Why do squirrels tease dogs?

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Why do squirrels tease dogs?

Virginia Smith

Votes: 4327

Animals blessed with fast motion often seem to enjoy teasing other animals, like animal tag: Yah yah, can’t catch me, slowpoke! And the ones getting teased very often clearly enjoy it. Playtime breaks up boredom, and animals detest boredom as a special form of torment all its own.

Admittedly, it’s a matter of interpretation exactly what’s going on inside those furry skulls, and some kind folk would be pained to think that their beloved innocents would tease each other just to make mischief. Here a squirrel goes back and forth atop a fence with 2 dogs romping happily below. You be the judge:

Beyond squirrels, in my own experience:

Case 1: My friend had a Maine coon cat who was the target of loud insults from mockingbirds nesting somewhere not far away. They were careful not to get too close while Dappy was young and spry. But when he was slowed by age and arthritis, at least one of the birds would divebomb him from behind, tapping him just above the base of the tail as Dappy stalked in dignified insouciance in the other direction, determined to ignore the pesky avian. But with each hit he couldn’t control an involuntary upward flick of his plumy tail, which seems to be mockers’ game. Meanies.

Case 2: My horse was stabled in a nearby town where he had access to a long pasture, 1 acre wide and 4 acres long with the high end near the dirt road, sloping down to the flat area at the foot. When it snowed deep enough, his favorite game was to pace back and forth at the high road end while I stood some 20 feet away. He’d trek to the east end, I’d sort of clomp that way, then he’d head back west and I’d follow a few steps. Of course people don’t get through 18 inches of fresh powder as easily as horses do, which pleased him no end. He’d head west, feint back east, me following like a clumsy point guard, then he’d shoot back west and go bucking and snorting steam, galloping down the length of the field, all full of himself. Of course I wasn’t even close to being able to intercept him but I’d toss a snowball his way anyway. Back up he strolls, ears up, looking at me: Go again? On it went until I was ready to drop, but he never tired of showing how happy it made him running circles around his pokey primate playmate. Rascal.

Case 3: This one was pretty flagrant. I lived a couple of years in Paris many moons ago, and preferred to cross the Atlantic by ocean liner when it was still possible. (Ah, those were the days.) On the way back to New York the first time I brought a young black Paris street cat. Aboard ship pets were transported in cages in an area that looked like a big unheated basement set behind the smokestacks high in the superstructure. First time I went up to see how Pierre was doing, I opened his cage and out strolls the little cat, calm as you please. Saunters over smack in front of the row of dog cages, not even deigning to look their way, sits down no more than 6 feet away with his back to the dogs, and proceeds to take his sweet time nonchalantly washing his sassy self, ears to tail, every last hair . . . while right behind him an entire row of maddened canines goes insane, deafening racket, bounding, barking, howling, wailing, raging, clawing madly at the wire.

Tell me animals don’t do it on purpose.

Donna Warlick

Votes: 7000

Because they can? We used to have a lizard that would stand outside of our screen door doing nothing all day. But as soon as one of our dogs came to look out of the screen, that darned lizard started doing “lizard pushups.” Our dogs didn’t bark at it or anything. They just sat and watched, fascinated. I don’t know what was going on in his teeny lizard brain, but it was a joy to watch.

Cheri Nappi

Votes: 5321

Because they are!😛 No, I’m just joking. They have very fast metabolisms so due to that they run around three way they do. They will eat many times a day and actually are highly intelligent and very much like humans in their behavior. My mother used to feed three squirrels in our yard bagels with pb&j on then every morning & if she slept late they would all line up (I’m talking like at least 20 squirrels) on our shed and knock on our kitchen window while we’d be having our coffee. My cat brought me a 1 day old baby once after its mother got electrocuted send although I raised it to be able to return to the wild it decided to remain with me. So I would walk around with him chillin on my shoulder and when people would pull up to me is use that as an opportunity to teach others about squirrels. I truly couldn’t believe how many misconceptions people have about squirrels. Whenever i’d go out i’d say “zippy hide” & he would crawl into my bra wren i’d go into any store & wouldn’t come out until I told him to. He was one of the most amazing fur babies i’d ever had!💞

Deanna Crownover

Votes: 1697


( I know these photos look sideways but, I was actually laying on the bed at an angle when I took this picture of Skittles and Achilles)

Jim Miller

Votes: 2792

Because they’re little asshats.

Perry Nein

Votes: 10058

Levy knew precisely what to do when she caught a squirrel.

She was an Aussie, she did not like rodents.

At first she would bring the dead critters to me. Showing me that she was doing her job. As she got older, she would kill them and drop them.

She brought a duck home one day. I had had her for 6 months by that time.

Dropping the duck at my feet. The duck shook itself and proceeded to start looking around for something to eat, it was a Drake. Levy was looking at me with those eyes, come on dad, did I do good?

I did not know what to do, with the duck. I told Levy that she was a good girl, but I did not care for her present. I took the duck down to the park a couple blocks away and let it go.

She never brought a duck or any other live critter for me afterwards. She did not kill birds. Just rodents.

Does a dog know what to do if they catch a squirrel?

Yes, Levy did. She killed them, right quick like.

She never did get to catch a rabbit.

Aitor Goizueta

Votes: 3821

Can squirrels and dogs be friends?

Yes, in some cases!

Jens BöttigerMatthew ClemonsEllen Wick

Votes: 6736

I understand why this is difficult to understand from a European perspective. I also didn’t understand it when I moved there at first.

American grey squirrels aren’t like European red squirrels. They are about twice as big, they chatter loudly all the time, and they cause A LOT of property damage.

Let me explain.

Compared to Germany, where everything is built from brick, concrete, clay tiles, thick wooden beams, and steel, American houses are basically made from toothpicks.

Residential houses are framed with wood, and I do NOT mean wooden beams like they use in any self-respecting Fachwerkhaus.

They are about 5 cm by 10 cm… staves, generously spaced out and hung with plasterboard to make interior walls, and covered with plywood for exterior walls.

The structures aren’t strong enough to support a real roof, so they either tile it with wooden shingles instead of clay, or they shingle it with asphalt shingles. Basically saran wrap with 0.3 cm of asphalt sprinkled on it.

Now you really have to give credit to the engineering here, because these do not fall down. People live in them, and it really is fine. They are also WAY cheaper to build than the stuff in Europe. It’s not going to last centuries, but it does the job.


Imagine an army of large woodland creatures stumbling across this construction and deciding to make a home.

They simply rip the stucco off of your external walls, chew through the wood, and make homes in the structure of your house.

(Note the previously mentioned asphalt shingles)

On top of that, you get to deal with the sound of something running a few feet above your head ALL NIGHT LONG EVERY NIGHT!! You hear the scrabbling of their claws drumming loudly on the thin plywood of your roof.

It drives you insane after a while.

It really doesn’t take that much sleep deprivation before you’re out there with a BB gun with the rest of them.

Kristen Lauterbach Craig

Votes: 4171

They don’t, any more than a dog who barks at the mail carrier is ‘’teasing” them. They are announcing and defending territory in a way that makes sense to them.

Lighting upon the ground, they are foraging for food, not enticing the dog.

Clambering up a tree trunk and skittering around and around, they are escaping while trying to keep a close eye on their predator, darting in and out of sight, not enticing the dog.

When they sit in the branches and chit-chit and growl, flicking tail, they are warning in their tiny squirrel way, the way they would another squirrel or a hawk that would threaten their nest. Not enticing the dog.

Leaping overhead, branch to branch, that’s their super-highway. Not…well you get the idea.

Mike Walker

Votes: 436

What happens when your dog actually catches a squirrel?

I have watched my dogs dispatch squirrels, and it’s very quick, they grab them by the back and just shake their heads a couple of times and the squirrel is dead. Then they proudly carry them around the yard in their mouths. My 2 dogs have learned to work together, one trees the squirrel and barks like crazy at the squirrel, while the older dog quietly sits back around 25 feet away. Then the squirrel will make a break for it, forgetting about the other dog, sometimes they get away, but in 2 summers they got 6 squirrels that I found. Here is one of my past dogs posing with her dead squirrel.

Ken Picard

Votes: 5175

I just upvoted Allen E Hall’s answer to this question because I totally believe him. Here’s my story. I call it “Dad verses the Squirrels”.

My parents had a family of squirrels move under their trailer at the campsite. They entered via a pipe/conduit used for wiring. They chewed up wires and insulation, and were basically being pests. He tried stuffing a can into the pipe (while they were out), but they chewed right through the tin. Then they chewed through another can, filled with steel wool.

In desperation, he added Tabasco sauce to the outside of the next can. When they returned, papa squirrel (presumably) started chewing again and within a few seconds began doing the “my mouth is on fire” dance. It involved a lot of running backwards in crazy circles, dragging his chin on the ground. The rest of his family looked on in apparent disbelief at the antics. Shortly after, the whole family left.

But they came back the very next day. With a Squirrel army.

20+ red squirrels gathered under his truck, squawking and chattering in apparent anger. My mom, has a fear/dislike of all rodents, and ran inside the trailer, peeking out through the window. The squirrel mob worked themselves into a frenzy, then charged, en masse.

Ever been attacked by a mob of angry squirrels? Right. Me neither.

What would you do?

My dad, grabbed the nearby fire poker and began slapping the ground with it in wide arcs. The squirrel pack lost its collective nerve, and ran off, never to return. As far as we can figure, all of the squirrels from the campsite, came to the families aid, trying to intimidate, but were successfully repulsed.

Dad 1, squirrels 0.

BTW, No squirrels were (permanently) harmed during the entire episode.

My dad is a soft spoken man, with a great sense of humor, and great story telling genes. His telling of this story has cracked up many friends and family who heard it. If it wasn’t for my mom’s confirmation (she’s honest to a fault), I might suspect a bit a truth stretching.

We lost dad a few years back, but I have taken up the charge of passing along his best stories. Thanks for the opportunity to pass this one along.

Charlotte Webster

Votes: 8877

It’s not so much that they’re mortal enemies but for some dogs, the speed and agility of a squirrel triggers many into picking up after them.

Some breeds are more predisposed or hard wired to go after smaller animals like squirrels and rabbits. I had a springer that never had any real training and just did not know what to do with all the instincts she had and the only time I ever had to raise my voice was when she saw and went hurtling after a squirrel. She ran head first into some glass at the pet store inside which our vets was and we had to pass through. Came out of two days as an inpatient on death’s door but saw guinea pigs through a plain glass fronted enclosure and just ran at it full on.

Wouldn’t have bothered if she weren’t so bloody quick but I saw her nearly catch up with two rabbits on a golf course once – two of them at the same time she darted one way and then the other and was inches from nabbing both right on the arse.

We get a lot of squirrels here and Cass would let them torment and take the piss out of her to no end. They chuck shit from the top of trees I swear to God in my life I’ve only ever seen squirrels and magpies deliberately taunt dogs like that.

Cass would circle the bottom of that tree forever a day if you let her and the squirrel would be there 30ft up in the air with his mates killing themselves laughing and filming on their little squirrel phones to share later.

My border collies are startled and triggered into picking up and starting the chase after birds, squirrels or even cats but stop when they meet ground and just wag their tails. It’s the movement that sets them off though but again, they’re hard wired to react instinctively to a sudden jolt or fast moving object.

The magpies that regularly rock up at our back patio doors chucking stones and bits of moss to piss them off will go home one of these days crying. They’ll get too cocky and time it off and both of them will sit there telling their Mum about that bastard black and white dog that chased them up the arse.

They even taunt the sheep and horses but those sheep sit there and let it happen it’s painful.

Tricia Toth Casper

Votes: 4648

I’m not sure dogs hate squirrels as much as they have a predatory instinct towards them. Of course some dogs do not have much of a prey drive and ignore them completely.

For dogs with a prey drive, they get aroused by squirrels and become agitated, possibly frustrated, that they can’t get to the squirrels. (Where we live, the squirrels also taunt dogs by chirping and throwing sticks at them.)

Funny squirrel story… we keep our back door open sometimes when we are home so the dogs can go in and out at will. One day, our female dog came tearing into the house after a squirrel with our male dog trailing close behind. My husband, who was sitting on the couch at the time, had a squirrel and two 70-lb dogs run over the back of the couch behind his head and into the kitchen where …

Belinda Kelley

Votes: 276

Why do squirrels tease dogs? One reason why squirrels tease dogs may be to relieve boredom, teasing each other keeps them active and entertained. Another reason for their behaviour could be that the squirrel is trying to protect its territory from this large predator. As such, it is entirely normal for a dog to chase and kill smaller animals. … Your dog didn’t chase the squirrel because you didn’t feed enough breakfast. Dogs chase squirrels because they are fun to chase. Dogs tend to enjoy things that assure their survival, domestication didn’t change that.


Go to my Profile. You can find all about Dogs and Puppies material there…

Kevin Thorpe

Votes: 4717

Why can’t my dog let squirrels live peacefully?

Dogs see rodents clearly as the enemy.

My lovely dog was fine with anything except rodents.

Fine sat watching rabbits. Lagomorphs obviously didn’t register. Fine with farm animals. Fine with wild animals.

Except rats and squirrels. Then she flipped into hunter-killer mode. Nothing else at all.

Andrew Sharpe

Votes: 5418

Why do dogs chase things like squirrels? What is their goal for catching them?

Aye, that’s a prey drive. And huskies have it in spades. Ours have dispatched mice, rats, and nearly completely dispatched a skunk that got into our yard (much to our chagrin). They will shake it, or pounce on it, until is it quite dead. Sorry, but that’s what a prey drive is. It used to keep them alive.

Claire Jordan

Votes: 7041

Why are grey squirrels so mean to red squirrels? Can’t the two species just get along and play nicely?

The main problem isn’t actually competition between the two, but a change in habitat. Red squirrels like native conifer woodland, which is in decline due to being replaced by monocultured foreign trees managed for timber, while grays like deciduous woodland.

George Rix

Votes: 4676

Hypothetically yes, but in reality it isn’t going to happen. Squirrels have been seen to attack dogs when they have picked up baby squirrels.

Stephanie Jacklin

Votes: 1109

What do squirrels eat?

From observation of the squirrels in my garden:

Squirrels like:

Nuts, any

Bulbs, the more expensive the better

Figs, the day before you intend to pick them

Toast, buttered, an entire piece, from goodness knows where, preferably held in both paws and eaten on the windowsill while watching a human try to exercise. You try doing lunges while being observed by a squirrel eating toast.

Squirrels do not like:


I watched a squirrel furtively pull a radish out of the earth, take a bite, recoil, and throw it across the garden in disgust. What goes around, comes around, squirrel. That’s for the lunges.

Ken Saladin

Votes: 6062

Where do squirrels go to die?

To the Squirrel Graveyard behind a giant waterfall on the Zambezi River of east Africa.

Blair Miller

Votes: 1226

How can I stop my dog from killing the squirrels in our yard?

If your dog is killing squirrels in your yard and they are still coming there, then they are not very good specimens of squirrels and don’t need to be in the gene pool. Usually, prey animals stay away from places where they might be killed. Are you putting out bird food or some other food that they are attracted to? That might be a problem.

I’ve had terriers in my yard for years, and though they chase the squirrels so fast it’s just a blur, they’ve only managed to catch and kill one or two. Your dog must have super-dog powers.

I don’t think you can stop your dog from killing the squirrels. He th

Lois Harford

Votes: 8157

Why does my dog love to chase squirrels?

Dogs are predators, and most of them love to chase anything that moves quickly and unpredictably, and smells like food. I have one dog that loves chasing squirrels, and standing at the base of our trees, barking at them as they climb, and jump from branch to branch, tree to tree. He also likes to chase rabbits and chipmunks. The other dog could care less.

Dan Tannehill

Votes: 1734

Why do squirrels look back at you when you stop and watch them?

Squirrels are tasty. Not just to me and other rural Americans, but to hawks, foxes, coyotes, dogs, cats, bobcats, lynx, etc. etc.

Squirrels know this-either by instinct or by seeing other squirrels become the main course. Obviously, squirrels don’t want to be on the menu. All of the predators mentioned earlier have a distinct trait. They all have eyes on the front of the head. Squirrels and other p

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