Stopping Your Dog From Chasing Squirrels
You’re in the middle of a peaceful walk on a crisp, sunny autumnal day with your best four-legged friend. Suddenly, out of nowhere, your pooch abruptly dashes off. Pulling on the lead and barking. How many people can relate to this frustration and embarrassment?
Dogs chasing after animals is perfectly normal. All dogs have a predatory drive, some more so than others.
As normal as this is, chasing squirrels can be dangerous. Dogs can run so far they can become disorientated and lost. Or, if walking in woodland, your dog may encounter a larger animal who could injure him.
Very different to any other aggressive behaviour shown by dogs, predatory behaviour isn’t threatening. A predatory dog will stalk and chase their prey quietly without barking or growling. They show pleasure and excitement in the chase; often whimpering and making excitable noises as they run.
How to prevent predatory behaviour
Ideally, you’d start when your dog is a puppy. This training technique is effective for older dogs as well, but it may take them a little longer to learn:
- When you take your dog on a walk, keep him on a long lead (about five – six foot) and ensure you have your pup’s favourite toys and treats to hand.
- If your pup sees a squirrel, call his name in an excited tone and run the opposite way holding the toy or treat beside you.
- When you stop running, give your pup the treat or play tug of war with the toy for a little while.
- Return to the same spot you saw the squirrel, with the hope of seeing another.
- The more squirrels you see and the more you do this, the better your pup will become at ignoring prey.
Have you got a dog with predatory behaviour that likes chasing squirrels or any other animals? Share your tips and tricks with our community in the comments below.