What Is a Prey Chase Drive?
So how do you control prey chase drive in a dog.
Well the answer is simple “training” but yet not so simple to implement.
Prey chase drive, or predatory chase drive, is an overwhelming desire to chase things, such as other dogs, cats, cars, bikes, scooters, squirrels, mice, etc. The movement of the “prey” triggers the dog to chase, similar to a reflex, and is a part of normal dog behavior. Some breeds have higher predatory chase drives than others, especially working, hunting and herding breeds.
Apart from being a natural behavior that is left over from their wolf ancestry, chasing is fun for a dog and triggers the pleasure centers of their brains.
This behaviour can go from fun, like when your dog is chasing after a ball to a real nightmare for you if the drive becomes too high and your dog begins displaying inappropriate behaviours associated with prey drive. Negative effects of predatory chase drive can include:
- Chasing/hunting/biting/killing cats and small animals
- Focusing on and stalking other animals
- Chasing cars, bikes, skateboards or other moving objects
- Inability to focus on anything but the prey.
Work On Behaviour Training
Training exercises are an excellent way of how do you control prey chase drive in a dog, There are many exercises you can do with your dog at home.
The most important being establishing control over your dog when they are off leash.
As with any command you teach your dog, keep the Three Ds of dog training in mind – Distance, Duration and Distraction. You will need to start training a new command with as few distractions as possible and have them hold the command for short durations while you stand close to your dog.
As your dog gets better over time, start to increase the distractions, duration and distance until your dog can perform their commands reliably no matter what is going on around them.
How to get your dog to stop chasing cats without training the Three Ds will be difficult. Your training will be fragile and will break down in the presence of a heavy distraction, such as a small dog running by or a bicyclist to chase.
How Do You Control Prey Chase Drive in a Dog, With Difficulty
Saber has high prey drive and I mean high, when he sees a potential chase he goes into overdrive in a split second.
In the image above he had spotted a deer and believe me he wanted to chase it down with all his being, his mind was a blank apart from the target. I was fortunate enough to spot it before he did or he would have been gone.
Don’t get me wrong he would have come back but not before getting the satisfaction of the chase.
Teaching your dog such things as:
Before your dog even starts chasing, they’ll do a number of things. They’ll often scan their surroundings and stare at the target for a brief moment before taking off. You can use these actions to your advantage and stop your dog before the chase begins.
By teaching your dog to focus on you, it’ll prevent them from finding a target.
To teach your dog to focus on you, hold a treat between your fingers and bring it up between your eyes. When your dog glances at the treat, give it to them as a reward. You can then add your verbal command as you’re moving the treat between your eyes.
Repeat this process and make your dog hold your gaze for long periods of time. Then, slowly introduce distractions until you’re comfortable enough using the command in real-world environments. This command can be used to snap your dog back to reality when they start looking for prey.
The drop-down method can be used once your dog has already found something they want to chase. You’re essentially breaking their focus with treats and giving the animal time to get away. To be successful, your dog will need to already know how to get in a down position.
When you notice that your dog’s locked onto a target,
immediately command them to get down. At the same time, drop a treat between their feet. When you do this, they’ll look down at the treat and break focus.
Quickly move the treat to their side so that their head turns away from the target completely. At that point, you can walk your dog away and reward them.
This is a popular command that’s used by many trainers. It can teach your dog when to leave things alone. Start by placing a treat on the floor. When your dog goes to get it, tell them to leave it alone. If they’re persistent, cover the treat and block them from getting it. Once they back off, you can reward them.
Callbacks are used to get your dog’s attention once they’ve already started running towards their target. Your pup should already know basic recall commands. The goal of this training exercise is to apply the commands they already know to chase situations.
Attach a long line to their harness and get an item to capture their attention.
The leash should be long enough for your dog to start a chase. Throw the item away from you. This should capture their attention and initiate a chase. I always use a harness with a long line, less chance of causing damage to their neck.
Call your dog back. If they don’t turn around, give the lead a gentle tug. If they abandon the chase to return to you, give them a treat.
Repeat this exercise on a regular basis until they turn back around without giving it a second thought.
Efficiently Train and Learn How to Control Prey Chase Drive in Dogs
Raising healthy and happy dogs is just like raising children. They require specific training, taming, and effort to turn into their best versions. There are several kinds of training activities that you can provide your pet, and one of them is controlling prey drive. So, this was all about how to tame prey drive in dogs.
Many owners struggle with prey drives in their dogs, calling for professional help. But I hope this article will help you get your dog’s prey drive under control all by yourself.
With the help of the above mentioned useful tips, you can train your dog slowly but surely.. But make sure that you begin to train your dog from an early age when they are at their stage of development. Of course this isn’t always possible, but start as soon as you can.
As mentioned before not knowing how do you control prey chase drive in a dog, is not only frustrating for you but even worse can be dangerous for your dog.
The above-streamlined information is well researched and read for you to go by so that you can be the ‘one and only’ of your one master dog! So what’s stopping you! Dive into the training more today and everyday.
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All in all as you can see it is not an easy answer to the question of how do you control prey chase drive in a Dog, things take time and effort, but the reward for this effort is a better mannered and well behaved dog.
Saber has this problem and we are working on it, even though he is improving the chase still pulls at his mind when he sees prey.