What is Chase – Part 2
Here is the second half of our series on dealing with unwanted chase in your dog:
- Dogs are predictable in their nature. Be unpredictable in what you do on your walks and when you are out and about, change direction, walk different routes, enjoy different scenery and vary what you do out and about so that your dogs don’t become too fixed in what they expect in terms of their expectations. Remember keep them guessing – it’s a sure fire way to stop chase in its tracks as they really don’t know what to expect, from where and when! It’s a cool way to keep your dog healthy in both their body and mind!
- Is your dog prey driven? We love the chaser tugs because they really help to mimic what our dogs want to do. I know it sounds nuts when we are trying to stop chase but seriously our dogs need an outlet and it needs to be the right outlet – employ them somewhere useful! We also love to play whip games, crazy I know! We teach huge amounts of impulse control on these. To start with though check your behaviours out for example a sit, down and a stand. Let’s see where we are with these before we try to add too many distractions in! Remember tailor make the game for the dog, pick the games that make them tick and go crazy with it!
- Has your dog paired something with chase? For example my eldest dog Popi used to spot a chuck-it ball thrower a mile off and leave me to go and chase it, coiled and ready for the movement! If your dog has made a pairing and you want to unravel it then start to try to make a new pathway, for example see the chuck it ball thrower and chase me, or even see the ball thrower and chase my ball thrower. It’s all about unraveling the thinking and pairings! Remember whatever you try to make a pairing with must be something your dog really LOVES!
- Write a list of all of the things that stimulate your dog to chase. Against each put something that you can use to reinforce them that is suitable for the scenario – for example if I want to reward my dog for not getting into chase mode in a village hall by throwing a tennis ball it’s unlikely to go well as the environment is wrong, but using maybe a food toy or movement yourself could be fine!
- If we reward our dogs for performing the simple behaviours in the presence of what is difficult then we can strengthen and reinforce our dogs for making great choices! This means that they are even more likely to be used in the future!
Think of your dogs most rewarding behaviours, sit, down, pretty, tall, right, left, middle, walk back, keep working on these so that when you need them they are there for you.
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.