Why does my dog have prey drive?

2 Aug 2022, 12:36 p.m. by Tracey McLennan

If your dog is a pet you might have found yourself wondering why prey drive hasn’t been bred out of dogs by now. It so often makes life with dogs hard work. You have to be careful with them if there is livestock around or they might run off chasing something and get lost or hurt.

Here’s the thing, though. Prey drive is so useful. Through selective breeding, it has been deliberately enhanced and strengthened in many of the dogs who share their lives with people. It’s what gives Border Collies an interest in sheep, Spaniels their love of following their noses and sight hounds their ability to respond to prey seen miles away by chasing it. In New Zealand, hunting dogs reduce the population of wild deer, pigs and goats allowing kiwi populations to survive.

Really, all that selective breeding for thousands of years is why your dog has prey drive. I know that it’s a real pain sometimes. Nobody enjoys walking a dog who crouches down and stalks every car they see or one who runs madly on the lead, pulling you all over the place. Even worse if your dog also can’t be let off the lead because they’ll be so obsessed with the outside world that they don’t come back to you when you call them.

Reward based training often seems utterly impossible with those dogs because their interest in food and toys can be non-existent whenever they are outside. Here’s the thing – all is not lost. You CAN work with your dog’s prey drive and help your dog see that you are a valuable partner on walks.

Get started by making time to practice things your dog knows well when you are out on walks. The more you practice simple things like sits and stays on walks, the more your dog will be able to generalise those tasks so that they can start to do them more reliably.

If you want to learn more about prey drive, scroll down and click the link to download my FREE ebook all about it.


READ my free Prey Drive eBook - get empowered and improve life with your dog TODAY!

Click here.

Or you could join my Facebook group Support for high prey drive dogs.

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