You walked outside and the dog snuck up behind you, then slipped through the front door again? We’ve all been there! What’s the first thing you do? Well, run after your dog, calling their name of course!
They run, you run…it seems instinctual, but before you know it, you’ve run around the block again. Here’s something new to try.
It REALLY IS INSTINCT that takes over when we chase. It’s not just something we do with our own dogs, but if a friend’s dog gets out or we see a stray, there were are…running down the street again. The reality is though, chasing a dog slims the chances of actually catching the dog.
The truth is, we need to go against the instinct to chase a loose dog, because when we chase, we risk putting the loose pet and ourselves in danger. Often, for the dog, it’s pretty scary to have someone running after you (even if it’s a person they know). Dogs aren’t likely to stop and analyze the situation to decide whether the person chasing, is intending harm or not, so their instinct is to keep on running, in any direction, including towards streets with moving traffic.
Here’s What to Try Instead:
Stop and drop to your knees- It sounds silly, but many dogs find this to be strange behavior. So go ahead, kneel down, pretend like you found something interesting in the grass, and call softly to your dog. They may just come back over to check it out.
Stop, drop, and curl into a ball- Again, this is totally curious behavior for a dog. You’ve made yourself small, so you’re no longer perceived as threatening to the dog, and you’re not moving. They may even think you’re ill or in need of help, and before long they’ll be there to lend a paw. Note, be careful not to be such a good actor that your neighbors come running to help though.
Run in the opposite direction- Run away from the dog? What? Yes! Some dogs love chase. So turn the tables, let them chase you. Even if the dog does not particularly like chase, they may be curious enough to just follow you to an area where it is easier for you to get a hold on them.
Sit down with your back or side to the dog- This is another way to appear less threatening to a dog, making it more likely for them to approach. You can always lay a few treats strategically around you to lure them closer!
Open a car door and invite the dog to go for a ride- Silly and simplistic, you bet! If a dog has learned to associated the car with good things (like trips to parks) then it’s likely the dog will happily go along for a ride.