these bunnies are very very very very very engrossed in whatever they are working on, and we can get very very close to them, and they do NOT run off til we are very close, and even then, they leave fairly slowly, just hopping a lil bit away, not a full run.

so the other night, Buddy and i came upon yet another "bunny pow-wow",
and i prevented Buddy from even alerting. Yeah, he WAS on leash, and no, the bunnies were NOT moving, still, it was a whole lot of bunnies just right there!!
IT IS A PRETTY WEIRD SIGHT TO SEE, a big circle full of bunnies, so close to us. It always impresses me, too, how neat the circle is, so perfectly round, with bunnies so evenly spaced apart.

and we got pretty close, overtime, stopping every few steps, to have Buddy re-focus back to me, do some simple tricks for me, and then,
i even had Buddy looking right AT the bunnies (who seemed oblivious to our presence) and he got treats for that, and Buddy was totally calm,
and i sensed, (or pretended:rolleyes: ) that Buddy was getting new concept in his lil doggie brain, that mom wants him calm when he sees bunnies.

we spent probably 5 or 10 minutes, working beside the bunny pow-wow, and Buddy was 100% calm the whole time.

true, if he was offleash,
and a bunny zoomed by,
he'd chase it, i'm sure,
but, at least, this is a start.


Honored Member
it was also interesting to me, how much much easier this was, (getting Buddy to calmly observe that many bunnies, so close to him)
compared to how hard it can be to get Buddy to calmly observe unknown dogs, even itty bitty small uknown dogs, it's a ton of work to get my dog to calmly observe them. Can be done, but, wow, it's a ton of work for me.

wayyyyyy easier with the bunnies. interesting.


Honored Member
Fantastic work Tigerlily!

The difference between conditioning a dog to be calm with bunnies and be calm with dogs bears out the thinking (didn't we discuss this earlier in the thread? or was it a different thread? or am I mistaken? :confused: ) that dogs perceive dogs and bunnies differently and can identify the difference between species.

LOL it seems so obvious that dogs can tell the difference between species when they are able to tell the difference between breeds! Tenuously related but admittedly drifting off topic... I've been wondering because Zac can obviously identify the scent of his buddies from a mile away is it impossible that different breeds have different scents too?


Honored Member
yes, i also believe that dogs, and other animals can distinguish one species from another, i agree 100%. Even fish do this.

i guess after years of having to work so hard to get Bud to not react about dogs, i guess i was just shocked at how easy it was, getting Buddy calm next to bunnies, :eek: when he's been chasing them and killing them for a long long time now.

I really was, very much super surprised:eek: it was THAT easy to calm Buddy. Years of a working hard to calm a da dog can do that a person, maybe, that when it IS super easy to calm the dog,{with so few previous lessons, too} it just seems unnnnnbelievable.:ROFLMAO:

really, the whole family was surprised when i told them how 100% calm Buddy was, that close to that many bunnies....guess you'd have to know Buddy!:ROFLMAO: