Tips For Dogs That Chase Prey.


Honored Member
I think you'll find it isn't a one off with the rabbit... I may be wrong but I THINK from what you have said in previous posts about Buddy getting calmer he is probably starting to understand that rabbits can be furniture. But a running rabbit is DIFFERENT to a sitting rabbit!

Out walking with another family member later on today Zac saw another/same deer standing with a young one, again he was on leash, saw the deer but remained calm and ate a treat. But it is a MOVING deer that Zac finds most tempting so I know that on another day Zac will lose his head totally over a deer and definately if this one had run he'd have been out of his mind. Off leash is something else again - Zac would certainly not have stood around with me if he'd been off leash! If Zac HAD been off leash I felt I MIGHT have been able to leash him while the deer was standing still but that is something I really don't want to have to put to the test :rolleyes:!

I do have an advantage with living in fairly open country so Zac has been able to see quite a few deer at a distance while we work on de-sensitisation. If he only ever saw deer for a few moments crashing by it would be A LOT harder.

I saw a deer in a wood earlier in the week, this one must have been sure I hadn't seen it because instead of crashing away through the bushes it sneaked away more or less on tip toe very very quietly :), Zac never saw it at all.


Honored Member
yeah, sometimes, sometimes,
bunnies and deers both 'freeze' sort of
But this wasn't just a freeze - the deer we saw today had passed us and now had the whole horizon before it and us behind, it was walking towards the horizon but when Zac started yipping it stopped, turned round and walked back towards us O_o.


Honored Member
//But a running rabbit is DIFFERENT to a sitting rabbit!//

oh yeah.............of course!! FACEPALM!!
why didn't i think of that!! lol, and i was so excited about this, too! :ROFLMAO: duh!!

Wow, that was a brave cool deer indeed!! I've seen some deers that seem pretty used to dogs, not that afraid, but, never had one walk towards
We have deers suddenly Jump out in front of us, yes! but i think the deers were just running along, and there we were, (not a planned thing). Deers were probably as surprised as we were!!:ROFLMAO:


Staff member
Well, I am officially in possession of a bird dog!!! I have been walking him in our usual sopt almost every day... well, I am getting bored, so I decided to go along a different road, well, you all saw the pics of the geese and Ollie swimming after them in my thread of Ollie's 6 mile walk. Well, since then he has been HUNTING CONSTANTLY!!! Looking for even the small birds he used to ignore!

On Thursday we were walking on our regular road with a friend, he was doing his, now typical, hunting for small flying critters (he'd flushed up a partridge earlier), when suddenly all three of us spotted 4 geese hanging out in the stubble field! I didn't bother trying to call Ollie, I knew he wouldn't come...

Well off he went, the geese took off... but the bloody things didn't fly away in any hurry! They stayed low and went slow enough that Oliver could keep up!!! Thank GOODNESS the land is rather flat there, only short, rolling hills! He got nearly 1/2 mile away before the darn birds circled back towards me.

My friend was all stressed out because he was so far away, and we could barely see him (wheaten coloured dog in washed out wheat stubble... exactly the same colour! the only reason we could see him was that he was moving! LOL) I told her he'd come back eventually, he wont lose me, but she felt we should be calling him... so she yelled for him, I just laughed at her... there's no way he'd come back, and I didn't want to poison my cue, so I just let him be... 10 minutes later, Ollie came ripping back to me for his treat (I called him when he was on his way back lol)

My friend was jealous... After that incredibly long, flat out run... Ollie wasn't even PANTING!!! LOL

I may have to stop the chasing... uggh!


Honored Member
Oh my, Sara, welcome to "The Club"!!!:ROFLMAO: Sorry to see you here, for your sake. I'm trying hard to leave this 'club' of ppl who can not recall their dogs off of prey,
but, i kind of doubt i will ever graduate completely, but, who knows.

That Ollie! :ROFLMAO:
Actually, it's kind of brave, as well, for a dog as small as Oliver to take on geese, which can be pretty rambunctious birds, too!

Yes, Buddy eventually does come back, too, soon as he is done chasing them, he comes looking for us, immediately,
but, i'd love to be able to call him off of chasing prey....i used to be able to,
but, i can't now,:( and i still remember The Moment i messed that up.

And Buddy was chasing geese when he first ever realized, he can chase geese all by himself. DARN THOSE GEESE!! (shaking fist).


Honored Member
Welcome to the club :).

Dogs who like to hunt do seem to have very long memories :whistle:.

I'm sure you could find somewhere with lots of geese to do longline training with Ollie, just like desensitising him to any distraction. You never know you might be able to get him to recall from chaseing - in which case you can let him chase when you want him to and have the best of both worlds :cool:.


Honored Member
Yep, I'm a memeber too:( Jinx didn't chase anything for little over a year. I was very, very pleased with this as Cooper does chase deer/rabbits.
And then one day, this deer pops up right in front of us... Off goes Cooper, in full chasing mode, barking and howling... And I was just about to grab Jinx by the collar, when she took off after him...And now SHE is the one starting the chase!!!:mad: If I had only acted one second earlier, I might have been able to put her on lead and prevent this whole thing.
Crazy thing is, when my boyfriend takes Cooper for a walk in the woods, he can call him off...
When I take Jinx for a walk in the woods, I can call her off...
Put them together and there is no stopping them.


Honored Member
Anneke, that is fascinating!!! i totally believe you, too!!

with my dog, i used to be able to recall him-------even in midchase-------back to me!! But, i messed that up ONE (1) time,
and that was all it took----one time!!!

Buddy chased geese, and when Buddy got to a small cliff, where there was a river below, i called him off the goose, Buddy came right back, instantly.

we did this a few times. Then i stupidly thought, "Well, by now, he has seen that river" and i stupidly thought that Buddy will stop, and not continue.

One time, I did not call him back to me, cuz i mistakenly thought he would stop at the river's edge,
but, nope, no my dog did NOT stop at the river's edge, and since i did not call him back to me that one time,
i saw Buddy hestitate, for a second, as if listening for my call,
which never came,:( cuz i thought he would stop on his own, now that he'd seen the river there...... and so off buddy went on a chase on his own...

Buddy must have thought, "this goose IS for me! Mom didn't even call me back this time!" and off he went..........he's never been the same since.

one full on "i'm chasing this creature, see ya later mom!"
and bam,
a full on prey-chasing maniac was born.........sigh.


Staff member
Actually, it's kind of brave, as well, for a dog as small as Oliver to take on geese, which can be pretty rambunctious birds, too!
Oliver's not small. He's 40lbs and 19" tall... About the size of the average BC, a typical medium sized mutt.


Honored Member
Very Interesting article, Jackie!

this part:
//Do not take your dog anywhere near rabbits. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: Change your walk, take them swimming instead, at the very least keep them on a lead, but find a way to stop the continued addiction now.//

I totally understand and agree the theory there, completely, but, this is impossible for some neighborhoods.
made me chuckle, as Buddy's own big yard is full of rabbits, (yes, we HAVE hooked down the entire perimeter, tight to the ground, yet, the bunnies STILL get under it):rolleyes:
and our neighborhood, being set into woods, is also chockful of no way to not "see" bunnies in MY neighborhood.....that'd be like trying to find a place to not see grass or trees.
And darn,
// Check here (link to Teaching Your Dog to Retrieve) if you have difficulty in teaching your dog to retrieve a toy.............Because you are continuing to prevent other chasing your dog’s chase drive will be high, but focussed on the new game............Eventually the neural connections between “chase” and “toy” will outweigh those between “chase” and “rabbit”........//

My particular dog loathes fetch. Oh he UNDERSTANDS fetch just fine!:ROFLMAO: He just hates it. He will only "fetch" for three (3) times, unless i play something entirely different with him,
in between 3rd and 4th toss.
Yet, i will give this a try!! as best as i can, with a dog who sees bunnies many times each day,
and who also loathes "fetch".

I can see how this article may be even more helpful to other dogs than it might be for *my* odd dog.:rolleyes:


Honored Member
OKAY, today at Petsmart, there were bunnies in a glass cage.

Buddy froze, went into transe, staring at the bunnies.

to use those moments to help buddy reduce his thing with bunnies?

My guy had leash, and just said, "come on buddy" and began to walk away, and Buddy, fixated on the bunnies, as Buddy began to leave sort of snarled around at the bunnies, as Bud walked away.

Later, i had leash, and also treats, and Buddy again is mesmerized by the bunnies, just on other side of glass, (I did not want Buddy to snarl again as he is led away from bunnies)
and I said "Let's Go" and Buddy did follow me away from the bunnies, without having seizure about it all, just came along. Then he got treats and praise for walking away from the bunnies.

was that best thing to do?? any ideas of stuff i should try ??


Honored Member
I think what you are describing is possibly stalking (more like what Evie, and other BC owners describe but I can't find the other threads I'm looking for) rather than chasing. Zac is not a stalking dog but border collies often have a really strong stalking instinct.

I think "let's go" was as good a method as any and better than most. I guess another time you might be better stopping your approach to the rabbits before Buddy went in to stalk mode and just gradually working your way closer as Buddy learns to focus more on you. Sometimes I do a brisk walk past (or towards and away again) so Zac can't easily "lock on to" the rabbits and I reward him for attention on me BUT as I said Zac does not have a strong stalking instinct like a collie.

You might find this other thread about desensitising dogs to cats useful, it does touch on the difference between stalking and chasing.


Honored Member
THANKS! Good advice, wish i'd thought of this when i was by the bunny! I thought of YOU, Running Dog, :ROFLMAO: when i saw Buddy go into trance while watching the bunny in the glass, and thought, "Wish RunningDog were here, she'd know what to do with this opportunity!" My whole brain went blank, really, i knew i should use that chance to work on this,
but drew a blank.:rolleyes:

Next time, i will try your ideas!

I bet you are right, i bet that was "stalking" behavior, but, i have not a shred of a doubt, if the glass was not in place, a fascinating chase scene would have been had, right there in Petsmart.:ROFLMAO: I do wish i had a camera to film this, the look on his face,
one can envision green lasers coming from his eyes.
He gets so stiff, he looks like a statue dog, but, almost quivering with excitement. Buddy looks so stiff, he looks like if you picked Buddy up by a paw, his body would stay frozen all in same shape, like a statue, even if lifted by one limb.........he'd still be in stiff crouching/standing position.


Experienced Member
He gets so stiff, he looks like a statue dog, but, almost quivering with excitement. Buddy looks so stiff, he looks like if you picked Buddy up by a paw, his body would stay frozen all in same shape, like a statue, even if lifted by one limb.........he'd still be in stiff crouching/standing position.
LOL read: Oka+dogs!!

I'm joining this club!! Oka will chase anything. i encourage her to chase me, and have slowly been trying to use this to my advantage.
She has killed a squirell and mice (she pounces like a cat!). However her recall has been so poor she is rarely offlead so doesn't get to chase.

I use NDT methods for redirecting chase energy to me, by playing tug and pushing. The chase and kill at the end is satisfying to a dog, it means survival = everything!

i can't see her being fixed of this really, i may be able to make he wait long enough for us to get a lead on her but if she's in a chase then theres no chance.


Honored Member
Tigerlily - You know all this, you do! Truly! You taught me a lot of this but I just applied it to a different situation... you've done all this before when you were explaining to Buddy about people and children and even now about dogs. That's why your "Lets go" worked, it is just desensitisation all over again and you, Tigerlily have to be one of the all time greatest DTA experts on doggy desensitisation!

LOL the stalk would undoubtedly have turned into a chase if Buddy had the opportunity, poor little statue dog, such a difficult level of focus to break. Sounds like Buddy has a "Stalking" switch as well as a "Hunting" and "Chasing" switch... I wonder if the stalking could be harnessed to your advantage? Have to think about this one :confused:.

Hi Mewzard :) I thought you'd find our club sooner or later, I meant to link your thread about the NDT methods in but I haven't got round to it... until... now...

This is a link to another thread that discusses "Natural Dog Training" and gives links to find out how you might be able to transfer your dog's interest from prey to you by "being the moose".

I'm not sure about the underlying premise of NDT because few dogs now chase to eat (Siberian huskies excepted :rolleyes:) , dogs simply aren't wolves. That said Zac is obviously tense in the chase situations and a game of tug might well help him release some of that... so who cares if the premise has flaws as long as the method is positive and it works!

The pushing will probably not work for Zac as even a little pressure on his neck and chest make him cough - his body is just not designed for pressure in that area (probably why most racy sighthounds are fairly easy to leash train) but with husky type dogs that are designed to push into a harness this might be the perfect method. We're working on the tug aspect anyway :).


Experienced Member
I'm not sure about the underlying premise of NDT because few dogs now chase to eat (Siberian huskies excepted :rolleyes:) , dogs simply aren't wolves. That said Zac is obviously tense in the chase situations and a game of tug might well help him release some of that... so who cares if the premise has flaws as long as the method is positive and it works!
I don't feel he is trying to imply that dogs are wolves. I think it's about natural state. Cats chase and kill animals but we don't say "oh but they aren't tigers". I think the amount of people who have prey drive issues with dog's shows that it's a fundemental part of many dogs essentual make up.

I have no misconceptions that Oka couldn't be self sufficant if she managed to go feral. Dogs don't have to chase to eat but it doesn't mean that the wiring isn't there to tell them that chase+kill=food/fun/adrenaline/feel good (and also sustanence).

Oka chases to catch and kill. simple. I don't know if she knows how to strip a carcass - i've never let her. But she knows how to rip and tear at meat on a bone, so i expect if she was hungry enough she could.

I take NDT as simulation of chase and kill behaviours (that admittedly come easier to certain breeds) . This really uses Okas mindset to my advantage. In a hunt, any animal, will take the easiest prey. Oka (she's on lead) sees an animal / *cough*dog*cough* and i just let her stare/ pull/fixate, and wait till she turns her head/ear/eyes way - this is her looking for an easier target for that pent up drive/need to chase - and i become that easier target...i run away/tug/push for food. and after a while her automatic response becomes "OK that object is further than mum she is easier, i'll play with her".
For Oka me trying to get her attention is a sure fire way for her to ignore me - it's like i become the inexperienced 'hunter' and she is ignoring me to say 'your behaviour is inappropriate'.

I think that most of the NDT idea's are harmless and fit in with positive training, though not always clicker training (alot of which should be with the dog in a semi-aroused state, NDT says to do training in a high arousal state). There are a few people who NDT and advocate collar jerks and things of that nature which i think are wrong and not needed.


Honored Member
What I was trying to say is that many dogs chase for reasons other than eating so the tension that has to be dissipated is not necessarily the kill/eat tension. Huskies DO hunt to eat rather than simply chasing, it is very hardwired into them for some reason.

Though it is dangerous to generalise, lurchers actually often have a very odd mindset about hunting as they will sometimes choose a more difficult option O_o. For instance ask a lurcher for a standard retrieve and they will look at you like you are a insane, ask them to do a retrieve that means 3 fences, a 5 foot wall and a ditch, and they'll retrieve perfectly :rolleyes:. I can only think that they enjoy a challenge - maybe this comes from the racing strains of greyhounds. Zac will run past a close rabbit in pursuit of a more distant one - both because he is locked on to the further one and because he enjoys running in a straight line more than catching, though he will kill if he gets within range.

I just don't think we need to think we have to replace the kill to teach all dogs not to chase there are just so many different reasons why different dogs find chasing fun.