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Re: Bolting and Chasing Squirrels

Posted by:  Leslie Hemsing
Posted on:  October 09, 2002 at 22:07:14

In Reply to: Bolting and Chasing Squirrels
Category:   Hunting
Posted by:  Lisa
Posted on:  October 08, 2002 at 15:59:28

Question:

: Hi,

: 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!!


Response:

Dear Lisa,

I happen to know the most obedient JRT on the planet; he does not belong to me (!) but I've known him (and his owner) since he was a pup. What makes this guy the most obedient JRT on the planet is that he obeys any and every human who commands him to sit/stay/come. When this most obedient JRT was 2 years old, he was nearly killed by car when he went chasing after a squirrel. Though several humans (including his owner) were within two feet of him, they still could not stop him from running into the street. Fortunately, he survived and to this day (7 years later) he has NEVER been off-lead unless confined in a fenced area.

If you're looking for "permission" to continue to allow Petey to run free without containment then you've come to the wrong place. I'd rather you take him on several long walks, invent games to play indoors and have regular training sessions to wear the little man out then risk his life just because YOU think that that his recall is "very good." Understand...? :-)

Take care,
Leslie