One of the most dangerous behavior problems a dog can have is a habit of chasing cars.
A car is large, heavy, and very dangerous to a dog, but since dogs have a built-in affinity for chasing anything that’s fast and running away, it’s no surprise that some dogs decide that car-chasing is a fun activity.
So what can you do to stop your dog from engaging in this dangerous hobby? That’s what we’re going to examine in this guide, so let’s get started.
Firstly, it’s safe to say that dogs do have a natural inclination to chase, so it’s important to tread carefully when you’re teaching them not to chase cars. In fact, it may be wise to get professional help if you’re very concerned about this behavior because it isn’t something you want to take risks with.
Also, it goes without saying that you should never leave a car-chasing dog unattended in any situation where they may give chase to a moving vehicle, for obvious reasons.
Safety Always Comes First
Whenever you’re training your dog around a car, you need to keep them on a short leash at all times.
When their behavior has become more controllable, you can opt for a longer extendable leash, but you shouldn’t take any risks with off-leash training until you have a high degree of control over your dog.
What To Do
To start with, it’s best to begin this kind of training in a low traffic area. A good tip is to employ the help of a friend who can drive a car past you and your dog very slowly and carefully.
This gives you a greater degree of safety and control, just in case something was to go wrong, such as your dog escaping and giving chase on the road.
When your dog begins to pull or give chase you’ll need to apply a corrective measure. This action only needs to be gentle in most cases. and You simply need to redirect their attention back to you and away from the car.
You’ll need to be quick and catch their attention as early as possible so they learn not to focus on the car they want to chase.
Teaching The “Come” Command
An important command to master is the recall command, and this should be a priority when your dog has a car-chasing habit. Learning recall will be essential in case your dog ever slips into the habit of chasing cars (or anything else).
If your dog doesn’t currently obey the “come” command even when they’re tempted by a distraction, then it’s wise to avoid ever having them off the leash when around cars, because the risk isn’t worth it.
The Last Resort
While we believe it’s best to focus on positive reinforcement training whenever possible, in rare circumstances when your dog’s health and safety are at risk, you may need to use a stronger form of negative reinforcement. Of course, this does not mean you should harm your dog or cause them to feel fearful of you in any way.
But giving a boisterous, chase-prone dog a stronger negative reinforcement, such as a loud unpleasant sound (coins shook inside a plastic bottle can work well) will startle your dog and distract them from their current focus.
Match Their Energy
A final point to make on car-chasing is that some dogs have a stronger desire to chase than others. If your dog is very boisterous and eager to chase, then you’ll need to be firmer with your commands and reinforcement.
For example, if your dog is pulling and keen to chase, then you’ll need a strong command to persuade your dog to disengage. In these situations, a polite “no” isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need to redirect their attention to you kindly, but firmly.
Remember: you’re doing your dog a favor by teaching them not to chase cars because your dog simply has no concept of how dangerous a fast-moving car can be. So if you need to make your dog a little surprised by a stronger negative reinforcement (but not hurtful), then it’s the right thing to do.
In many cases, using a few coins or rocks inside a plastic bottle can make a useful ‘sound aversion’ tool that will produce a loud, sudden, attention-grabbing sound when shaken. This should help to win your dog’s attention and distract them away from their current focus.