Are Dogs Natural Squirrel Repellents?
If you have ever had a squirrel problem and a dog at the same time, you may have experienced the sheer joy your canine exudes from chasing squirrels. So the thought arises – is it possible – can your dog keep your yard free of squirrels?
Squirrels may be cute, but they can be very destructive to your property. Squirrels can hang over tree branches and fences and do something amusing; however, they can also be a headache especially when they make their way into your garden and home. Squirrels can wreak havoc on your garden by digging up flower bulbs and munching on fruits and vegetables. Worse, they can live in your attic and become a permanent resident, chewing on wires and beams. (Don’t have a dog? Try a high impact rodent repeller in your attic.)
Dogs: Predator Repellents
Usually, squirrels will not stop until they get what they want, a behavior many people dislike and the reason why squirrels are considered pests. If you are looking for ways on how to deter squirrels, there are so many options to choose from. From planting flowers that squirrels don’t like, using essential oils or ultrasonic repellents, chemicals, even motion-activate sprinklers, the possibilities are endless, but the results usually are not. So if you have dogs at home (or cats), all the better as these furry friends can help shoo squirrels away. Yes, having a dog in your yard can prevent squirrels from visiting your home and messing your garden. So, how can your dog help repel squirrels?
Why Do Dogs Chase Squirrels?
It’s simple. Dogs love to chase things. Dogs are hunters and natural predators. The presence of a predator can be a natural repellent for squirrels. Like their wolf ancestors, they can chase squirrels all day long. All dogs have prey drive – some more than others, who always love to play with anything that moves – like a squirrel. Your dog might not catch the squirrel but their presence alone will discourage any squirrel from getting too close. Your dog is the most natural, effective and cost effective method of deterring squirrels from your home and your life for good.
There are a few things to think about when considering employing your canine’s natural instincts to free your yard of critters:
No Interest: Alas, not all dogs have a high prey drive…some seem to have none at all. In this case, size doesn’t matter…your small Yorkie may have the constitution of Braveheart and chase those little guys all day long, while your 90 pound Labrador want to invite them in for a snack. If they don’t want to do it, no amount of training or cajoling will many any difference.
Too Much Prey Drive: Some dogs – like German Shepherds for instance – are wholly prey driven. They are 1000% committed to chasing, catching or destroying every squirrel they see. They won’t stop until they a) chase it away and can’t see it anymore, or b) catch it and kill it. Once they have decided that is their job in the yard, they are lifelong sentries.
Barking: If you live in a neighborhood, and your dog loves his job, it usually ends in barking. It’s important to be considerate of your neighbors, so if you do encourage your dog to chase the squirrels away, learn how to stop the barking on command. Many a dog will sit at the base of a tree or fence and bark until they are hoarse.
Expectations: Don’t expect your dog (or cat!) to completely rid your area of squirrels. There are too many, and they are too fast. What a dog can do is keep them at bay…forcing them to maintain an acceptable distance from your house, garden, deck, bird feeders, etc. Our Sheltie, for instance, used to leap at the door whenever we joyfully yelled “Squirrel!” and would race through the door at breakneck speed. Squirrels were never a problem when we had the dog.
Results: Dogs take their jobs seriously. It’s important to know that if your dog catches a squirrel, it won’t be pretty and he/she might eat it. If your dog is up to date on all his/her shots etc., there is probably nothing to worry about. However, if you do encourage your dog to chase squirrels, do NOT keep poison or chemicals anywhere that a squirrel may ingest them.
Be Careful What You Wish For
Caution: Dogs love to chase squirrels! Once your dog gets the hang of it, he/she will protect your home with every quivering, drooling, excited bone in their body. That means barking. It means leaping from the sofa to bark at squirrels through the sliding glass door while you’re on the phone. It means when you take her for walk in the park, you need to be on the alert so you don’t get your arms pulled out of your socket every time a furry gray tail shakes from behind a bush. So, weigh the positive and negative carefully and remember…training is key.
Dogs That Chase Squirrels
So, can your dog keep your yard free of squirrels? If one of your primary purposes in having dogs at home is to chase away these nuisance creatures, then you have to choose a dog breed that is naturally a squirrel hunter. Below are the top 7 breeds of dogs with high prey drive that may have the instinct to hunt smaller animals, particularly rodents.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are hounds; the desire to hunt and pursue prey is innate to them. With this, they can be a great dog to guard your home – both from intruders and squirrels. Whether a squirrel or another creature crosses their path, their high prey drive will dominate their senses and they will chase their prey aggressively. And when we say aggressively, it means a never-ending chase, slamming its body, and knocking their victim down. Rhodesian Ridgeback definitely loves its human family, however, this doesn’t mean that it will need your approval before it does what comes naturally, so be wary when planning to have it as a pet.
Also coined as the King of Terriers because of its large build, Airedale Terrier is one of the dog breeds that are designed to hunt, and even kill, their prey. Aside from being brave, this breed of terrier is also intelligent, independent, and can be mischievous sometimes. They are also feisty and very territorial, which drives their intense desire to chase after squirrels that trespasses your home.Greyhounds
If you are looking for a dog with superb vision, then the greyhound may be the breed for you. Greyhounds are part of the sighthound group; you can imagine how fast they notice squirrels entering the perimeter. While they can be pretty laid back at times, their prey drive automatically kicks in when a squirrel enters their line of vision.
Mountain Cur is a dog breed of medium size and is naturally designed for hunting and treeing small animals. While they are intelligent dogs and can be trained easily, they are also considered a working dog. Aside from their great ability to shoo the squirrels away from your territory, they can also adapt well to almost any types of environment. The combination of their very strong prey drive and their treeing instinct is very lethal on the part of trespassing animals like squirrels.
Beagle is one of the dog breeds popularly known to hunt squirrels. In fact, they were used for hunting in the primitive times to chase smaller animals. Beagles belong to the category of scenthounds and have an excellent sense of smell. Learn more about the barking before you make your decision.
If there is a Jack of All Trades in dog breeds, then Feist has it. Their powerful sense of smell, hearing, sight, and high speed are responsible for the dog’s high prey drive. They are very alert and can easily sense the presence of their prey, which most of the time are the squirrels, and can chase after them incessantly.
These seven dog breeds have very high prey drive, love to work, and are committed to protecting their turf. The problem comes when your dogs are too energetic that they never stop chasing them. It is important to control the hunting drive of your pet dogs so they will act based on your instruction, rather than on their instincts.