There isn’t arent enough things in the world that can ever satisfy your dog. They get bored super easy and are always hunting for something new to do and play around with. Especially if it is living and moving, your dog’s fascination would reach heights. Similar is the case with squirrels. They are small, furry and always moving around. So when you go to a park and your dog is running around for no reason, you can guess that it is chasing a squirrel. It is important to note that it is very common for dogs to chase squirrels and it is nothing unusual. However, it might hamper your time in the park as other people might get scared with a dog running around.
Dog Breeds That Are Born To Hunt?
Chasing squirrels actually comes from the dog’s “instinct” will to hunt. All dogs have this instinct but there are some dogs that will have more of it. All dogs have the basic instinct There are certain dogs that were bred to hunt in the past and still follow the same genes. These dogs are as follows : –
Airedale Terrier –
Airedale Terrier is also known as Bingley Terrier and Waterside Terrier. They hail mainly from England and were bred to hunt and work. They are called the king of terrier. They are considered to be very intelligent and independent. This adds to their focused hunting of squirrels. They are innately well trained to smell the squirrels and bark till their owners come.
American Blue Gascon Hound –
They are also called BignBlu and Gascon Blue. They love being around their families and is very loyal to them. But they are also very outdoor kinda breed. They have often been described as passionate about hunting. But you should be careful for leaving them around small animals, it triggers their instincts.
Black And Tan Coon Hound –
They are often described as a mix between bloodhound and foxhound. Like all other dogs, they are good at hunting and hunt only on the basis of smell. But not only squirrels, but they also hunt deers, beers and other big animals. They are very playful and loyal but they are introverts and calm. They don’t like strangers much.
But if they fascinate for a smell, they will hunt it down. So be careful of where you chose to take them.
Mountain Cur –
They were literally born to hunt squirrels and raccoons. They can also hunt big animals. But since a long time, they have become rare as they were the best fit with the rural lifestyle.
Rat Terrier –
They are great for people who love to hunt. They are small and compact but their hunting skills are unmatchable. The only thing to be careful about them is that they are stubborn. They will get what they want by hook or crook. So it’s important for their owners to train them early and properly so they listen to you especially when they are out on a hunt.
Treeing Cur –
These dogs got their name from the fact that they are multi-taskers. They can guard, hunt and control livestock all at once!
They can be very dominant sometimes more than their masters so it’s important that they are trained early and constantly regulated.
Fox Terrier –
The thing with fox terrier is that they are very energetic and fast. They are always alert. These qualities make it easy for them to hunt. To keep them in control it’s important that they are well exercised.
Finnish Spitz –
Finnish Spitz is also called Suomernpystykorva Finsk Spets and Loulou Finnoi. They are born to hunt any and every animal they are told by their owners. They will start barking when they find something and will bark until their owners come.
Why This Behaviour?
As we have said earlier, it is not uncommon for dogs to hunt. The brains of the dog are made in such a way that they will run and chase any small and running animal if they find it fascinating enough. Once your dog gets to the hunting mode, there is very little anybody can do about it.
Should You Let Your Dog Chase The Squirrel?
Squirrels in the park will always fascinate your dog and will this is never-ending. Your dog chasing a squirrel is a tricky question as it is completely fine if your dog is not killing the squirrel. But then this might scare the other people in the park running around a squirrel and barking.
How Do You Stop Your Dog From Killing And Chasing Squirrels?
As we said, it is the natural instinct for your dog to hunt squirrels. But you can use the same instinct to make them learn your command and it can actually be a fun game to play with your dog.
Obedience Commands –
You can start by making sure that your dog is always on leash when you take them out for a walk. You must make sure that your dog is fully trained and listens to your command. Make them practice obedience commands like stop, sit, stand, etc.
While your dog is on leash, you must also practice how to take charge of your dog when it is about to run.
They might get a little too excited after seeing a squirrel and will end up running towards it. So you must make sure that you have a strong hold on the leash.
Encourage The Chase –
This might sound a little absurd but in the initial days you can encourage your dog to actually chase the squirrel. But do this only if you have trees in the park you are taking your dog to. If there are no trees in the park whatsoever, then DO NOT let your dog chase the squirrel as it might end up killing it.
When you see a lot of trees in the park, you can let your dog chase the squirrel. The squirrel seeing the dog will run up the tree. And your dog will sit near the tree for hours. Mostly, your dog will wait for the squirrel to come down.
Then you can take your dog and distract it with something else.
Make sure you always carry your dog’s leash.
Distract Your Dog With Food –
While your dog is on the run to chase the squirrel you can actually distract them with their favourite food. Make sure to hide the food and the smell of the food is strong enough for your dog to be distracted by.
Once your dog gets the scent, it will forget about the squirrel.
Apart from keeping your dog in check, you can also make sure that the squirrels don’t enter your yard in the first place. And if you are taking them to a park, try to go to a park with less trees or avoid taking them to a park in the first place.
If your yard is the problem, remove sources that can actually attract the squirrels towards your yard.
You can also choose to install a motion-sprinkler in your yard.
If you feel that squirrels are a frequent visitor to your yard, you can call your gardner to help take them out and suggest ways to further decrease their visits.