Unwanted Chasing of Runners & Cyclists

Posted by Emma-Crabtree
Jun 30, 2011
Hi, first up, thank the doggy gods for StDT. Love it!

I have an adopted, 5/6yr old (been with us for +/-6 months) lab/collie cross, called Teddy, who is a slow learner! We're getting there and for the most part I'm happy and comfortable being in and out of the house with him.

No problems with anyone in the house, or with people approaching the house. He's fine with next doors' dogs, who are a mixed bunch and for the most part restrained in one way or another. I have 2 or 3 issues that I'd like to speak with people about, but this is my main concern...

Our problems occur mainly when he is off the lead and I am alone with him. A dominance/protection issue maybe? We live in an area that has a lot of walkers/ramblers/cyclists/runners and Teddy likes to chase them. It's doubly stressful as I'm issuing instructions to Teddy in English, but encouragement/instructions to the cyclist/runner in Portuguese.

On the lead, Teddy will look but rarely go after a runner or a bike. Off the lead, he has not responded to recall (which he's not bad at) and has, to date, nipped a French pilgrim. Being terribly British, I was mortified!!

I have tried cycling with him, and he was fine. Apart from getting my friends to ride their bikes/run past him, I'm out of ideas.

Anyone have experience with this? A man I met on a bike told me that his dogs dislike bikes too, so is this something that is common? But how can I deal with it. (Thankful that the Portuguese aren't litigious!!)

Best wishes, Emma.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jul 1, 2011
Hi Emma,

I see youve already checked out other threads from members with similar problems. I do think bikes and fast moving people out at parks can be really exciting for dogs, intimidating for others, either way causing an unwanted reaction.

Does your dog respond to toys or balls at the park? An easy way to try and break this sort of behaviour is to use distraction with something the dog finds more interesting. If a biker or runner comes up, try throwing a ball or tossing a toy up in the air to get your dog interested in that instead of following the other person. My dog is a sucker for tennis balls, no matter what else is perking his interest at the park, he'll always chase and bring it back to me, ignoring other people or dogs.

You can also try getting him to listen to another command before the person gets to you on your walk. Sit, stay, down are all good places to start. Even if you have to keep repeating the command to keep his attention to start with, you should be able to gradually decrease it to giving the command once, and finally not have to give a command, but be able to just say "no" or "stay" or "enough" etc etc, and have your dog stay with you. This is the method I've used with my dog, who used to rush after any other dog at the park we go to. Now, I can just say his name and he knows not to rush off. You might have to use a lead to start with, just to be sure he wont run off, if you can catch him before he gets worked up you can just snap it on quickly before giving the command.

I'm sure other members will have more suggestions. I hope you see results soon, let us know how things go!
Posted by Emma-Crabtree
Jul 3, 2011
Thanks Caroline (?).

I think I need to go back to basics. Teddy is consistently inconsistent and I think I let him off the lead too early after we adopted him. Today he didn't bat an eyelid at the bikes, though he was on a lead!

I will try him with toys in the park, though he has the attention span of a 2 yr old. I've tried toys with him before, but it's as though toys are for home and there are other, more interesting things in the park, such as pine cones and rabbits!

Will keep you posted. Happy Sunday.