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Must Give Chase

There are certain breeds of dog that aren’t happy unless they’re running after something at 200mph! The ‘something’ can be anything from a bird to a car; people are often a popular chase object too.

The main culprits for this behaviour are generally the more highly strung canine individuals that just can’t sit still, Border collies, Springer spaniels, Jack russells and huskies spring to mind first. These breeds seem to think that it’s their sole responsibility to keep their world free from birds and other items! Now the behaviour does not always cause problems but it can so easily develop into a serious issue. If your pooch gives chase to say a squirrel and the squirrel happens to run out into a road, the chances are high that your dog will follow suit, the squirrel might well dodge the traffic but will your canine companion be so fortunate?

Even if your dog chases a squirrel in the woods, nowhere near a road, they’ll easily become disorientated when they lose the object they were chasing and find themselves stood in the middle of a wood. They’ll more than likely find you again but why take that chance in the first instance?

So how can you deter your dog from chasing? One of the best methods I’ve used in the past is to take your dog back to basics and complete some recall work with them. Purchase a training rope, arm yourself with plenty of dog treats and find a suitable area in which to train. You want somewhere reasonably quiet and perhaps a location that you’ve not visited before, this way the whole episode is new to your dog including the area.

Don’t allow your dog off lead to begin with and clip them on the training rope. Let them run to the end of the rope and then recall them, when they return to you reward them with a treat. Keep doing this and changing direction from time to time. The concept behind the recall work is to re-tune your dog into you, they must think that you’re the most important thing in their life and where you are they want to be. By doing this, you’ll be able to control your dog when he/she gives chase.

When you’re recall training use a word such as ‘here’ or ‘close’ these are good, short words and straight to the point. You also need to teach your dog how to ‘leave’ things alone when asked. You can practise this command with a toy. Throw the toy over your dog’s head, they’ll be interested immediately, but before they start to move firmly say ‘leave.’ You want your dog to associate the word ‘leave’ with the action of not even running after anything, or if they do, they should return straightaway to your side.