What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

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JudyN
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:20 am

Thank goodness you managed to get Delta safe, Erica. Had the owner not seen you there? If she knew her dog hated Delta she should have acted before the GD did.

I learnt about the VoD when being advised to use it on Jasper when he jumped up. It didn't work...
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

ZaraD
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by ZaraD » Mon May 06, 2019 3:15 pm

Been busy here , my sister and little Theo have moved out ( along with her leonberger) she has found a flat that is within her budget , its ground floir and they allowed the dog.

2 days ago a new addition has joined our little family ( just me,mom and lara) my mom was given a 14week old Ragdoll Kitten for her 60th birthday by my brother, who is beyond cute. I will post pics when i can but am very busy with exams at the min. Lara loves Rafa ( moms a huge tennis fan and rafael nadal is her favourite) im so glad they get on well together. My first time owning a cat ( part owning) moms had cats before and is thrilled as shes always wanted a ragdoll. Hes very calm and laid back which mom said is typical of the breed.

Other than that everything is great here.

Hope everyone is good

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JudyN
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Mon May 13, 2019 7:07 am

Mini-rant: spotted on an RSPCA site promoting a large lurcher: 'Typically for sighthounds, Gary has a high prey drive, meaning he is overexcited and reactive around other dogs, cats, birds and small furry things.'

What a failure to understand 'high prey drive', by people who really ought to know what it means :evil: I hope people don't assume from that that all lurchers are reactive to a bunch of random triggers.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Nettle » Mon May 13, 2019 10:00 am

:evil: Relatively few people - even among professionals - know what "prey drive" means. A lot of trainers think it means chasing a ball (oh per-leeeeeze).

As for the RSPCA - grassroots staff are often very good: higher officials markedly less so. I wish animal rescues in general would wise up about dog behaviour, and train their staff in it too.


But then, Very Famous dog ethologists have said that modern pet dogs have no idea about hunting........
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JudyN
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Mon May 13, 2019 11:01 am

I obviously have an old-fashioned pet dog then :lol:

Would 'proper' prey drive in, say, a JRT look very different from that in a sighthound? Or would a JRT shown a barnful of rats show the same sort of focus that Jasper does if he spots a deer?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Nettle » Tue May 14, 2019 3:12 am

The dog reacts to the specific prey. So a lurcher would kill rats the same way as a JRT, and a JRT would run after a deer up to the point where it outpaced him/he couldn't see it. Then he would probably follow its scent or else metaphorically shrug his shoulders and come back.

As for focus - it has to be total, every time. But because the task is different, lurchers recover and calm down instantly after a catch (unless they have terrier genes) while terriers tend to remain wired for the rest of the day.
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Tue May 14, 2019 4:04 am

Happily, Jasper's sighthound genes take precedence over his terrier ones when it comes to calming down after a chase. I was wondering yesterday whether I could compare the focus of prey drive to the focus of a top surgeon absolutely in their zone performing an operation that required all their skill - it would hopefully make much clearer the difference between prey drive and reactivity.

Nettle, how common do you think it is for cats/small fluffy dogs to elicit true prey drive in dogs? Jasper's reaction to cats is absolutely not prey drive (barking, lunging, redirecting onto me), and it makes sense that prey drive in an ex-racer greyhound could be triggered by anything small and fluffy, but I'm not sure how common it would be otherwise.
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Nettle » Wed May 15, 2019 2:45 am

It's one of those "it depends" things.

Jas lives with a cat, finds him/her fascinating, knows he shouldn't get too involved - so when he sees/scents one outside, he's still fascinated, but knows to be wary. Dogs that have not been steadied to cats (I do this with all mine) or who have killed a cat or seen another dog do so, OR have made friendly overtures to a cat and been spiked, will likely become cat killers. It is natural albeit undesirable. But it isn't really prey drive.

With small dogs, once close up any dog knows they are dogs, but sighthound types get there faster and sometimes make mistakes. Again, if it has happened once it is liable to do so again. Sometimes small dogs offer quite aggressive behaviour to big dogs, and the response depends on what has happened then as well as what has happened before. I knew of an occasion when someone thought it was so funny to let 5 terriers charge snarling and snapping at a greyhound. One bit her and held on, and in the blink of an eye they had 4 terriers. That's dog behaviour not prey drive.

That shimmering focus we see as the missile locks on to the target - that's prey drive. Prey drive is NOT aggression. You don't feel aggressive towards your dinner.
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Wed May 15, 2019 6:42 am

I like 'shimmering focus'! I just wondered if some dogs 'love' cats in the same way that they 'love' deer (as you said, aggression doesn't into it at all) - as opposed to the more common dog who 'hates' cats and is aggressive towards them.

To be honest, I'm not at all sure that Jasper associates outside cats with the cat he lives with. I've often wondered how he'd react if he saw another Birman (or a cat that looks similar) - would it be 'cat' or would it be 'another Monty'? He's definitely aggressive to other cats and I'm pretty sure he'd kill one if he got the chance - his self-control with them now is more down to 9 years 'training', aka me trying to keep control when we spot one!
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Nettle » Wed May 15, 2019 7:57 am

It's a fascinating question. I suspect dogs 'grade' prey with a cost/benefit analysis eg more meat on a deer than a rabbit and no more work to catch it, cats can hurt and there isn't much meat on them, therefore do we only catch cats when there is nothing else? Or is everything prey until some things aren't? Or do we do dogs a disservice by imagining a same-level response when some like this and some prefer that?

Some dogs will tackle anything, even if it hurts, and either develop the knack of despatching potential hurters before they can actually hurt them or have it instinctively from the first try. But is that sometimes territorial rather than predatory? For example, wolves eat coyotes, dogs and cats, coyotes eat foxes and dogs and cats, but certain dogs hunted together will make every effort to despatch coyotes and wolves. Coyotes and wolves I suspect see cats just as a meal, and a lot of foxes take cats too, so that tells us a bit. But cats sell their lives dearly, and maybe aren't such a good choice if other prey is about. Hmmmmm.
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Wed May 15, 2019 12:14 pm

Nettle wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:57 am
Or is everything prey until some things aren't? Or do we do dogs a disservice by imagining a same-level response when some like this and some prefer that?
I get the impression that it's almost entirely genetically based - Jasper didn't 'learn' the difference between cats and rabbits, he already knew. And I know, from a horrible early experience, that he knew exactly how to bring down and dispatch a deer efficiently when he was still very young. I'd like to say that he knew the difference between squirrels and rabbits from day one but I can't be sure - we spent a lot of time in the local woods from when he was around 3 months old so he'd soon have learnt that they keep cheating by climbing trees.

A while back, though, he saw a squirrel running across the bottom of a disused clay pit and responded as if it was a rabbit. This was an odd place to see a squirrel (it wasn't that close to trees), and we often see rabbits there, so I'm not sure if he was responding purely instinctively to the location/movement because he would expect something of that size & colour in that location to be a rabbit, or it was a simple case of mistaken identity... I'm not sure if that makes sense, it's a subtle distinction. Maybe 'It's a rabbit! I'm off!' versus 'It's small, grey and fluffy and running in an open space - I'm off!'

But then I'd also say he had some sort of instinctive understanding of lure coursing before he even had a go, just from the look of intent focus as he watched the grown-up dogs do it. And when he had a trial run, you'd think he'd been doing it for years.

And then there's my friend's working lab who 'switched on' the first time she got her shotgun out of its case even though he'd never seen one before. Which I was dubious about, but if instinct can be bred in to focus on particular prey animals, why not inanimate objects too?

The cat question is interesting. Other animals seem to be categorised as 'prey', 'friendly', 'scary' or 'irrelevant' (there's possibly other categories I've missed), but they simply seem to elicit hatred. If they're not scary and not prey, why aren't they irrelevant? Actually foxes are similar - Jasper hates foxes too, possibly more so than cats, but maybe he sees them as threats. Though not the same sorts of threats as huskies and oversized mastiffs used to be, when he'd go and hide behind a tree!
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Nettle » Thu May 16, 2019 9:19 am

Back to the cost/benefit analysis with the squirrel aspect. Or indeed the rabbit aspect. An experienced dog won't chase if there is no chance of a catch. The mental measurements of speed, trajectory, % chance of escape are made so fast, but people don't realise and call the dog "stupid" if it doesn't chase a rabbit that is just beside a rabbit hole, or a squirrel right beside a tree. How stupid dogs must think such people are, especially the ones that hiss "rabbit!" or "get it" when there is zero chance.

Re: foxes: many dogs are hardwired as seeing them as prey, but some will not tackle them at any price. I never yet met a dog that didn't want to chase a deer, and I've known a number that did the catch and despatch before they were a year old.

But cats? Another thing entirely, I suspect. Though I do know a number of incidents where a previously catproof dog killed a cat it had been living with for a long time. I suspect there's a lot more to it, but as the owners weren't present on any of the occasions, maybe the cat just jumped on a sleeping dog.
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