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Monday, July 9, 2012

Predator vs Prey

The Shiba Inu breed is known to have a fairly aggressive prey drive which makes having smaller animals or children around them a bad idea. They are known to stalk small animals such as birds, squirrels, and rabbits obsessively. They usually do well with larger animals and people as long as a pecking order is established early on and dominance is continually expressed by the owner or larger animal.

With Marou, we haven't had a whole lot of trouble with his prey drive besides it interfering with training. He 
likes to get distracted very easily by anything that looks like easy prey. This complicated his potty training at first, but we eventually managed to calm it down enough to maintain his attention. This required a lot of diligence and perseverance as well as a few bags of doggie training treats.

The prey drive can be a complicated obstacle in training, but if dealt with properly, can be little more than a mild nuisance in the long run. As with any obstacle, the best way to avoid it being a problem in training is to remove the invading stimulus or remove the dog from the situation. With smaller breeds like the Shiba, you can simply pick them up and take them inside or into a different room to avoid the stimulus. This technique can also be used to show them that action on the stimulus will result in the end of playtime or walk time. With larger breeds a little more effort is required, as most owners aren't able to just pick up a large dog and carry him/her for more than a couple of feet without resistance. One of the simplest ways to get any dog's attention is with treats, but if not carefully used, they can teach your dog the wrong lesson or simply the opposite of what you are trying to train them.

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