iStock_000029147832_SmallIt is fairly natural for a dog to want to chase other animals moving in his or her vicinity. However, for most pets, this behavior is not one we should encourage. Dogs who chase other animals may find themselves injured by a wild animal trying to defend itself. Porcupine quills, raccoon bites, and skunk spray (among others) are all very real risks to our pets’ health and safety.

Dogs that chase other animals also put themselves in danger in other ways. When straying outside of the yard, they may be hit by a car and injured, or picked up as a stray. Likewise, animal chasing can escalate to chasing the wheels of a car which is unlikely to end well.

In general, animal chasing is a behavior that should be addressed by most pet owners. And while it can be a challenge to overcome a dog’s natural instincts, it is definitely possible.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Chasing Animals

Ideally, discourage chasing behavior as a puppy. For older dogs that are new to your family, work to discourage the behavior before it begins in your environment. Whatever your dog’s age, it’s important to teach him or her that chasing other animals is not acceptable.

Expose Your Dog to Animals – Start by taking your dog to an area where there is likely to be other animals, including cats, squirrels, birds, and other dogs. Be sure to keep him or her on a short lead and entice his or her attention with treats or toys when a tempting object comes into view. Make a game out of rewarding your puppy for not chasing other animals.

Teach Your Dog to Pay Attention to You – With a little effort, most dogs can be taught to look at you on command. This is a valuable skill to have in order to gain your pet’s attention during distracting situations.

Raise the Stakes – Once you feel like your pup is getting the point, try walking on a long leash so that he or she has the illusion of being unrestrained. Do not be tempted to use a Flexi-Lead as it is difficult to gain control and correct your puppy if he or she slips up.

How to Deal With A Dog Who Chases Animals

If you have a pet who already likes to chase after other animals, all hope is not lost. It will be necessary for you to take some extra steps to ensure your pet’s safety.

  • Be sure your yard or pet’s enclosure is secure
  • Keep your dog on leash
  • Do not let your dogs out in groups, as this increases hunting instincts
  • Work on the prevention techniques above

If you are unable to get your dog’s chasing behavior under control, we can help you with alternative training techniques as well. Our veterinarians and trainer would be happy to work with you in order to eliminate this undesirable behavior. While not all dogs can be completely trusted to stop chasing completely, we can often find a solution to keep everyone safe and happy.