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How do you train a border collie not to chase cars?

Ellie is a six-month-old Border Collie who likes to chase cars. Her owner called me with concerns about this issue as they live near a busy intersection.

When I arrived at the meeting Ellie was on a leash and for a six month old puppy was incredibly attentive to her owner. I think her owner thought I was blowing smoke when I said she was one of the best trained dogs I’ve ever worked with, but it was true. You could immediately see that the dog bonded strongly with her owner and apart from a few moments of inattention, Elle was extremely easy to handle.

Border Collie Training – Chasing Cars

I came across a few Border Collies that needed basic training while training dog owners at our dog school in Hereford. A common theme stemming from this hyperactive breed was their tendency to chase cars.

Thousands of years of evolved animal behavior and selective breeding have collided with modernity. This collision turns hard-wired instincts, specially bred to herd sheep, into irresistible impulses in the untrained border collie brain to throw itself into the path of speeding cars.

Knowing When Your Border Collie Is Going to Chase Cars

As sheepdogs, they usually start by chasing any moving object, such as cars, from a distance.

Border Collars usually take certain positions when they are going to herd sheep or whatever they choose to go after.

The first thing we must remember when talking about chasing behavior is that our Border Collies have been bred for generations to herd fast animals that tend to run away!!

What are the reasons why some Border Collies will start chasing things like cars, bikes or joggers? There is no single answer so I’m going to give you a few, sometimes it’s a combination of more than one reason or one is triggered by the other:

STOP! dogs use behaviors that come first in their genetic makeup to deal with something that worries them in the environment. Usually if you have to cover something up it means you don’t feel good or you are afraid of it. They don’t know how to deal with a large metal object that makes horrible noises as they pass and they try to herd it to control it. Border Collies can be sensitive to noise and a very loud bike or car could easily create a fear response.

It is normal for your dog to chase

«It is important to understand that your dog’s predatory behavior is normal,» says Dr. Miller. «We sometimes think our dogs are mean, but the chase and chase is instinctive.» The problem is that chasing another animal can really get your dog into trouble. When he’s «on the chase,» he’s laser-focused. He’s not just ignoring your reminders; he really can’t hear you. All his attention is on the object. When he’s in that state, he may have a bad encounter with a cornered animal or may even cross a road and get hit by a car.»

But the chase itself is not the enemy. In fact, every time your dog retrieves a ball or jumps up to catch a flying saucer, he follows his predatory response to movement. There’s a good reason he loves to do it; when your dog is «on the chase,» his central nervous system releases endorphins into the brain. These endorphins can last for hours. It’s similar to the feeling you get when you look at a beautiful piece of art or eat a piece of chocolate.