Easy Steps To Stop Dog Chasing…and Avoid Shoulder Reconstruction For Good!
Hands up if you’ve ever been dragged down the street by your over-exuberant canine, in his quest to catch that elusive neighbourhood cat, or the hapless mailman on his daily dog-dodging marathon? Perhaps your dog is just so “dog-gone” happy (pardon the pun!) to get out once in a while for some exercise that he just can’t contain his abundantly bouncy enthusiasm! Some breeds are naturally “bouncier” than others, but lets face it, any dog (or any person for that matter) that is left day after day, cooped up at home, with little or no company, even less opportunity for play or mental stimulation, or social interaction, is going to absolutely “burst” a happy valve at the first hint of stepping out the front door! Sometimes, all of this pent-up excitement is just too much for both dog and owner, and so the frantic journey around the block, to the park, via a shortcut through the neighbours prize-winning garden (still looking for that cat!),… ahh, there goes the mailman… and there goes your calm, relaxing walk!!! You arrive home, exhausted, stressed, glad your shoulder is still in the socket, and absolutely furious at your thoroughly invigorated dog!
Telling yourself that this cannot go on another day, you resolve to do something about this behavior…. tomorrow.
Dog is supposedly “Man’s Best Friend” – so, if your best human friend was at risk of being hit by a car or they were putting your or other peoples lives in jeopardy, you wouldn’t put off doing something about it, would you?
Retraining Your Dog – Methods to Curb the Chasing Urge
A little refresher course in basic dog training is going to help both you and your dog. Many times, the urge to chase things is a result of boredom or lack of stimulation. The result is that your pooch gets hyper-excited by… well, just about anything, and has trouble focusing when you finally take him for that over-due walk. Spend some time each day, retraining your dog with basic commands such as sit, stay, come, drop etc. Doing this at home means there is less likelihood of distraction and it will be easier to hold his attention. Once you start to make progress you can venture out for short walks and see how your dog responds. If the chasing urge is still present then further training is going to be necessary. Remember – your leash is your friend. Be sure to use it at all times during training and walks. Not only will it keep your dog safe, it will also make training easier and more controlled.
Focus – if your dog still wants to chase, then he’s obviously not focusing on you! It’s amazing how many dog owners overlook this problem! Going back to the drawing board, you need to re-establish your Alpha dog status with your dog. Whenever you take your dog for a walk, ensure that he is always focusing on you and looking to you before you start moving. Never allow him to walk until you are sure that you have his full attention.
Leash Training – initially your dog will want to pull you along, in the direction and at the speed he sets.
Again, he’s not focusing on you! Don’t give up – whenever he starts to pull, you need to let him know that he’s not going anywhere until YOU say so. Teach him to sit and wait for you to move first (not the other way around). Teach him that he must not move one step until you move and give him the command. Every time he moves before you do, simply pull him up and make him sit and wait. After doing this a few times in a row, he’ll get the idea and start to focus on your body language, anticipating a visual or verbal cue from you, his pack leader.
Distraction – who said dog-training can’t be fun? When it comes time to finally let your dog off his leash for a well-deserved run at the park, bring a back-up with you – there’s no law about using the art of distraction to help prevent a first-launch glitch! Bring your dogs absolutely most favorite toy with you. If your dog has a momentary fixation on something on the other side of the park, often you can shift the focus to their favourite toy which they will be thrilled to chase after instead.
Aversion – getting friends on board with training can certainly help. Have a friend run or ride past your dog at the park. If your dog takes off in pursuit, your friend can stop, turn around with a loud “No!” and promptly squirt the dog in the face with a water bottle. Whilst some dogs may just get cranky at the “water bottle”, the majority of dogs will learn that whilst chasing things may be fun, catching them might not be. This can certainly be a very affective technique in curbing the chasing of “People”.
Extreme Measures – A Big No!No!
When dog owners resort to using extreme measures to control their dogs behaviors, for example, using shock collars or electric fences, you can tell that they have lost their Alpha status. Using these control methods is not only cruel, but often they are ineffective in the long run. You want your dog to respond to your commands because he regards you as his beloved Alpha leader – not as his cruel master. If, after all of your best efforts and retraining, your dog persists in chasing things, then you may well need to enlist professional help. There is no shame in this – many dog owners around the world have saved their sanity and kept their dogs, thanks to the help from the experts.
If your dog has a chasing problem, remember, it’s never too late to fix the behavior. Better to tackle the problem now than risk potential harm to either your beloved canine or an innocent passerby.