I have a Plott hound mix - rescue. He's a sweet heart. I've had him for 4 years and we've managed to smooth out most of his edges.
I'm still struggling a bit to handle the [very] sporadic meltdowns he has over cats when I walk him on leash around the neighborhood. It's once in a blue moon sporadic.
I've learned I can get him back on track relatively quickly if he darts after a squirrel. Even with the majority of cat sightings. But once in a great while he will see a cat and not only attempt to dart but will scream like a banshee. To the point where people come out of their house because they think I might be hurting him. It has only happened twice but it was really embarrassing and just came out of nowhere. I do notice a small amount of tension building up when it happens. But in 4 years it's only lead to a meltdown twice.
He has a prey drive but it's not always so intense. In fact I had a cat in my house and while in my arms, he didn't make a peep. I never let the cat down around him.
I want to train the prey drive out of him but not sure how. Especially because when I walk him in the woods or on trails he's off leash. So I imagine it's not sinking in when in the woods he has free reign to run wherever but in neighbourhoods he can't.
- I don't want him to hurt any other critter.
- Heaven forbid I don't react fast enough or the lead breaks and he runs into traffic.
- I don't want people to think I'm physically abusing my dog when he's just losing his mind over a random cat.
And when I say I noticed built up tension I mean: for example today he happened to be particularly fired up by the many squirrels we were seeing in the woods and then just as we started walking into the neighbourhood. Then by the time he saw the cat it was ten times worse. And the last time it happened, he saw several cats but by the 3rd or 4th one again he had the meltdown.
What should I do? I can't avoid squirrels and cats anywhere outside.