by guest blogger Dr. Susan Wright, DMV
We see it all so often that it almost seems natural, but no matter how often we see a dog chasing a car, we all still wonder what is going on in the dog’s brain to make him want to chase a car. While we know a dog’s mind is not as developed as a human brain — which is why it is so important to consistently train your dog with positive reinforcement — we ponder at what the panting dog, chasing after the car is doing or hoping to accomplish.
Fulfilling a Natural Desire
Well the act may seem natural because in fact it is natural. Dogs are connected in their long
line of genealogy to wild dogs and even in some cases wolves. No matter how domesticated they are, these past connections give dogs inkling to have an enhanced prey drive. Simply put, dogs automatically are attracted to things that are moving away from them and they want to chase it. Be it a tennis ball, a rope toy, Frisbee, kids riding bikes, joggers or cars driving past, if the dog is free and able they will likely chase it/them.
Achieving an Adrenaline Rush
Today’s dogs are far enough removed that the chase is not about a kill in the end result, more of just a fun adrenaline rush for the dog to do his best to chase the object and even try to entice it/them in a game of chase. If you have been to a dog park or had a doggie play date lately, you know firsthand how excited dogs get when they are participating in an intense, friendly game of tag. They enjoy the chase, the catch and then want to play repeatedly. This act is all related back to their natural instinct of having a prey drive.
Training, Safety Precautions & Exercise
So the next time you see a dog chasing a car you can rest assured that, while the act is dangerous, it is natural for the dog. Responsible dog owners should do their best to work with dogs to change this behavior through training and the use of safety measures like installing an invisible fence around their property to help keep their dog safe and within the allowed roaming area. However, no amount of safety precautions should ever be enough to leave your dog roaming around outside without the owner monitoring their dog.
Unfortunately, there is always a chance that the first time a dog escapes it could be their last time, especially if the dog is a car chaser! Rather, owners should spend outdoor time with their dog together and even spark their natural need to chase by starting a game of chase with their four-legged best pal! Not only will the act help fulfill the dog’s natural tendency and need to chase, the time spent is great exercise for both the owner and the dog – a win-win as they spend quality time with one another, getting back to the basics of why they adopted a dog in the first place!
Dr. Susan Wright DMV is a seasoned veterinarian, a wireless dog fence expert. Dr. Wright and her staff provide informative information to dog owners on how to provide a safe dog environment.
Photo courtesy: http://www.sunnydayphotos.com