You are out for your first stroll with your newly adopted dog in the street and were terrified to find that he was pulling you (as you are holding on to his leash) to chase after a fast moving car that moves past him.
Recalling that moment certainly sends the chill down your spine. Working on correcting your dog on this behavior is certainly a MUST!
You are probably wondering why he does that and what can be done to stop and correct his chasing behavior?
There is in fact a legit reason behind your dog chasing behavior and that happens to almost all dogs till they are trained not to do so.
Think about the times when you see stray dogs running after cars, chasing people riding a bike, going after runners or even any fast moving animals such as squirrels.
Does that ring any bells for YOU?
You see, it’s a normal behavior for dogs to chase after any fast moving object as their natural prey hunting instinct teaches them to hunt for their prey in the wild.
So naturally, they will act upon any things that “flashes” past their sight in a fast movement.
Now that you know why your dog likes to do his chasing, it’s time to work on WAYS to correct this behavior.
To stop your dog’s chasing behavior, work on his obedience training and get him trained on “Leave It” and “Recall” commands. Make him divert his attention from the car to you by offering him irresistible high value treats. Plan physical and mental simulation games to help him release his excessive energy.
Teach him RECALL command (3 STEPS)
This is an extremely IMPORTANT command that you would need to train your dog before you can have him out on the street again and who knows, this command can SAVE his life on one of these days!
This is how you can do the recall training with your dog using the 3 STEPS approaches:
STEP 1: (Teach Him To Touch His Nose To Your Hand)
Introducing the “Touch” command.
Teach your dog to target your hand. Make your dog learn that when he touches your hand using his nose, GOOD things will happen. This will make him want to come over to you even when he is far away from you.
You see, your dog is full of curiosity and when you put your hand out, he is going to come over to you to do his “investigation” using his nose. And when he does that, you give him a marker clue “Good JOB!” and give him the reward.
You can use whatever marker clue that you are comfortable with such as “Yes!” or “Good Boy!”, “Good Girl”.
The idea of the marker clue is to let your dog know that he is doing the right behavior or action and you are happy with him.
Make your dog associate the command “Touch” with a positive rewarding experience and this will make him willing to come to you when you use this command on him.
For the reward, I would suggest that you go for some high value meat type of treat that your dog will not be getting in his daily meals. This will make it extremely tempting for him and make him willing to IGNORE all his distractions and reach out to you immediately.
Remember, the goal is to make him feel that YOU are the most rewarding experience for him when compared with all his distractions.
STEP 2: (Teach Him To Come While On A Long Leash)
Once your dog is able to react consistently with the “Touch” command in an undistracted environment such as your house, it’s time to do the training outdoors.
Your backyard would be an ideal choice considering that it is an outdoor but semi-controlled environment where you still have the fences around your yard to prevent your dog from running away from your sight.
Put him on a long leash so that you still have that control over him as you make him go farther away.
To make the yard a moderately distracted environment, get one of your family members to toss his favorite chewing toy about 5 meters away from him.
This will likely catch his attention, and he will run towards the toy. As he is busy playing with the toy, give him the “touch” command to make him come to you.
If he reacts to your call, make sure that you say the marker clue “Good Job!” as he is making his way to you. This will reinforce him with verbal praise and further encourage his action (running towards you).
Reward him with the high value treat the moment his nose touches your hand.
If he ignores your call and is busy with his toy, apply a bit of pressure on the leash to get his attention and the moment he looks at you, give him the “touch” command to make him come to you.
Keep practicing this training till you feel he is adequately trained on responding to your “touch” command from far away with distraction.
Remember, the further he is away from you, the more difficult it would be to get his attention back to you.
So you would want to do this training at a distance that you think would be sufficient for your recall.
STEP 3: (Go Get Method)
Let your dog know he Is NOT going to get away if he doesn’t react to your “touch” command. For this step, you would do away with any leash on your dog and the training will still be in an enclosed yard.
The idea of this training is to make your dog learn that when you ask him to come, he has to come as he is not going to get away. You are going to get him to come if he doesn’t come to you.
If he ignores you, go over to him and get him to the spot that you want him to go and make him sit and stay for 5 seconds.
This action will make your dog learn that you mean what you say, and he NEEDS to follow it obediently. You are not messing around. This will also help to establish your position as his pack leader.
In the wild, all pack members are supposed to follow the guidance from their pack leader without any doubt!
As your dog gets fully trained on the recall command, you can gradually replace the reinforcement from high value treats to praise and petting him on his chest.
Once your dog is comfortable with the recall training, you can carry out the training in areas where there are going to be much more stimuli such as a dog park or the street right in front of your home.
My advice will be to still have your dog on a loose leash if you are bringing him for training in the street (just in case he dashes across the road) till you are very confident that you are able to manage him.
You would need to practice this command with your dog frequently and in lots of different places and various situations. This will perfect his recall training.
Divert His Attention (From MOVING CAR) To YOU
While the recall command is to make your dog give up his chasing of the car and come back to you (while he is already making his chase), getting your dog NOT to give any chase would be a much better option (behavior training).
What you can do is to make your dog associate that staying beside you during the walk is going to be extremely rewarding and any distractions around him are insignificant. He is going to ignore them and just pay his attention to you.
To carry out this training, you would need some really high value treats that your dog simply cannot resist.
Have them in your food pouch, put your dog on a leash and bring him out for a walk on a LESS busy street.
The goal of this training is to make your dog give you his full focus during the walk by distracting him away from the car stimuli.
The way to begin your training will be:
1. Put him on a leash and bring him on a street just outside your home.
2. As you are walking with him, give him a high value treat every 5 steps to make him keep his focus on you.
3. When you see that there are more vehicles on the road, increase the treats and give him a marker clue “Good Job!” to reinforce his good behavior.
4. The idea is to make him adopt calming behavior in place of the chasing behavior.
5. In case you find that your dog is getting tense up and acts as if he is ready to give chase, use the treat to get his attention and give him the “Leave It” command.
Remember to offer him the treat once he obediently follows your instruction.
Teach Him The “Leave It” Command
Use this command when you want your dog to give up his intention to pursue his stimuli.
This is how you can carry out the training:
1. Drop a treat on the floor and immediately cover it up with your hand.
2. Your dog is likely going to sniff your hand trying to get the treat. Do not let off the hand till your dog looks away from the hand and you say the command “Leave It” and press the clicker.
3. Then you pick up the treat and give the treat FROM your hand to your dog. The idea is to let your dog know that he is getting the treat right from you (not from the floor) and this is only possible if he follows your command to leave what is on the floor.
The goal of the “Leave It” command is to make your dog associate that by leaving what he wants to do, GOOD things will happen.
So you would want your dog to give up his intention of chasing a car when he hears the command “Leave It”.
Drain Off His Pent-Up Energy
Dogs who are full of excessive energy are always in excitement mode and eagerly keen to explore things that catch their attention, especially those fast moving objects.
What you can do is to help your dog to release his pent-up energy and to make him less active.
There is a saying that “A tired dog is a GOOD dog” and when your dog gets tired, he will NOT be in any mood to chase any of his “prey”.
So plan for some routine physical exercise and mental simulation games for your dog daily before you bring him out for any outdoor activities such as a car ride or a walk down the streets.
Physical games such as tug of war, flirt poles and Frisbee are some good choices to go for.
Do include some mental simulation games such as giving your dog a KONG toy stuffed with treats to make him think of a way to get the treat out. This will help him to utilize his brain power and keep him mentally tired.