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Thread: Eating Prey??

  1. #1

    Default Eating Prey??

    this is a cross nutrition and training question. please feel free to move it if I have posted in the wrong bit.

    our (8 weeks old to us from rescue) 7 year old dalmatian has a high prey drive. He is (so far) perfect with children, we are doing weekly dog club class, walking at least 5 km a day, and he is really settleing in well.
    However- we live in an area where domestic rabbits have gone feral and are everywhere. Walking him (esp at dusk) is full on as he is driven wild attempting to get the rabbits. Today he caught one in our backyard- and is now eating it!! Help- is this ok? Healthy? what should I do? I think he is now rewarded by eating the rabbit he has caught- but found it rather grusume to get away fro him.... I would rather be able to trust him. Anyway- jumbled post.
    1. how to lower a prey drive?
    2. although usually obedient he completly ignores me when in chase/capture mode- any tips??
    3. would he be a danger to cats also? (worried about neighbours beloved cat that he has taken a keen intrest in through the fence)...
    4. is this very unhealthy? All the fur and guts etc..
    5. should I be worried this will turn nasty towards other things?

    Do to the above I am keeping on leash at all times when out as I am worried he will attack something he shouldnt. No leash free dog park etc- and in the perfect world I would like to be able to unleash him (at some time in the future). He is only unleashed in the backyard- where he has managed to get a wild rabbit today (I am a bit scared to go and see whats happened to it...)

    and now- another question- re rats! We have (very well fenced seperatly) chooks, and sometimes rats. We have an electric rat zapper which kills rats instantly without piosons. A friend suggested feeding the dead rats to the dog! I was revolted, however on reflection figure it could be good cheep protein, but again- what are the health implications? Eating the fur and stuff??

    Thanks for any thoughts.
    Last edited by sweetboy; 04-14-2010 at 10:11 AM.

  2. #2
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    Not sure about how to reduce prey drive but eating it is fine (although you are right this is a 'reward'). Dogs naturally eat the whole animal, the organs are good for them.

    As for the cat; it's possible. Depends on how tough the cat is as well, a swipe to the nose my deter your dog.

  3. #3
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    Hmm, interesting scenario.

    The prey drive is obviously strong as you have said. Now everyone is going to have their own opinions on this, so you take what you want from each person.

    I personally would not be letting your dog eat the rabbit - at this point in time. Should you wish to feed the rabbit to your dog, do so yourself by butchering slightly. Then YOU offer the rabbit to your dog! The bones, organs, and yes even the pelt are a complete meal for your dog, but one also has to look into what diseases are prevalent in the rabbits in your area.

    What concerns me the most is the fact that you appear to be shy in retrieving the dead rabbit FROM your dog. That is not a good scenario, and one I would certainly be working on. Does he have a treat or food that is all powerful to him? As in one that will over-ride everything else that he loves? He must relinquish the rabbit to you, or anything you ask him to give to you.

    I would definately ensure that neighbours keep their cats out of your yard. Sure, a good swipe from a cat could teach him a lesson, but the higher chance with such a prey drive is that he MAY kill the cat. Don't kinda want him eating that IYKWIM. Besides which, it wouldn't go down too well with the neighbours. Lol.

    As for your chooks, if they are securely fenced that's great, but don't for a moment think if one got out and did a chook run round the yard it wouldn't get killed either, cause 9/10 it would.

    Regards feeding natural prey, nothing wrong with it in my books as that is what a dog's anatomy is designed to do. But we still live in a civilised world, so regular worming and health care must come into it as well.

    All the best.

  4. #4

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    actually- he did not eat it- but killed it and buried it (thank goodness the children did not whitness). So- thinking I should dig it up and dispose of it before he goes back at a later date and digs it up to eat. DA- re me being shy to demand the dog give it to me. You are correct for 2 reasons.
    1. the grusome factor (and I am a nurse!) but I was sort of freaked out and going "YUKKO!!!!!" in my head- so I did not force the issue
    2. while I am confident the dog would not fight/attack me, I am not so sure that he would surrender it even if I used roast chilcken (the food he loves and I am using for training). Add to that that I did not have any roast chicken right at this time! So definatly something to work on. We have been practicing the "leave it!" command which he had mastered- but not when it was a rabbit to chase....
    Last edited by sweetboy; 04-14-2010 at 10:37 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetboy View Post
    actually- he did not eat it- but killed it and buried it (thank goodness the children did not whitness). So- thinking I should dig it up and dispose of it before he goes back at a later date and digs it up to eat. DA- re me being shy to demand the dog give it to me. You are correct for 2 reasons.
    1. the grusome factor (and I am a nurse!) but I was sort of freaked out and going "YUKKO!!!!!" in my head- so I did not force the issue
    2. while I am confident the dog would not fight/attack me, I am not so sure that he would surrender it even if I used roast chilcken (the food he loves and I am using for training). Add to that that I did not have any roast chicken right at this time! So definatly something to work on. We have been practicing the "leave it!" command which he had mastered- but not when it was a rabbit to chase....
    I can imagine!

    Yeah, the yucko mode freaks many out. Funny thing that, you being a nurse, I can do anything with animal carcasses and blood but if you show me a scratch or a trickle of blood on a human, I'm out like a light.

    I agree with your thoughts, I too would dig it back up (sounds awful doesn't it?) and dispose of or whatever.

    I personally can see this dog giving you a heck of a lot of fun!

  6. #6

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    well hes been great and a challange at the same time!
    Almost perfect around the house (does not bark/scratch/dig or chew), great with the children, obays most commands around the home (outside,sit,drop,stay etc). BUT he is hopless when out and about. was pulling so hard I needed to goto the physio twice for my shoulder (we have done lots of wk on the pulling and he is getting much better), and the prey drive thing is starting to be a real PIA.... he also can be quite agressive to other dogs (lunge and growl) but not all- I am still trying to figure what the trigger is there.

    I think in his "first home" he must have been a dog that never left the backyard. Now he is having to learn how to socialise with other dogs/walk on a leash etc etc.

  7. #7
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    I would be having the same concerns as you if I lived in suburbia. My farm dog pets are yet to actually bring home prey that they have killed, if so I would let them have it.

    They just bring home long dead bits of cow, roo and road kill if it is near our gate. Ugggh lol.

    I am no help, sorry.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  8. #8
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    He's having fun isn't he! A few issues to address so here goes:

    Prey - While this makes me go ewwww (on a number of levels), I guess what would concern me more is where the rabbits and rats have come from. I would not let him eat the rats, as you don't know if neighbours have put down ratsack and by eating a dead rat he may be ingesting the poison. I would also contact your council to see if they have any rabbit-control measures in place for the same reason (not sure if residents are able to do this too?). I would be talking to your neighbour too about their cat, if your dog has a high prey drive then that cat would be a goner if it got into your yard. Make them aware of it, it's up to them to contain the cat and keep it safe.

    Other dogs - I gather you are doing the training on your own (and doing well), but I'd try to go to some obedience classes, where he can be around other dogs in a controlled environment, talk to the trainers and explain that you want him to be social around other dogs. It might be an idea to have a muzzle that you can use in the interim, until he hopefully learns to behave himself around other dogs. If you know someone with a nice calm dog, ask them to help, meet up and do walk-pasts, the moment the dog starts to show aggression turn around and walk the other way, once he's calm turn back - you may have to do this dozens of times, but he will get bored and start to associate being turned back with getting aggressive.

    Lunging while on a walk - of course you want to eventually have him walking nicely on a loose lead, I'd put aside a special time for this, but in the meantime to stop your shoulder being dislocated have a look for an easy walker, the lead is attached to the front of the chest, so when the dog pulls it ends up pulling against itself and turns the dog around. I've heard some very good reports from people about them - it is not meant to replace the training, but can be a godsend until you DO have him walking nicely.

    Hope I've helped there!

    In My Home Dog Minding
    www.greyhoundrescue.com.au

  9. #9

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    GAG- we are doing weekly dog club classes EVERY week already.
    The council shows no interest in the feral rabbit issue- heaps of us in the street have reported it (and the problem person who keeps hundreds in her yard, feeds them and they are in no way contained...) we are referred to the dept of public lands, who refer us back to the council. We boarder (less than 1 block away) on national park....

    I think we have the problem pulling issue just about sorted already. A mixture of turning and walking the opposite way, me stopping completely and refusing to move until he is by my side, lots of rewards for walking well with loose leash, and the occasional loud exasperated shout from me seem to have done the trick.

    Good point re the neighbours having piosoned the rats. The whole idea is gross.

    I just dug up the rabbit (it was a small one) and have disposed of it.

  10. #10

    Default

    Well heres the thing .
    Your boy is 7 so any learnt behaviour is fairly well ingrained.Prey drive cannot be trained out,it can perhaps help manage it in certain situations though.
    And I'll echo GAG with the idea of a harness/easy walker.

    I personaly wouldn't be worried about the rabbit eating thing
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