How to Stop My Dog Chasing Cars: Do’s and Don’ts
Another question I am asked concerning dog behavior is “How to stop my dog chasing cars” Not only is this annoying for everyone concerned it is also a dangerous habit and should be stopped as soon as possible. Therefore I am asking you to take a minute of your time to have a completely free look at a way this problem can be stopped but, actually works.
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How to stop my dog chasing cars?
It’s challenging to perceive dogs as animals. Once they enter our home, they become much more than a pet — they are more like a part of the family.
Still, although this is a beautiful thing — the canine is indeed a man’s best friend — it often prevents owners from training their pets properly. Improper training often leads to unfortunate situations, and of course, potential consequences that we simply must not ignore.
Not only could our dog get in trouble, but other people could get hurt too.
However, the good news is that we can prevent stressful situations and tragedies. All we really need to know is how to stop our dog from chasing cars. The answer lies in training.
Not everyone is born with natural training abilities, though. Some people have that “alpha” attitude, and they have no issues whatsoever with controlling their dog, regardless of the breed.
Dogs are pack animals. When they become a part of our family, they perceive it as a pack. This shouldn’t be surprising — dogs and wolfs share the same ancestor. Therefore, it’s no wonder both of these breeds have similar traits.
In conclusion, if we don’t become the alpha in our pack, our dog’s dominant instincts will surface. However, this is just something we should have in mind — there’s no need to worry. Anyone can learn how to train their dog, even if that doesn’t come naturally.
But, before we begin explaining the do’s and don’ts of training, it’s necessary to answer a few common questions first. It’s of the utmost importance to understand our dog’s behavior to know how to train them better. So, to find the answer to How to stop my dog chasing cars? — we need to start at the beginning.
My Dog Is Chasing Cars — Why?
It’s their most natural instinct. Before dogs were domesticated, they had to hunt and feed. Thus, trying to outrun moving objects is in their nature. If they cannot easily get food and shelter, dogs will stalk, capture, and kill prey to survive.
Although it may be difficult to understand, our affectionate ball of fur is actually a killing machine. So, the first part of the answer to “My dog is chasing cars — why?” is predatory aggression. It’s all about natural instincts and self-preservation.
Still, there’s another far more benign explanation for this kind of behavior — playing. You must have seen how dogs play by now. They run, bite, wrestle, and chase around. Basically, they are playing what we’d call tag. So, when our dog sees a moving object, they want to play with it, outrun it, and catch it.
The funny thing is that dogs obviously expect from the car to chase them as well once they actually catch it. Thus, it’s a dangerous game they are playing, and in order to successfully conduct How to stop my dog chasing cars training, it’s necessary to have this in mind.
My Dog Barks at Passing Cars
Regardless of their size or predatory predispositions, dogs consider themselves to be protectors of our home. Cars, bikes, mailmen, or random passersby — everything is a potential danger to our pet.
Other than being predators, dogs are also territorial. Our home is a territory that our dog feels obliged to protect. Hence, they bark. Whenever our dog senses that potential danger is approaching, they’ll try to warn us, scare off the enemies, and protect the territory along with everyone on it.
We have already mentioned that dogs are pack animals. So, unless we let them know that our territory is ours to protect, their barking might drive both our neighbors and us crazy.
In addition, we also need to understand that dogs express themselves through barking. It can also be a sign of sheer boredom, or in the very opposite case, excitement.
My Dog Chases My Car When I Leave
The answer to this question is rather similar to the previous two. Either predatory aggression or playful behavior may be the reason our dog is enthusiastically following us each time when we’re driving off.
But, there could be more to it too. Unconditional love is why a dog is considered to be a man’s best friend. Our dog misses us when we’re not home. So, in case we don’t set up the right boundaries, we’ll have to deal with a needy dog that becomes depressed every time we leave.
It is challenging to be strict or annoyed with our dog, though, especially when we know that pure, innocent affection is behind their behavior. However, the right attitude can make both our and our dog’s life easier.
What Not to Do
Now that we’ve answered both My dog chases my car when I leave — why? and My dog barks at passing cars — why? we can move on to common training mistakes.
There’s one thing worse than not training our dog, and that is improper training. You’ve probably heard people say that it’s not possible to teach an old dog new tricks. It is — but it’s rather challenging.
It’s not that dogs are old and thus incapable of learning new tricks. The problem is that it’s difficult to remold an already mature dog and correct their behavior. When a dog adopts a certain behavioral pattern, they get used to it. As far as they are concerned, that is proper behavior.
The same goes for people — they can change, but it’s rather difficult when a person is set in their ways.
Therefore, before we start our training and discover the secret to How to stop my dog chasing cars, it’s crucial that we learn what not to do first and how to avoid common mistakes.
Giving Treats Isn’t Productive
When our dog runs away from our close proximity and starts chasing cars, we experience an adrenaline rush caused by fear — which is only natural. Our first instinct is to call for our dog.
But, considering that they are either in a predatory mood or in a playful state of mind, they won’t pay too much attention to what we have to say.
That’s exactly when most owners remember one thing that a dog will never say no to — food. So, we desperately try to protect our dog by tempting them with a delicious treat.
Treats are supposed to be rewards.
Chances are our dog will return to us — but just for long enough to get their treat if we don’t manage to restrain them with a leash.
We shouldn’t get mad at our dog in this case. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a win-win situation. The dog gets a treat as a reward for their behavior, and they get to continue playing or stalking their prey.
In conclusion — don’t use a treat in this situation. It will only encourage undesirable behavior in the future.
Do Not Run After Your Dog
Another protective instinct that will overcome us is chasing our dog when they start running after a passing car.
Why is this bad? Well, in our dog’s mind, we become just another playmate in the tag game. It’s not that our dog is trying to mess with us intentionally by running away from us as well — they are just playing.
However, considering this isn’t a game for us but a highly stressful situation, we ought to restrain ourselves from running after our dog.
Using Cute Nicknames Is a Bad Idea
Owners also tend to manipulate their pets with affection in these circumstances.
Still, by doing so and trying to get our pet back with cute nicknames, we’re actually decreasing the severity of the situation in our dog’s mind. If we start throwing affection their way, they won’t understand they are doing something wrong. On the contrary — our dog will feel encouraged to continue.
When our dog runs away from us, we need to use a strict, clear command if we want them to return. We shouldn’t use one of their nicknames but the name we use for training them.
Leashes Are Not a Permanent Solution
When all of these attempts to restrain a pet fail, most owners showcase fearful behavior — they start walking their dog on the leash permanently.
Although this may seem like the best solution that will indefinitely protect our dog from themselves, it’s not a good one. Doing so will make our dog unhappy.
Adopting a dog comes with responsibility — they don’t exist for our entertainment. We need to take care of their happiness too, and dogs are in their most cheerful state when they can freely run and play.
How to Stop My Dog Chasing Cars
Now that the don’ts are clear, let’s figure out some proper training steps that will help us prevent undesirable behavior.
Breed Is a Factor
Not all dogs behave the same way. Some are calmer and more peaceful, while others have aggressive attitudes. While some dogs may be easier to train, others will persistently fight us for the alpha position. In fact, one dog may successfully learn tricks in a short period of time, while another will need more dedicated time and effort from us.
These differences in learning capabilities, general attitude, and submissiveness depend on our dog’s breed.
A dog breed usually entails some common traits that all dogs that belong to it are most likely to have. Yet, breeds are a human product; for generations, people have been nurturing desirable traits by mating selected dogs.
For example, Doberman Pinschers are energetic and strong but also aggressive and dominant by nature — they are bred as guard dogs. On the other hand, Labrador Retrievers are usually playful and easy-going. In the past, they were bred for retrieving prey to hunters, which is why they don’t have strong jaws. Otherwise, they would be capable of damaging the prey.
For these reasons, we need to adapt our training to our dog’s breed and their natural traits. However, know that these training steps should serve as guidelines. We might need to further upgrade them depending on our dog’s personality.
How to Stop My Dog Chasing Cars — Simple Steps for an Obedient Pup
Playing is for fun, but training should be taken seriously. We’ve already elaborated on the potential dangers that are most likely to occur if our dog is the alpha in our pack. Hence, we need a new attitude.
The love and affection we feel for our dog need to be put aside during training. We should become strict and firm with our pooch.
As mentioned, we should address our dog with their given name during training. Also, to make sure we always have our dog’s attention, it’s quite important to remember one simple tip.
Address the dog first, command later.
This way, your pet will get used to a certain course of action. If you’re persistent with this type of communication, the dog will adopt it, and you won’t have to try hard after a certain period to get your dog’s attention.
Keep It Simple
Dogs are clever, but their attention span doesn’t allow them to wait for us to finish an entire sentence before they act. Thus, we need to develop a common language with our dog by establishing commands.
The answer to How to stop my dog chasing cars? isn’t hidden in explaining our dog why this activity is dangerous. Telling them not to run away because they might get hit by a passing car or disturb the entire traffic won’t work.
Hence, we need clear, loudly spoken commands our dog will understand. Sit, stay, come, off, heel, wait, down, place, drop/leave, and no are ten one-word commands that our dog needs to know.
Leash Training Comes First
To teach our dog not to chase cars, we need to establish dominance first. The best way to begin this process is through leash training.
When on a leash, our dog is close to us, so we can influence their behavior and teach them what each command means. Also, we can show them when we’re unhappy with the lack of obedience by firmly tugging the leash.
Punishment and reward is the most successful training system. However, it’s a common misbelief that it’s necessary to punish the dog by beating them — both unnecessary and cruel.
Our dog will get the hint when we tug the leash. Furthermore, we should reward them for two reasons — to get their attention and thus make them willing to train and to encourage the desired behavior.
Before we start How to stop my dog chasing cars training, we first need to implement this system.
Ask for Help from Friends
Once we get through the basics, and our dog knows the difference between stay, heel, and wait when we’re walking them, it’s time to introduce staged situations.
For this to work, we’ll need to ask our friends for help. Given that we’ve probably already expressed our concerns on How to stop my dog chasing cars conundrum, our friends are likely to help. So, we can ask them to run, bike, and drive past us while we’re walking our dog.
This part of the training will be a total success if we divide it into three stages.
For the first stage, our dog should remain on a tight leash. After all, this is a new situation for our dog, and we need to give them time to get used to objects and people passing by.
Once we’re certain that the dog is answering all commands, we can extend the leash to see how they will respond to this newfound freedom. After that, we can continue with the same commands and apply the punishment/reward system.
If our dog doesn’t respond to commands and they go back to dominant behavior, we should regress and go back to stage one — a tight leash. Considering they like their freedom, the dog will perceive this as a form of punishment as well. Because of that, they are more likely to adopt a submissive behavior.
Once we can trust our dog, we can take the leash off. Again, this will be an unknown situation for our dog, and have no doubt — they will test our boundaries. So, if necessary, we can always go back a stage once more.
And that’s pretty much it. These stages should enable anyone to finally resolve the How to stop my dog chasing cars mystery.
Training Should Never Stop
We shouldn’t relax once our dog starts responding to our commands because training never stops.
The effort needs to come from both sides. Persistence, discipline, and perseverance of our common language will help us protect our dog and allow them to lead a long, happy, and healthy life.
How to Stop My Dog Chasing Cars — Nurture the Bond
Not only should we continue training our dog every day, but we should also nurture the bond.
The answer to How to stop my dog chasing cars? isn’t based only on disciplining our pets.
When dogs feel unloved and unappreciated, they have a tendency to act out. Dogs aren’t born dangerous — they become threatening due to human behavior. When they are abused and maltreated, they develop self-preserving habits. Like humans, dogs can have protective mechanisms as well.
Although neglecting our dog isn’t on the same scale as abuse, it’s still something we shouldn’t allow ourselves. We have to make sure that our pet is given a proper amount of affection on a daily basis, that their playful side is satisfied, and that they don’t have extra energy.
The dog will express their gratitude, have no doubt. We’ll gain an affectionate life companion.
But what’s even more important is that our communication will grow stronger. All types of relationships, regardless if they’re human to human or human to pet, slowly die out if we don’t take care of them — they require work and dedication.
How to stop my dog chasing cars is actually an extensive subject. Although all of this may seem like a lot of continuous work, we will stop noticing it once it becomes a routine. All we have to do is be persistent — our hard work will certainly pay off.