Dog kills all small animals, OK with people and other dogs

Posted by moross
Jul 15, 2008
We have a 6-7 year old Lab/Rott mix that found us as a stray.
He is a big baby and gentle with kids and other dogs.
He barks at the neighbors cats as they cross their yard and has killed every small animal (cat, skunk, raccoon) that has entered our yard.
He doesn't bother our inside cat and is alpha over our 4 year old Golden.
He listens well EXCEPT WHEN HE IS CHASING OR CATCHES the small animal. He will not stop until it is dead.
He comes when called while barking at cats.
Where do I start to break him of this? Everytime the neighbors come over we have to put him in the house because if one of their cats follow he will kill it!
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Jan 4, 2010
Hi there

You will find that some dogs tend to have a higher 'prey drive' than others, which means that they feel strongly compelled to chase and perhaps kill small creatures that are running away. This is often innate in many breeds and can be very hard to break a dog of this instinct, as they were once bred for that exact reason. Therefore, to stop your dog from chasing the 'prey', you will have to firstly increase your obedience training with him, until he becomes very reliable with the commands 'come', 'sit-stay' and 'leave'. This is so that if you can catch him in the act, he will obey you and leave them alone. You may find it useful to attach a long rope to his collar initially so that if he suddenly gives chase, you can grab it and give it a tug at the same time as uttering a gutteral growl, so that he will not only be stopped from chasing but also realize that it is something that he is not allowed to do. If he is about to or is chasing something, it is important to get his attention first. Call him once and if he doesn't listen, grab the rope and say 'Ah-ah-ahhh!' at the same time. When he looks at you, give him a command, such as 'sit-stay', immediately. Once he obeys, reward him and give him a treat. Then follow this up with a game so that it gives him an alternate channel for his energy. He will soon realize that he can have fun but also be behaving at the same time.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training!
Posted by Morsey
Jan 18, 2010
Hi Moross, I have the same problem with my 5 yo Lab x Staffy (Bella)- if she sees a cat or possum or rats (no racoons here in Australia!) then she is off after it, across roads etc. If I have her on the lead she will try to chase and it takes all my strength to hold her back.
I growl at her and make her sit and stay but it doesnt seem to have any impact because next time she responds in the same manner.
She is so well behaved in all areas, stopping at roads when I walk her, heeling, coming, sitting and staying, but if something small and fluffy comes our way she responds so quickly.

I am so impressed that you have trained her to leave your cat alone- I don't think I can ever trust Bella with a cat.