Why Do Dogs Chase Cars?

by Perfect Puppy Care


Basic animal instinct is the reason why dogs are so driven to chase after cars. A canine’s “prey instinct” prompts him or her to chase down moving objects in an attempt to “capture” them. Of course, Fido can’t capture a car and eat it. However, this prey drive is still present, and your dog is unable to differentiate between moving machines and living, breathing creatures. The same prey instinct that leads your dog to chase cars is at play when you toss a ball to your beloved pooch. In fact, many people train their canine pets by using “prey drive” to its best advantage.

Now that you understand what motivates your dog, it will be easier to empathize with your pet. It’s important to be kind and compassionate when reprimanding your animal friend. Dogs need firm guidance from their masters and mistresses. However, they don’t need corporal punishment. To deter your pet from chasing cars, you must find other ways to enforce boundaries. It is important to stop this type of behaviour, as dogs chasing cars are prone to being hit by vehicles and becoming injured or killed.

Here are some tips on protecting your puppy or adult dog from his or her “animal instinct”.

Fence Fido In – If you fence in your property, Fido can’t wreak havoc out on the roadways. While fencing a yard may be costly, it’s well worth doing. Installing a fence that is high enough and strong enough to keep your dog inside can be done in true DIY (do-it-yourself) fashion, or it can be done by outsourcing the task to a reputable contractor. Whether you opt for metal fencing or wooden fencing, you should ensure that the fence has no rough or splintered edges that might injure your dog as he or she tries to break free.

To ensure that your canine pal doesn’t feel trapped all of the time, make sure you take him or her for lots of walks. Offer fun play sessions in the local dog park.

Give your dog fresh air, exercise and quality time with you. Your dog will soon adjust to being fenced in, and you won’t need to worry about the dire consequences of Fido’s car chasing behaviour. If you have enough space, frequent games of “fetch” in the front yard will help your dog to blow off steam and live out his or her “prey drive” without risking his or her life.

Retrain Your Dog – Some canines are trained to give up dangerous car-chasing behaviour through the usage of shock collars. A shock collar should come with a “remote control” that a dog owner may use to give Fido a shock whenever he begins to chase a car. A firm verbal command (such as “no”) should accompany training of this type. These types of collars are controversial choices, so using them is definitely a personal choice on the part of pet owners.

If you’re open to using a shock collar for retraining purposes, you may benefit from this method. However, shock collars may cause your pet pain. PETA, the outspoken animal rights organization, is categorically opposed to the usage of shock collars on dogs and other pets. On the other side of the coin, dog owners who are in favor of shock collars argue that any discomfort caused by shock collar training is preferable to finding out that their pets have been struck by moving vehicles. A “choke” chain may be used in a similar fashion to a shock collar.

Call in a Professional – If the methods mentioned above aren’t working out for you, or you have ethical issues with the use of certain “training” collars, it may be time to call in a dog trainer. You should be able to find professional dog trainers who will work for reasonable rates. A good trainer will help Fido to break his “car-chasing” habit without hurting or traumatizing your dog. Before trusting your pet to a trainer, check references and online reviews for the trainer.

Some owners are able to do the training themselves, but it does take time to get results. After all, dogs must be monitored closely and reprimanded whenever they begin to lunge into oncoming traffic. Sometimes, pet owners can’t be there all of the time, and they can’t train properly because they miss so many incidences of car chasing. For this reason, a fenced-in yard is the number one defense against this dangerous activity.

Always remember that your beloved pet is only doing what comes naturally. Be sure to give your pet plenty of praise when he or she breaks the habit, and be as patient as possible when things don’t go well. Every dog needs plenty of love and affection from its owner.


  1. Sean McCartin says:

    This article is good in general, but the Shiba Inu, originating from Japan, has been known to dig its way under fences and ignore shock collars entirely if it gets into “chase mode”. If you have a Shiba that keeps chasing vehicles, small animals, etc., then it is recommended that you just not let it stay outside unattended.

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