Chasing is a primal instinct in dogs. It is perfectly normal and healthy. In fact, it is one of the things that make dogs the happiest. Chasing is hard wired into a canine’s system. Some dogs chase less, while others may chase anything that has the ability to move. It’s great to have an active dog that loves to chase, because this makes playing with him so much fun. However, this fun quickly turns to horror when your dog starts chasing other people’s dogs or it can be worse when it chases the people around as well. While you can’t take out an instinct that has been so deeply ingrained in the nature of your animal, there are some ways to confine it to a safety limit.
One has to remember that training your dog not to chase people is a very delicate matter indeed. You cannot impart any kind of punishment in this case as it does not constitute as a misdemeanor or disobeyed order. Also, it is not aggressive behavior (at least not one which they do knowingly). It is only something the animal is acting upon instinctually. Therefore, one has to tread very carefully in this matter, as it would be unhealthy to prevent your dog from chasing at all. Different breeds of dogs have different chasing habits, and react differently to objects in motion.
Every Dog is Different
Understanding your dog’s breed is very important. This will help you learn to what extent you can curb the chasing streak of your dog. Some dogs are passive, and very easy to soothe, while some have a high prey drive, or in other words, like to chase more than other dogs. These dogs, such as the German shepherd, or the Bull Dog, are designed to chase and hunt. Therefore they require more hard work than other breeds. This means that you need to manipulate the dog’s environment, to keep him from chasing people. This means that you need to take your dog out for a walk more than usual.
Keep the dog away from areas where there are small children playing around. Small kids are very active and move about a lot but they are also weak. In such conditions, it’s easier for the dogs to run rampant. They can chase and hurt children without meaning to. Some dogs switch completely to the hunting mode, where they may chase to hunt down their prey. Therefore, depending on the breed of your dog, you need to be careful when you take your dog out.
Put Your Dog’s Energy to Better Use
Like said earlier, you cannot, and should not, completely curb the chasing instinct of a dog. It is more beneficial to put your dog’s energy into better use. Teach it to play games, and sports that are especially designed for dogs using balls and Frisbees. The moving balls and flying objects correspond to the prey drive of the dogs, and they think that it is there “prey”. Put these games to use when you go out. This way your dog stays distracted, doesn’t chase people around and at the same time also fulfils its chasing instinct.
Another upside to teaching your dog such games is that you train it to understand what kind of chasing you find acceptable. While teaching your dog to play, you make your dog associate with words and clues such as “you are allowed to chase”, and “don’t chase”. So, in an indirect way, you tell your dog when it is forbidden to chase, and when it is fine to run after. When you go on walks, use the same toys or games, to distract your dog. Keep it engaged, and when it is about to chase someone, you must make the use your “game” words to forbid it from doing so.
Make Yourself the Center of Attention
As corny as this may sound, it is actually very effective. One thing a pet dog absolutely hates is being left behind or worse yet lost. By instilling such a fear in your dog, you make sure that you have your dog’s complete attention. He will keep his eyes on you at all time to prevent from getting lost or abandoned. Let’s see this in a more practical scenario. You can go to a crowded park, for a walk. To make this effective, you must be unpredictable for your dog. You may try hiding behind trees, or disappearing behind benches. Take shortcuts, and keep changing the route of your walk.
Another way to keep your dog’s attention to just yourself is being your dog’s playmate. This way, your dog enjoys and it burns up the dog’s energy in a useful way. This also fulfills the dog’s chasing instinct, plus, it is joyous for both the owner and the dog. Both of you enjoy a lot, so it is a truly rewarding experience for the dogs. Therefore you can make chasing fun as well as constructive for your dog.
Never Leave Your Dog Unsupervised
This is perhaps the biggest and best way to prevent your dog from chasing passersby’s. Never leave it unattended unless it is collared to its kennel. This does not mean that you become downright cruel to your animal and never let it out. But you need to design and construct it surroundings that way. It simply takes some creativity and innovation to come up with such ideas without upsetting your dear dog. You must always remember that punishment is never efficient and in fact completely unnecessary as your dog isn’t being aggressive or scary by himself.
Stay with your dog whenever you are out and put him on a leash if you’re going to a crowded area. Leave it in a kennel if you are going to visit someone especially those who have small kids. If it is very necessary to take your dog, stay with it at all time, even if you have to visit the loo. Take its toys as well as snacks with you to keep it distracted as you do not want someone hurt even accidentally.