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Thread: Tank ate our Rabbit.

  1. #1

    Question Tank ate our Rabbit.

    Our 7 month old dog Tank has killed our Rabbit. He broke into the room the rabbit was in and killed her.

    I suspect (hope) that this type of action is a result of his age and wanting to play with her but not understanding the delicacy of her little body and accidentally killing her; he then played with her body.

    Am I wrong in this? Should I be concerned?

    Tank has seen us playing with the rabbit as well as holding/patting her so he knows she was a pet, yet still killed her. Is this normal or can anyone give some insight into this for us so we can better understand what to do with him in the future when around little pets or kids.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure if dogs see hunting as very different from playing, but hunting was very likely what he was doing. I like pet rabbits, but I've never wanted to get them with dogs around. Because of what you described. We used to have pet mice and our then dog killed 3 of them. My dogs will also kill wild rabbits if they get the chance.

    I know some dogs can be fine living with rabbits, but still not to the point that you could trust them near them when you're not around.

    It's not something to be concerned about, just aware. Dogs will be dogs and that instinct to grab and kill is something that you can't really train them out of, I think. All you can do is manage it.

    It doesn't at all mean that he is dangerous or a threat to kids and all small animals. Dogs do know the difference. My dog will give our cat gentle kisses and is OK with strange cats we meet on walks, yet she killed a wild rabbit a few days ago.

    I'm sorry for your loss. It's a horrible feeling when one pet kills another. Not Tank's fault though. Just a terrible accident.
    Last edited by Beloz; 07-24-2014 at 06:46 PM.

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    Yep, Beloz has explained it perfectly!

    I think people tend to forget that dogs are in fact predators, and will hunt if given the opportunity to. I'm also not sure if a dog can truly understand the concept of an animal being a pet compared to a wild animal. There are very few dogs i'd trust with small pets. I think to achieve that kind of trust, the dog needs to be raised with the small pet from 8 weeks old. I would never trust my dogs with my ferrets. That doesn't mean my dogs are dangerous to all animals or children... just that with small animals their predatory instinct may come out. My dogs are good with cats and children, yet they also kill wild rabbits, and would kill other small pets like ferrets or guinea pigs if given the chance. Its just what dogs do.

    What you have described is similar to what my Kelpie does when she hunts wild rabbits. She will spend hours on end trying to scare them out, and when she finally scares i out, she will grab it, and kill it in one bite. Then she will play with the body for ages, throwing it in the air and chasing it etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dales View Post
    Our 7 month old dog Tank has killed our Rabbit. He broke into the room the rabbit was in and killed her.

    Tank has seen us playing with the rabbit as well as holding/patting her so he knows she was a pet, yet still killed her. Is this normal or can anyone give some insight into this for us so we can better understand what to do with him in the future when around little pets or kids.

    Cheers.
    No he doesnt understand the concept of her being a pet. Dogs are predators. My kelpie will kill small furry animals but she is totally fine with other dogs regardless of their size, and small children. I would not trust her with rabbits etc she views them as prey. Probably because they like hunting wild rabbits which I have plenty of on my farm.

    If you want a pet rabbit you will just have to manage the situation and particularly with a puppy in the house. Puppies are hard wired to play and chase and practice hunting manouvres. This has little to do with predicting aggression towards children and other dogs.

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    Tank has seen us playing with the rabbit as well as holding/patting her so he knows she was a pet,
    "he knows" probably not. Not sure what kind of dog Tank was, but terriers in particular have a very hard time playing nice with fluffy prey critters like rabbits.

    You have to train them from little to play nice with each other - don't just "expect" they will understand that rabbit is part of the "pack" by watching you play with the rabbit.

    You'd have to play with them together and reward the dog for being nice and prevent it from being nasty. Ie it could be near the rabbit when it was calm but not when it was excited... reward for calm at a safe distance and work on reducing the distance... also work on proofing with something rabbit like but not the rabbit - ie a scrap of fake fur - wave that around and reward dog for ignoring it and being calm around it.

    So if you're worried about little kids and your dog - you need to do some training and rewarding for calm behaviour and you need to do this fairly often and regularily. My dog is extremely crap with visitors - gets way too excited because I don't have them over enough. So I should organise some visitor practice for her. At the moment I just manage the situation by locking her somewhere she can't get to the visitors. Like in my car.

    If you want some help with training - if you tell us your nearest capital city or area - we can recommend someone near to there.

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    Hi,

    Sorry to hear about your rabbit. My 8 yr old staffy girl killed all seven of my chickens last week. I don't think any amount of training would stop her from killing again if she had the chance. Going to re-vamp the chook shed so that there is very little chance of Serena going for flock number mark#2.

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    I think it must be extremely difficult to stop a dog from being a dog. A dog trainer in our area offers 'un-chase' workshops (Un-Chase!) maybe you find something similar in your area? I would probably never really trust him around rabbits though.

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    Agree with all the others. It is natural behaviour. If you want a rabbit as a pet, keep them separate at all times. I have to do this with my cat and the 3 dogs as they would kill her in a heartbeat given the chance even though they loved another cat and just ignored the third.

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

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    Yes some cats seem to be able to deal with dogs just by the force of their personality. There are various "vet practice cats" I have met over the years that sorted my dogs out pretty quickly just because they have that calm prescence and well aimed swat if needed LOL.

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    Four out of my pack of six would do the same........the ones I have had from puppy not, because we spent time with them as puppies and taught them and gave them plenty of opportunities to interact with us there. Mind you if they were with the others what could I expect....the same. It is sad, but it happens and we need to control it. either by containing the prey(rabbit) or the predator (dog)...Some dogs will not do it if you are there, but might if alone and some breeds more than others. When we first got one of our rescue newfies i was blaming kookaburras for killing our beautiful Koi in our pond, until I caught her eating one. She would go fishing and eat them. She would also chase chickens and ducks.....she does not when i am there, as i trained her not to...BUT...would I trust her by herself, never..... I am sorry for your loss
    Pets are forever

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