Curbing prey drive?
  • My Akita mix is great with off leash recall, so I take him out to friends property all the time to run and play. I love to see him jet around and it makes him so happy. I've never had a dog loyal enough to come when called back before so I want to continue giving my Tin-Tin this privilege, that being said we've encountered a... Problem.

    The owner of the neighboring land keeps free range chickens and Tin-Tin discovered them two weekend ago and I think everyone can guess how that turned out.

    He's killed two already and I've spoken to the owner, who was a very nice and understanding man. He offered to keep the birds in on weekends but I said he shouldn't go through the trouble just because Tin liked to hunt.

    My opinion: Tin-Tin can track/hunt as he pleases as we are on private land with the land owner's approval but he should NOT be killing domestic animals especially when belonging to others.

    I want to keep taking him out and everyone wants him to come run but I can't have him killing chickens. How can I keep him off the birds without keeping him off the farm? Several people have suggested a muzzle but I don't know if it will work.
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    Post edited by Vulpesvulpes89 at 2015-01-31 18:11:45
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3969
    Muzzle isn't going to be much help as there is more ways to kill a chicken besides with teeth, plus some dogs can figure out how to bite around the muzzle.

    I own chickens, and half my dogs have grown up seeing them everyday, but I would never trust them in direct contact with the chickens. These are high prey drive breeds so it will be very hard to get them to change their ways.

    Personally, I would stop walking him off leash in that area and/or find another area for him to run off leash. This chicken owner may be understanding now, but if there are multiple occurrences or he goes after another owner's livestock, you may not get the same results. In some areas, it is legal to shoot and kill dogs that are attacking livestock, and some farmers may just secretly toss the dog's body so as to avoid the hassle of dealing with an angry dog owner. This is a risk you are taking if you are walking your dog off leash around an area where there is livestock, personally not a risk I'd be willing to take.
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  • Kira_InuKira_Inu
    Posts: 315
    I agree with Calia, if you know that your dog will not listen or ignore your recall, then he doesn't deserve to be off leash in that area. Especially if he can potentially harm another of this man's chickens.

    I believe that continuing to chance letting your dog off leash if he isn't responding to recall is setting your dog up for failure.
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  • Myabee09Myabee09
    Posts: 552
    He should definitely be leashed right now. Maybe in an open area where he can't get to the chickens you could try working on his recall with one of those super long training leashes. My Shiba will never be good with recall outdoors, but she didn't come at all when I first got her. I took her to training and they used one of those leashes inside so she could learn safely. Also, try working on leave it commands. My shiba used to eat frogs, as in swallow them whole and alive. It happened so fast, I couldn't get to her before she ate them. I worked hard with her and now I can say "leave it" and she (reluctantly) walks away from whatever interests her.

    It's good the man has been understanding so far, but it's a big risk to your dog if he's killing livestock. Just work with him on recall and redirecting his prey drive onto something more positive. Remember that some dogs just can't be off leash in an open area. I have 2 dogs that are amazing off leash, and then there's the Shiba. She can go in my fenced yard, but everywhere else she must be leashed because she's a flight risk. The long leash really helps when we are out in the desert because she can still have a reasonable space to play, but I also have some control.
    Lauren
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 177
    I'l just add this in here: my aunt and uncle had a malamute. HAD a malamute. As roaming dogs like to do.. she roamed. One day she was mistaken for a coyote/wolf by the neighbours (or so they say) and she was shot. Apparently was too near the cattle. They kept this fact hidden from my aunt and uncle until they decided to investigate on their own... and found evidence to suggest what had happened to her. It wasn't even their land, it was my aunt's land. So there's a word of caution.

    Once my dog got used to recall in the house, I took her outside and I used a 50 foot long line. Seemed to help a lot. I have me and a helper go about 70-80 feet from one another and we just call back and forth in turn. The long line def helps give control :)

    But agreed, if doggy can't be trusted then doggy shouldn't be off lead... until you find some place no trouble will happen.
    Post edited by Kaja at 2015-02-03 04:14:31
  • Yep. Leash is the answer. And the lack of recall isn't about "loyalty," it's about two things: not being trained to a good recall, and more importantly, prey drive. The prey drive is stronger than his recall. Letting him off leash is the problem here--he should not be offleash if he can't be trusted (and he obviously can't).

    Regarding curbing prey drive, well, there's a reason most Nihon Ken aren't good offleash dogs....because they are hunting dogs. They have a strong prey drive, and they're likely to pursue prey rather than come back when called. So for the safety of your dog and of others livestock, it is important to keep him leashed.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)

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