So far we have explained about why your dog chases things, and how to stop them chasing inanimate objects like cars and postmen … OK we are not saying postmen are inanimate, but your dog is usually responding to the movement and the sounds of the engines. All very tempting.
Now let’s step it up a notch or two.
Please read the previous article about stopping your dog from chasing cars, skateboards or any human in a vehicle or movement object. YOU need to train your dog to STOP by a command and or sound to these things before you try them with stopping chasing animals.
ANIMALS or small prey animals like birds, cats, and rabbits are the world’s major objective for your dog (especially if it is a retriever or a spaniel).
STOPPING YOUR DOG from chasing Prey animals in the park or street
If you have been able to stop your dog chasing a ball, a jogger and a car, off lead, you might be able to use the same command with an animal in the park. Try it, and if it fails here is the next training step.
One theory for stopping the chase is to have some animal in your back yard that your dog goes crazy for chasing (prey, not a another dog or human).
You apparently let it run over to the animal (because you can’t stop mother nature). and once the animal has escaped up a tree or over the fence, you get your dog to sit and stay, you put a lead on, and you walk it away from the scene of the almost crime. You give praise and treats, you pat the dog.
The point with this training is that sometimes you command your dog to chase the animal, and other times you command it to LEAVE IT. You waive a tasty meat treat under its nose while it is looking up the tree or at the fence, and once you have distracted it, and it comes willing to following the treat, then it is learning that there is something better than the animal it was chasing.
The trick is having the dog SIT and STAY 20 feet away from the tree while it gets the treat, and you being able to take the lead off it. Then staying 10 feet and you taking the lead off it.
Occasionally you have to give the command to chase the animal in the park but mostly you are about telling it not to and rewarding it- this means it knows that it isn’t always going to be prevented, that you play fair.
Besides repetition, and doing the same command over and over, your task is to find and restrict the world’s best treat from your dog, so it really is a special reward when it does get it, instead of the thing that it evolved hundreds, and thousands of years to do.
A different anti chase training dog technique for cats and squirrels.
In America the two main dog owner peeves regarding chasing are the squirrel chase and the cat chase.
Out on the street a dog can forget everything. So assuming that you can’t stay the course with the above, here is something else you can do. Attention before the sighting and decision to run are vital. Get your dog used to looking at you when you do a word command or clicker noise. When they stare at you because you have done this trigger give them a big pat and dog treat reward, but ONLY when they do this.
THEN when your cat or squirrel comes along, you need to spot it first or spot that your dog is about to chase something then do your command thing. You keep practicing before any prey is in the area, there is a chance that they will soon do it out of habit even though the evolutionary high of a prey chase is immediate.
Working up to this by doing it without distraction, then when a person walks by, when your dog is concentrating on an amazing smell, then a jogger or car going by, You work up to every step while they are on lead until they confidently look at you and listen to your command and get a reward.
It takes time, and depends on your assertiveness and your dog’s personality and breed. Many factors will make it easier or harder for you, but you need to decide how committed you are to keeping your dog safe. Because one day you might even work up to your dog sitting and staying when off lead and a squirrel or cat runs by. Imagine that.