Author Topic: Hunting instinct  (Read 163 times)

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Offline SuperCockerMax

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Hunting instinct
« on: November 15, 2021, 03:41:12 PM »
Hi Everyone!

Our lovely Max is now 10 months old and we've been letting him off leash since 5 months or so and he's always been very good. Recently the behaviour outdoors off leash is becoming a bit more concerning, he runs at max speed for the duration chasing his nose, he does change direction towards us when we whistle, but will not come and sit in front of us anymore. Also he seems to run further away which sometimes gives me a fright. He is completely wired, up to a level that he cannot even eat a treat when he is back on the leash. I do understand that this behaviour is completely instinctive, but it would be good to find a way to get a bit more control over him when outdoors walking him.

I did read the recall article which I will do, just bought a dogs whistle, but not sure if it will work as he's so focussed on the smells around him.

Thanks a mil for any input! :)

Offline bizzylizzy

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Re: Hunting instinct
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2021, 05:58:17 PM »
 :lol2:  Teenagers eh? :shades:  :005: :005:
This is the wonderful age when they seem to have forgotten everything you‘ve painstakingly achieved over the last months!!
I would suggest the long lead and always with a long lead, a good fitting harness.
You‘ll probably hate it, :shades:  especially now he’s running free and you‘ll feel mean  >:(  but its honestly worth sticking it out for a couple of months, it‘ll pay out in the end.
Try and start somewhere where the distraction level is relatively low if you can, let him sniff and wander, every single time he looks up or back at you, praise him - you can throw a treat towards him occasionally. The aim is that he‘ll learn a sense of the distance he‘s allowed to go and will encourage him to keep checking in on you! You can recall him now and again and reward with a game or treat or whatever, but don‘t overdo that either, a couple of times on a walk is enough.
Its a good idea to start teaching some impulse control at the same time, get him to sit and stay while you throw the ball (within the range of the lead)  and then release him to fetch it. Also teaching a stay while you walk a few steps away from him will help his self control. Another useful thing to teach while on the long lead is a STOP (as opposed to a recall).
I swore and complained a lot when I started with the long lead and lost count of the times I nearly tripped over it but, we stuck to it for about 3 months and, although we live in the middle of the country and he‘s off lead most of the time, he‘s very rarely more than about 10 meters in front or behind me.
Hope that helps, Best of luck!  :D

Offline MrsFlintstone

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Re: Hunting instinct
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2021, 07:36:16 PM »
Hey Supercockermax, 👋

Bonny is just coming up to 10months and is doing something very similar. She's had great recall for several months but her lust for squirrels has got the better of her and she having quite a phase!

Oddly, she behaves better on one particular walk but there are certain spots where she's found squirrels previously and she goes NUTS (excuse the pin  :005:). The local park is now a lead walk only zone.

We whistle trained early on and she does still come back... eventually but even high value treats don't trump a squirrel  >:D

I'll certainly be trying out bizzylizzy's suggestions in the hope that she gets through her diva stage a bit faster!

I'll be interested to hear how you get on

Best wishes
Rebecca & Bonny

Offline ips

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Re: Hunting instinct
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2021, 07:54:51 PM »
:lol2:  Teenagers eh? :shades:  :005: :005:
This is the wonderful age when they seem to have forgotten everything you‘ve painstakingly achieved over the last months!!
I would suggest the long lead and always with a long lead, a good fitting harness.
You‘ll probably hate it, :shades:  especially now he’s running free and you‘ll feel mean  >:(  but its honestly worth sticking it out for a couple of months, it‘ll pay out in the end.
Try and start somewhere where the distraction level is relatively low if you can, let him sniff and wander, every single time he looks up or back at you, praise him - you can throw a treat towards him occasionally. The aim is that he‘ll learn a sense of the distance he‘s allowed to go and will encourage him to keep checking in on you! You can recall him now and again and reward with a game or treat or whatever, but don‘t overdo that either, a couple of times on a walk is enough.
Its a good idea to start teaching some impulse control at the same time, get him to sit and stay while you throw the ball (within the range of the lead)  and then release him to fetch it. Also teaching a stay while you walk a few steps away from him will help his self control. Another useful thing to teach while on the long lead is a STOP (as opposed to a recall).
I swore and complained a lot when I started with the long lead and lost count of the times I nearly tripped over it but, we stuck to it for about 3 months and, although we live in the middle of the country and he‘s off lead most of the time, he‘s very rarely more than about 10 meters in front or behind me.
Hope that helps, Best of luck!  :D

A great post 👍
Muddling along in the hope that one day it all makes sense.

Offline cazza

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Re: Hunting instinct
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2021, 05:49:25 AM »
I also have a 10 month old, and noticed her going further a field with her nose to the ground so know what you mean

I used a long line on my last cocker at this age with a harness - must dig out the long line and go and purchase a harness for this one (as I kept the long line but not the harness)

Good luck, the teenage stage feels like a long time at the time just like those early cockerdile moments as a pup did but you get through them and look back and it doesn’t seem quite as long as it felt at the time  ;)

Offline MrsFlintstone

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Re: Hunting instinct
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2021, 07:00:29 PM »
BizzyLizzy

Just wanted to let you know that we have been following your advice for a couple of weeks now and are already seeing results.

Bonny's recall is now much sharper and more reliable. There are still a few hot spots where she hunts squirrels but the long line and cheese produce better behaviour.

A big thank you, great advice!

Offline bizzylizzy

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Re: Hunting instinct
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2021, 08:52:58 PM »
So pleased its helping! Thanks for the update  ;)