So being off leash was one of the first things I trained my basenji (1.5 year old girl) to do because I go hiking multiple times a week with my dogs. She does wander and she does chase squirrels and other critters, and I am ok with these behaviors since 1) they’re instinctive and 2) she knows to come back and check in with me. It’s never been a problem.
Recently, however, she’s started to equate small dogs (particularly small fluffy dogs) with prey and shows typical hunting behaviors when we come across them. She stalks, chases and nips at them when she reaches them. Sometimes they run, which of course exacerbates her prey drive.
I’m afraid she’s going to do some real harm and can’t justify having her off leash in the woods anymore, on the off chance we come across a small dog and I’m not able to grab and leash her in time. Right now my plan is to put her on a long lead and go back to the basics, redirecting her any time she wants to chase anything.
I’ve seen other people discuss this issue in the forums and wanted to ask for any tips/tricks/ setting expectations that others have used that have been effective.
My goal is to hopefully one day be able to allow her off leash again but again, I can’t justify it right now
Edit: I think my biggest question is, how do I eventually differentiate squirrels and birds etc from small dogs? I don’t want to forever restrict her from chasing everything, just for her to know what’s appropriate to chase and what’s not