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Dog Training/Prey drive question


Hi Cindy,

I have a question about my 3 year old German Shepherd, Husky, Weimaraner mix named Karlie.

Karlie has a very high prey drive, she is constantly on the lookout for wildlife (we have woods surrounding us). Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, she has gotten away from me a few times this summer chasing mostly rabbits. When she is chasing these animals I don't exist in her world, she is so focused on chasing that animal. I have been lucky that the few times she got away I was able to catch her (only because the animal hid somewhere and she stopped with it), but I worry that that may not always be the case or she may get hurt.

My question is, how do I get her to come to me when she is in her prey mode? She has completed 3 obedience classes, so it's not a matter of she doesn't know what "come" means, she is just so focused on that animal that she doesn't hear anything else.

Thanks for the help,
Ricki and Karlie

Hi Ricki and Karlie --

That's a challenge. I was just working with someone on this this afternoon. Once the dog is what I call "locked in" to their prey drive, it's almost too late to call them away. The best time is before they go into the attack mode.

Here are a few articles that may help you:

Knowing what "come" means is not the issue. It's a matter of what the dog finds most motivating. You need to work with the dog under distraction, starting at low levels and working up. You also need to use a high value reinforcer and be careful when teaching your dog to come to you under distraction that you begin not only with low level distractions, but at a close distance. That is, do not add distance at the same time you increase distraction. work on increasing each of these incrementally and separately.

These articles should help you - good luck!


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Cindy Ludwig, M.A., R.N., KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA


My specialty is clicker training. I'm a Karen Pryor Academy graduate and Certified Training Partner (certified clicker trainer). Karen Pryor was a marine mammal trainer and one of the early proponents of force-free animal training who helped popularize clicker training in the early 90's. I also do behavior modification with dogs that have fear, anxiety and aggression. I work with service dogs and was a certified therapy dog evaluator with two other organizations before starting my own therapy dog program, the first of its kind requiring all dog candidates to be trained with force-free methods and all evaluators to demonstrate a commitment to force-free methods. I made weekly visits with my own therapy dog to a nursing center in Dubuque, Iowa for four and a half years. I have an undergraduate degree in science and am a registered nurse with a previous specialty and certification in critical care, so I can answer questions pertaining to biology, behavior and pharmacology but because I am not a licensed veterinarian I cannot legally or ethically answer questions requesting a diagnosis. I have done graduate work in animal learning and wolf ethology, and have also completed coursework in dog biology, behavior and pet nutrition at regionally accredited U.S. universities. I continue my study of applied behavior analysis with top experts in the field. For more information and to schedule a consultation or enroll in classes, see my Canine Connection website:


Prior to becoming a full time professional dog trainer in May 2009 and opening my business, Canine Connection LLC I worked part time as a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant and also volunteered at humane societies in several states over a period from 1992-2009. My previous full time occupation was in the medical profession. I have completed various continuing education programs including but not limited to the Purdue University Veterinary School Principles and Techniques of Behavior Modification course; Clicker Expo; undergraduate courses in dog biology, behavior, and pet nutrition; and graduate coursework in wolf ethology. I was a Field Representative for Paws with a Cause for 3 years and train service dogs. My Golden Retriever that accompanies me in my work as a Field Representative is a "career changed" dog from the Paws breeding program that I have clicker trained as a demonstration service dog. This same dog I trained to earn the first Dog Scout title in the State of Iowa. She and I were also members of the Badger Kennel Club Drill Team and performed with the group annually at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. My dog, Ginger and I provided weekly pet therapy visits to a local nursing center for the past three and a half years. I continue my education by participating in seminars and class offerings provided by such notable experts as Dr. Sophia Yin, Dr. Ray Coppinger, Michele Pouliot and others. My services include in-home private training and behavior modification, group classes and pet sitting. More information is available on my website:

Founder and owner, Canine Connection LLC; Founder, Canine Connection Positively Trained Certified Therapy Dogs; Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT); 2010 APDT Education Committee; Truly Dog-Friendly Trainer Coalition; Doggone Safe; American Kennel Club

Top Tips from Top Trainers: 1001 Practical Tips & Techniques for Successful Dog Care and Training (March 2010); The Golden View; Family Connections;; Animal info Publications; HubPages; Finding Fuzzybutt Four Blog; Petopia Newsletter, Galena, Illinois; Suite 101;;; Dubuque 365 Ink Magazine; Dubuque Telegraph Herald; Columbia Business Times; Columbia Senior Times; Columbia Missourian; Columbia Daily Tribune; Graphic Education Corporation; Belson-Hanwright; Critical Care Nurse; Journal of Emergency Nursing; Home Healthcare Nurse; Nursing; Journal of Emergency Medical Services; Shape; Houston Community College Egalitarian; Findlay College Obelisk

B.S., Science; M.A., Higher & Adult Education with graduate work in animal learning, canine biology and behavior, pet nutrition; Graduate, Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior; Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner; Diploma, professional nursing; licensed registered nurse (R.N.); Paramedic completion program; previously licensed paramedic in Texas and Missouri

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