You want to know, what exactly Predation Substitute Training is? And how it may help you and your dog? Then this article is for you!
Help, my dog’s loves to hunt!
Does Any Of This Sound Familiar To You?
- You wish your dog would focus on you when you are out with them, instead of constantly trying to chase any wild animal they see.
- You’re tired of watching your dog disappear into the distance in pursuit of a wild animal.
- Your dog ignores your recall cue and decides to carry on chasing something instead, leaving you frustrated.
If you have answered yes to any of these questions and these scenarios sound all too familiar, then you are not alone! Predatory behaviour in dogs is a big issue that many owners struggle to manage successfully.
or why conventional training methods aren’t helpful
The trouble is, most conventional training protocols aim to interrupt and stop our dog’s predatory chasing behaviour by inflicting fear or pain. So, this could be using a shock collar or a spray bottle in an attempt to control our dog’s desire to hunt. By using methods like these, you work against the nature of your dog and what they actually want to do. This then makes you the irritating human that always tries to spoil any fun your dog is having! And nobody likes being interrupted by the ‘fun-police’!
What would happen if you could let your dogs embrace their natural desire to chase and hunt – without endangering and hurting anyone else or themself? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could use the feelings of pleasure, fulfilment, and motivation that your dogs find in predation for your training? And better yet, to help intensify the relationship you share with them?
This is exactly what Predation Substitute Training can do for you!
So, What is Predation Substitute Training?
And what makes it so different?
Predation Substitute Training, or PST, is a successful protocol to manage predation without using fear, pain, or intimidation. It consists of four aspects that are all equally important:
1. Management and Prevention
To teach your dog to stay in contact with you
2. Performing Safe Parts Of The Predatory Sequence
By using Predation Substitute Tools when you come across wildlife
3. Creating An Outlet For Your Dog’s Predation Needs
Through need-oriented Predation Substitute Games
4. Building A Strong “Emergency Cue”
To immediately interrupt unwanted predatory chasing which can act as a safety net
Most conventional training protocols only focus on management (e.g. put your dog on a leash, avoid wildlife-rich areas, etc.) and the interruption of unwanted predatory behaviour using aversives – but this is not enough to achieve sustainable results.
And this is why we handle things differently when using Predation Substitute Training!
But why Is Predation Such A Tough Nut To Crack?
not only for you, but almost every dog lover!
Before we dive deeper into Predation Substitute Training, I want you to know why predation is so vital to our dogs and in turn, why it’s so hard to eliminate completely:
Predation Previously Meant Survival
Our dog’s ancestors needed to hunt and kill to eat. And, even though our dogs will have their bowl full of food twice a day, it’s still deeply rooted in their genes for them to want to hunt.
Predation Is Perfected Through Learning And Experience
Our dogs get more successful at predation by practicing. Does this now mean they should never have the opportunity to perform predatory behaviour? Yes and no. Definitely, yes when it comes to solo hunting trips out and about. But no in terms of never letting them perform safe parts of predation in a controlled and safe environment.
Predation Is Intrinsically Motivated
It simply feels good! Hormones are released into your dog’s body that has the same effect as drugs. Predation makes our dogs high. In wolves, 90% of all chases fail, yet they don’t give it up altogether. Just ignoring predation will not make it go away!
Predation Is Genetically Anchored
It will not just go away. It’s not something your dog will grow out of when they mature, nor can it be fixed by neutering them. Genetically anchored behaviour is intensely strong and, therefore tough to interrupt. Just getting rid of it is not possible.
Predation Is An Intrinsic Need For Our Dogs
The performance of predatory behaviour is an inner need that our dogs have; for some, this is stronger than others. Completely suppressing it is like putting a lid on a pan of boiling water. It only increases the pressure until eventually the water boils over and spills from the pan. Similarly, our dogs will find an outlet for this pressure, either by going hunting alone or developing an outlet in other areas, such as chasing bikes, stalking the cat, or destroying the sofa. Either way, it has to go somewhere!
Predation Involves All Our Dog’s Senses
The predatory sequence is triggered by the environment’s visual, auditory, and olfactory stimuli. All of our dog’s senses are involved in this super intense experience.
If you look at this, it’s quite obvious, why it’s not as easy to stop as other behaviours you dog shows. So let me tell you, how we crack that nut open in the next paragraph!
How we crack this nut open with PST
and what Are The Benefits Of Predation Substitute Training?
If you want to have an impact on the deeply rooted predatory behaviour of your dogs, you need to use their natural hunting motivation for your training goals instead of fighting against their nature.
This is why we focus on fun and effective, force-free PST-tools, which offer your dog a safe outlet for their needs, whilst they stay attentive and love to work with you. Safe outlets mean, that no-one is harmed or endangered – no wildlife, not the neighbours cat, nor your dogs!
The main benefits of the PST approach are:
With PST We meet our Dog’s Needs
Predation Substitute Training allows you to work your dog physically and mentally on their daily walks in a way that meets their canine needs. If your dog is allowed to perform predatory sequences regularly, then they no longer have a strong need for solo hunting adventures. This means they can be better controlled in critical situations.
We Work together with our dogs
Completing a joint activity that is highly rewarding and satisfying for your dog also links all their positive feelings with you too. Instead of being the annoying factor that spoils the fun, you are now the one who enables them to succeed in hunting. This has a positive effect on your relationship.
We Encourage our Dogs To Show Natural Behaviours (In a safe way)
The game-changer, however, is that instead of interrupting your dog’s predatory behaviour and ending their fun, you ask your dog to perform an alternative, safe part of the predatory sequence. This will still let them do what they desire to do in this situation: To hunt! So, you are working with your dog, instead of trying to fight against them.
We Don't Use Aversive Methods Or Tools
There is no part of PST that will harm, hurt, or scare your dog into behaving a certain way. If you start off on the path of using a shock collar to try and prevent your dog’s predation, it will result in you needing to use increasing levels of violence and pain to try and control your dog. As you already understand, it’s best to try and work with your dog positiviely instead of using force to fight against their desires and needs.
We love that PST is A Long-Term Solution
It’s not a quick fix to stop your dog from chasing immediately. You have to work and put a lot of effort into your everyday walks. Yet, the effects you can achieve from this fair, motivation-centred, and need-oriented training are amazing. Your dog will be more manageable in the presence of wildlife, they’ll be more likely to react to your recall cue, and they’ll share the joy of performing safe parts of the predatory sequence with you.
As you can see, Predation Substitute Training isn’t just a technique. IT’S A WIN-WIN: FOR YOU AND FOR Your DOG!
If you want to learn how to use the PST training tools, I would absolutely love to see you in my upcoming online course “Oh Deer!”, starting on February 28th, 2023.
Save your spot right now:
The author: Simone Mueller
Predation Substitute Expert & Founder of Predation Substitute Training