Handling Prey Drive in Your Dog

Let’s talk about…
Prey drive!
What is prey drive?
Prey drive is defined as “an overwhelming desire to chase things.” This may include small furry animals, other dogs, bikes, cars, etc. Prey drive can be dangerous if your dog has not been trained to recall off prey.
So, how can we help limit and reduce the risks of prey drive? Keep your pets leashed while out in public to prevent them from practicing chasing behaviors.
If you have a new puppy, you can help desensitize your puppy to movement every time something moving passes by them, and they look at it calmly without reacting, give them a treat.
This will help teach your puppy to look to YOU for guidance in overwhelming environments.
If your dog isn’t wanting to take treats, is still reacting to cars, bikes, other dogs, etc. Try taking a few steps back. You can also use your body to block their field of vision to help them settle down, as well as gentle reminder with the leash that you are still there. You will also want to use “high value” treats, which will be the food that your dog finds to be the most reinforcing. This should be a special treat that your dog only gets when they respond calmly to the stimulus, and also something the dog finds more reinforcing than chasing the stimulus.
Remember, it’s okay to feel frustrated when dealing with a dog with prey drive. But also please remember that these behaviors are common in many breeds, it is our responsibility to show our dogs the way to act in public and show them there IS another way.