If you have spent any time around dogs, you will know that they have a very strong drive when it comes to chasing animals. It is instinctual and natural for a dog to chase after things, and when those things move, it’s all the more fun. The drive to chase comes from a need to catch a meal, but since your dog is domesticated, it is no longer necessary (not that they know that).
Chasing behaviors in dogs are not a big deal when the target is a ball or stick. Chasing can become a problem, however, when chasing results in catching which can lead to injury to your pet or another animal. Pets who chase after other animals often kill or harass their prey. They are also more likely to be injured themselves. Chasing other animals is not a behavior that is safe for your dog and should be discouraged.
Preventing Your Dog From Chasing Animals
The easiest way to stop chasing is to not let it happen from the start. If you have a new puppy, listen up!
Pay attention to Your Pet – Get control of your dog at the first sign that it may chase something.
Don’t Laugh – While some puppy antics are cute and funny, do not encourage the behavior.
Teach “Look” – Teach your pet to look at you on command so that you can keep his or her attention. This is a valuable skill for many situations.
Socialize Your Pet – Spending some time with your puppy in situations that may be challenging later can go a long way to helping them be better behaved adult dogs. Consider a puppy training class to help socialize in a controlled manner.
How to Discourage Your Dog From Chasing Animals
Once a pet has started chasing other animals, it can be a difficult behavior to break. With a little work, however, it is possible. The foundation to preventing your dog’s chasing behavior is to teach your pet to pay attention to you on command.
Start With Gaining Eye Contact – Teaching your pet to look at you on command is critical for success. There are many methods to teach this, including the example above.
Teach the “Leave It” Command – Another great command to have in your arsenal is “leave it”. When you tell your dog to leave something, it communicates that your pet should ignore whatever has his or her attention. This can be a lifesaving command.
Reward Your Pet for Paying Attention – As your pet succeeds in a controlled environment, give lots of praise. This can be in the form of attention, food, a special toy, or really anything that makes your pet happy. Always reward for calm, controlled behavior.
Increase the Difficulty of the Situation – As your dog shows the ability to ignore chasing temptations in controlled environments, gradually make things more challenging. Decrease the distance between yourself and the other animal or set up a situation where your dog may be tempted. Always keep your pet on a leash while training.
Stopping your dog from chasing other animals requires dedication on your part. While training is essential, so is common sense. If you have a dog that has a strong drive to chase, it is vital to manage the environment as much as possible in order to keep everyone safe. This includes not leaving your pet unsupervised or loose when possible.
If you are having trouble with training your pet, please let us know so that we can help you with the situation. At Union Lake Pet Services, we offer a full range of pet training services and are able to help you with your pet’s behavioral issues.