View Full Version : chasing birds

19th June 2011, 06:19 PM
I had a pretty scary experience with my cavalier Waldo the other day. We have him about 4 months now, and recall training has been going pretty good -very obedient, always comes back to us when we call. I only ever let him off leash in a fairly remote area of our local park, or on his morning walks, we go up to an enclosed football field where he loves to play fetch.

He caught sight of some swallows swooping low over the ground and that was it, he was gone! No amount of calling was bringing him back and he was getting further and further away and closer to the gate where we entered the field. Luckily the bird he was chasing doubled back and I eventually got him to come over, but I got such a fright. I stayed as calm as I could, didn't chase after him and didn't scold him when he came back.

Like I said, recall training has been pretty good and I would never, ever let him off the lead anywhere around traffic because I know cavaliers don't have the best road sense, but now I am thinking should I let him off at all or have I just a lot more to do on the recall training?

My gut feeling is that no amount of recall training will help once that primal instinct to chase/hunt kicks in and I am probably re-inforcing it with our games of fetch! Anyone else have similar experiences with their cavaliers or have tips on getting recall to work every time, even in the face of major distractions.

19th June 2011, 09:06 PM
Oh, how I understand you dilemma! Our Bentley is almost 7 months old and 99% of the time we still feel he has to be on his leash to go potty, even though we live in the country surrounded by farmland. We are at least 750 feet from a fairly busy highway and he looks longingly at that road every time a vehicle passes. We also have 2 outside cats who like to hang out on the front porch. He loves to engage those cats and on the rare occasion he's off-leash he chases them at break-neck speeds, never hearing us call him back. He becomes completely deaf when he's on such a mission. I just don't know how to train for this.

19th June 2011, 09:10 PM
Clancy has a ridiculously strong prey drive, and is NEVER allowed off leash outside of a securely fenced in area. I have had him yank the leash right out of my hand to chase a squirrel; I have to wrap it securely around my wrist to keep him from breaking free. I doubt anything could train that instinct out of him.

19th June 2011, 09:44 PM
I feel for you and know how scarey this is. what you have described is the very reason I never let Leo off the lead anymore.
I would never forgive myself if I lost him or he were killed in an accident.....better to be safe than sorry.