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On our walk the other day Bella found a rabbit sitting by a fence playing dead, so she pokes it a bit and doesn't really know what to do with it. Then it makes a run for it and Ruby joins in the chase. Unfortunately it doesn't quite make it thru the other fence before Ruby gets hold of it and ends its life! Once dead she leaves it, grabs her ball and comes bounding back to me!

Both dogs play kill with their toys but Ruby has much more of a killing instinct than Bella when it comes to the real thing. Ruby has caught and killed a few rabbits and a pheasant in her life. Whereas Bella plays with baby birds and field mice!!

My question is why do some dogs have more of a killer instinct than others ?

Is it more to do with personality or breed ? Both my dogs have similar personalities and both dogs from gundog breeds! However Bella is a much more gentle/softer mouthed dog than Ruby when it comes to taking food and toys from the hand.

Chloe
 
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rubyrubyruby said:
My question is why do some dogs have more of a killer instinct than others ?

Is it more to do with personality or breed ?
I don't really know. All of mine will chase if a small fluffy critter is running and 2 are obsessed by hunting (Pood and Tidge) as well as chasing. I have known them all catch up with their prey though and then just run alongside it, not knowing what to do next (daft dogs), so they seem to lack the "Catch and Kill" part of the instinct. My Lurcher definitely had the Catch and Retrieve part of the instinct which Lurchers have been bred for, but never killed her catch. In fact I'd say she had a softer mouth than most Labs I know. However, my Collie x Terrier was driven to kill. As soon as she got her teeth into anything, it was as good as dead and pretty useless for the pot.

So as much as I do think there are some breed traits which influence the Hunt, Chase, Catch, Retrieve/Kill instincts, these can be a bit muddled up, leaving each dog with an individually tuned instinct.
 

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Poppy likes to sit and watch animals and birds but has no instinct to catch and kill. My friends labs however like nothing better than getting hold of a bird and killing it. I have tried to teach Poppy that she can watch but mustn't touch. So far its worked!

Susan and Poppy
 

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Thanks for responding ladies :)

The "leave it" command does work when we have toads in the garden and swans in the river but not when rabbits are running past !!

I find it interesting that some dogs know exactly how to kill something so quickly and efficiently. I am grateful that the dead furry doesn't have to hang out of her mouth for the rest of the walk though. I watched another lab owner I met a few weeks ago struggled to wrestle a dead rabbit from the mouth of her dog whilst out on a walk!!

When I spoke to an owner of 2 labs the other day she said one of hers wouldn't know what to do with a furry critter but the other would swallow it down whole !


Chloe
 

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Moss will chase...but if he catches up he'll just give a polite greeting then come back to me! He'll eat anything rotting and manky - but he found a freshly dead rabbit earlier in the week and just licked it as thought he really didn't know what to do with it!

Millie can't be bothered to chase anything, but she'll snatch fresh kill (and not quite dead!) off the cats to eat. I once told her to spit something out and she had a live robin in her mouth 8O

It's interesting how they all differ.

Angela
 
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