Hunting problems

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Hunting problems

Post by Gaby » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:24 am

Hi everybody,

I could use some help or tips with the off-lead training with Mila, it is not going like I would like it to because of her hunting instinct.
Her recall is good and she stays nearby normally. There are little ups and downs now, because she is only 12 months old and she reached puberty so I have to be creative again sometimes. For a dog her age I'm very pleased with her recall. She comes when she is playing with other dogs and she usually stays in sight. Unless she spots or smells(!) a cat, a sheep, a deer, chickens or other animals. When she is off-lead, she sometimes just takes off, with no warning signs. She goes out of sight in a blink of an eye and nothing will stop her chasing animals. I find this quite difficult, and it is frustrating me. :( I don't want a dog on the leash and that is a reason why I chose a Tamaskan instead of a breed like a Saarloos wolfdog or a Husky, because I find train-ability and walking off leash very important.
I take obedience classes with her and she does that very well. But there are only other dogs that can distract her, no wildlife or other animals. And she isn't bothered with other dogs, only if I allow her to. If I take a class with her she does everything off leash and just stands by my side waiting for the next exercise.
When I walk with her I have whole meals and squiky toys in my pockets, but she doesn't care how nice the treats are if she starts chasing something. I also worked with a long leash, but she knows the difference very well between a long leash or no leash. If she has a long leash she knows she can't chase anything and she won't try it at all.

Who has the same problems with their Tamaskan and who can provide me with tips what to do?

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Vajente » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:46 am

I don't have that problem with Ravi, he is not interrested in wildlife, but he is used to having al kind of different animals around him and he knows he is not allowed to chase them. Whenn we encouter wildlife in the woods, he will just watch and when he wants to go closer I just say no and he stops. Don't you know anyone with cats or sheep were you can work on learning her to ignore them?

I do know how hard it can be. My mothers dog (german pointer) is a hunter too and he also grew up with other animals but stills hunts. He has killed one off our chickens, a hare and even a small deer. We tried everything, went to huntingclasses with him but even the trainers there couldn't help us. We had only 2 options left, never letting him offleash anymore or use a shock colar. We did the last and it worked perfectly. Just 2 sessions with the colar and it was over. He listens great now, only once in a while he starts hunting again, when that happens we will just put the colar back on for one walk and he will be fine for another couple of months. Offcourse a shock colar should only be used when you have tried everything.

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by JulieSmith » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:17 pm

I think I would have a similar problem if we had rabbits and deer on our walks. Saga is great until she spots a small dog and then she dashes up to play with them. I was thinking of trying a collar that gives a squirt of citrus smell so that it breaks that concentration and let's her focus back on me. I spoke to one owner who used one to teach his flat coat retriever to stop on a whistle command at distance he said it worked but they are a bit expensive. Might be worth it to stop her upsetting small dog owners :roll:

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Booma » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:02 pm

JulieSmith wrote:I think I would have a similar problem if we had rabbits and deer on our walks. Saga is great until she spots a small dog and then she dashes up to play with them. I was thinking of trying a collar that gives a squirt of citrus smell so that it breaks that concentration and let's her focus back on me. I spoke to one owner who used one to teach his flat coat retriever to stop on a whistle command at distance he said it worked but they are a bit expensive. Might be worth it to stop her upsetting small dog owners :roll:

Theres also the fact that not everyone has a friendly dog.
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Re: Hunting problems

Post by PawPrint » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:47 pm

I do not have a Tam (yet :D ) but I read an article in Dogs today that sounded like a good trick... though it is a very "back-to-basics" sort of method.

It was a similar situation, a dog that recalled fine in safe areas without scent distractions... but would run off chasing wildlife without warning and not return until he was ready. The owner and the trainer started working on a "leave it" command. First indoors, then outdoors and around distractions.

They used the command as a signal to get the dog to turn away from a treat on the floor in front of them, or a treat being offered to them by somebody else, and then progressed to getting the dog to leave a treat that was rolled across the floor in front of them or thrown past them.

I guess the aim of this is to refocus the attention on the owner, and try to make the response almost automatic as they learn when they obey the "leave it" they get a better reward in return. They didn't mention this in the article, but may be good to have someone on standby to pick up the distraction treat, so the wrong behavior isn't reinforced.

They progressed to using more appealing treats as the thrown distraction and when the dog had the leave command right they went out and tested it near a group of stags (though on the lead). When the dog put her head up and showed interest they first used the "leave it" then the recall praising and rewarding when they did. They kept walking around near the stags and getting a bit closer until eventually the dog became more interested in watching the owner then the stags. I agree with vajente, trying to find someone who owns livestock would be a really good first step. Just to try and get Mila learn to focus on you when you are around them.

I do seem to have waffled on a bit there :?

hope at least a little of that was useful! :lol:

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by JulieSmith » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:17 pm

PawPrint wrote:I do not have a Tam (yet :D ) but I read an article in Dogs today that sounded like a good trick... though it is a very "back-to-basics" sort of method.

It was a similar situation, a dog that recalled fine in safe areas without scent distractions... but would run off chasing wildlife without warning and not return until he was ready. The owner and the trainer started working on a "leave it" command. First indoors, then outdoors and around distractions.

They used the command as a signal to get the dog to turn away from a treat on the floor in front of them, or a treat being offered to them by somebody else, and then progressed to getting the dog to leave a treat that was rolled across the floor in front of them or thrown past them.

I guess the aim of this is to refocus the attention on the owner, and try to make the response almost automatic as they learn when they obey the "leave it" they get a better reward in return. They didn't mention this in the article, but may be good to have someone on standby to pick up the distraction treat, so the wrong behavior isn't reinforced.

They progressed to using more appealing treats as the thrown distraction and when the dog had the leave command right they went out and tested it near a group of stags (though on the lead). When the dog put her head up and showed interest they first used the "leave it" then the recall praising and rewarding when they did. They kept walking around near the stags and getting a bit closer until eventually the dog became more interested in watching the owner then the stags. I agree with vajente, trying to find someone who owns livestock would be a really good first step. Just to try and get Mila learn to focus on you when you are around them.

I do seem to have waffled on a bit there :?

hope at least a little of that was useful! :lol:
Good advice going to try this first Saga knows the leave it command I just need to improve it

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Kootenaywolf » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:20 pm

I had some issues with my dog chasing deer, as well (and, for the record, we have goats/chickens/horses etc and he know very well the difference!). He was never too intense about it, he would only run for a minute or two and then come back. He's a Rough Collie so had the herding "chase" instinct but no real hunt/kill prey drive.

Anyway, I took a 3 month long professional trainers program with him and now the problem has pretty much stopped. We did a LOT of recall off distraction, but it is very true that running deer is in a whole league of it's own and also hard to set up! (deer don't just show up whenever you want to practice!) Anyway, what I found most useful is the "HEY!" command. It means stop in your tracks no matter WHAT! I taught it on the longline, with minimal distraction at first, huge praise when they turn to look at you (so usually they come back in to get a treat). Built up distraction, still with longline, never giving them the chance to ignore the command (so don't use it unless you have some way to back it up). What we did was progress to dragging a leash, and then eventually to a shortrope about 4 inches long made of the same material as the longrope. It seems to have a "mental leash" effect on the dogs, they can still smell the rope and feel it dangling. Now the command is SO ingrained in him that if I shout HEY even if he is in mid chase, he stops and comes back.

I don't know if that is helpful at all...you have probably tried most of this stuff. The only other thing I have heard really works is an e-collar but I don't think I would personally use this. I just know someone who had a really bad deer chaser, and he trained her with the e-collar and now if she ever sees a deer she just turns and looks at him. So it worked for them...and I guess it is good in a way for the dog, because she risked getting shot by someone when she was running deer...also because now she can still go out on her offleash runs, otherwise she probably would have started needing to be on leash a lot more or not go out to the areas that had deer any more (which is just about everywhere around here). But I know e-collar are a very controversial subject!

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by JulieSmith » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:14 pm

Kyliedelonge wrote:
JulieSmith wrote:I think I would have a similar problem if we had rabbits and deer on our walks. Saga is great until she spots a small dog and then she dashes up to play with them. I was thinking of trying a collar that gives a squirt of citrus smell so that it breaks that concentration and let's her focus back on me. I spoke to one owner who used one to teach his flat coat retriever to stop on a whistle command at distance he said it worked but they are a bit expensive. Might be worth it to stop her upsetting small dog owners :roll:

Theres also the fact that not everyone has a friendly dog.
That has not been too much of a problem, she is more polite with larger dogs and if they do snap at her she backs off quickly, she is submissive if they show any signs of aggression especially if they are medium to large dog, small ones she seems to think they are playing :oops:

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by AZDehlin » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:58 am

JulieSmith wrote:
Kyliedelonge wrote:
JulieSmith wrote:I think I would have a similar problem if we had rabbits and deer on our walks. Saga is great until she spots a small dog and then she dashes up to play with them. I was thinking of trying a collar that gives a squirt of citrus smell so that it breaks that concentration and let's her focus back on me. I spoke to one owner who used one to teach his flat coat retriever to stop on a whistle command at distance he said it worked but they are a bit expensive. Might be worth it to stop her upsetting small dog owners :roll:

Theres also the fact that not everyone has a friendly dog.
That has not been too much of a problem, she is more polite with larger dogs and if they do snap at her she backs off quickly, she is submissive if they show any signs of aggression especially if they are medium to large dog, small ones she seems to think they are playing :oops:
Zephyr is the same way I have started to notice how much more submissive he is with big dogs. But if it's a little dog he wants to dive right in cause he thinks they are playing but they are probably scared of him. Not to mention I think he would hurt a little dog cause he paws and likes to sit on top of other dogs and pull their ears :roll:

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by skyedream » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:55 am

Aww... he sounds like a playground bully! Cute!
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Re: Hunting problems

Post by TerriHolt » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:59 am

skyedream wrote:Aww... he sounds like a playground bully! Cute!
:lol: i thought it sounded like that too.. boys pulling girls pig-tails :D

i think sam would hurt them with his paws... he paws a lot. it's actually the only thing i never had to teach him, he's always just sat and automatically given paw... thats not too good with small kids tho... his paw goes higher than their head and comes down hard :oops:

i'm undecided if sam would hunt and kill or hunt and play... i hope play but i'm thinking not. he's found a new interest in birds when they fly over head... tries to ump up to catch them as if he can um 10 ft high :roll: ... hope he's not too bothered when i get a parrot :?
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Re: Hunting problems

Post by skyedream » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:23 pm

TerriHolt wrote:... hope he's not too bothered when i get a parrot :?
Just don't get too attached to it! I used to have a budgie, not sure whether to blame the dog or that cat for that one!
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Re: Hunting problems

Post by TParham86 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:09 pm

Mona Lisa too, very submissive with big dogs but tends to pick on the little ones :oops: She does however seem to have a problem with biting the other dogs back legs :?: big or small and I can't figure out why she does that :?: I know she's playing but I can tell it annoys the other dogs and they usually end up snapping at her or just falling over :oops:

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by JulieSmith » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:07 pm

TParham86 wrote:Mona Lisa too, very submissive with big dogs but tends to pick on the little ones :oops: She does however seem to have a problem with biting the other dogs back legs :?: big or small and I can't figure out why she does that :?: I know she's playing but I can tell it annoys the other dogs and they usually end up snapping at her or just falling over :oops:
Saga goes for the back leg as well and the throat :oops: she has a staffie whippet cross friend that she loves to play with and they both play like that, but it makes it hard to convince an owner who does not know her that she is it trying to eat their dog :oops:

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by TParham86 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:30 pm

JulieSmith wrote:
TParham86 wrote:Mona Lisa too, very submissive with big dogs but tends to pick on the little ones :oops: She does however seem to have a problem with biting the other dogs back legs :?: big or small and I can't figure out why she does that :?: I know she's playing but I can tell it annoys the other dogs and they usually end up snapping at her or just falling over :oops:
Saga goes for the back leg as well and the throat :oops: she has a staffie whippet cross friend that she loves to play with and they both play like that, but it makes it hard to convince an owner who does not know her that she is it trying to eat their dog :oops:

Oh good it's not just my dog then :P Mona has a Rottweiler mix friend that she loves to play with too but she has a bit of a hip issue (she has pains here and there) and I just feel bad when she's is always pulling her leg :oops: thankfully her owner is a good friend of mine and completely understands that it’s Mona's way of trying to play :)

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by JulieSmith » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:34 pm

TParham86 wrote:
JulieSmith wrote:
TParham86 wrote:Mona Lisa too, very submissive with big dogs but tends to pick on the little ones :oops: She does however seem to have a problem with biting the other dogs back legs :?: big or small and I can't figure out why she does that :?: I know she's playing but I can tell it annoys the other dogs and they usually end up snapping at her or just falling over :oops:
Saga goes for the back leg as well and the throat :oops: she has a staffie whippet cross friend that she loves to play with and they both play like that, but it makes it hard to convince an owner who does not know her that she is it trying to eat their dog :oops:

Oh good it's not just my dog then :P Mona has a Rottweiler mix friend that she loves to play with too but she has a bit of a hip issue (she has pains here and there) and I just feel bad when she's is always pulling her leg :oops: thankfully her owner is a good friend of mine and completely understands that it’s Mona's way of trying to play :)
I am relieved that it is not just Saga as well, it can be embarrassing when the other owner thinks she is trying to rip the leg off, but she has never hurt another dog yet and has never shown any intention to either. I think I will work on the leave it command so that she does not charge up to small dogs, but she is getting a lot better as she gets older, so hopefully as she matures she will get even better.

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by TerriHolt » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:27 am

sorry but i gotta laugh at the amount of :oops: 's flashing on my screen :D
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Re: Hunting problems

Post by AZDehlin » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:50 am

JulieSmith wrote:
TParham86 wrote:Mona Lisa too, very submissive with big dogs but tends to pick on the little ones :oops: She does however seem to have a problem with biting the other dogs back legs :?: big or small and I can't figure out why she does that :?: I know she's playing but I can tell it annoys the other dogs and they usually end up snapping at her or just falling over :oops:
Saga goes for the back leg as well and the throat :oops: she has a staffie whippet cross friend that she loves to play with and they both play like that, but it makes it hard to convince an owner who does not know her that she is it trying to eat their dog :oops:

Is it only peoples females nipping on back legs? Zephyr pulls dogs tails :oops:

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by HiTenshi16 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:16 pm

AZDehlin wrote:
JulieSmith wrote:
TParham86 wrote:Mona Lisa too, very submissive with big dogs but tends to pick on the little ones :oops: She does however seem to have a problem with biting the other dogs back legs :?: big or small and I can't figure out why she does that :?: I know she's playing but I can tell it annoys the other dogs and they usually end up snapping at her or just falling over :oops:
Saga goes for the back leg as well and the throat :oops: she has a staffie whippet cross friend that she loves to play with and they both play like that, but it makes it hard to convince an owner who does not know her that she is it trying to eat their dog :oops:

Is it only peoples females nipping on back legs? Zephyr pulls dogs tails :oops:
My other dog will nip on their back legs as well, usually when they're on their backs. Ulric will just bark in their face.
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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Gaby » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:17 am

Thanks to everyone that replied in this topic, I forgot to answer, but did thought about the advice of course. ;)
Vajente wrote: Don't you know anyone with cats or sheep were you can work on learning her to ignore them?
I already tried that since she was a little puppy. I've let her around cats from the beginning, but her hunting instinct is there so heavy that I can't teach her to ignore other animals. She will "ignore" them, but if they start running she will chase them. Always. Can't seem to offer her anything better than the chase.
Vajente wrote:I do know how hard it can be. My mothers dog (german pointer) is a hunter too and he also grew up with other animals but stills hunts. He has killed one off our chickens, a hare and even a small deer. We tried everything, went to huntingclasses with him but even the trainers there couldn't help us. We had only 2 options left, never letting him offleash anymore or use a shock colar. We did the last and it worked perfectly. Just 2 sessions with the colar and it was over. He listens great now, only once in a while he starts hunting again, when that happens we will just put the colar back on for one walk and he will be fine for another couple of months. Offcourse a shock colar should only be used when you have tried everything.
Very difficult with your Pointer. Nice the collar seemed to work!
I informed for hunting classes, but they only take in hunting breeds. But I'm having an appointment with a behaviour specialist. I've tried a lot now and it seems to get better with birds, but with cats, deer and sheep it is only getting worse. Where I live there are ditches filled with water between the paths where you walk on and pastures with sheep, but that is not a problem for her, she swims to the other side. :? It only happened once when she was a puppy that she went after sheep, but now when it is getting spring the sheep are going back to the pastures and I'm very scared she will go over to them and chase them. And there are a lot of sheep around here if I take her for the long walk. If I stay around the place where we live, there are a lot of cats. When it is dark, the only thing she does is smelling where the cats are, checking under every car, and in every place where there could possibly be a cat. And if I take her to the woods, then she starts chasing deer. There are no chase free zones around here I'm afraid. And it is not that she is getting no exercise, that has nothing to do with it or else I could change that. She is getting enough of mental and physical exercise.

I've tried an other method, only feed her on walks with a prey dummy filled with food so she has to pay good attention at me, but it didn't work with my other dog. He is protective against other dogs if I carry food around. And walking them separate is no option either, that takes to much time and Mila will wreck the house or car when she is left there alone without the other dog. And I think it is unfair to my other dog to walk less with him than with Mila.
PawPrint wrote:I do not have a Tam (yet :D ) but I read an article in Dogs today that sounded like a good trick... though it is a very "back-to-basics" sort of method.

It was a similar situation, a dog that recalled fine in safe areas without scent distractions... but would run off chasing wildlife without warning and not return until he was ready. The owner and the trainer started working on a "leave it" command. First indoors, then outdoors and around distractions.

They used the command as a signal to get the dog to turn away from a treat on the floor in front of them, or a treat being offered to them by somebody else, and then progressed to getting the dog to leave a treat that was rolled across the floor in front of them or thrown past them.

I guess the aim of this is to refocus the attention on the owner, and try to make the response almost automatic as they learn when they obey the "leave it" they get a better reward in return. They didn't mention this in the article, but may be good to have someone on standby to pick up the distraction treat, so the wrong behavior isn't reinforced.

They progressed to using more appealing treats as the thrown distraction and when the dog had the leave command right they went out and tested it near a group of stags (though on the lead). When the dog put her head up and showed interest they first used the "leave it" then the recall praising and rewarding when they did. They kept walking around near the stags and getting a bit closer until eventually the dog became more interested in watching the owner then the stags. I agree with vajente, trying to find someone who owns livestock would be a really good first step. Just to try and get Mila learn to focus on you when you are around them.

I do seem to have waffled on a bit there :?

hope at least a little of that was useful! :lol:
Thanks for your advice. She already knows this command and can ignore food if I tell her to, and I teached her this the same way as you describe. She can look at me when she is on the leash, but as soon as the animal starts moving she looses her attention. Then you see her pupils go wide and she starts to be in 'hunting mode' in a split second. When she is off leash I don't have control at all. The training would take years I guess and now and then she has success and the whole training has to start all over again, when she did chase an animal. The hunting instinct is so strong, I can see she probably would never listen is she spots an animal running. And I'm very cautious, but sometimes it is just not predictable, like when a cat runs of before her.

@ Kootenaywolf, I'm going to the behaviour specialist and maybe we'll do that long leash training first. But I doubt if I get the instinct under control. I've trained more dogs, my other dog (much more difficult dog than Mila is) can walk off leash in the middle of the city, and I never had to use drastic measures. He is not good with intact male dogs, but I can call him with me and get his attention whenever I need to. A male dog can put his nose under his tail and if I tell him to follow me he will ignore the other dog, although he would rather "tell" him to bug off. :lol: And that was a lot of hard work, but I knew I would succeed eventually. I just have my doubts with Mila. :|
If my choice will be never off leash or an e-collar, I would use an e-collar. Mila is no dog to be on the leash all the time and I've seen somebody else with an e-collar and it worked very well. Although it is not my first choice and I would seldom recommend to use such a thing (I hate those things to be honest), I just don't know what else to do. The chasing she does sounds like your Rough Collie, Mila only likes to chase, it seems like she doesn't bite or kill. But we would like to take her with us on vacations, and there they shoot the dog if they will run after sheep. Especially when they look wolfy like Mila does. And around her the chances she will get hit by a car are very high. I find this really very difficult.. :|

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by JulieSmith » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:12 am

good luck with Mila, I am lucky where I walk there is very few livestock just a few cattle and the odd horse being ridden.

To try and stop Saga dashing up to small dogs I got one of those collars that blow a jet of air out, the idea is that it breaks their concentration from what they are doing so you can attract them. Not sure it works that well on long furred dogs, if I press the button she will stop and look around but then carry on :roll: It also keeps moving round her neck so is often not in the ideal place. The best button on the control is the positive reward button, the first thing to do is teach them that if they hear that sound they are good, bit like clicker training, but you can do it at a distance, so as soon as Saga stops and looks at me when I call I can click good. I am not sure that this type of collar would give enough distraction for such a strong hunt instinct as it does not stop Saga rushing things, but she is starting to come back a bit quicker, I think :lol:

I was talking to another dog walker and they said they tried an electric collar, but only ever used the vibrate setting not the shock setting, so you could always try that. I think if I lived in an area where there was a lot of sheep and wildlife that Saga could chase I would consider the electric collar if everything else failed as she has a high chase instinct she loves to chase birds, squirrels and anything else that runs, luckily for me that usually is other dogs not anything she would harm. The only thing she does really hunt is mice, which she often catches and eats.

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Gaby » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:24 am

Thank you for your reaction! Yes, if the collar gets her out of her concentration/hunting mode and I can call her again it would be great. Good timing with that collar is very important too, I hadn't thought about it to use it as some sort of clicker, great idea! It can improve the timing very much I think. I've talked with a few people who know Mila very well, also on walks and asked what they thought. They would understand it if I would use such a collar. But I would hate it to walk around with a dog with a shock collar... :| I will discuss things with the behaviour therapist and see what we'll do. And I will post some recall movies in the video thread (http://www.tamaskan-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=2869), so you can see how she normally does. ;)

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Booma » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:00 am

Have you thought about having her trained to herd sheep? Sheep dogs are trained to constantly look to their handler to see what they need to do. It might also take away the novelty of the sheep once she gets used to them
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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Gaby » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:07 am

Kyliedelonge wrote:Have you thought about having her trained to herd sheep? Sheep dogs are trained to constantly look to their handler to see what they need to do. It might also take away the novelty of the sheep once she gets used to them
Yes, I have thought about it and a friend of mine herds sheep with her dog, but a shepherd won't use a dog that is hunting and not herding. She is not made to hunt or herd with me as her handler, she wants to do it on her own. I think it will cost a few sheep if she goes in the pasture with them.. Maybe it does take the novelty of the sheep, but they are not around here so I have to drive far. Most sheep herding clubs only take in Border Collies around here.

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Re: Hunting problems

Post by Booma » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:26 am

What's she like on leash with sheep around?
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