Why do dogs chase cars?
Chasing fast moving things is a lot of fun for some dogs and some dogs chase just about anything that comes in their way. Sometimes this gets really troublesome and especially when they choose to chase cars or other moving vehicles.
The reason why dogs chase cars (apart from being fun) are varied. In some cases it is their territorial instincts, they try to chase intruders away from their home. Hunting dogs of course are running after prey and herding dogs might see the car as an animal from the herd that needs to be brought back home.
Car chasing dogs are often injured or killed in traffic accidents and they also cause accidents when cars are trying to avoid them. Giving chase is a natural behavior for a dog in the wild but in our world when they start to chase moving motor vehicules then it gets really troublesome. The noise of a moving car often triggers the dog’s will to give chase, and the dog gets soo exited that it is very difficult to stop once it gets moving. Let’s take a look at what can be done to prevent a dog from chasing cars in the first place.
Like always when it comes to an unwanted dog behavior, it is better to act right away then to let the problem grow and the behavior becomes a habit. You need to stop your dog’s car chasing and replace it with something else.
If your dog has just started show interest in moving cars then the best way is to stop him/her right there. You need to redirect your dog’s attention on to something else that your dog finds entertaining. This is one way to do it: When your dog reacts to a moving car, interupt her by calling her name, when she turns to you give her a little treat, a toy or pat and stroke her. This way she will associate the car with something good from you. If she does not react when you call her name because she is giving the car all attention, block her vision by placing yourself in front of her, thus blocking her view of the car. Then giving her attention or a treat or toy.
If your dog is already chasing cars then you need to figure out why she is chasing cars, thus you have a better chance of finding a good prevention for it. For example: if your dog only chase cars outside of your home, then it is propably territorial, dog sees the car as a threat to his/her territory. If your dog is of a herding breed, then she might see the cars either as a threat to the herd and thus they must chased away or as a part of the herd and thus they should be brought back to the herd. Finally, hunting dogs might see a car as a prey it wants to catch.
What you can do to stop your dog from chasing cars
If your dog is of a herding breed then it needs a lot of exercise. Herding dogs love to work and must get plenty of exercise. You might be able to stop the car chasing by doing a lot of activities. You can for example enroll your dog in agility classes herding trials. Running and jumping after a frisbee is also good. The main point here is to keep her really busy and active as this will most probably make her less interested in chasing cars.
When it comes to hunting dogs who are chasing cars because they consider it to be prey, keeping the dog on a leash would be the easiest option when you are anywhere near traffic. Otherwise the thing here is to teach your dog to listen to the command “come here”.
If you can get such control over your dog then it can be used not only stop your dog from chasing cars but also to control him and stop other unwanted behaviors. The important thing here is to stop the chase early before the dog’s energy level gets too high and is near impossible to stop. Interact early, call your dog, distract her and get in her way.
The technique of re-direction is often effective when it comes to stopping unwanted behavior from your dog. By getting your dog’s attention and then re-direct its attention to something else you can often stop unwanted and/or dangerous behaviors.
When it comes to chasing cars, you need to use a leash as it will be very difficult to get a dog’s attention once it has really focused on the car, and no human can outrun a dog. So as soon as the dog shows interest for a passing car, call your dog, tighten the leash a little and give her attention by giving her a treat or toy.
To summarize, the best way to stop a dog chasing cars is prevention. That is to react when your dog starts to show interest in cars and to stop it developing into an obsession. If your dog is already chasing cars, try to find out why your dog is chasing cars. Once you have an idea of what it is, you can find the right method to stop your dog from chasing cars.
If you want to learn more about how to stop your dog from chasing cars, or any other unwanted behavior, I suggest you take a look at my review of the Online Dog Trainer. It is an online dog training system where you learn how to train your dog by watching videos. There is also a forum where you can ask questions and get answers from the professional dog trainer Doggy Dan who runs the site. I highly reccommend it.
If you need any assistance or if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.