Dogs naturally have a chase instinct. It is a pleasurable and rewarding activity for them. For this reason, your dog can get into trouble for chasing more giant animals or chasing smaller animals like cats and getting scratched. Dogs are predators, and other animals are regarded as prey. In general, dogs belong to three different categories, i.e., the hunters, the herders, and the non-sporting. Some dogs have a higher prey drive than others. In worst-case scenarios, your dog may kill smaller animals.
For this reason, you must take the necessary precautions to tame this behavior. It may be entirely possible to stop the chasing behavior. It is, however, possible to divert their attention or train them to control their chase instincts. In this article, we share a guide on how to stop a dog from chasing other animals.
Keep the prey away in pen and the dog on a leash
It will be wise to keep the chicken in a pen and other livestock that can be locked away. You cannot instruct the dog to sit next to the chicken pen on in the chicken feeding area and not expect it to be triggered. Once the chicken is locked safely in the pen, walk the dog within a distance where the chicken is noticeable but will not be too close to be overstimulated. It would help if you also kept your dog on a leash at all times so that you can have control of their movements. Whenever they feel triggered to give a chase, you respond by restraining them or verbally to train them that No is No! If they ignore the chicken and look at you, reward them.
Train your dog to focus
SpiritDog Training wrote in their latest article that dog training requires patience and consistency (source). The best way to train your dog to focus is to have some of their favorite treats at hand. Take them for a walk and be ready to check them whenever they see other animals and want to give a chase. You can train them using a sound or whistle you make, then throw a treat at them when they make eye contact with you. Always keep the treats in the line of eye contact. Do this for as many times as possible or using as many treats as you can get. Over a while, your dog will start to associate the sound or whistle with a treat. This will help them to focus on your instructions. Whenever your dog starts chasing other animals, make the same sound, or say the same words, and they will understand that they need to retreat.
Train them using a stuffed animal
If the dog is too aggressive or the animal the dog loves chasing isn’t domesticated, you can train them using a stuffed animal that resembles the animal that they love to chase. This could be a rat, squirrel, or any other stuffed animal. Attach the stuffed animal to a string and shove in front of the dog unexpectedly. You should then drag it around as the dog naturally chases it. As soon as they start chasing, instruct them to leave the stuffed animal. This is the best way to train them to control their chase instincts.
Make your dog think you are always watching
Leave a stuffed animal unattended, then watch your dog from a distance. If they attempt to go towards the stuffed animal, shout ‘Leave it’ from across the room. This will make them think you have your eyes on them all the time.
Add a bell to your dog’s collar
Some people believe in tying the dead chicken killed by the dog on its neck. This isn’t entirely fair to the dog as the dead chicken may scare the dog or be an intriguing meal for the dog. This is also an act of animal cruelty. Instead of tying the dead animal to the dog’s neck, simply add a bell to their collar. The bell will signal any other animal that the dog is about to give them a chase and notify you about the whereabouts of your dog.
Change your walking routine
If there are wild animals along your route, then it would be best to change your routine. Wild animals are most active in the evenings and early mornings. You can opt to walk your dog during the afternoon to avoid running into wild animals and ending up in a chase. Dogs can chase larger animals such as deer and get injured in the process.
Keep animals that frequent your yard away
If animals like squirrels and birds frequent your yard, you should get rid of food sources such as grains that attract the animals. You can also use animal repellants to keep these critters away. Some people use orange and lemon peels to repel birds and squirrels.
Manage your dog’s energy
One way of controlling your dog is to control their energy. Keep your dog tired, especially before walks, to prevent them from chasing other animals. Walk them regularly to keep them tired. If they are tired, chances are they will be disinterested in chasing.
Give them an alternative
Dogs are predatory animals. They love to sniff and smell. Take advantage of this to give them an alternative. You can hide some food treats in several parts of your home and let them sniff and find the food. This game of hide and seek will keep them active and will help satisfy their chasing drive.
Observe your dog’s body language
Watch how your dog behaves, and over time, you will tell when they have spotted potential prey. If you take time to observe your dog, you will be able to get some cues when they have spotted an animal and are about to chase. These cues will help you stop the dog before they get on their heels.
Dog training needs patience. Dogs can be great company once both you and the dog have established a means of communication and necessary boundaries. We hope these tips will help you train your dog not to chase other animals. If you need extra help with the training, you can always find a professional dog trainer.