why do dogs chase cars?

why do dogs chase cars?

May 9, 2023

picture this: you’re walking your dog on the sidewalk or anywhere outdoors, when your furry little runner takes off after a bike or car passing by. 

if you’re a pet parent, we’re sure you’ve experienced this at one point or another. and you’re just left wondering: why do dogs chase cars? 

dogs have a lot of interesting habits, but one of the most peculiar ones has got to be their obsession with chasing after cars. 

it's a sight to behold, really - you'll see a cute little puppy darting down the street with all the determination of a seasoned marathon runner. they'll leap over bushes, zigzag between parked cars, and even dodge traffic like a pro. all in the hopes of catching up with that shiny metal beast that keeps getting away.

after so many failed attempts, our doggos should know that they’ll probably never be able to outrun those strange wheely machines! it's like they're playing an endless game of tag with the automobile, only the car never gets tired and the dog never wins. but that doesn't stop them from trying. our furry little determined champs – just never giving up! ❤️ 

why do dogs chase cars? 

it’s not because they’re practicing their running skills that dogs chase cars. there are a few reasons behind it. 

the first, most obvious reason can be linked to dogs being territorial creatures. you can see it in everyday situations in life — try curling up into your dog’s bed or taking a toy when they’re playing with it. it’s also why you may hear stray dogs barking at night, if a strange dog (not part of the street gang) tries to enter a locality. 

similarly, your dog may view cars as intruders encroaching their space. by running and barking after cars, dogs are trying to assert their dominance and protect their home turf.

you can even notice territorial behaviors in simple situations at home, on the days that your dog doesn’t let you get close to their favorite blanket or snaps when you try to take up their space on the bed. 

for dogs, their territory can include their home, yard, toys, food, and even their owners. this territorial instinct is a way for dogs to establish boundaries and create a sense of security in their environment. 

dogs have a natural instinct to protect their territory, which can manifest in various ways such as barking, growling, and even biting. it can be linked back to their wolf ancestry. 

of course, there are certain breeds and animals that have been specially bred and trained to become more protective of their surroundings. it’s why some breeds, like bullmastiffs or german shepherds, are preferred as security dogs over others. here’s a handy guide to know more. 

another reason dogs might chase after cars is because they are trying to satisfy their natural prey drive. like we said, dogs are descendants of wolves, and hunting and chasing prey is a deeply ingrained instinct. when they see a car driving by, they may perceive it as a moving target and feel compelled to chase after it.

how to stop a dog from chasing cars 

all that said, chasing after cars is actually dangerous and can put your dog at risk of injury! dogs can get hit by a car or cause an accident by running into the road, and they may also become aggressive towards cars and their occupants. 

it’s important to train dogs to break their habit of chasing cars.

to prevent car chasing behavior, it's important to provide dogs with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to satisfy their prey drive. training and socialization (here’s how to socialize your puppy at a young age!) can also help teach dogs appropriate behavior and reduce their impulse to chase cars. 

additionally, keeping dogs on a leash or in a securely fenced yard can prevent them from chasing cars and getting into dangerous situations. some dogs may dislike being put on a leash because it limits their freedom and ability to move around freely. however, with proper training over time, dogs can learn to associate the leash with positive experiences such as walks and outdoor play. it's important to use a leash properly and not to use it as a form of punishment. forceful or harsh use of a leash can cause fear, anxiety, and other behavioral problems in dogs.

a good way to train your dog is by using positive reinforcement. whenever a car drives by, distract your dog with a treat as a reward for ignoring the car. over time, your dog will learn that passing cars are not things to be chased after! 

great training comes with great treats! 

pawfectly made’s treatos are the yummies your doggie’s dreams are made of. check out our snack menu in your pet’s favorite flavors now!

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