Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
This is a particularly dangerous habit some herding dogs pick up – after all, who wouldn’t want to round up those big metal beasts? Chasing cars is just a manifestation of those natural herding instincts. But, obviously, it can have tragic results for you Aussie if you don’t get it under control.
Obviously, the first step is to look at environmental factors. Why does your dog have the opportunity to chase cars in the first place? Possibly your property is not secure enough, or you are letting her walk off leash without putting the proper training in place first. Look at these factors first and start with the easiest issue to solve.
The key here is to ensure you have perfect control over your dog with your voice when there’s cars around, BEFORE you let her off the leash. If you have her on leash and she’s straining to try and chase cars, you have more work to do on commands like Sit and Stay. Those commands are essentially all you need to stop car chasing – but, they need to be consistent in high-distraction environments. You need to drill on these commands on the side of the road, with your dog on leash. Just go through the normal training process for these commands, but do it at the roadside with cars going past. Drill on it until you can get your dog’s attention off cars and onto you any time you want. You shouldn’t be letting your dog off leash around cars until you have that level of control. Even then, you should keep some treats on you when you walk her off leash so you have a ‘trump card’ to get her attention in a tricky situation.
Again, ensuring your dog gets plenty of exercise can help as well. The desire to chase cars comes from the herding instinct, so put that energy to use on other, safe exercises and games.
Next time: Desensitization
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