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STOP THE CAR CHASE BEFORE IT BEGINS
CinDee Byer, DOGNOLOGY™
How do I stop my dog from chasing cars? I'm worried it's going to turn deadly! He chases me in my off-road vehicle, other cars and kids on bicycles - I’m afraid my dog or someone will get hurt!
The photo may be funny but car chasing can be deadly. When my friend asked me to help with this problem, I decided to share what Joe and I taught in our obedience classes. If you have already allowed your dog to develop the bad habit of chasing a vehicle you must spend time reconditioning him before you begin training.
My best advice is start by not allowing your dog off lead around your vehicle for 21 days. During this 21 day period you should practice STEP ONE, the “NO AND BACK” command, in your home. When your dog has the in-home training commands down pat you are ready to begin outdoors. If your dog during this 21 day time chases down a vehicle you will need to start the 21 day reboot all over again.
Most Important Words In Dog Training Are “NO” “YES” And “GOOD DOG!”
STEP 1 - NO” and “YES” are words that guide your dog through the learning process. “GOOD DOG” signifies success to the dog! You can begin this training inside your home with no distractions.
To properly use the command “NO” it must be backed up with a “YES”. When the dog is misbehaving the command “NO” is given in a loud and firm voice. The moment the dog looks at you the word “YES” is used immediately. To be successful in training you must quickly acknowledge a dog’s attention; even if the dog only gives you glance.
STEP 2 - The word “BACK” is taught by saying the dog’s name and engaging it with eye contact as depicted by Marianna Glover (below). When your dog is looking up at you and positioned in front of you, step forward, into the dog and say “BACK.” If the dog moves say “YES, GOOD DOG”. If the dog does not move you must continue to align your body to the front of the dog and walk into it again until your dog responds. If the dog moves back, even just one step, immediately acknowledge the movement with “YES, GOOD DOG”. Say this in a pleased voice, this is praise!
With repetition your dog will be moving “back” on its own. You can increase the distance by slowly building up the steps over a period of a few days. You are now ready to practice this command in your yard and outdoors. Work your dog on the leash, outside, with the goal of getting 7 successful days of training in a row (keep a notebook or a calendar). When you achieve this goal you are ready for STEP 3.
STEP 3 - to begin working your dog around your vehicle you should start with your dog on leash and the car in park, with its engine off. Face your dog. Say your dog’s name. When the dog gives you attention say “YES” give the command “BACK” and walk into the dog. Acknowledge attention and compliance with a “YES” and “GOOD DOG”. You can work the “BACK” command into every session but no more than 3 times per session. Training sessions should be once or twice a day for no more than 10 minutes. After each session allow the dog 30 minutes or more of quiet time.
STEP 4 – After a two-week period of successful training you are now ready to start up your car or off-road vehicle. First however, begin your lesson with your dog on leash and repeat STEP 3. After successfully refreshing him and with your lead still on your dog, have someone else turn the engine on and off quickly.
While your helper turns the engine off and on repeat all the steps in STEP 3. End each successful session with “GOOD DOG”. Return the dog to the house. If the dog does not respond properly give him a 2 hour rest in the house (quiet time) and try again.
When the dog is responding consistently to the BACK command, build on your training by adding the length of time the engine is on. With success we now can build on distance of the “back” command from the vehicle using what's called a long line. Once your dog is consistently obeying the “back command” with the vehicle running, proceed to the next step.
STEP 5 – With success standing outside the vehicle you can begin to sit in the vehicle. Use the “BACK” command as you step in the vehicle. At this time someone else should be in the driver’s seat. You may want to use a soft three-foot branch or riding crop to help keep the dog back from the vehicle while you say “BACK”.
With the dog “getting it” then get out of the vehicle and praise the dog for a job well done! End each session on a good note.
Even when the dog is obeying, you should always continue to have practice sessions using STEP 3 as a guide. Occasionally your dog may take a step backwards and regress back to chasing. Relax; this is normal with young dogs. Get back into training mode and give the dog a short, week long, mini – course by working STEPS 1 then 2 and 3.
Other Ways To Help Stop Any Vehicle Chasing
Many dog owners have found success in preventing dogs from chasing by teaching their dog to ride with them in their off-road vehicle, truck, or car.
Some professional trainers will use a 15 foot lead with a check chain collar to teach the dog attention-training while using a noisy vehicle as a distraction. No matter what method you choose to train your dog you must be responsible. You must take the time to train your dog using consistent, proper commands. You should achieve have excellent voice control of your dog. If your dog is not responding consistently to voice control you must have it on leash or confined safely while around a moving off-road vehicle.
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