If your dog has a habit of running after animals, cars, or bikes, you've probably wondered how to stop dogs chasing. Chasing cats and other animals is a nuisance; chasing cars and bikes is dangerous. Like most other dog problems, the key is understanding why your dog is performing the behavior, then modifying the behavior accordingly.
Why do they do it? Some dogs chase because they're energetic. Many dogs have specific targets they either enjoy chasing or perceive as a threat. Other dogs chase because they're hard-wired to do so. As certain dogs were bred for specific human purposes like hunting, herding, or retrieving, the urge to chase was strengthened. If your dog is one of those breeds, that urge is in his genes. Still, you can adapt the behavior to more appropriate, less dangerous channels.
If your dog chases because he's energetic, find ways for him to release his energy. Walking and running are fairly common forms of exercise, and agility is an excellent release for high-energy dogs. Energetic dogs that love to chase will likely love dock diving. In this sport, dogs are shown a toy that is then thrown into a pool. Dogs run along a dock and dive as far as they can to retrieve the toy. Dock diving can be done for fun or competitively, with awards going for the longest dives. Another option - find a dog meetup near you where you can connect your dog with others of similar breeds. The dogs can safely chase each other until they're worn out.
If your dog chases specific targets, such as cats, cars, or bikes, you'll need to work on training him not to do so. For example, if your dog has a habit of chasing bikes, enlist a friend with a bike to help you. Walk your dog on a leash as your friend pedals by. The moment your dog turns his attention to the bike, give a sharp, quick tug on the leash paired with a sharp "Leave it!" If your words do not get his attention, shake a soda can with pennies in it. The noise will startle your dog and turn his attention from the bike to the noise. Don't wait until your dog starts to pull or chase to do this - as soon as your dog turns his head towards the bike is the time to interrupt his focus. When your dog turns his attention to you, reward him generously - treats, praise, petting, whatever works for your dog. Repeat this process until your dog no longer pulls towards the bike.
The next step is teaching your dog what is ok to chase. This works both for dogs who chase specific targets and for dogs that are bred for the chase. Choose a command that will signal to your dog that he can chase, such as "Get it!" This will teach your dog to chase when you tell him to do so, and not every time something interesting goes past him. Take him to your backyard or an off-leash park with a toy like a ball. Throw it, tell your dog "Get it!" then reward him for going for it. That will teach him he gets rewarded for going after that specific target. It also gives him an outlet for what he is hard-wired to do, but in a safer way than when he chased whatever he wanted.
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Stopping dogs chasing boils down to 3 things:
• Giving your dog an outlet for his energy
• Teaching him what is not ok to chase
• Teaching him what is ok to chase
It will take some work and patience, but will be well worth it in the long run. You won't have to worry about your dog getting into trouble and your dog will still be able to enjoy a good chase.
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