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How do you train a dog to avoid porcupines? Answered

One hunting group's web site publicized training workshops featuring a caged live porcupine to teach dogs to
avoid porcupines. Porky quills are my biggest fear to letting a dog go off leash. I would like to know what the technique is
for training a dog so that it doesn't learn the hard way to avoid porkies.


Depending where you are, shock collars may be illegal.

I believe you. There are some strange laws on the books!

Legal or not, when I get a dog, I'm going to do what I think is in its best interests. If there's some positive reinforcement method to get a dog to avoid porcupines or snakes or be safe from road traffic I would use it. I kind of doubt it but I'm willing to change my mind given proof. My dad trained his dog to fetch the newspaper from the end of his driveway. One morning when he set her out to fetch she was killed by a car while chasing a squirrel across the road. He was heartbroken and swore he would never get another dog. I'm sure he meant it at the time. After becoming a widower he got another dog. For his last dog he installed an invisible fence that works in conjunction with a shock collar. That dog learned quickly to respect boundaries! My dad got that system because he loved his dog, not out of sadism. I have to wonder if people who would ban shock collars have a viable alternative or prefer to see dogs with barbed quills in their eyes, snake bitten or struck by vehicles.

Speaking of differences and fences, you got me to thinking of some sights I saw on the Navajo Nation (Native American Indian reservation). The picture is from the parking lot of the Holiday Inn in Chinle, Arizona.

As I was pulling into the lot, a staff member of the hotel tossed a
couple of scoops of dog food on the pavement, and these two chowed down.

The dogs are (I think) feral, not pets, with no collars, no fences, no dog licenses. Spayed or neutered? Vaccinated/dewormed? Regular vet checkups? Possibly, but I doubt it. The Navajo have had dogs for thousands of years without those. I also saw a horse running free in the middle of town. It's a great place to visit, if you get a chance. A million miles from Disneyland...


4 years ago

After a few years your dog's allure for the spiny creature will be mitigated by the pain ...

As Vyger said some dogs don't learn, they will even go out of their way to attack porcupines, but for the ones that do learn take the quills out without anesthetic.


4 years ago

I have seen a number of dogs with quills stuck in their faces and I had to pull some out of one of my dogs once with a pair of pliers. I have been told that some dogs learn to leave them alone and some dogs just never learn. They appear to get the idea that the porcupines are attacking them and they get in this super aggressive state where they go after them even more. A friend had a doberman that just would not leave them alone even after he lost an eye from the quills. I think the biggest factor is the dogs disposition and how aggressive they are. Some may never learn. I have no idea how you could teach them to leave them alone.