Car chasing is one of the most irritating and frustrating behaviors that a dog can exhibit. Chasing a car can result in serious injury or even death to your dog if the driver does not notice him, or cannot react quickly enough. An automobile accident could even occur if the driver swerves into oncoming traffic or off the road to avoid your dog. Car chasing can be hazardous not only to your dog, but to people, too.
Many dogs who chase cars do so because it is nothing more than a big game to them. They have no way of understanding that it is much, much more dangerous than running after a ball or playing a game of tag with another dog or a person. The dog who chases for this reason is being playful.
All dogs have what is known as prey drive – the instinct to chase and kill prey. Unfortunately, some dogs have a much stronger drive than others and this will manifest itself in chasing cars. To these dogs, the car or motorcycle is actually the animal they want to hunt. A dog who chases a car in order to ‘kill’ it can be a much bigger problem than the playful chasers. This is called predatory aggression and is more common in some breeds than in others.
There are a few ways that may help you to train your dog not to chase cars. These will probably work better with the playful chaser rather than a dog exhibiting predatory aggression. Some people have found that using a friend to drive by you and your dog. Throw water balloons onto the ground in front of the dog to discourage any interest in chasing the car. You will probably have to repeat this over a period of several days.
Teaching your dog what “Off” means can be a way of conditioning him not to chase. Once he understands that “Off” means that he should keep away from whatever he was going after, you can apply the same training to vehicles. Another way that might work is to rattle tin cans in the dog’s ears when a vehicle passes. You should have your dog on the leash when employing any of these training techniques.
Unfortunately, there are dogs who will resist every attempt to stop them from chasing cars. In this case, you must accept responsibility for the animal’s behavior and either keep them in a fenced yard or on a tie out. A dog who cannot be kept from chasing cars must never be allowed to run free.