Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe: Preventing Them From Chasing Cars

Cars can trigger many dogs’ prey drive or cause them distress, leading to behaviors like lunging at or chasing vehicles. Why do dogs chase cars, and how can you train them to stop?

Why Do Dogs Chase Cars?

Dogs bred for chasing, such as Sighthounds and terriers, may feel compelled to chase moving vehicles. Even herding breeds with sharp vision can struggle with this behavior. Regardless of breed, many dogs chase cars.

What Makes Chasing Cars Dangerous?

Dogs chasing cars can harm themselves or others. Off-leash dogs chasing cars risk injury or death, while lunging at cars can cause owners to fall. This is especially risky with large dogs.

young couple walking their beagle dog on a retractable leash down a path
©Nastya – stock.adobe.com

Dogs chasing cars can lead to other risky behaviors, like chasing bikes or skateboards. Training is key to prevent car chasing and avoid potential incidents.

Safety First

When training your dog, prioritize safety by respecting leash laws and keeping your dog on a short leash near roads. Use hands-free leashes if needed when training near vehicles.

Give Your Dog Space

Keep your dog at a safe distance from moving vehicles to avoid triggering chasing behavior. Find a comfortable distance where your dog can focus on you instead of the passing cars.

Counterconditioning

Counterconditioning involves positive reinforcement training to shift your dog’s response to cars. Avoid punishing your dog for chasing cars, as it won’t address the underlying behavior.

Siberian Husky being trained with a treat outdoors.Siberian Husky being trained with a treat outdoors.

Supplies Needed

  • Six-foot leash.
  • Small pieces of high-value treats.
  • Clicker for clicker training.

Step 1

Praise and treat your dog when a car passes at a safe distance where they can focus. Use a clicker if you’re clicker training.

Step 2

As your dog associates passing cars with treats, reward them for looking at you when a car goes by.

Step 3

Gradually decrease the distance between your dog and traffic as they continue to focus on you instead of the cars.

Black Labrador retriever on leash sitting in a field looking up at owner.Black Labrador retriever on leash sitting in a field looking up at owner.

Correctly managing and training your dog can help them overcome the urge to chase cars and prevent potential dangers.

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Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe: Preventing Them From Chasing Cars

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