How to train a dog not to chase cars?

As a dog owner, watching your pet dashing towards a moving car can be a heart-stopping experience. The possibility of an accident is terrifying. However, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s a behavior that can be corrected. Dogs, regardless of the breed, are naturally driven to chase. It’s not only about cars, dogs can chase other animals, joggers, or even their own tail. But with the right training and techniques, you can help your canine companion curb that instinct.

Whether you have a young pup who is just starting to explore the world or an older dog who has developed this habit, it’s never too late to start training. So, let’s dive into the world of canine behavior and unravel the secret to stopping your dog from chasing cars.

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Understanding Why Dogs Chase

Before you start training, it’s important to understand why your dog is chasing cars. This can provide valuable insight into your dog’s behavior, helping you tailor your training approach more effectively.

Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are natural predators. Chasing is an innate behavior that harkens back to their hunting days. Objects moving at high speeds, such as cars, trigger their instinct to chase. It’s not because they have any malicious intent towards cars, it’s simply that the movement stirs up their predatory instincts.

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Some breeds are more prone to this habit than others. The American Kennel Club (AKC) notes that herding breeds like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are more likely to chase cars due to their instinct to round up moving objects.

Training Techniques to Curb Chasing

Now that you’re familiar with the reasons behind your dog’s car chasing, let’s delve into the ways you can help mitigate this behavior. Remember, patience and consistency are crucial when it comes to training.

Distraction and Diversion

One of the most effective ways to prevent your dog from chasing cars is to distract them before they start to chase. The moment you notice your dog focusing on a moving car, divert their attention with a toy or some food. Over time, they’ll associate the sight of a car with getting a treat or playing, instead of chasing.

Leash Training

If your dog tends to chase cars when off the leash, it’s time to reintroduce leash training. Start by walking your dog on a leash in a quiet area away from traffic. Gradually, as your pet gets more comfortable, introduce them to areas with more cars. When a car passes by, command your dog to ‘sit’ or ‘stay’. Reward them when they obey. This will help associate staying calm around cars with positive reinforcement.

Recall Training

Recall training is teaching your dog to come to you when called. This is a crucial command that can keep your dog safe in potentially dangerous situations. Start this training in a safe, controlled environment, like your backyard. Call your pet’s name and reward them when they come to you. Gradually increase the distractions and continue the training.

Seeking Professional Help

Despite your best efforts, you might find that your dog’s chasing behavior is difficult to control. At this point, you might want to consider seeking professional help.

Dog trainers and behaviorists have the knowledge and experience to address this habit. They can provide personalized training plans and techniques tailored to your pet’s specific needs. The AKC provides a directory of professional dog trainers and behaviorists that you can consult.

Remember, it’s not a sign of failure on your part if you need to seek help. In fact, reaching out to professionals shows your commitment to your pet’s safety and wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

Training a dog not to chase cars is a challenge, but it’s definitely surmountable. It requires patience, time, and consistency. Understand your dog’s reasons for chasing, use the right techniques, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. Remember, the goal is to keep your pet safe and happy. Your dedication and effort will pay off when you see your dog calmly watching cars pass by instead of giving chase.

Using Dog Sports to Channel Energy

Getting your dog involved in dog sports can be an effective way to channel their energy and curb their chasing instinct. Sports like agility, flyball, or even simple fetch can provide your dog with an outlet for their instinctual desires to run and chase.

Dog sports are more than just a fun activity. They require your dog to listen to commands, focus on a task, and work as a team with you. This can translate to better behavior outside the dog park as well.

For instance, in agility, your dog has to navigate a course full of obstacles based on your commands. This requires intense focus and the ability to ignore distractions – skills that can help when it comes to ignoring cars on the street.

Flyball is another interesting sport, especially for dogs who love to chase. The sport involves a relay race where dogs have to fetch a ball and return it to their owner. It’s a great way to replicate the thrill of the chase in a controlled and safe environment.

When starting dog sports, it’s best to find a local club or professional trainer who can guide you. Make sure to choose a sport that suits your dog’s breed, size, and personality. Over time, you’ll find that your dog’s desire to chase cars may decrease as they find satisfaction in these activities.

The Role of Diet in Dog Behavior

The food that your dog consumes plays a crucial role in their behavior. A well-balanced diet can help regulate your dog’s energy levels and mood, which in turn can influence their tendency to chase cars.

High-quality dog food that is rich in protein and low in fillers can provide your dog with the energy they need for daily activities without causing a spike in their adrenaline levels. Some research suggests that diets high in protein and low in simple carbohydrates can help reduce hyperactive behavior in dogs.

Avoid foods with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives as they can exacerbate behavioral problems. Instead, opt for natural, whole foods.

It’s also important to provide your dog with enough fresh water daily. Dehydration can make dogs irritable and more prone to erratic behavior.

Lastly, remember that feeding your dog at regular intervals can also help regulate their energy levels. Consistency in feeding can lead to consistency in behavior.

However, it’s always best to discuss your dog’s diet with a veterinarian. They can provide guidance on the best food options for your pet, taking into consideration factors like breed, age, size, and overall health.


Training your dog not to chase cars can seem like a daunting task, but with patience, consistency, and the correct techniques, it’s an achievable goal. Understanding your dog’s instinct to chase is the first step in this process. From there, distraction and diversion techniques, leash and recall training, and even dog sports can help mitigate this behavior.

Diet can also play a significant role in your dog’s behavior. Providing a balanced diet can help manage your dog’s energy levels and potentially reduce their desire to chase.

However, should you find it difficult to control your dog’s car chasing behavior, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals. Trainers and behaviorists can provide personalized training plans and techniques tailored to your pet’s specific needs.

Remember, your dog’s safety and wellbeing are paramount. Your dedication to teaching your dog to curb their chasing instincts can go a long way in ensuring their safety and happiness. And the joy you’ll experience when you see your dog calmly watching cars pass by, instead of giving chase, will be well worth the effort.