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One issue you might be facing is if this has become an ingrained habit. If so, it will take a lot more effort than if it is a very new or occasional occurrence. And *do not let it happen* for the safety of the cyclist and your dog, so make sure your dog is confined or securely on leash any time he may be exposed to a cyclist coming by.

 

First, you might want to use the "search" function to check on prior topics that deal with car-chasing or other similar behavior since the methods of dealing with this will be similar, too.

 

Essentially, what you want to do is have your dog under control - on a reasonable leash, 4-6' long, not a long line or Flexi-style leash. Also have some really good "attention-getters" (favorite tasty treats or a favorite interactive toy like a squeaky or tug toy) with you and easily accessed.

 

*Before* your dog gets aroused (while the cyclist is far enough away that the dog is not already reacting - and really best if it is far enough away that your dog is not yet even *noticing* it), get your dog's attention and get your dog's mind engaged by using commands and practicing (with rewards) manners like sitting, lying down, touching your hand. If you can engage your dog's attention so that he is not even noticing or reacting to the bicycles, great!

 

There are books and videos to teach this (I think called "Look at That!" from Leslie McDermott's Control Unleashed - I've heard the puppy version is the better book). Control Unleashed (in the puppy version) seems to be highly recommended by many people here.

 

Another part of a sensible approach is to familiarize your dog with people he knows while they are near a bicycle, sitting on a bike, walking with a bike, riding a bike, etc., so that he becomes comfortable and relaxed around bikes. I have two dogs that are very mellow around me when I bike and one who gets crazily excited about the "action". Some dogs react to cyclists because of the movement and some because of fear, and some maybe a combination of both. A cyclist is not a "person" to many dogs that have not learned that it is just a person on top of a bike.

 

There are others who will chime in with better and more complete approaches and explanations. Best wishes!

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Sue has given excellent advice. His off-leash time should be strictly limited to places and times when you know he's safe and controllable.

Keep him on leash when in places like the park that have bicycles, since he's already pattered to chasing them. I'll second the warning, DO NOT use a flex-lead. There is no way to get a dog back once they hit the end of it, and there is great danger of harm to yourself or the pup, if either of you get caught in the cord. Those things can literally cut to the bone.

If there are lots of bikes at the park, I'd say walk him in places where bikes don't go, or keep him far enough away from them to not react. Remember - once he's already in chase mode, you are already too late. You want stop the chasing behavior before it starts, not correct it after it happens. To a young dog, the reward of the chase (FUN!!!) may be worth more than the risk of getting in trouble after he's already done it.

If there are people riding bikes at home and he's chasing them, to, again, you need to limit his exposure and control his interaction with them. He won't learn if he's chasing and you're hollering for him to quit. B)

You need to set it up so that he's under threshold, meaning far enough from the bike to be short of chase mode, and there start work on your obedience with him. Others can give you resources for information, as Sue has done, but the "cure" is to get him more focused on you than on the bikes. And you can only do that if you keep him far enough from the bikes to not leap into chase mode.

Remember, chasing is a self-rewarding behavior.

Others should chime in with more advice, so I'll just wish you luck. :)

~ Gloria

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Thanks for all the feedback. I understand the threshold and will work on moving away at home first with one bike and then go to a park and stay my distance and slowly work our way in.

 

He just turned 7 months this week and he really seems like he is wanting to herd more objects. I do want him to herd but only the objects I ask him to.

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Thanks for all the feedback. I understand the threshold and will work on moving away at home first with one bike and then go to a park and stay my distance and slowly work our way in.

 

He just turned 7 months this week and he really seems like he is wanting to herd more objects. I do want him to herd but only the objects I ask him to.

 

 

Very good! :)

 

The thing to remember is that reacting to bicycles or cars or whatever is not exactly the same as herding. Both are reactions to movement and a dog's desire to control movement, but bicycles are chase/fun/play, while herding is genuine instinct and thought. That's why it's so careful to manage those impulses, so he learns what is play and what is not.

 

~ Gloria

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Yes!

 

Oftentimes, people label the dog's desire to control movement as "herding". Of course, part of stock work is controlling movement - what a dog does in stock work is modified predatory behavior but it useful when channeled by a handler to accomplish something. When the desire to control movement is directed towards children, other household animals, and other movement (like walkers or cyclists or vehicles) it is at best a rude and misdirected behavior, and at worst a dangerous behavior.

 

It can result in nipped/bitten children; harassed or stressed pets, or even pets that are hurt; hurt to walkers or cyclists; injury or death to the dog. For that reason, it should *not* be allowed.

 

I wish I understood that when I got my first two pups - one is deceased but the other "works" the cats. Fortunately, he is not harmful to them and they just ignore him (he mainly stares and follows them around) but it is a behavior that I wished I'd realized that I should not have ever allowed it in the first place and had the information and skills to prevent. Also fortunately, I knew enough when the time came to notice a bit of unwanted behaviors to children and prevented that from going anywhere by being knowledgeable and proactive.

 

Once a habit has occurred enough to be ingrained (and it doesn't take many repetitions, for some dogs, just once or twice or a few times), it can be very hard to eliminate or redirect - it takes consistent, sensible training to help the dog respond to a stimulus with a desired behavior - ignoring it or focusing in another direction (preferably, you).



Very good! :)

The thing to remember is that reacting to bicycles or cars or whatever is not exactly the same as herding. Both are reactions to movement and a dog's desire to control movement, but bicycles are chase/fun/play, while herding is genuine instinct and thought. That's why it's so careful to manage those impulses, so he learns what is play and what is not.

~ Gloria

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