Dealing with your dog’s prey obsession problems

Andersenm writes to me:

Hi Adam – Just joined and started on the book – I adopted from a rescue orginization a Border collie/Golden retriever mix of 15 months of age. he definitly needs work but has learned some commands while indoors – problem is his prey obsession, I have had to cover some windows and door windows because he has become totally obsessed with the squirrels outside. Since this is entering week four of our relationship I still use a leash on him in my 1.5 acre fenced yard. I realize I cannot rid him of this as it is natural but do have to temper it some. Anything that would help while I digest your book cover to cover would help. I did raise and train a border collie that we had for 15 years before he passed and do not remember having this much trouble with him.
Mike Andersen


Adam replies:

Hi, Mike:

Most likely, with this breed mix, he’s got a pretty soft temperament– which is a good thing– so it shouldn’t be too hard to correct this.

First: Make sure his exercise requirements are met. (This means: A lot of cardio).

Second: You’re correct in keeping the leash (or a long line, outside) on him… until he’s 100%. I would start with correcting the behavior in the house, using the tab (as described in the book). This is mostly an issue of making your corrections motivational, and then keeping him in the dog crate (in the house) or kennel (outside) when you’re not home. This allows us to make sure the dog is getting corrected CONSISTENTLY until he drops the behavior.

You’re actually quite lucky, because you can channel that prey drive into a ball or a toy, and use it as a motivator to get him to respond to commands extra-fast and with a positive attitude.

Read through the book. I think it’ll make a lot of things clear for you. If you still have questions, please post again and I’ll try to extrapolate on any issue that might not be clear.