Canine Behavior/Dumped Lab



Someone recently dumped what looks like a young lab near our house. We're feeding it until we know where to take it, but today I found it eating the head off of a dead cat. We own two cats that had been strays, and they stay outside. What are the chances of this dog seeing the cats as prey now?
The cat the dog had must have been dead for a while, it had maggots, and dirt was on its fur, so it must have been burried by someone or something. I'm worried the dog may have killed it, buried it, then dug it back up. However, the cat had a hole in its side, and if it wasn't from the dog, someone might have shot it (our neighbor has chickens).

It is extremely unlikely that this dog killed that cat, given the condition of the cat (an old carcass).  Further, a dog will not "bury" and then "dig up" prey.  Should a dog kill prey for food - that animal will be partially eaten and then left.  If a dog is starving and there is a scent of decay such as is found in a buried pet, and the buried animal was not sufficiently prepared nor buried deeply enough, a starving dog will attempt to dig it up.  

The type of animal the dog has eaten out of desperation is not an indication that the dog RECOGNIZES that type (in life).  What makes a dog chase is RUNNING.  Cats who are not heavily habituated to dogs WILL either freeze OR run.  A cat that freezes has a better chance of forming a tolerable relationship with a dog than a cat that runs.

Neighbors using guns at will within a short distance of other homes are most likely BREAKING THE LAW.  I'd be more worried about those people than this dog.

Take the dog in; confine him to a certain area.  Google the Labrador Retriever AKC web site and see if there is a chapter in your area.  There may be rescue people who will consider taking this young dog.  The only other option is the kill shelter, which I would never recommend unless a dog is a clear and present danger to humans.

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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