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My dog runs after cars: why and what to do?

Author: The DogsPlanet.com Team

Do you notice your dog chasing cars? Or worse, that he literally throws himself under the wheels of a moving vehicle? This behaviour is quite common among our four-legged companions.

Find out in this article what causes this habit and what to do about it.

Why is my dog chasing cars?

It is necessary to take your time to understand and identify the source of this compulsive act. Several factors can indeed be at the origin:

Fear

The fact that your dog is running after cars may simply be because he is not used to seeing one. A dog confronted with an object he doesn’t know often shows aggressive behavior. If you live in an area where cars are scarce, he will naturally become defensive.

It is also possible that this reaction is a demonstration of a lack of socialization. A puppy growing up with a lack of stimulation and socialization is more likely to react this way.

Trauma

A bad experience with the dog also explains this gesture. Having suffered from a trauma related to a car, he may show a desire to attack as soon as he sees one.

While some dogs have a tendency to run away, others develop an aggressiveness that pushes them to attack this “danger”. If your dog runs after cars, it is possible that he belongs to the second category.

Instinct

A dog chasing cars is sometimes simply driven by instinct. This can be explained by his breed. For example, a hunting dog has a predatory instinct that drives him to hunt anything in motion.

On the other hand, a guard dog’s protective instinct leads him to consider new elements as a threat. As for a herding dog, his gathering instinct generates in him a will to control everything.

The need to exercise

Be aware that dogs need to exercise, some more than others. This is the case for example with working dogs bursting with energy.

In a playful way or just to exert himself, he will look for any trigger to release this energy. He may get bored in the garden or in the house, which reinforces his desire to move.

How do I stop my dog from chasing cars?

The fact that your dog chases cars is not to be taken lightly, this can often be dangerous. However, there are measures to prevent this behaviour and avoid accidents.

Socialization

A dog’s socialization is mainly done during the first 12 weeks of his life. This allows your dog to get used to different situations and become familiar with all types of stimulation. Once adult, your dog will have much more self-control.

Walks

To get your dog used to cars, walk him regularly. It’s best to walk him on a leash for safety. If your dog is really unfamiliar with vehicles, start on low-traffic streets.

In addition, outings by car are also recommended. Regularly getting into the car will help facilitate the adaptation process.

If you have trouble socializing your dog, turn to a professional. The ability to adapt differs from one dog to another, so a personalised follow-up is always preferable.

Activities to spend his energy

Your dog is basically a bundle of energy. In order for him to feel good, he needs to exercise. This allows him to be more balanced in his daily life and avoid stress.

Help your dog work out? Okay, but how? By following these few tips:

  • Take him out (outside the garden) at least half an hour a day.
  • Keep him busy with games that stimulate him physically and psychologically.
  • Have him meet other dogs on a regular basis.
  • Give him strong chewing toys.
  • Take the time to play with him.

Working on instinct

If you have a dog that chases cars out of pure instinct, you need to help him control his impulses.

To do this, a diligent education is necessary. Through activities that challenge his innate abilities, you gradually teach him to obey you in all situations.

For a hunting dog, prefer tracking activities. If you have a hound, consider running activities instead. A watchdog, on the other hand, will need more socialization work.

Working on obedience

If you can get him to obey and teach him the concept of giving up, it will be easier to prevent him from throwing himself under a car. In this case, simply saying “Stop!” will be enough to calm him down.

However, it is a job that requires patience and diligence. With the right gestures and education, it remains quite possible.

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