Dogs are known for being very curious, but one of their favorite things to investigate is cars. Dogs will chase a car until they’re so exhausted that they can’t go on any longer.
So why does my dog chase cars all of a sudden? Here’s the short answer: for the same reason they chase a ball of string or every other dog that comes by. They’re just naturally curious, and all dogs have an inner drive to chase after objects. Especially cars!
The fact is, any dog with any curiosity at all is bound to chase down cars sometimes, even if they’ve never shown interest in doing so before.
So what causes dogs to exhibit this strange behavior suddenly? We’ll talk about the most common reasons behind your dog’s behavior, and if you’re worried that your dog might get hurt by running after a car, there are many things you can do to stop your dog from chasing cars.
Most Common Reasons Why Dogs Chase Cars
Let’s talk about the very first reason why your dog chases cars: curiosity.
Your dog with be doing this because they may want to figure out what makes that loud noise and where the cars disappear to. They may also be trying to find out what makes them move so fast and how far they’ll go.
While curiosity is often the reason why your dog will start chasing cars, playfulness may also be involved. As you know, a dog chases things because they want to play.
The same is true when it comes to chasing cars. Your dog may think that the car is playing a game with them and that the car will eventually slow down long enough for your dog to catch up and grab onto it.
Over time, your dog may start chasing cars because of habit. This happens with responses to car horns or other things they’re familiar with and don’t particularly think much about anymore. If your dog used to chase cars a lot when they were younger, then your adult dog chasing a car now is just a habit that has developed into regular behavior.
4. Protecting Your Or Their Territory
Depending on the situation, your dog may start chasing a car because they want to protect you or their territory.
If your dog sees a car as something that can hurt both of you, then your dog will chase the car to protect you from it. They’ll bite and bark at it with an instinctual goal to keep you safe.
By the same token, dogs with a strong territorial instinct may begin chasing cars because they’re trying to protect their property or space. If a strange car is pulling up in your yard, then your dog may be trying to chase them away from what’s been deemed as their territory.
5. Strong Prey Drive
Prey drive is one of the strongest instincts that a dog has, and it’s only natural for them to chase after things they think are trying to get away from them. This makes these dogs want to catch what they’re chasing more than anything else.
The passing car might catch your dog’s attention, and they may think it’s something they can chase down. Dogs with a strong prey drive, such as German Shepherds, will do anything to pursue their potential prey; this includes running after a car!
6. Loneliness And Boredom
Dogs are social animals, but if you don’t have the time to spend with them or take them out for walks, they may become bored.
Boredom and loneliness are the perfect mix for this dog’s car chasing behavior to develop. Dogs with a lot of energy or left alone too often will start chasing cars to burn off some of their excess energy while also entertaining themselves.
Many dogs chase cars passing by because of the excitement they bring. Your dog may feel very excited by the passing car and try to get their paws on it, not realizing or thinking about what could happen.
This excitement is something that dogs find very hard to control, and as such, they don’t think about what they’re doing. Excitement leads them to focus on chasing the car rather than any potential danger or risks involved.
8. Fear Or Anxiety
Fear of things usually occurs from a traumatic event or experience in the past, which dogs can’t shake off.
If your dog has been hit by a car or chased by one in the past, then they might start seeing cars as something to fear. This causes them to chase after them for the exact same reason—fear! It’s their way of coping with the trauma they’ve experienced.
How to Stop Your Dog From Chasing Cars
Car chasing can be very dangerous for your dog and the people in the cars that they chase. If your dog is constantly chasing cars, then it might be best for you to try something to stop this behavior before an accident happens.
Below, I’ll give you some tips on how to stop your dog from chasing cars so that you can prevent any accidents or injuries in the future.
1. Don’t Give Your Dog Attention For Chasing
If you notice your dog following cars, then you should try to give them as little attention as possible. You’ll want to ignore this behavior and do whatever it takes not to encourage it in any way. For example, if your dog runs after the car that just passed by, don’t make a big deal of it.
If you give your dog attention for this behavior, they’ll keep doing it because it gets positive results from you!
2. Give Your Dog Something Else To Do Instead
If your dog is chasing a car or even watching one drive by, then you should give them something else to do! This could be going on a walk with you or playing with their favorite toys. Whatever it is that they love to do, you should get them involved in that activity.
3. Tire Your Dog Out
If your dog always seems to be chasing cars, then they may have a lot of excess energy. If your dog constantly has energy left over after a walk or playtime, you might want to consider taking them on longer walks or engaging in more playtime activities. The more tired your dog is, the less likely they will be to chase that car!
4. Train Your Dog Not To Chase The Cars
A lot of dog experts recommend teaching dogs “drop it” while they’re still puppies. This is a great way to prevent your dog from chasing anything, whether that be another animal or a car! To get the most out of this training, make sure you spend plenty of time with them and do multiple repetitions of this training. The more you practice, the better! Other useful commands to teach your dog include “leave it,” “no.”, and “come.”
The Leave It Method:
- Step 1: Find an object your dog loves (a favorite toy or treat).
- Step 2: Put the object on the floor right in front of him with his back turned toward you and walk away quickly without saying anything else.
- Step 3: Praise and give him a reward when he turns around to sniff at it but doesn’t touch it.
- Step 4: Repeat this sequence several times over a few days, gradually increasing the time you wait before rewarding him.
- Step 5: Now, begin to move away from your dog with your back turned while holding the object in your hand. If he reaches for it or tries to get his paws on it at all, don’t give him a reward or praise. This is when the leave it training will become successful. Instead, use a calm but stern tone of voice to tell them, “No! Leave it!” and show them that they won’t get any rewards for going after the object.
- Step 6: After a few times of repeating the sequence, you should notice that your dog has learned to avoid the object completely. Now they’ll be able to respond well when you ask them to leave something alone in the future. However, if they react like this again, repeat the training method until they’re mastered it properly.
Train Your Dog to Come:
- Step 1: Repeat the same process as in the “Leave it” training. The difference is that you’ll be using a favorite toy or treat instead of an object on the floor. Also, when doing this training, place your dog next to you before walking away so they can see what’s happening.
- Step 2: Walk several yards away from your dog, then stop and say “Come!” in a cheerful tone of voice.
- Step 3: If your dog doesn’t come over to you immediately, don’t chase after them. Simply bend over to the floor and pretend to pick something up off the ground (for example, their toys) until they walk over to you on their own. Then give them a reward for being well-behaved.
- Step 4: Over the next few days of training, gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. Make sure they’re still able to see you before telling them to come over. Repeat this process several times over a few days until they’ve become accustomed to coming when called from any distance away from you. Now you should be able to call them to you from much farther distances.
- Step 5: Once your dog learns how to come when called, they should learn it becomes easier not to chase those cars and bikes! Use this command every time the opportunity arises, and soon they’ll master it completely.
Dogs are often energetic and can’t help but chase after things that go by. However, this is a bad habit they should be trained out of as soon as possible! You don’t want your dog to get hurt or run into the road because they were chasing something.