It’s really funny but a lot of the things our dogs do are much cuter when they’re puppies and they can’t do them very well. It’s cute when a puppy chews on your shoes, but it’s not so cute when he’s older and he can destroy them. The same is true when your puppy chases cats or cars. It’s cute when he can’t get to them.
However, when you laugh at your puppy and take his picture chasing a cat or a car, and you don’t stop the behavior, you’re only allowing it to continue. You’re also putting your dog in danger as he gets older.
The Cause of Chasing
Dogs chase things for lots of different reasons. Dogs have an inborn instinct to hunt that makes them eager to chase anything they see as prey. Cats sometimes trigger that instinct. The dog might not intend to hurt the cat but he has a need to chase it as long as he sees his “prey” running away from him.
It’s the same case with cars. Cars are noisy and always driving by. They move in and out of your dog’s senses quickly, which can trigger your dog’s need to chase them. And your dog may believe that when he barks at them he chases them away. The car is mobile so it only reinforces these behaviors in a dog, which makes them harder to change.
Solutions for Chasing
Even if chasing is deeply ingrained, or if it was very cute when your dog was a puppy, if your dog enjoys chasing cars or cats it can be very dangerous for him. The danger of chasing cars is obvious. Your dog won’t remember to stay on the sidewalk and he can quickly run out in the road where he might be struck and injured.
The same is also true when your dog chases a cat. If your dog chases a cat, the cat may decide to turn and fight which can injure your dog, or both animals. If the cat and dog are chasing and fighting indoors, they can create a terrible field of destruction in a home, especially if a cat begins leaping to escape and takes down things that are up high.
That’s why it’s important for you to stop your dog from chasing things as quickly as you can. Follow these tips:
Training in a Controlled Area: Start training your dog in a controlled area where there aren’t any distractions. Your dog needs to be able to concentrate so he can follow your commands and cues and that means training in a place that is familiar and quiet.
Start by teaching your dog the basic obedience commands such as heeling and sitting on a leash. Teach him to pay attention to you and only to you when he’s inside the home. After he’s learned these lessons you can advance your training and start walking your dog on leash outdoors. Don’t move on to working off-leash until your dog follows your commands both indoors and outdoors.
Where To Practice: Practice training in an area where your dog won’t get hurt. This includes when you start training off-leash and when you introduce your dog to the cat. You can test whether your dog is staying submissive and calm by introducing him to a cat in your home.
You should make this introduction in a room that’s closed, with as few distractions as possible. Your dog should be on a leash so he won’t over-react. Allow your cat room to escape if he needs to do so and then allow the two animals to meet.
You can use this same method if your dog tends to chase bicyclists or joggers. Have the person ride or run by your house while you control your dog on his leash so you can watch how your dog responds.
Cars: Cars can be very dangerous for your dog and you should teach him not to chase them when he’s young. Don’t let him have a chance to chase them. Train your dog to sit at the curb of the street. Teach him to heel when you walk together. And teach him that it is only permissible to inspect or sniff a car with permission from you.
You can train your dog effectively if you know how to trigger the correct behaviors in your dog and how to prevent the wrong behaviors. The prime example of this behavior is chasing. Dogs really love to chase things. If you can control this behavior then you know that you have your dog’s attention and that you have trained him well.