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Bolting and Chasing Squirrels

Posted by:  Lisa
Category:   Hunting
Posted on:  October 08, 2002 at 15:59:28



I have a problem with my JRT chasing squirrels in the dog park. A large group of us meet daily with our dogs in the early evening, and we all let our dogs off lead to play. The park is mainly fenced in, but there are some areas that aren't. Petey is very good with recall in most situations, except where squirrels are involved. He'll go "stalking" to the other side of the park and when I go after him, he thinks we're playing chase and that makes him run around even more. Now, he doesn't do this all of the time, but I know all it takes is one time for me to be wrong, and he may bolt onto the street and get hit by a car. On the weekends, this isn't a problem because we play in a fenced in area, but during the week, what do I do? The park is his main form of exercise, as we live in an apartment with no backyard at the moment, and I don't want to deprive him of that. But I don't want my irresponsibility to get him killed either. We've been to obedience classes(and still are), but I know the hunting instinct is in their nature and that's not something that can be "untrained". 9 times out of 10, he is content to play with the other dogs, and there are no problems. But just the other day he ran outside the gate, but fortunately he realized the street is a big NO NO and came running back in. But I don't want there to be a next time where I may not be so lucky.
I want him with me for the next 17 years!!

What should I do? Are there any exercises/corrections I can be doing, short of keeping him on lead all of the time, or this my only solution? I guess I'm just trying to figure out a way for him to play and be safe at the same time. Like I mentioned before, his recall is very good. When there's a dog fight brewing, I have no problem getting him away from the scrap and obediently at my side, but I can't compete with squirrels!!