If you want to stop your dog from hunting or if you want to steer its hunting instinct down a calmer path, you need to be patient. Your dog hunts everything that moves because it gives him pleasure - it will not be easy for him to take.
If you get to a point in dog training where you are at the end of your Latin, seek help from a dog school that offers so-called anti-hunting training or hunting replacement training.
Why do dogs hunt at all?
The hunting instinct is more or less in the blood of dogs. Even if they have learned to cooperate with humans through millennia of domestication, they still remain predators.
The wild ancestor of our domestic dogs, the wolf, changes its hunting behavior in the course of its life. As a young wolf, he hunts everything that moves, but as an experienced and mature hunter, he divides his energy more efficiently. That means he only hunts prey that is worthwhile for him and that he can kill with as little effort as possible. Wolves feed exclusively on their prey and cannot afford to waste energy. But they only learn that with increasing age.
Dogs don't have to hunt to survive. They therefore behave in a similar way to young wolves that hunt all sorts of things for exercise and for fun. They hide everything else and focus only on the prey. When dogs chase after a supposed prey, happiness hormones are released in their brains - so hunting is self-rewarding behavior. If it is not prevented or limited in time, this can also take on an addictive character.
Wolves hunt in packs and dogs also enjoy following their instincts together. In dog groups it can therefore happen that the animals incite each other. As soon as a four-legged friend is caught by hunting fever, the others run enthusiastically.
This is how hunting behavior is expressed in dogs
The hunting behavior is an innate characteristic that the dog of its ancestor, the wolf, ...
Which dogs have a particularly strong hunting instinct?
How strong the hunting instinct is depends largely on the dog breed. The least interest in hunting has companion dogs, slightly despectively referred to as "lap dogs". They can usually be easily prevented from chasing supposed prey by playing games and doing things with their favorite people. Protective, herding and guard dogs are usually satisfied when they are allowed to take care of the house, yard and family or have another meaningful task for them.
There are also hunting dog breeds. It is reasonable to assume that all hunting dogs like to hunt, but it is not that clear. Because hunting does not only consist of chasing the prey, but of the following components:
● Fix or project
● Sneak up
● Retrieve the prey
About retrieving and Co.
The only problem is the behavior that has to do with rushing, packing and killing. However, there are also hunting dogs that were bred only for locating, fixing and sneaking in or just for retrieving. The potentially dangerous hunting instinct is therefore not as pronounced for them. This includes:
● Pointing dogs (e.g. Weimaraner, Irish Red Setter, English Pointer)
● welding dogs (e.g. Bavarian mountain welding dog)
● Retrievers or retrievers (e.g. Golden Retriever, Labrador)
Tracking dogs are also hunting dogs
There are also hunting dogs that act largely independently, should track down and scare away the prey in order to drive them to the hunter. While they are not responsible for packing and killing the prey, they are hard to resist a trail and tend to be stubborn. This affects the following dog breeds:
● Erdhunde or Bauhunde (e.g. Terrier, Dachshund)
● Flushing dogs (e.g. Cocker Spaniel, Kooikerhondje, English Springer Spaniel)
● Bracken (e.g .: Deutsche Bracke, Brandlbracke, Schweizer Niederlaufhund)
Hounds bring their prey out of breath
The hunting instinct is most pronounced in so-called hounds. They were bred to track game over long distances and mostly to rush in the pack until it gets tired. Typical hounds are:
● Grand Bleu de Gascogne
● English Foxhound
● Otter dog
Caution! Mixed breeds that have hounds, hounds, earth dogs or rummaging dogs among their ancestors can also have a pronounced hunting instinct that encourages them to hunt anything that moves.
Hunting instinct in dogs: innate in many breeds
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Stop misconduct: Stop dog from hunting
You cannot train your dog's hunting instinct itself. However, it is possible to bring hunting behavior under control so far that your four-legged friend no longer poses a danger to himself and others. This is the case, for example, if your dog chases cars, cyclists and joggers. Even if your four-legged friend rushes your neighbors' pets, for example cats, rabbits or chickens, there is a need for action.
It is also problematic if your hunting dog breeds pursue wild animals - such as rabbits or deer. On the one hand, the game can be rushed onto the street, where drivers and the animals themselves can be harmed. On the other hand, the animals are disturbed in the spring when raising and caring for their young.
What to do? Prohibitions alone are of no use because hunting behavior is instinctive. However, you can strengthen your four-legged friend's other instinctive behaviors and needs so that the hunting instinct takes a back seat. That means:
● Train impulse control and frustration tolerance
● Practice basic obedience with obedience training
● Strengthen the bond between humans and dogs through joint games
● Direct the dog's attention to the owner through orientation training
● Species-appropriate employment and dog sport for utilization
You need a lot of patience for this and you have to remain consistent. It is better to use short, simple training sessions that you slowly increase than to overwhelm your dog with a full training plan. However, you should not overwhelm your companion either, after all, boredom is often the cause of undesirable to destructive dog behavior.
Correctly raise a hunting dog: you have to be aware of that
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What is anti-hunting training at the dog school?
Some dog schools and dog trainers offer professional anti-hunting training, which can also be found under the term hunting replacement training. In principle, you and your dog do the same thing that you can do at home to slow down the strong hunting instinct: You teach your dog that it no longer chases everything that moves, but turns to you first ,
The goal is for your four-legged friend to develop alternative behaviors that are more fun than hunting. With professional guidance and a structured approach, it is often easier to prevent problem behavior.
If nothing helps: just let the dog outside on a leash
As long as your dog is chasing everything that moves and is difficult to tame, you should only take him outside on a leash. It is advisable to keep passionate hunters in the house and not in a kennel in the garden, where the neighboring cat can run in front of him at any time or where he is constantly sniffing the scent of wild animals.
Despite intensive anti-hunting training, some dogs will never be able to walk without a leash. However, if the bond between you and your pet is good and you have practiced leashing with him sufficiently, your dog will not mind.
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