We adopted a 2 year old rescue lab that is the best dog. We heard he had killed the owners cat but really didn't believe it because he is so calm. Well yesterday I was taking him for a walk in the woods. He was having a great time - would take off but would come back with my recall. Then I couldn't find him and about after 5 minutes of calling him, he came back with a dead groundhog (or something) in his mouth. I don't want a hunter dog, my other lab never hunted like that. Is there anything I can do to train him not to hunt?
You can keep the dog leashed until he has a reliable recall and will respond to "leave it" on command. It is not unusual for a Lab to have a prey drive. My Maxx lives with 2 cats and loves his cats dearly. However, he stalks stray cats outside and I have no doubt he would snatch them if given the opportunity. He will also go after bunnies, squirrels, groundhogs, possums and birds in our yard.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
ditto the above - it comes natural to him. If you don't want it to happen then keep him on leash until his recall is better/his "leave it" is 100% reliable and/or do not let him get too far. You can't "undo" prey drive, you can work on training and being observant to catch a dog and give a command before they go on the chase.
How long have you had the dog now?
Dogs are animals. While not all dogs have much prey drive, it isn't unusual either.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
And it is totally normal behavior for dogs - they are apex predators within urban/suburban environments, after all.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Agreed - you need to keep him leashed if you don't want him chasing wild animals.
My dog doesn't care much about squirrels, but show him a bunny (or a squirrel that looks like a bunny) and he wants it.
He's also taken off after deer, raccoons, wild hogs and birds. The raccoons and hogs worry me, so I keep him leashed in most places.
If you don't want him leashed, then you have to deal with the possibility that he will chase and kill something, or get hurt trying.
I've had him for a month now...he's doing really well but I will watch him more closely in the woods. The foster said he didn't have a "prey drive" but I'm not so sure. Will work on his recall when in the yard. He does really well with recall on leash..have to work on it off leash! It's just different for me because my other lab didn't have a prey drive at all! I will definitely work hard with him! Thanks to everyone for their advice!