A dog trainer friend of mine describes this as ‘the instant bolt’. Your dog sees something in the distance and doesn’t even pause – they just take off after it. There is even mention of the instant bolt in some of the scientific literature. Tiffani Howell and Pauleen Bennett researched rescue greyhounds and wrote it up in the article: ‘Preventing predatory behaviour in greyhounds retired from the racing industry: Expert opinions collected using a survey and interviews’ which was published in 2020 in Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
In the article, the reason given is that most greyhounds perform the orient part of the predatory motor sequence and then chase, skipping eye and stalk altogether. If you’re not sure what this means, scroll down the page, and download my free eBook: Understanding Prey Drive. I cover it all in there. The difficulty is that there is no moment in which you can notice that your dog is about to take off and ask them to stop or to recall. They’re already off. The instant bolt may be more common in greyhounds but plenty of dogs who are not greyhounds do it too.
This blog can’t answer exactly what to do about the instant bolt but here are a few things to think about. It may be that for your dog, it might be more likely to happen in places where they’ve previously seen something to chase. Or it could be that it is more likely to happen if they’re already excited. Or they might be more likely to do it if they are running when something to chase appears. The more you understand about it, the better placed you’ll be to do something about it.
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Hi - I'm Tracey
I am the author of Canine aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindess and compassion and founder of Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd. I specialise in helping people with dogs who have a high prey drive. I have an honours degree in Canine behaviour and training, am a Tellington TTouch practitioner, and an ACE Advanced Tutor. I am currently studying for an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Training.
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