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Hello, Percy, my Border collie of 7 months is an absolute joy except for the chasing instinct.

 

Recall is good/very good in normal calm situations, but if he sees a cyclist before me and there are no other dogs to keep him interested he will more often than not try to round the cyclist up.

 

I realise this is very basic stuff that, maybe, I should have got to grips with by now, but I would really appreciate any advice about suppressing this habit.

 

He's a happy, intelligent (obviously) dog, plenty of excercise, with strict rules at home, so he knows who's boss. I'm googling stuff, have read a couple of basic books and talk to all other dog owners but I'm just getting a little confused about the best thing to about this.

 

Anyway, I don't think I could have found a better place for advice.

 

Chris

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i'd probably enlist a friend with a bike to help out. have your friend ride around on the bike. with the dog on a leash, train a lie down or leave it with lots of treats. if you don't have a friend with a bike handy, perhaps go to some kind of bike path or trail (we have a rail trail that's very popular with bikers). always keep the dog on a leash for now for everyones safety.

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Our dogs are around mountain bikes who are flying down the mountain when we are hiking. Solution - I say BIKE -Sit and they do. We do this everytime. At the beginning they always got a reward- be it a treat or over the top praise. I also do CAR - sit, and they sit at the side of the road. Cody, my BC, sits at the side of the road when he hears a car. Until they have this command down pat - they don't get off the leash. We also do HIKER sit. This now alerts us that their is a hiker coming our way, even if we cannot see them. They know it is their job to sit. For us - the mountain bikes could be a real danger due to their speed so it was absolutely important that they did not chase them. Good luck. Also - teach the leave it command - covers other situations that the dog hasn't even thought up yet.

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You need to be able to work with him where the cyclist is visible but not too close so you can teach him to behave before he is so overwhelmed by the cyclist he can't focus on you at all. Gradually you can work closer and closer.

 

Also, look into the CU stuff, teaching him a game like Look At That would probably help.

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Thank you for the advice.

 

The last couple of days I've taken Percy to a field that has quite a few cyclists and runners going through and kept him interested with his new frisbee which seems to be a real hit.

 

Once he's really focused on the frisbee everything else, including the cyclists, doesn't seem to interest him too much.

 

He also did some nice sits at the kerbside on the way home and the cars and cyclists are definately not so interesting anymore. (I feel so proud when he sits by the kerb that I actually keep him in the position for longer than necessary so more people can see him doing this......Me and Percy are just showing off. :D)

 

This is my first dog and, although a bit stressful for the first couple of months, I'm really finding Border collie owning a rewarding experience. Amazing and beautiful dogs.

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Work on a "leave it alone" command. Its been the most helpful command I use. Just start out with a treat. Don't ever let them have it. I would reward them with a completely different treat and eventually move on to other objects that you don't want them to mess with. After a while its even worked with children, small animals, road kill, poop...things that used to drive me crazy when they'd made a bee line to it. My $.02.

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Once he's really focused on the frisbee everything else, including the cyclists, doesn't seem to interest him too much.

 

Great!

I had a foster who had severe car, bicycles, birds and airplane chasing. He was a completely different dog when I had a tennis ball out. He couldn't care about anything else but the ball. We worked on his bad habits using this method. He even completed off-leash hikes with the pack with success very shortly after he arrived. He eventually had a disc dog family with other Borders apply for him (He had the most applications I had ever seen!!). I was really excited about this new family. They met him, it was the perfect match. They kept working on his issues (not so severe now) with a frisbee, which he loved just as much as the ball. Within months they could take his long line off and let him run! He is "cured" as of today and within a year of living with his new family he placed number 1 in the big frisbee tournament here!! :D

 

So moral of the story is hang in there and keep using the methods that work and trying new things. Don't let set backs or failures deter you. There will have to be failures before progress. It will help you learn what works and what doesn't work. Plus your pup is still young, perfect time to get this out of his system.

 

GOOD LUCK! :)

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Keeping him focused on you with the frisbee is good, but doesn't do much for you when there is no frisbee around and a bike goes by. I have a car/bike/jogger/everything chaser. With him, it has just been a matter of teaching him an alternate way to respond to these stimuli and teaching him some impulse control. I have used the "Look at That" game that has been referenced earlier in this thread and had great results with it. We started at a distance he could control himself at and gradually got closer, but once he understood the game things moved very quickly. He is about 95% reliable now when on leash. I still would not trust him off leash, but we have not practiced much in that situation.

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You need to be able to work with him where the cyclist is visible but not too close so you can teach him to behave before he is so overwhelmed by the cyclist he can't focus on you at all. Gradually you can work closer and closer.

 

Also, look into the CU stuff, teaching him a game like Look At That would probably help.

 

Many thanks for all the advice again. Today was another good day and I've managed to persuade Percy to bring the frisbee to within six inches by sitting down on the grass and not accepting it when he puts it down out of reach.... He very soon got the message. Loads of cyclists....no chasing.

 

I realise without the frisbee things would be different so i'm keen to know about the CU stuff and the Look At That game. Where can I find this information please.

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Control Unleashed is a book, and I think there is a DVD as well. Honestly, the book is not very well edited/organized, which is a shame because there is a lot of good stuff in there. But get it (its not really expensive) and read through it and if any part of it is confusing let us know and we will help you.

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Control Unleashed is a book, and I think there is a DVD as well. Honestly, the book is not very well edited/organized, which is a shame because there is a lot of good stuff in there. But get it (its not really expensive) and read through it and if any part of it is confusing let us know and we will help you.

 

One thing that can help immensely with understanding the CU book on your first read is to start with Chapter 3, read the whole book from Chapter 3 on and try as many of the exercises as you can, and then go back and read Chapters 1 and 2. You will understand Chapters 1 and 2 much better if you have actually done some of the CU games and exercises beforehand.

 

The book is Control Unleashed and it is by Leslie McDevitt. You might find it on Amazon, but if not, you can get it through clean run or dogwise. And you can find those through Google.

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Thank you all again for the continued comments, this is a great resource for advice.

 

This evening I took Percy to some nice quiet woodland for an off lead walk with plenty of 'sits' 'waits' and general basic stuff to sharpen him up a bit.

 

After some time a cyclist appeared out of the gloom like Lance Armstrong on speed and Percy took off in hot pursuit as if he had a rocket jammed up his butt.

 

A frantic five second chase ensued with Percy trying to round him up.....of course he ignored my 3 or 4 calls and whistle...way too much fun.

 

My question is, was I right, once he had returned, to just give him a firm 'no', followed by a firm 'wait', 'sit' and back on the lead and a quiet walk back to the car and home.

 

Once he had returned after the chase and I said the firm 'no', he did look down and rather sheepish as though he knew he had done wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that it was too late and he will think he has been punished for coming back to me?

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This situation really needs to be dealt with in the same way as car chasing...there are many threads on this forum discussing the seriousness of these dogs "giving chase" in situations where there can be harm brought to themselves or others....I applaud you for relizing there is a problem and being willing to do whats necessary to fix it..

 

#1) No more off leash until this pup gets through this...I am sure it is scary as hell to people biking to have this pup run at them, not to mention it is giving the public a bad image of the breed and your pup could also get hurt...this guy especially needs to learn at his tender age that this behavior is NOT ok..and every time he gets away with it he is being re-enforced to do it again..

 

You need to start with a CONTROLED environment...teach you pup a "wacth me" cue or some cue meaning to focus on you using extremely high value rewards...rewards he only gets when he pays attention to you(chicken/hotdogs)..you can even do this with his coveted frisbee..you just need to ask him to pay attention to you, get eye contact and whe you get it for a few seconds, reward with a throw......gradually increase duration you are asking him to pay attention to you before he gets a reward, once he is doing this well, add distractions. Start with a friend biking far away from you, once he is successful for awhile at that distance move the biker closer...when training my bc's I also introduce a negative consequence for refusing to do as expected..which gets them learning almost immediately that they need to do as asked...In the instance of teaching a watch me if they look away they got a collar pop, a tap on the shoulder, etc...something to say "HEY!" "I don't think so"..."I need your attention with me when I ask"..

 

Also sharpen up your recall skills...he NEEDS to come to you no matter what %100 before you start taking off the leash...I use a long line at a VERY early age...take him to a bigger area where you can let him drag a long line....practice calling him at first when you know he will come...HUGE high value reward or play...start practicing towards calling him when he is distracted...he still MUST come...if he doesn't..step on the long line and reel him in...reward him when he gets to you...you don't need to be angry or show negative emotion...HUGE party when he gets to you....work towards more distractions

 

I personally cured my 6 month olds desire to chase cars in one session with a prong collar and a long line...he has NEVER looked at another car since...

 

I these things still don't work you're going to need to have a "come to jesus" meeting with him as discussed in other threads....because you are dealing with a huge safety situation..

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Hi, thank you for taking the time to reply. I do realise the seriousness of this and that is why I am working hard to overcome the chasing.

 

I have been taking him to a park where there are lots of cyclists and I work very hard with him focusing on distractions like the frisbee and once he is focused he is brilliant. I am also making sure he is focused on me and I do reward him when he does what is expected of him with high value treats.

 

The cyclist today just came out of the blue in a remote place where I was giving him a bit of a free reign, so it took us both by surprise.

 

Please could you tell me what my response should have been when he returned to me.

 

Also I would really appreciate it if you could expand further on two of your comments: I've never heard of a prong collar or the "come to Jesus" meeting

 

"I personally cured my 6 month olds desire to chase cars in one session with a prong collar and a long line...he has NEVER looked at another car since..."

 

"I these things still don't work you're going to need to have a "come to jesus" meeting with him as discussed in other threads....because you are dealing with a huge safety situation.."

 

Chris

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Oh sure, you are doing the right thing by rewarding him for coming back to you no matter what...you want a negative consequence to happen while he is doing the "offensive behavior" but when he makes the right choice only good things should happen :)

 

What I mean by a "come to jesus metting" is you need to get a little tougher with your young guy..he needs to know you mean business and that what he is doing is not acceptable...teaching young-ungs what you expect can almost always involve positive/motivational techniques but some of the time(especially when you are dealing with a dangerous situraion like this)...the big girl panties need to come on ;)

 

Taking him into the situation and trying to distract him by playing frisbee isn't really solving the problem...it's just covering it up...and like others have suggested, you can't always have a frisbee on you at all times..He needs to learn that chasing bikers is NOT acceptable...so when he sees one, NO MATTER WHAT..he will know not to chase it, even if he reeeaaalllyyy wants to ;)

 

Since you are dealing with the strong insict by him to chase...your consequence AND reward must try and be STRONGER than his desire to chase...

 

 

With my pup, who was about the same age, when he decided he liked the idea of chasing cars I immedietly said "I don't think so bub"....I put a prong collar on him and a long line...took him out to the road..he chased hit the end of the collar one time, yelped like a baby and NEVER tried it again...

 

A prong collar is a training tool, sometimes contriversal because it LOOKS like a midevil torture device, but an extremely effective and safe tool when used properly....used kind of like a slip lead in that if the leash is tightened they get a grab around the neck...prong collars work well for beginners when used properly because un-like a choke chain or slip collar...your dog actually makes the correction to themselves when hitting the end of the leash..Using a choke/slip collar your timing needs to be right in order to make a "correction" at the right time...

 

Anyway, you can try something like this...or just trying a long line without the prong might be effective....let him drag a light rope line around....if he sees a biker..let him chase...then stop him promptly by stepping on the long line...when he is shocked and taken back that his chase was immeditely halted in this way...and he probably didn't like it so much...call him back to you and reward him highly...

 

I would also recommend teaching him to focus on you with something non visual...such as high value treats or a soft frisbee you can tuck in your back pocket...so he doesn't know if you have it or not and can't make the decision to not listen based on his frisbee no being there...

 

And keep working on the recall...

 

Also I urge you to do this training in a controlled environment with a friend biking....you want to set him up to be succesful....

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Some more things to think about, thank you.

 

Today I've been out with Percy a couple of times and I've decided to be firmer with my voice when telling him to 'come' and 'sit' etc. I previously thought that raising my voice was a sign that I was losing control but today I discovered that he sure was more responsive to me being a bit louder, so that's something to work with.

 

He does understand all of my commands and is generally good with them but I know I just need to be more assertive when telling him to do something.

 

On the positive side this is pretty much his/my only problem. He is great with other dogs and people, doesn't bark, is happy and devilishly handsome. (Someone said he looks like a Womble)

 

He'd better just watch his step though, because I'm gonna get a whole heap tougher from now on. :D

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A firmer voice is not going to do anything for you next time a biker "comes out of the blue." You need to take a structured approach to training in this situation or not let the dog off leash. You wouldn't let a car chaser off leash on a road where you didn't think a car was going to come by. If you thought wrong, you end up with a dead dog. In the situation of bikes or joggers, if you guess wrong you could still end up with a dead dog, or an injured dog, or an injured person, or a lawsuit.

 

Definitely look into some of the solutions that have been proposed in this thread, make a training plan, and make sure he is solid before he is allowed off leash in an unfenced area.

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I have been taking him to a park where there are lots of cyclists and I work very hard with him focusing on distractions like the frisbee and once he is focused he is brilliant. I am also making sure he is focused on me and I do reward him when he does what is expected of him with high value treats.

 

The hole in this approach is that it won't change the way your dog actually regards the presence of moving bicycles, etc.

 

So, when things happen like what happened with the surprise cyclist, if you aren't fast enough with the distraction, you are sunk. Distraction can be good management, but it often fails to solve the underlying issue.

 

One thing that the Look at That Game from the Control Unleashed Program can do is to actually change what happens in your dog's brain when he sees a bicyclist, etc.

 

One of my dogs was a car chaser and he doesn't even care about cars anymore, after playing the Look at That Game consistently. I don't have to distract him, I don't have to call him, he just doesn't bother with them. And if something unusual that is moving does catch his attention, I can call him off very easily by calling his name.

 

So, it is something to look into if you have an interest in doing so. It does require some thought and planning on your part, but it certainly can work.

 

Please could you tell me what my response should have been when he returned to me.

 

My response would have been nothing at all immediately afterward. It was over and done with. I would have been grateful that the dog was safe, then I would have made a plan to keep the dog on leash at all times, probably with a front clip harness added to the picture to keep the dog's neck safe if he tried to take off suddenly and ended up hitting the end of the leash with a lot of force. Then I would have started to do training with Look at That and other self control exercises, while keeping the situation safe.

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Fergie had no interest in cyclists - thank goodness, as we used to race and took her to criteriums as often as possible. But she sure wanted to catch the lead car and, especially, the follow motorcycle.

 

She was also willing to catch either of those on any neighborhood walk.

 

We used a shake can. An empty soda or beer can with pennies taped inside. We kept her on leash during a walk. If she even looked as if she were about to chase, we shook the can quite near her and quite sharply and yelled, "NO!" It didn't take long before she ignored cars on any walk.

 

She did eye the motorcycle at a bike race - but didn't consider chasing it.

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