Prey Drive in Dogs

Many dogs exhibit behavior that becomes worrying: Prey Drive in Dogs

Generally, this behavior is part of the canine species seeking to collect food.
In a predatory dog, this means they have a prey drive that directs hunting, chasing, and killing techniques.

Its main characteristic is based on the action of catching any moving object.

  • Usually, the prey drive is the action that leads to pursuing a moving object.
  • It is a behavior of dogs when they discover prey, chase it, jump on it to catch it, kill it and then take it away to eat it in a safe place.
  • When discussing the prey drive in dogs, it is inevitable to overlook the hunting drive, as the two are interrelated.
  • The hunting instinct in dogs is usually present in states where the basic purpose is to hunt for food on what is hunted.
  • In domestic dogs, it is difficult to find this type of instinct due to their upbringing, unless they are wild dogs.
  • In general, dogs have been modified, and today it is common to see them chasing balls, rodents, or hares. They do it to satisfy their instincts.
  • It is important to note that hunting instincts can vary from dog to dog due to various factors.
  • Also, it will not always be with the same intensity within a race.
  • Indeed, it can be determined by the dog’s breeding, potency, and genetics.
  • The hunting instinct is neither positive nor negative.

Prey Drive in Dogs: When does it occur?

  • The prey instinct is the fulfillment of the hunting instinct. That is to say when a dog activates its hunting instinct: the goal is to be able to catch it, causing death so that it can serve food.
  • Although it is in the wild because, as mentioned above, domestic dogs do not need this behavior to obtain food.
  • We speak of innate behavior in dogs because overriding instinct is not viable, at least not in the short term.
  • However, being an instinct, it can be re-engineered and worked on to improve skills, either to perform better on the hunt or for working dogs.

Breeds: some physical and behavioral characteristics of a dog looking for prey

  • When we often talk about a dog with prey, we think of it as a dog with a big jaw and muscles.
  • However, none of this comes close to reality. Dogs with this instinct can be improved based on various factors.
  • Some breeds tend to be more likely to have prey, but this is more down to their physical and behavioral characteristics.
  • A clear example of this is the differences between breeds such as the Jack Russell and a Rottweiler since the former has a high prey drive and is an excellent dog for hunting.
  • Of course, a Rottweiler will have more pressure on its prey when catching it, but it’s not about power. It’s about instinct.
  • On the other hand, some dogs have a much higher hunting/prey instinct than others due to their physical characteristics but cannot perform various tasks in certain areas.
  • These dogs are ideal for carrying out various tasks thanks to their physical, behavioral, and ideal characteristics that make them ready to perform hunting, guarding, and defense.
  • A clear example of a breed with high prey potential is the Bulldog, who cannot perform certain jobs due to physical limitations.
  • But the prey instinct would still be present when chasing a bite or a bullet. This breed is shunned as a working dog but is great for companionship.

Which races have the most prey?

To name just a few races, the following can be said to have a high level of prey:

German shepherd.
Belgian Shepherd.
American Staffordshire Terrier.

Other breeds excel at work, characterized by their strong prey drive.
Some of them are the pit bull terrier and the Dogo Argentino, and both are considered dogs of prey par excellence.

Therefore, it all depends on the type of dog you want to adopt because if you need it for therapy, hunting for prey will not be very important.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an athletic, operational, and gifted working dog for hunting, selecting one with prey instinct qualities from an early age is important.

This way, it will be much easier for the adopter to improve other skills and improve them as the dog grows.

Focus and channel the prey drive in dogs

  • Once the new member arrives in the family, various doubts arise among their adopters.
  • Certain concerns are generated if the dog has a prey drive, among which: How to satisfy the prey drive? Is it okay to let him bite things? Will he become aggressive towards my family or me?
  • All these doubts are extremely common. Having a dog with this instinct, you often don’t know what to do or how the dog might react.
  • It is normal that if the dog arrives in a new family, it is because his character is already known, the desire he has to bite, and the intensity with which he does it.
  • This shouldn’t be a problem. The problem is when the necessary tools and knowledge don’t exist to help you channel your instincts properly.
  • Important: As complex as it may seem, to satisfy the prey drive in a dog, it is important to work on it constantly.
  • There’s no point in ignoring the dog, scolding it, and shaking its teether angrily because it didn’t have the patience.
  • Adopting a dog, prey or not, is a responsibility acquired by making it a new family member.
  • In this sense, it is very important to cover all their needs, including the prey the dog may have.

How is a Prey Drive in Dogs?

Once it is clear that any breed or domestic dog can have prey, their characteristics may differ, as well as the way they are covered.

Some dogs have earned the nickname “dogs of prey” for the following reasons:

Strong-muscled dogs:

  • These dogs have athletic bodies and are fast and very powerful. They have a large skull and a highly developed Masoretic area, which gives them great power.
  • They are characterized by perfection in capturing their prey and fixing the bite without releasing it at any time. All this is accompanied by great tenacity and unparalleled strength.
  • They also fight dogs because sometimes they nullify their survival and do not release their prey, putting it ahead of their own life.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a High Prey Dog

  • There is no downside to chasing prey in a dog.
  • The important thing is that you have the necessary knowledge to meet a dog’s demands and needs with this instinct.
  • On the other hand, there are big advantages when it comes to dogs that love sports.
  • Since then, they are easier to train in the sports field, but they can also be trained in any other practice that one wishes.
  • Even though these dogs enjoy running, chasing the ball, and doing rescues, these are still disciplines that should be rewarded when necessary, such as offering them appetizing toys to chew on.
  • This way, better task performance can be ensured, as he will wait for his prize.

Optimal Games for a Bulldog

  • Some games can quench a dog’s prey drive and help increase or decrease it.
  • The emotional state and the adequate physical form are important to carry out the various games to satisfy the prey drive.
  • In short, the dog must be in good health to play this game.
  • It is important not to force him. It is not a job but a game to satisfy his instincts, so the dog should not be subjected to different levels of stress or frustration.
  • With these points in mind, you can start with some basic exercises to start working on the prey drive in your animal:

The Swing

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????It is important to place it correctly.
????The correct way for the dog to perform this exercise is with its body vertical to ????the ground.
????His hind legs should be supported in the same way.
????This way, the dog can work different parts of his body and is free from possible falls and risks.
????It is possible that as a result of a bad fall, this can lead to serious consequences.

Tug of War

????This exercise consists of a fight for the biter.
????Two dogs should be placed in front of each other at reasonable distances.
????This game is similar to the tug-of-war game many people used to play. Only the tool, in this case, will be the jawbone.
????It is an exercise where different areas of the dog’s body are worked, such as the neck, the Masoretic, and lumbar areas.

Flirt Pole

????It is one of the games most used by adopters and preferred by most dogs.
????It uses a stick with a bit attached to a rope at its end.
????The game has us taking the dog to different changes of direction, as well as different speeds and heights.

????Among all the exercises mentioned, this one can become one of the most suitable because adopters also share the moment of play with their dogs.

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Hunting prey is more of a skill than a problem for many adopters.
It is important to know a dog in depth before adopting it because it can prevent the abandonment of many animals that show this instinct in front of their adopters.

A well-trained dog can become an excellent companion for various hunting and companionship tasks.

Therefore, viewing prey drive as a problem will not help to improve the situation of a dog that requires training to control and drive it properly.

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