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Healthy Dogs

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Car Chasing: How to Break Your Dog’s Habit

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Prevention continued...

Not all dogs who chase cars from inside a fenced yard will also chase cars when they’re loose. But some will as the thrill of the chase becomes too strong to ignore. In addition, some dogs get so excited running the fence that they can hurt themselves or jump the fence. Chasing cars from inside a fence can also develop into chasing other things, like joggers or skateboarders, when they pass the yard. If there is virtually no chance that your dog can get out of the yard and your dog doesn’t show any interest in chasing other moving things, car chasing from inside a fenced area is relatively “safe” and good exercise for an understimulated (bored or underexercised) dog. But if your dog is barking a lot or his fence running is otherwise causing problems, or if you think he might be able to escape the yard, you need to interrupt him and bring him inside whenever he starts chasing. Just like when you’re walking, the best time to interrupt the behavior is the moment your dog sees the car. This of course means that to stop chasing, you would have to watch your dog every second he is outside. An alternative is to put up a stockade-style fence (solid wood privacy fence) or attach tarps to the existing fence so that your dog can’t see the traffic and won’t be motivated to chase. If you choose to leave your dog in a fenced-in yard, please keep these two points in mind:

  • Never leave your dog in the yard unattended for longer than 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Provide plenty of enrichment and exercise so that your dog is less motivated to chase cars. (Please see our articles, Enriching Your Dog’s Life and Exercise for Dogs, to learn more about keeping your dog busy, healthy and happy.)


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