Help with a 'chaser' please

(13 Posts)
InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Wed 09-Sep-20 17:17:41

Could I ask for some advice from you good people.
I have a 4 yr old German Shepherd bitch, lovely dog, she went to lots of training classes when young, and I have had dogs and other animals all my life.
She has developed a chasing habit over the last year. Her recall has always been reasonable, she was always very loyal on off lead walks and didn't try to 'go off'. Obviously she is never off lead in areas with sheep.
But she has started chasing rabbits, squirrels and deer whilst out. The other day she took off after a deer, completely ignoring my shouts, and didn't come back for 10 minutes. When she did come back she came haring back to me at top speed.
Today we were walking in fields on private land and she decided to go off into the undergrowth, again ignoring me, and reappearing at top speed 5 minutes later. This is something she wouldn't have done two years ago, but she's developed a taste for chasing and I really don't know how to go about tackling it. Apart from keeping her on lead all the time of course. Which would be a real shame. But she can't be off lead if I can't trust her.
Any advice welcome

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PollyRoulson Wed 09-Sep-20 19:39:07

Back to training.

A few things to consider.
Often with chasers there is a magic distance from you that they can no longer hear you. If this is the case keep her closer to you at all times..

Encourage the chasing BUT on things you can control. Tuggy toys that you have and if you run away from her pulling the toy behind you she will chase the toy. Flirt toys. Also develop her love of sniffing get her focus on the ground . I guess as a GSD she is working on sight rather than scent although the scent will come into it.

Hide tennis balls and send her off to find them, hide bits of food on the walk, encourage tracking of things you want her to find.

Be aware that in some areas she will be never be safe to be off lead.

You do not need to make yourself more interesting than a squirrel as many people say (unfortunately that is not possible) but you do need to give her an outlet on what is a natural instinct. So do more hiding, running away, games etc near you and she is less likely to run off as her focus is on you.

Total recall by Pippa Mattison may be recommended to you. I prefer to keep a focus with my dogs and find it works with many a chaser.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Wed 09-Sep-20 20:07:30

Thankyou Polly,that's loads of really good tips and advice to try-lots of food for thought. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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Sitdowncupoftea Wed 09-Sep-20 22:00:58

some dogs have a stronger prey drive than others. Many dogs would chase rabbits and deer as its fun. Perhaps walking her on a long line training leash and doing lots of recalls with a reward when she comes back may help.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Wed 09-Sep-20 22:17:24

Thank you sitdown I'll try that

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billybagpuss Thu 10-Sep-20 07:16:58

Following with interest.

I have a few recall threads on here as my collie/retriever is a chaser and once the mist comes down I am irrelevant, she just doesn’t hear. The longest she was gone has been 40 minutes in the woods I’m guessing squirrels or deer. We only let her off now on the common which is open space so we can see her and in secure field, this does mean she can go days without an off lead walk. The long line is a godsend, particularly as once she has been chasing, she is reluctant to come close as she knows it’s wrong and she will be back on the short lead.

Things we do, which are helping but I think it’ll still be a while before she can go off lead regularly. Lots of focus games before we let her off, and keep them going when she is off.

Be aware of when her she’s getting bored, billypup loves to chase balls, but she will run off with the ball after a while, especially when there are skylarks around.

Girlintheframe Thu 10-Sep-20 07:45:27

Ours has developed a taste for chasing too.
It's like his heads gets flooded with adrenaline and he just goes deaf!
We've been doing whistle training. He loves cheese but only gets it if he responded to the whistle. Never gets it at any other time. We've had pretty good success with it so far.
I've also been much more aware and I can see him 'twitching' when he picks up a scent. Usually there has been nothing for me to see but he definitely smells something. I put him back on the lead straight away and right enough once I round the corner or go over the hill there are usually deer or sheep!


GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 10-Sep-20 07:47:02

The stop whistle is your friend here. Provided you see the chase beginning, and provided you have inculcated the stop, you have a good chance to stop your dog in her tracks. Once stopped, it's easier to get the dog's attention and recall them.

It's usually a single blast on a training whistle (like the ones made by Acme). There are lots of YouTube videos explaining how to teach it. I was shown how by a gamekeeper and I did not believe it would work, but it did.

CherryPavlova Thu 10-Sep-20 07:55:01

Have you whistle trained her? I think I’d be practicing in the garden with high value treats.
We have a very recent addition who is a retired competing . She is the sweetest thing, but has a tendency to hunt out pheasants still. She’ll go miles if self-employed, as we experienced early on. We learned her basic commands and now are vigilant when out so that we see the changes in body posture and behaviour that indicate she has picked up a scent. If she becomes alert, we intervene and distract.
She’s quick to pick up new expectations but has tried boundary pushing a bit. We just need to get better At recognising and speaking her language.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Thu 10-Sep-20 19:02:57

Thankyou all.
I have been rather put off whistle training- at our local parks there are numerous whistles being blasted at dogs who are happily careering around taking no notice.
I remember one bloke, I saw him for months on end, constantly whistling for the dog who was two fields away totally ignoring it. I felt like approaching him and saying 'haven't you realised by now that that isn't working?' hmm

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CherryPavlova Thu 10-Sep-20 22:32:03

I’m no expert but I think you need to get the whistle commands working in a confined situation before you venture out.
We’re working on our skills and it is paying off. We make sure she’s rewarded for compliance with whistle commands she was used to. She gets a loud GRrrr if she decides to ignore the whistle and push her luck. It’s a transition from working and being required to chase/set/hunt over vast distances to pottering around with a couple of oldies.
Our Dalmatian would run after deer for miles. Great fun for him but not good for us. We had to be really strict and every time he ignored recall whistles, he went back on his lead and hated it. He learned quickly that no recall meant lead. Good recall meant cheese.
It just needs a refocus and consistent, persistence.

Girlintheframe Fri 11-Sep-20 05:41:14

I had a google before I started training.
To begin with I would use the whistle in the house when calling him for his food etc. Then once I was confident he understood used it in situations where I knew he wouldn't fail. So if he'd have been running off after a scent i wouldn't have used it but did use it in situations where I was 99% sure he would come back.
We just kept reinforcing it over a few weeks where I was pretty certain the would respond to it.
Last week we had to use it twice when he gave chase and both times it worked.
I really like using it as it has no emotion. So rather than hearing my voice getting more and more stressed (plus my voice wouldn't carry that far!) he just hears the whistle.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Fri 11-Sep-20 09:00:51


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