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My dog is one of the gentlest dogs I have ever met. Up until a couple days ago I wouldn't think he could hurt a fly. That all changed about 3 days ago when I heard a animal scream and I ran to see what it was and all I seen was two tiny feet hanging out my dogs mouth right as he swallowed it. I yelled at him and he ran and snatched something up a few feet away and I yelled for him to drop it but instead he ran off and before I could get to him he had swallowed it. I still had no idea what it was until he once again went and snatched up something off the ground. By this time my husband heard me yelling and had come to see what was going on so I told him my dog was eating another animal and together we cornered him and he dropped what he had and to my shock it was a tiny baby rabbit!! So small it fit in my hand!! I scolded him put him inside and didn't let him out for the test of the night. The next day I let him out. To my surprise he caught yet another one from a different nest and was about to eat it when I yelled at him and he dropped it. So I know he knows better. I punished him again by not letting him go out on his own and putting him on a leash when he did. I had hoped he understood but this morning I let him out to use the bathroom but instead he went straight back to the spot he dropped the baby rabbit and went to looking for it. So I grabbed his collar and scolded him and put him back inside. I don't want to see my dog as a baby killer!! I love my dog and this is killing me to have to fear he is eating these poor tiny rabbits and pretty much swallowing them whole!! Is there anything I can do? I can't just take away his freedom and keep him locked up or tied up. What if he starts hurting other animals? Will he kill any kittens or turn vicious if I stop him from being able to run free? I am just so disappointed in his behavior I don't know what to do. How can a dog that is so gentle he won't even take food from your hand end up being a baby rabbit killer? I know I can't stop him from finding them bc he has a hell of a nose on him and can smell out their burrow so how can I stop this from happening? Please someone help!! Will he become obsessed and kill them all? Ismthere any disease baby rabbits can pass to him from him eating them pretty much whole? I am desperate not to feel this way towards him. ☹️

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  • Welcome to pets.SE! Please give a focused question, or a detailed aim you want to reach. Because dogs are hunting animals, predators, it may not be possible to aim for him not hunting if he is unsupervised. If we have a clear question/aim we can better help you answer/reach what you want. Apr 14, 2023 at 7:08
  • Do you know what breed your dog is? It seems he has a strong prey drive. It is surely very unlikely he'll turn vicious towards anything he's been perfectly well behaved around, but you should assume any similarly small animals, including kittens, are also in danger from him.
    – Kai
    Apr 14, 2023 at 18:19

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Maybe the place to go with this is to understand nature rather than trying to change it. Your dog is a predator. His ancestors, for a very long time indeed, did exactly this sort of thing. And they did it often enough not to starve, long enough to raise pups of their own.

If you are going to have a dog, it is kind of difficult to be upset with him when he does dog things. Now that he knows what rabbits are and what they taste like, it's going to be tough going to stop him trying to get more. Imagine stopping yourself from having cake or ice cream.

Maybe the best you can hope for is to divert him and reduce the rate of his activity. Keep him well fed, especially just before walkies. Keep him on leash whenever there might be a rabbit about. Train him to obey command such as "Stay!" and "Sit!" and "Come!" and "Heal!" (You need to work at these.)

As to your dog's health: a dog's digestive system is adapted to this. If a rabbit is the worst thing you ever see him eat, consider yourself not too badly off. It is unlikely to harm him.

I hung out at my brother's place last summer. He has a dog (female German Shepherd about 3 years old) and two cats. One cat is so old she has completely lost litter tray discipline, and frequently poops in the middle of the dining room floor. Beloved cat, and this is simply tolerated. She's extremely old, possibly as old as 20, so it can't continue much longer. So, one morning, I got up before everybody else. Pet the dog good morning. Noticed the cat had left a chocolate bar on the floor, and went to get paper towels to clean it up. Turn back, and the poop is gone. Dog sitting there licking her lips.

OK, doggy. You don't get to lick my face any more.

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