Training the High Prey Drive Dog

If your dog has a strong prey drive, you can actually use this to your advantage in training. Some breeds with low prey drive will find nothing more rewarding and enjoyable than a doggie treat. Some dogs can’t get enough of pats, hugs and rubs of affection from their owners. Not so with high prey drive dogs. They love to chase! Balls, ropes, frisbees are the apple of their eye. This can work to your advantage; treats and pats may be part of every day interaction with you, but using a game of fetch or a tug-of-war rope session to reward and reinforce good behavior can be very effective when training these breeds.

There are several commands you will want your high prey drive dog to know and obey. Above all you want it to know that your commands are more important than the desire to chase. One example that I use is within the game of fetch or tug-of-war. My dog goes absolutely bonkers for tug of war and fetch. But through training, it is able to discipline itself because it knows that I am in control of the game.

With tug of war, I will place the rope on the ground. The dog’s impulse will be to snatch the prey and get the game going! But I say “NO!” and will not participate in the game until she drops it. After you succeed in getting her to wait for you, you can start making moves toward the rope. This will usually result in the dog immediately snatching it up, thinking the game has started. Again, firmly reprimand your dog and refuse to play until she drops it. Gradually continue until you get your dog to the point where it will sit completely still as the rope is placed on the ground and you pick it up in your hand. At that point graciously praise your dog and reward it with a good game of tug-of-war! This is just one way you can use your dog’s high prey drive to actually discipline that very drive!

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