Good that you are working on "leave it", you just need to up the quality/standard. Ie yes some dogs can't hear anything when they go into chase mode (beagles?) but it is possible to program a conditioned response - in the same way Pavlov got a dog to salivate when it heard a bell - because it had been conditioned to associate the bell with being fed.
I had problems with Frosty eating strapping tape, but she now knows she can trade up for roast beef and she will "leave it" or drop it when I say "thank you". Initially I got this by chucking the roast beef or bits of bread (easier for her to see) nearby and she'd drop the tape to get the treat. But now she fetches the tape and spits it out for the treat. And I don't always give her a treat but I mostly do.
We're still working on the same thing for roast chicken carcass and glad wrapped sandwich. There's things she loves but doesn't get too often that she will trade for these if I don't panic and chase her. Eg the beef chips that she loves. Or pork crackling.
You can work on conditioning the response to "leave it" or "thank you" (drop it, not to be confused with down like lie down) by practicing getting him to give things up in trade for something else like the chicken. If it's something that's ok for him to have you can then give it back to him. And if you want to practice getting better control, make him work for it, like practicing "sit-stay".
I do believe it's illegal to keep rabbits. If your council staff do nothing, contact your councillor rep, if still nothing happens - make a time frame like 2 weeks, contact your state rep and environment minister and make sure they know nothing is happening. If still nothing happens, consider crime stoppers (say you can smell something strange from the house, like rotting cabbage and you're concerned there are dead bodies or drug labs and be anonymous). Or your local media - talk back radio - if you don't mind the personal publicity, and your federal rep or minister for environment. And the RSPCA, there's probably rules about keeping hundreds of rabbits humanely and rabbit lady might be in breach. And if none of that works, I'm sure the farmers federation would be interested in taking it up as they have most to lose from feral rabbits.
ive never met a dog who would eat a rabbit with out it being buried for a day or two first ....weird!
My setter has a high prey drive, higher than the Whippets in so far as she will not give up even when it's out of sight, she will track the scent forever.
My husband hasn't helped by taking her shooting on his fathers property. She will stand over a bird, setter style but will just chase down a rabbit regardless of all other things.
I will admit she prefers to walk around with her prize rather than kill it or eat it, but I remove them from her asap as rabbits are a pest and I'm afraid of what might be in the rabbits system. Rabbait is sold at the local nurseries around here and I'm sure the market gardeners probably use harsher stuff so I worry about the transfer of poison to her.
Perhaps you could cultivate that drive into another area but as others have said this behaviour is now fairly ingrained and of course self rewarding.
Try the Dal Clubs etc and see what they have to say on this.
Oh suddenly thought of something. When doing bird work we put feathers on a stick (thick stick about the size of your wrist tape feathers to stick) and would go to cricket nets and do some practice retrieve work, we progressed up to frozen pigeon & then she went shooting. The reason for the cricket net was she couldn't get past us. You could possibly put fur on a stick, put the dog on a long line and practice the find and retrieve. I know it probably won't stop the dog killing and eating prey but it could possibly satisfy it's need and put it in a training situation, just like we train everything else. More I can't fight this so I'll go with it. Am I making sense??
Sorry all I could come up with.
Last edited by mouseandchicken; 04-22-2010 at 08:20 AM.
I had a dog about 26 years ago (how time flys) a pound dog, about 2/3 years old mixed breed about the size of a cattle. He was really well trained when we got him, sat came stayed etc. (could walk right into the middle of a field, and he would stay and come when called)
We used to ride through sheep country and take our dogs along. There was a lot of rabbits there as well. We found that Whitey had a great instinct to chase, not the sheep but anything else, rabbits,kangaroos , just anything except sheep . Big problem as the farmers objected to him scattering their sheep when he rushed through them.
Don"t know if it would work for you, but we fixed the problem by going out around sunset and sitting really quiet with him on a lead (same spot every day) and finally the Rabbits would coming hopping out, after about a week they came quite close. Everytime he went to move i would tell him NO and then give a treat as he calmed. Took about 2 weeks everyday for ( can't quite remember but an hour or two.) Cured him of chasing.
Didn't have any problems out riding with him again. Mind you I had a great head start as he came to us so well trained in the first place. I've always wondered how he ended up in a pound. Back then we never had microchips and registers so guess he must have been lost off a truck or something.
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