Car chasing is a problem for some dogs. But you can train your dog by using positive reinforcement and exercise to curb this dangerous behavior.
In chasing cars, some dogs are just answering the instinctive canine call to hunt. Others may be delivering on territorial behaviors, driving away (pun intended) the vehicular intruder from their neck of the woods. Others, usually the herding breeds or mixed breeds with strong herding instincts, will be doing their best to bring those wayward automobiles back into the “flock.”
Car Chasing as Sport
According to Dog Lover’s Daily Companion, some dogs treat car chasing as a sport. I once had a collie mix that fell into this category. He loved to see just how many cars he could chase — and dodge — in 1 day. Once I even saw him go under an 18-wheeler truck, running clear to the other side. Scary, to say the least.
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Any dog is inclined to chase moving objects, such as sticks, balls and even cats. The problem is, if your dog chases cars, what can you do?
They need to be taught when chasing is OK and what they can chase. Fetching sticks and balls is OK, but trying to fetch the neighbor’s cat or a passing car is a big no-no.
Moving Cars May Trigger Dogs’ Instincts
According to Why Dogs Like Balls, dogs that chase cars get excited when the car is “running away” from them or just by the car’s movement. When the dog sees the movement, his primal nature kicks in. You see a car — he sees an intruder moving away. When the car keeps on going, this rewards your pet’s behavior by making him think he scared it away.
Training Your Dog to Stop Chasing Cars
First, try to figure out why your dog chases cars. I live in the country, and the houses are spread out and the mail is delivered in little Jeeps. Your car chaser may view this mail delivery as a daily attempt to trespass on his territory.
Once the motive for chasing is understood, the problem may be solved with a few friendly meetings with your dog’s nemesis. After each friendly encounter, give your dog 1 of his favorite treats. The threat of invasion should soon go away as well as the need to chase the mail truck.
Predatory chasing can often be corrected by using a leash or an unpleasant noise (such as shaking a can filled with a few coins) to distract his attention from the moving cars. When his attention turns elsewhere, praise him (and maybe give him a treat).
Herding dogs, such as collies or shelties, need other ways to deal with their flock-gathering instincts. Plenty of exercise will help your dog release these instincts. Let your dog know he can get his “fix” at home in his own yard.
Taking your dog on long walks, playing ball with him or tossing him a Frisbee will make him less interested in chasing cars. He will look forward to playtime, and you can both stay healthy and happy.