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 Very High Prey Drive!

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HalluinogenicHusky
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PostSubject: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:09 pm

Greetings.

I'am new here and have some questions.

I have a Husky who is almost 14 Months old.
She is female and her name is Walnut.

She is a very loving Dog, but ever since she was a puppy she has had the highest prey drive I have ever seen in a Husky.

She would hunt and kill Raccoons 2x her size at age 4 months old.
She could catch low flying birds out of the air and eat them.
Rabbits, Cats, even a Coyote when she was 7 months old she killed it and it was much bigger than she.

Currently my neighbor has a small Terrier and sometimes he comes over to our yard and Walnut today almost got him... which would have been not good and very difficult to explain.

She does not make friends easily, especially with smaller Dogs.

This is not my first Husky. We had a family Husky and he is still alive just turned 17 this year. Walnut is fine with him, but she just has this Prey drive that cannot be stopped.

My partner wanted a Cat and we got one, but we had to give it away due to Walnut was going to eat the poor kitten.

We have done everything and her Prey drive always kicks In.

I have not seen anything like this before.

To add, she is amazing with our 8 month old daughter and other humans.
She just has this Prey drive for other animals.

She is trained, does tricks etc and are currently teaching her to not pull with her Harness.

(Will be trying to teach offleash training this summer, but with her Prey drive may not be possible.)

Any help would be great.

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MiyasMomma
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Location : west Texas

PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:51 pm

Welcome to the forum Mathew.....tricky question. As a kid growing up we had a husky x gsd that was exactly like your Walnut. My current husky Miya does have a high prey drive, but we introduced her to all animals at a young age, and desensitized her to not wanting to chase and kill. Today if she goes off after an animal, we say Miya Stay! and she stops the chase. I am going to say at 14 months old you may have missed your window of opportunity to train her to not chase and kill. I would not go off leash at all with her unless she has the highest respect for recall and for the stay command. If she is weak in either of those, she is not a good candidate for off leash, and to be truly honest most huskies are not the best candidates for off leash, even those who are not as high drive as your girl. Most will take off. As far as reactivity towards domestic animals, other dogs and cats, hmmm, I wouldn't have a cat in house, and if you are really good at training, I would start trying to work with her on leash with other dogs and slowly introduce her. If you are not real skilled in difficult dogs, as in huge reactivity to other dogs, you may want to look for a highly skilled trainer to work with you and Walnut. A place I would look into is a trainer who is well schooled in high drive dogs, like a gsd, malinois, husky, those type of dogs are frequent leash reactive type dogs. If you have a gsd or malinois club that is local that would be my first place I would look at, I know she is a husky, however, gsd's and malinois have a huge reputation for leash reactivity, and those type of trainers I highly recommend for a husky owner. Those type of clubs would have more knowledge and trainer recommendations that will be local to you.
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TwisterII
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PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:36 pm

Once you miss your chance to socialize a dog properly, it's just gone. If you exercise hard and train hard you can establish tolerance of other dogs but it is going to be on you to contain her from wild animals that can give her parasites or worse and neighborhood dogs you can't control. A good trainer will help a lot. My girl has large prey drive and her previous owner didn't socialize her. A trainer got us to where I can at least pass other dogs on a walk without a death threat, but she will never be okay being left to her own devices with wild animals or small critters. That is as much for her safety as it is for the critters.

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Drewpuck
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PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:46 pm

man, that was scary... lols... but kidding aside, I think from my reading about huskies, they do enjoy preying for small animals... Looking at their background, they are sled dogs who enjoy the outside world... you can't take that from them... they will kill and prey smaller animals...
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HalluinogenicHusky
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PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:33 pm

@MiyasMomma wrote:
Welcome to the forum Mathew.....tricky question. As a kid growing up we had a husky x gsd that was exactly like your Walnut. My current husky Miya does have a high prey drive, but we introduced her to all animals at a young age, and desensitized her to not wanting to chase and kill. Today if she goes off after an animal, we say Miya Stay! and she stops the chase. I am going  to say at 14 months old you may have missed your window of opportunity to train her to not chase and kill. I would not go off leash at all with her unless she has the highest respect for recall and for the stay command. If she is weak in either of those, she is not a good candidate for off leash, and to be truly honest most huskies are not the best candidates for off leash, even those who are not as high drive as your girl. Most will take off. As far as reactivity towards domestic animals, other dogs and cats, hmmm, I wouldn't have a cat in house, and if you are really good at training, I would start trying to work with her on leash with other dogs and slowly introduce her. If you are not real skilled in difficult dogs, as in huge reactivity to other dogs, you may want to look for a highly skilled trainer to work with you and Walnut. A place I would look into is a trainer who is well schooled in high drive dogs, like a gsd, malinois, husky, those type of dogs are frequent leash reactive type dogs. If you have a gsd or malinois club that is local that would be my first place I would look at, I know she is a husky, however, gsd's and malinois have a huge reputation for leash reactivity, and those type of trainers I highly recommend for a husky owner. Those type of clubs would have more knowledge and trainer recommendations that will be local to you.

We did have a Cat when she was 10 weeks old ( when we got her), but he died due to being old.
Ever since then she has become a killing machine.

She is very good with recall , but yes offleash likely will never work.
I have not tested her at the Large Breed Dog park in my area.

Seems she is just this way.

Thanks for sharing:)
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HalluinogenicHusky
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PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:35 pm

@TwisterII wrote:
Once you miss your chance to socialize a dog properly, it's just gone. If you exercise hard and train hard you can establish tolerance of other dogs but it is going to be on you to contain her from wild animals that can give her parasites or worse and neighborhood dogs you can't control. A good trainer will help a lot. My girl has large prey drive and her previous owner didn't socialize her. A trainer got us to where I can at least pass other dogs on a walk without a death threat, but she will never be okay being left to her own devices with wild animals or small critters. That is as much for her safety as it is for the critters.
I should clarify, she is good with larger Dogs, most of them.
She will not attack other dogs on the street and is good with commands.
Its mainly smaller Dogs and wild animals.
As for parasites, she is vaccinated even though I do not believe in vaccinations for myself or family.

I have been looking into a trainer in my area.
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HalluinogenicHusky
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PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:37 pm

@Drewpuck wrote:
man, that was scary... lols... but kidding aside, I think from my reading about huskies, they do enjoy preying for small animals... Looking at their background, they are sled dogs who enjoy the outside world... you can't take that from them... they will kill and prey smaller animals...
You are correct I do not believe you can ever fully train them with such a high prey drive.
Our older Husky is fine with Cats, but wild animals he will hunt including Cows.. another long story there.

You own a Husky? If not, its a great breed if you have the time.
They love winter, mine does.
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Drewpuck
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PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:37 pm

@HalluinogenicHusky wrote:

@Drewpuck wrote:
man, that was scary... lols... but kidding aside, I think from my reading about huskies, they do enjoy preying for small animals... Looking at their background, they are sled dogs who enjoy the outside world... you can't take that from them... they will kill and prey smaller animals...

You are correct I do not believe you can ever fully train them with such a high prey drive.
Our older Husky is fine with Cats, but wild animals he will hunt including Cows.. another long story there.

You own a Husky? If not, its a great breed if you have the time.
They love winter, mine does.

Yup... I own a handsome husky... His name is Hutch... he's 2 months old... I also own a beagle and a chowchow... Here in the phils, we don't have snow but I try to give him a colder climate by electric fan... lols... I guess, we can't train them to restrain themselves to hunt smaller animals... Im just preparing for the future when he grows up larger than us... lols...
Goodluck to your husky... Enjoy guiding and training her to restrain her wild side... Smile
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aljones
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Location : Terlingua, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Very High Prey Drive!   Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:19 am

Since it's been kinda slow, I'm going to put my two cent worth in here.

It's true that Husky's, when living with the Chukchi, were allowed to roam during part of the year and had to fend for themselves. I think it was during the summer, but don't quote me on that. If memory is right, the Chukchi were on the coast during the winter, fishing and the dogs were working.  So from that aspect, yes, they do have a genetic history of being hunters - well, for that matter, I guess all dogs do.

That to the side, we're not dealing with the constant migration and feast or famine existence of the Chukchi ... and neither are our dogs.  Given an early enough start, the proper socializing with other small animals and dogs so that the dog sees all the other animals with whom it comes in contact as either family or friends and I don't think you'll see the high prey drive that is being discussed.  

I have two dogs here, Avalanche hunts, I've wondered a few times if he did when I let him run and one day I saw him with rabbit 'lunch'.  Sasha is possessive about her food, less now than she was after a lot of work.  Neither, that I know of ever had any socialization with cats, but both accepted one who walked in out of the desert and made himself at home.

There's a saying among the farm folk I grew up around that once a dog has had a taste of < rabbit, chicken, calf, ??? > you'll never be able to train them out of hunting it.  On the other hand, any puppy who has been raised around the other animals has a healthy respect for them that lasts all their life.  A puppy who's been initiated by some broody old hen is not apt to go back for more - they've learned their lesson.  

I don't think it's right to assume that any Husky is going to be naturally controlled by their prey drive.  I think it's unfair to the dog and society to not raise the pup so that it's aware of what is prey and what isn't.  Squirrels and rabbits, for example, in my mind would be fair game; but if you're one of those who value the local wildlife, I think that calling the puppy off his 'hunt' (which at puppy stage is more play than serious) will eventually teach the pup what is acceptable and what isn't.

To say that a puppy, who naturally is going to chase anything that runs from it - it's a game! - is going to be prey driven 'just because all Husky's have a strong prey drive' does an injustice to the pup and shows an unwillingness, imho, on the part of the owner to take the time to teach them proper social behaviour. As has been noted, however, the window of opportunity to begin to teach that behaviour is small and once it's missed - once the pup sees other small animals as prey - I don't think you'll ever completely instill your desired bahaviour in them.

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