Why I love observations – especially for high prey drive

3 May 2022, 6 a.m. by Tracey McLennan

At this time in 2007 I had two bullmastiffs. I had Katie who had a number of health challenges and I had Calgacus. Calgacus, had what I thought was a high prey drive. He would chase things that moved fast and if he could, he would catch, kill, and then eat rabbits. Most of the blogs and articles I’ve read on prey drive suggest those things indicate a high prey drive. I worked hard with Calgacus and he learned how to stop himself. I felt as if I was a true prey drive expert.

Then in the autumn of 2007, I got Cuillin. He was a collie cross and I’d hoped he’d be a brilliant dog for competing in heelwork to music with. That didn’t happen. By the time Cuillin was a year old he was disappearing for hours at a time. I had no idea why and even less idea about what to do to stop him. My repeated experience was that we’d be out, I’d have carefully checked and couldn’t see any wildlife. Then he’d disappear. I’d trained him in the same way as I’d trained Calgacus but it wasn’t working!

I gave up my competition dreams and focused instead on figuring out what to do about Cuillin’s disappearing acts. One of the key skills I honed during that time was learning to really observe both Cuillin and the environments we were walking in. If you have a dog like Cuillin, I advise putting lots of time and energy into learning and then honing great observations skills.


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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.

I love to hear from people who read my blog so if you want to let me know what you thought, email me on tracey@bestdoglearningandstuff.co.uk