for people who have car chasers!
This is the help sheet my behaviourist/trainer gave me for Harvey's car chasin Smile

Chasing Moving Objects
There are 3 important elements to coping with dogs that chase cars, bikes, motorcycles, joggers etc.
1. Provide an outlet for the natural chase/herding instinct
2. Train a really reliable leave cue or an incompatible behaviour
3. Desensitise to the sight and sound of the relevant moving object

The easiest way to provide an outlet for this natural behaviour is by using a tennis ball. Increase the important and excitement of the ball by only playing with it for short periods and not allowing access to a ball when not using it for play/training. A squeaky ball such as the air Kong tennis balls can make the dog even more addicted. You can incorporate training into ball games by teaching a solid wait cue so that they do not go to chase the ball until you give the word. You can also teach an emergency stop too.
WAIT: begin with the dog on a lead and gently toss the ball just a few feet away. Do not let the dog go until they have either stopped straining to get it or have sat down. Give them a ‘go get it’ cue. You may need to tease them beforehand to get them really excited about going for the ball. Build up the distance and speed of the ball until then will steadily wait until directed. Keep a lead on until you know they will not break the wait. You can if you want use your ‘stay’ cue however bear in mind that stay is usually used for calm situations and at times where they are to stay focussed on you hence why I prefer to use a wait.
STOP: with your dog off the lead pretend to throw the ball. They will usually turn to run but when they don’t see the ball fly overhead they will stop to look at you. The moment they stop and look back say ‘stop’ and immediately throw the ball. Repeat 10 times. Begin to say stop just as the dog stops and then reward with a throw of the ball. Keep repeating this but keep sessions short. As you progress begin to say stop at the point at which they will usually start to stop. This turns the word into a cue. Once this is learned you should only reward with a throw of the ball when they stop ONLY when you have given the cue. To keep them guessing you should intersperse the stop training with normal play where you really do throw the ball.
The alternative method to training a stop is to use food treats. Toss treats over the dogs head and upon eating them they will turn back to you for more. Start by having the dog right in front of you and don’t toss treats more than a couple of metres away. As soon as they lift their heads to look use a raised hand in the air as a visual cue to indicate stop but also say the word stop. Immediately toss another treat but not towards them. Repeat the exercise with varying distances and only toss the treat when they do not start to come back to you.
Alternative chase outlets:
• Furry toy on the end of a long horses lunge whip
• Tuggy toys that are ragged then thrown
• Seagulls- the beach is a good place to safely allow chase behaviour but not during nesting season.


Develop the difficulty of your leave cue so that it applies to all sorts of objects and in higher distraction areas. Leave means do not attempt to go towards the specified object and pay attention to me. So if taught fully the dog should be able to leave anything at anytime in any place.

To progress from leaving food objects onto vehicles you need to start by increasing the difficulty of high value food ‘leaves’. Rather than just dropping the food near to them from your hand or from worktop height you need to be able to throw the food at full pelt and also throw it right past them when they could quite easily reach it before you could. Until they have enough steadiness for that sort of ‘leave’ they will not be able to leave their highest value object which is motorbikes and cars.

Practice the leave cue in the following order:
• High value food being thrown further away and with speed (at home)
• HVF being thrown right past the dog (at home)
• Repeat the above two tasks outdoors in low distraction areas
• Repeat the above outdoors in high distraction areas i.e. near roads
• Repeat the above 4 steps but replace food with a favourite toy such as a ball or furry toy on a lunge whip.
• Begin to use the leave cue with stationary motorbikes, pedal bikes, cars etc which have their engines on whilst at a distance below threshold distance
• Begin to use the leave cue with very slow moving objects below threshold distance
• Begin to use the leave cue with normal moving objects below threshold distance
Throughout this you MUST use a reward of high enough value for the leave to be worth it. As the dogs regularly have chicken, sausage, cheese etc if may be worth using something different such as baked liver slivers, livercake, sardine bread or really smelly garlic sausage. It is also useful to keep the dog hungry beforehand and only train when they will be keen for their breakfast or dinner. Don’t forget that high value rewards can also be toys so if you have made your tennis ball or furry toy on a whip really fun and exciting they can be rewarded with a quick game (as long as this is not going to get them overexcited and likely to then perform the undesired behaviour towards cars etc.)
A solid leave will only work with cars and bikes if it is built up gradually and rewarded highly. If they are to calmly ‘leave’ a passing car or bike in order to get a chunk of livercake then this will only happen if it has been done very carefully so that they aren’t ever pushed too far and that the reward is of high enough value to them. Right now the cars and motorbikes are the most exciting thing in the world to them but that CAN change.
Using ‘leave’ works better than simply teaching a sit stay as a leave implies there is something to be left whereas a sit and stay is usually more about general steadiness and duration. A ‘leave’ also makes the trigger object a cue for a reward from YOU.
You can however use anything the dog already knows as a way to manage the chasing if this known behaviour is incompatible with performing the unwanted chasing behaviour. For example a ‘watch me’ is incompatible with running to chase and bark at a motorbike. A lie down and stay is incompatible with lunging at passing cars.
Until now you have been using the clicker to desensitise the dogs to their triggers and working below threshold. This is still absolutely vital. However the first two elements of the plan are also highly important.
Continue working below threshold at all times even if this means strict avoidance a lot of the time by walking in other areas or at really quiet times. The more the chasing behaviour is practised the more ingrained it becomes with each and every opportunity.
Remember that the threshold is not the point at which the dog begins to lunge and bark, it is the inner physiological reactions in the dog which cause the breathing to quicken and the heart rate to increase. You need to work at a distance which allows the dog to be calm. They should be able to see and hear the trigger but only at a level which does cause them to start whining, breathing faster or get tense.
Alongside the ‘leave’ training you can continue to use the clicker to reward for looking towards the triggers without reacting.
In terms of sound being a trigger you should work in gently exposing the dog to the sounds of the trigger(s) at very low levels if necessary. Record the sounds onto a tape and start to play the sound indoors and outdoors at gradually increasing levels until at real volumes.
Remember that this problem is very very common even at such a young age. Collie’s have a genetic predisposition to chasing and herding moving objects. If not able to ‘work’ they will find their own means of using their instincts. Apart from the above steps you should also ensure that your dog has enough mental stimulation from other games and training, that they get enough exercise which is off the lead and in rural areas and that they have an off switch so that they can relax when needed.
The problem will not go away fast, it will take months of dedication and patience and may still creep back in at times in the future. Be aware that you may always have to manage the behaviour in some way whether it be avoiding motorbike rally’s, using different walking routes and of course keeping them on a lead if there is any chance they will injure themselves through the chase instinct.
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milo is a car chaser so ill be having a good read through this and using everything i can to stop him.....he scares me Sad
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Harvey is very bad to, if he was ever to get off his lead (god forbid) he would run straight for the cars, but each time he has managed it (he escaped ou the front door one day & he made a beeline out of the park to the road once) he has avoided the cars thank god Smile

So I am going to improve his leave, which will help cat chasing hopefully aswell as car chasing & I will try desensitising him again Big Grin
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hey i have a car chaser and started jazz at junior obedience classes today and we are using target sticks which i think is going to be really effective for his problem some really good advice here
hey i have a car chaser and started jazz at junior obedience classes today and we are using target sticks which i think is going to be really effective for his problem some really good advice here
Heh we had that problem so one day I took him in to town in the middle of a roundabout (got some strange looks though must say) and we were there for a couple of hrs everytime he didn't try to chase a car he gor a treat and when he did I ignored it..for us it worked but in a big town this might be a problem Big Grin
Arttu (Future Perfect from Borderback kennel) male blue/white BC 4yrs old. BH / certificate and trophy
Rocky ( yellow) labrador 3yrs old
my neighbor has a border collie, they dont really do much with him and he comes over to the house all the time and i work with him but as soon as a truck comes by he runs and gets in front of it and barks at the tires, i just know one day he will get ran over it scares me every time. i wish they would read this.
I had a p[up who was a car chaser and somehow managed to stop him by by a combination of lots of time watching me rather than slow moving traffic, lots of walks in controlled situations and re focusing on toys and other dogs.

However my new (ish) rescue boy is a nightmare. On lead you wouldn't know he was even interested, off lead he just goes, the vehicle doesn't even have to be moving depending on the situation. I have an instant down now and he is pretty clued in to a ball. Every time we see a lone car I ask for a down and reward him. I haven't risked him off lead where he could chase since he did it a couple of times so i have no idea if he will or not. In June I will have a safe area and vehicles who will be aware and I'll try it out. Till then I just avoid.

My friends working collies are car chasers...
Always have my heart in my mouth visiting her farm as i'm so scared i'm going to run over them or their feet they attack the tyres and run rings around any car entering or leaving the farm...they chase them up to the main gate once the car past this point they turn and go back home
- Katrina, Finnigan & Tex

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