Prey drive with small dogs

@elbrant - You said "I'll have to double check, but I think laws in the states require dogs that attack/kill other dogs to be put down"

Not that I am aware of.... are you thinking about livestock?

@tanza said in Prey drive with small dogs:

Not that I am aware of.... are you thinking about livestock?

This is something that will vary from state to state. I think I'm just remembering something I heard as a young girl. I double checked the legalities in N.C, U.S.A. (where I currently live) and here there is a "one bite rule" where you almost get a pass the first time. The injured party, however, can legally pursue the recovery of their losses under the concept of "negligence". The issue escalates after that first bite and your dog could be labeled a "dangerous dog" which would result in stiffer penalties. And essentially, the laws would apply to any animal (dog, horse, etc.) damaging or injuring another's property (animal, or structure), or family member. So, this isn't restricted to livestock or other dogs, but dog's biting children, and other situations. ...hoping that made sense

@zande said in Prey drive with small dogs:

I wish I shared your optimism. There is no vaccine for the common cold or HIV and a 'flu jab is often only partially effective against one kind of 'flu. The powers that be tell us there will be one - so why amn't I convinced ?

Buying a whistle to use in a dog park is all very well, but if your neighbour has been to the same store, a single blast could bring several dogs of varying breeds to your feet - all of them mightily confused. Developing a piercing whistle as a child and carrying it through to old age, guarantees your own personal dog(s) their own recall signal. Or ? LOL

You're unduly pessimistic about a vaccine. There isn't a vaccine for the common cold, but the common cold is caused by over 200 different viruses, and those are from different families (rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, adenoviruses, etc.) In the case of the novel coronavirus there is only one virus, and it's slowly mutating at that. Plus, given the relatively mild symptoms, how many people would get a cold vaccine if available? Only half of people get a flu shot.

You're also correct there isn't a vaccine for HIV, but no one recovers from HIV so there is no model for what an effective immune response would be. HIV also mutates quickly which is another problem. Also there hasn't been anything near the resources focused on finding a vaccine before, or the urgency for that matter. It is a bit like a war effort. (The flu issue a combination of these two issues -- multiple strains and fast mutations).

You're mistaken about the purpose of the whistle. It isn't a recall. You wouldn't need a whistle for that, and if your dog was the one you were concerned about it wouldn't help. Its basic purpose is to startle the dogs so they break off whatever behavior you're worried about. That will either end the problem or end it temporarily and give you time to physically move to a place where you can end it. As a note, at the parks where I am I'd be surprised if any dog has even rudimentary recall skills.

last edited by DonC

@donc said in Prey drive with small dogs:

the whistle. It isn't a recall.

doodle is spot on when I whistle, as it is unique to the two of us... she's also at attention when I snap my fingers. We have trained eachother...

at the parks where I am I'd be surprised if any dog has even rudimentary recall skills

LOL, yep, that sounds about right. We used to have one young girl who would just repeat her dogs name over and over again. smh I didn't have the heart to explain that her dog was entirely clueless because she wasn't telling it to do anything.

@elbrant said in Prey drive with small dogs:

LOL, yep, that sounds about right. We used to have one young girl who would just repeat her dogs name over and over again. smh I didn't have the heart to explain that her dog was entirely clueless because she wasn't telling it to do anything.

Perhaps his name was her recall? Dogs only attribute meaning to words because we teach them what we mean, and many people I know will call their dog's name and expect the dog to either come or stop what they are doing and pay attention. Either way, it is no worse than bawling "come" as the dog continues to ignore you, which I have seen many times. Perhaps she was astute enough not to poison her recall word when she knew it wouldn't be effective?

last edited by eeeefarm

@donc Thank you for that - yes I am unduly pessimistic. Put it down to age ! Over here at the moment, anyone over 70 is almost expected to succumb to coronavirus if they catch it, and we know we will be the last to receive any protective vaccine. There has been a drive to get old people to sign DNR (do not resuscitate) notices. Which I consider an obscenity and would refuse to do.

Also - I admit I have never experienced a dog park. I guess they are a good second best if there is no wide open (or forested) space available and the only alternative is pavements.

My own whistle is the recall I have used on every dog through the years. To break up a ruckus I scream. They stop, turn around and ask each other 'what's got in to HER ?' But any fracas is invariably between members of my own pack, I don't have to break anything up with strangers because the ones we meet are off-lead 99% of the time and quite happy to meet, sniff and go their separate ways. If they weren't, mine would never be allowed off-leash.

last edited by Zande

Our 4.5 y.o. B "Aten" has been lapsing into fluffy puppy nip to chase behavior of late at the off-leash dog park. I thought he had matured past it, but...

I do warn him as I see it building, "Aten: NO!", but he at times can't resist the temptation before I can get to him and leash him.

Today he bumped and rolled (and nipped?) a tiny fluffy who then screamed bloody murder for a minute or more. (Aten has never hurt another dog beyond a nip, never drawing blood or such, and he's never been in a fight or anything close to one.)

Aten immediately moved away from the puppy when it squealed and I gently approached Aten so he wouldn't dodge, and leashed him. I then brought him to a bench, told him he was a bad basenji and started a lengthy time-out.

I had immediately apologized to the owner of the fluffy, who graciously accepted, but then a dog park acquaintance of mine who has a large doberman started going off on my that I was not harsh enough on Aten. I tried to relay that I don't believe in negative reinforcement training beyond maybe pushing him into a sit, but for the doberman owner that was not enough. (And no, likely not enough for a doberman.)

So, now I wonder what training method I should employ in this scenario. I want to avoid shock collar training (don't I?), and I want Aten to be able to enjoy the off-leash park, but there sure are a lot of irresistible little scared white fluffies around of late...

(I have over 20 years of experience with the breed, and Aten is tightly bonded and does get it when verbally chastised and will behave for several days at least after disappointing his master, but lately he's lapsing back into the prey drive when encountering fearful puppies. Very frustrating.)

Any thoughts on training/correction approaches?

O. K. first lets get the terminology right if we are going to use it. I think you are confusing negative reinforcement with positive punishment (positive is giving something, negative is removing something), actually a "time out" is negative punishment. (denying him access to something he wants). Negative reinforcement is using a stimulus the animal does not like and removing it when he does what you want. Positive reinforcement everyone understands (treats or praise as a reward for doing what is wanted). Positive punishment is an aversive which can be mild or severe. Timing is important in all forms of operant conditioning, but never more so than in positive punishment.

So, in your situation, the problem is that leashing and removing the dog from the situation is negative punishment that he may or may not associate with what he did. By the time you intervene he may not connect it with his behaviour, and even if he does it can work against you because next time he may "evade capture" when he knows he has done something to displease you. Positive punishment after the fact, which seems to be what the Doberman owner was suggesting, is inappropriate and unlikely to work. Immediate positive punishment, if you can pull it off, does work but timing is critical. Dog parks are tricky situations, and sometimes the only safe option is to avoid them or in your case at the least avoid them when the tempting fluffy pups are around. The onus is on you to keep the fluffys safe, and if you can't then you need to stay away.

If you are set on using the dog park, I think you should work on your recall so that your dog is likely to come when you call. This is a particularly difficult thing with hounds, and with Basenjis it can be hard to get a reliable recall, but personally I think it is essential if you are going to let him off leash unless you can control his surroundings. An e-collar (shock collar) can be helpful to teach a recall, but I do not recommend it unless you are committed to learning to use it properly, which would NOT be for positive punishment, but rather for the aforementioned negative reinforcement (a low level stimulus that goes away when he responds correctly), and you do need to know how to train this effectively. The only time an e-collar should be used at higher stim levels is to protect the dog by breaking his concentration if he is chasing something into danger, and then only momentarily. And yes, if you use it this way it will hurt and he will likely yelp, but it generally gets his attention so you can then recall him. E-collars have a bad reputation because people use them inappropriately. For that reason, I generally avoid recommending them, and I only brought it up on this thread because you mentioned it, and therefore must be considering it. Do not go there unless you get some instruction in proper use.

@dogdad - Pretty common in my experience that Basenji will chase small "fluffy" things... remember they are a hound... and the chase/catch is bred into them. BIGGEST reasons that I do not go to dog parks and especially not to the small dog side. In this case I do not agree with eeeefarm in using a e-collar... even if used properly (and that is up for discussion) ... and IMO I would stay away from dog parks... Have you tried him in the large dog side? Again, this is exactly why I would never and never have used dog parks...

I'm with tanza on this, better to avoid the dog parks, but if you must then use the large dog side if there is a choice. And although I have used an e-collar for safety when I took Perry for off leash walks on the farm or in the forest, I would be wary of using one at an off leash park. Too much chance of confusing your dog if a fight broke out. In Perry's case I would never have considered exposing him to other dogs, as he was quite dog aggressive.

@eeeefarm @tanza Thanks for relaying your insights and expertise. I’ve been away from a keyboard and will continue to be for a few more days. Will respond more fully once I am on a keyboard...

last edited by DogDad

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