How to Stop Your Dog From Chasing Other Animals
Dogs Chasing Other Animals is a BIG Problem!
And, a problem that often leads to the death of the little creature who is being chased.
And, even though I understand it is in my dog’s nature to chase and kill things and he has strong instincts, I certainly don’t want to see him kill another critter!
Prey drive is a basic instinct that is common in the majority of dogs.
Without some kind of prey drive, your dog would die in the wild.
The problem is that the dog needs to learn how to control his instincts and his impulses.
Our Impulse Control program begins by teaching your dog to control his basic impulses and what most people would call “bad habits”.
He needs to sit and be patient in order to have his meal placed on the ground.
He learns to not steal food from an open hand.
He learns not to charge up and down stairs or through doors.
He learns not to jump on you or anyone else.
And, he learns basic “manners”.
With time and consistent training the dog learns to control his basic desires; even some of his instincts are kept at bay!
Setting Him up for Success
Let’s say your dog is a horrible counter surfer.
He has learned, through positive reward on his own, that you leave delicious items out (for him, he thinks) on the counter.
He has been successfully counter surfing for months.
You are frustrated and you finally decide to make a change.
Any program, or trainer worth anything, is going to tell you to set your dog up for success by not leaving food out on the counters… at least for a while.
Because you can play all the impulse control games that you want, but if you leave a fully cooked chicken on the counter and your hungry dog has access to it, he is more than likely to be swayed by an easy meal.
So remember that your reward has to be greater than the distraction!
Think of it this way…if you could successfully steal enough money to sustain your life and lifestyle each day, with no repercussions, would you? Most of us would.
However, if I make it so that you are unable to steal the things you need but provide you with the resources and “pay” for the work that you do, wouldn’t you choose work to get the things you want? Most of us would, and do!
So put yourself in your dog’s shoes.
Don’t allow him to engage in super rewarding “BAD” behavior!
Chasing is probably more rewarding than stealing food.
I know it is difficult for us humans to understand, because we are humans, but dogs love nothing more than to chase.
This is why they like trying to engage us in “chase” games, because they enjoy being chased too!!
So my biggest piece of advice is prevention.
I prevent my young dogs and puppies from chasing other animals when they are small and learning.
Because I know there is no way to be able to compete as the most exciting thing with a running wild animal.
I Need to Be the MOST Exciting Thing In My Dog’s Life.
I wrote an article titled “Who is More Rewarding? A Lesson on Letting Your Dog Run Free”
It’s about a friend of mine, who consistently let his puppy run free because he was too lazy to put the time into training him and walking him on leash.
He could get 4x the exercise if he was off leash.
But the problem arose when the puppy stopped listening to him and began to reward himself and do things that felt good to him without his owner.
The puppy learned that being away from his owner, running free, and chasing critters was the best thing on earth.
And, let me just tell you… once you let your dog down this path, it is very difficult to change his mind and suddenly become the most fun thing in his life.
I’m not saying I am better to my dog than chasing a deer… chasing a deer would be WAY more fun. 😉
What I am saying is that I provide my dog with impulse control and then obedience to the point where he thinks that I control his favorite things: his toys, treats, games.
And, I am securing the foundation of my obedience by training and playing these games.
So when push comes to shove with my dogs who have EARNED being off leash and they see a scurrying critter or deer….
it is their instinct to listen to ME! Because they know that I have the things they want and I will give these things to them.
In a sense, it becomes habit to listen.
However, if you are behind the eight ball with your puppy training and you have allowed your puppy to reward himself… all is not lost! But you will need to change your habits and strengthen your obedience!!!