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Old 08-12-2010, 02:20 PM
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jenv101 jenv101 is offline
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Default Squirrel!

Question:

What do I do with a 60lb, 6 month old Malinois who loses his mind every time he sees a squirrel?? This is a new obsession of his Makes walking him difficult sometimes!

But seriously, it's like nothing else in the world exists (including me) if there is a squirrel in sight. He's always on the lookout for them too.

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:59 AM
Pops2 Pops2 is offline
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get your hunting license?
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Pops2 View Post
get your hunting license?
ROFL.

Very nice Pops. Very nice.

I actually laughed out loud for real at that one.

I have no suggestions for you other than possibly the Look at That game, and making squirrels less rewarding.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:45 AM
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What training do you do with him? Do you do any prey drive work with him?
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:37 AM
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Great idea Pops

How do I make squirrels less rewarding? He doesn't get to chase them unless there happens to be one in the yard.

He seems to have a VERY high prey drive. We do not do any prey drive work with him at the moment though, just obedience. Would that help or make it worse? Where should I start?
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenv101 View Post
How do I make squirrels less rewarding? He doesn't get to chase them unless there happens to be one in the yard.

He seems to have a VERY high prey drive. We do not do any prey drive work with him at the moment though, just obedience. Would that help or make it worse? Where should I start?
Working in prey drive with him won't make it worse if you do it properly, because he will learn that you are the best source of drive satisfaction, not the squirrels. Why chase squirrels when you have the best prey item ever right there in your hand?

When you have a high drive dog who is not getting drive satisfaction they look to satisfy it themselves in other ways, like chasing squirrels. Sometimes this can present in other ways too like the dog becoming destructive etc. It's not really a case of making the squirrels less rewarding, but making complying with your commands the best way to gain drive satisfaction which is what the dog is trying to do when he chases the squirrels.

Mals are awesome dogs, if you can harness his prey drive and use it to your advantage you can get him working in prey drive for obedience too. I'm yet to see a better working, better looking, more consistent competition dog than one trained in drive.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:32 AM
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Thank you! He IS an awesome dog and I know he just needs more to do. So I guess the next question becomes how do I work him in prey drive? Do you have any suggestions or resources I could look into? I will also talk to our trainer about this and see what he has to say.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:49 AM
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You can try starting with teaching a leave it (or another command) when you throw a ball or another toy or a treat. If he leaves it you give a treat and can then release him to go get the toy or treat. Unfortunately squirrels are much more distracting than toys or treats so I don't know how well the command will translate but it's worth a try. If he listens give a treat and if you can release him and run with him on the leash towards the squirrel so it runs up a tree and then continue on your walk.

Or you could try something like dragging him off in the other direction when he goes nutso and letting him walk towards the squirrel if he's in control.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:04 AM
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Hey Jenv101, I will PM you some info
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
Or you could try something like dragging him off in the other direction when he goes nutso and letting him walk towards the squirrel if he's in control.
Personally I wouldn't be using the squirrel as a reward at all - I think walking him towards it without actually letting him capture it will frustrate the dog and make him want it even more. I think the OP would have a lot more luck developing the dog's prey drive with a toy like a tug, so he learns that she is the best source of drive satisfaction, which if done properly will teach the dog to have focus and self control around prey items like squirrels. (JMO of course!)
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