My Dog Hates Squirrels

Dogs are definitely man’s best friend but what do you do when their behaviors are less than friendly?

Sometimes your dog may end up barking a bit too much which can become obnoxious. In other cases, your perfectly playful pooch may want to tree a squirrel or chase a bunny.

While these behaviors may seem harmless at first, they can become dangerous and should be corrected.

How is treeing a squirrel or chasing a bunny dangerous?

This might seem a bit ridiculous since it can just be typical behavior for some breeds. Hounds and herding dogs enjoy chasing critters and treeing walker coonhounds literally have the name ‘treeing’ in their breed because they tree things.

It is one thing if it occurs on your property but while out and about with your beloved furry friend these behaviors can be dangerous in the following ways.

  • A dog can injure your wrist if it pulls too hard to chase or tree
  • The dog can cause you to trip and hurt yourself while pulling to reach a squirrel
  • The dog can pull out of the collar and run away while going after a bunny, squirrel, or another small animal

These scenarios are not good when it comes to your dog outside of its own property. Depending upon what you do for a living, a broken arm or sprained wrist caused by excessive tugging may be detrimental to work.

If you slip and fall due to being pulled to aggressively you could sprain or break a bone or pull a muscle.

This could require doctors’ visits and physical therapy. The worst scenario is if your beloved pooch pulls out if their collar and takes off. We all love our dogs so much that the idea of one being lost, stolen, or hit by a car is a scary reality to consider.

So how do you stop this behavior? Here are 6 tips that will help you turn your canines dislike towards squirrels and other animals around.

While your dog may still dislike the squirrels, it will no longer want to chase them while you are out enjoying a walk or hike. You can even continue training ideas that a lot of these tips offer and work on your dogs treeing and chasing habits in your own back yard.

Use verbal corrections

Some dogs are so in tune with their owners that they actually listen quite well. If your dog is new to you or a puppy learning the way you can start out with the normal verbal correction.

These work the same way that ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and ‘lay’ work. They will take time and repetition. Your dog may quickly learn ‘leave it’ or ‘no’ and begin to understand that pulling is not acceptable.

You may find out that you are one lucky dog owner and your dog listens amazingly well and responds to your verbal corrections once they understand what the word means. A helpful tip is to be firm with commands and then uplifting when the action is completed to show praise.

Exercise helps mental focus

Some dogs are high energy. This is especially true with the herding dogs. Rottweilers, Shepherds, Collies, and Heelers are all part of this herding group. It is in their nature to chase and herd.

If you are out on a nature trail or in a neighborhood with a lot of squirrels and rabbits you may feel like your arm is being tugged non-stop. Before you take this type of dog out for a walk play some fetch in the back yard.

A helpful tip for limiting squirrel dislike on walks is to make sure your dog starts its walk with its battery half full.

This will reduce the urge to chase and pull because the energy levels are lower. This does not mean your dog wants to be best friends with the neighborhood squirrels anymore, it just means that it is less interested in chasing because it’s a bit more tired than usual and more mentally focused on you.

Dogs are usually treated motivated

Your dog may not dislike squirrels but just considers them playthings. Divert your dog’s attention with treats. You can keep some tiny training treats in your pocket.

While on walks redirect your dog’s attention. When your dog starts to pay attention to the squirrels say ‘leave it’ or ‘off’. When your dog redirects and looks at you and stops pulling offer a treat.

Highly treat motivated dogs get the gist of this training routine very quickly and will learn that they’ll get their treat when they leave the squirrels alone.

A helpful tip for treat motivated dogs; have a variety of treats on hand to mix up the reward.

You can take this training tip a step further by implementing it in your back yard. If you enjoy an evening on the patio and your dog runs all over treeing and chasing squirrels keep treats handy.

Call your dog back to your side and offer a treat every time your dog listens to ‘leave it’ and ‘here’. This will teach your dog that you dislike them chasing the squirrels and prefer their company close by.

Mentally stimulate before and during

Some dogs do not have high energy but are exceptionally smart. While out on walks they observe everything.

This is how they notice the squirrels before you do. Try mentally stimulating your canine friend before leaving for a walk. Play some fun mind games such to enhance focus and sniffing skills in your house or in the back yard before you leave.

Test your dog’s ability to stay focused on watching you. Reward them for not breaking eye contact. Also, hide their favorite toy or treat over and over again so they can locate it with their nose.

This handy mental activity tip will wear them out a bit and increase their compliance on a walk.

Deter the squirrels if possible

Any time spent on late-night television will result in a plethora of marketing commercials. These products offer tons of deterrent options for critters in your yard.

Some products emit a high-pitched noise that only the squirrels, spiders, and mice can hear. Other products may have a smell that deters the animals.

You can also reach out to a local pest control company for ideas that are safe for your dog. There are products specifically made to help limit the number of pests that enter your yard.

Contact your local exterminator for some tips on products they recommend for keeping pests out of your yard.

Bring in a professional

When all else fails it is absolutely fine to bring in a professional. Your dog may have a high level of dislike for the squirrels that you simply cannot work through.

Dog trainers have literally seen it all and a few sessions with one will result in lots of new techniques to work through the distractions.

A helpful tip for finding a high-quality dog trainer is to reach out to your vet for a recommendation. Some trainers operate strictly on word of mouth basis.

Working through these 6 tips will help create a balanced dog for walks and hikes. Incorporate the training treats, mental exercises, and fetch to tire your dog out in your own yard to limit squirrel chasing.

Your dog may never become friends with squirrels but it should learn how to leave them alone so that you can enjoy the great outdoors together.

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