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Hello :)

I'm looking for a little advice. I've got an almost 5 year old BC male and I'm wondering if any of you have had issues with your BC chasing cars and if so, how you went about fixing this behaviour.

 

Please note, he is ALWAYS on a leash so isn't in any real danger, it just makes walks difficult for the both of us when he pulls and twirls so hard on his leash.

 

Sorry for the rambling that's to come, but I'd like to give as much history as I can lol.

 

He was leash trained as a pup and took to it really well. At about 8 months old, all his leash training just totally went out the window when he started trying to chase cars. For a long time him and I both struggled with walks, he would choke himself on his collar the entire walk, harnesses were no good, once a car went passed us he would get overly excited and continue to stay this way for the rest of the walk.

 

In general, he is well behaved, listens to my commands and is all round a happy and healthy companion dog.

 

We spoke to our vet during a routine check up and they suggested herding training to teach me how to communicate with him when he is focused on a task (that being the cars) so off we went to a professional. He had no interest, other than feasting on the sheep poop, we stuck with this for about 12 months going at least once or twice a month. The sessions were great, the trainer spent an hour with us humans before every session, teaching us about working breeds and temperaments, troubling signs and the history of breeding. I learnt a lot of invaluable information I hadn't found online, Duke however, wasn't getting anything from these sessions.

 

Slowly the walks started dwindling from daily to weekly etc, because he was simply hurting the both of us. He was constantly choking himself and his pulling injured my shoulder and my knee. So instead we opted to spend more time in our yard playing and engaging that way. (Which he already got obviously, but I just ensured that we spent a lot more time doing this.)

 

He didn't seem to miss the walks and he enjoys his time with me outside, he is an indoor and outdoor dog, he spends his nights asleep beside my bed and has free run of the house during the day. We're currently living with 6 other people and he adores being the centre of everyone's attention and prefers to be inside with us, even if it's just to chill out in the corner. We also have two jack Russell's who are outside dogs and Duke spends hours outside with them burning off energy. So he isn't ever bored.

 

12 months ago we moved houses, and it's a very quiet street which leads to a walking track away from the roads. This was great in the beginning, however his pulling behaviour stuck with or without the cars. I also started suffering from chronic joint pain and the walking track is through a very hilly patch and my joints couldn't take it after a month, between the uneven surfaces and his pulling, it was too much and my doctor has advised against it.

 

Now, we have new neighbours (about a month) and they've got a dog who is an outdoor dog who goes crazy at the fence constantly because of our dogs. Duke for the most part ignores the other dog but after about 5 or so minutes of the other dog carrying on, he finally engages. And when he doesn't ignore it, he really doesn't ignore it. He jumps on the fence repetitively and almost hurts himself when landing and constantly lands on our smaller dogs. Not to mention that if he really wanted to, he could go over the fence. Our neighbours aren't willing to compromise with putting their dog away for an hour or so a day, so Duke can spend time outside.

 

So, now we've started going on between 4-6 shorter walks a day over the last month, and he has settled so much. No more pulling. He is more interested in sniffing everything and taking his time walking. It's honestly amazing the change that's happened. The other day, his leash somehow unhooked from his collar mid-walk (still a mystery how, neither the leash or collar are damaged but have both been replaced) and the moment he realised he turned straight around and sat so I could hook him back up. Without even needing prompting. (Proud mama moment.)

BUT we are still having the car issue when a car comes passed, that hasn't dwindled. He wants to catch it.

With all the progress made, I'm not complaining, but the leash coming off spooked me a bit and I need to nip this habit in the butt in case it happens again. I'm sure if there is a car, he won't be stopping.

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Do a search here for car chasing (it's been discussed before) and "desensitization and counter-conditioning". Since he's been ding this for a while, it's going to take some time, but with persistence you should see result. Be sure to determine his threshold at the beginning and don't try to go too fast.

 

As for the neighbors, you might want to check the dog laws in your area and/or speak to the dog control officer for help.

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Thank you gentlelake, I will definitely have a read around. :)

 

As for the neighbour. We won't be here too much longer and the guy who owns the dog definitely isn't worth the trouble I'm sure he will bring. We hear him going off at whoever he pleases on a regular basis and quite frankly, it's not worth making an enemy of him since we've already started looking for another house.

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We live on a quiet dead end road with minimal traffic, but Lucky is also very interested in cars going past. Either past our house or when we are out on walks. We weren't in the habit of walking along the road because he showed so much interest in cars (he lunged at a few when they went past, and once when we were playing fetch in the yard, he decided to chase the snow plow down the road...) and mainly played fetch in the yard or did off-leash walks in the woods. But he hurt his foot about a month ago, so per vet orders, it's only leash walks for at least 3 weeks. We've only just started playing fetch with him again and then only for short periods.

 

I've had really good luck with getting him to sit and look at me (or at least at the delicious treat in my hand) when a car comes by. I'm always looking and listening for cars so I can be prepared to find a good place for him to sit and focus on me (or the treat) not the car as it goes past. So far, it's really been working. He's started sitting for me when he sees a car coming, and won't get up until I release him. Other distractions (the barky neighbor dog or people walking on the road) make it harder, but they are good distractions for training.

 

We've also really worked on structured walking (heeling) which helps too. Lots and lots of treats...at least for now.

 

One trainer we worked with suggested throwing treats on the ground in front of you as you are walking, but that seemed to make Lucky more agitated looking for treats on the ground rather than sitting and focusing on me.

 

That's a real drag about your neighbor. Some people are jerks.

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I recommend the "Look At That" game from a wonderful book called "Control Unleashed", which is available on Amazon. There are a lot of other training games also in that book, designed to teach self-control, which is what your dog needs to learn.

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Duke doesn't care for treats. Never has. Doesn't matter what it is, he just doesn't care. All his training has been rewarded with a good pat and a happy "good boy", the attention interests him far more than food. He isn't interested in toys either, (other than a huge stuffed dog that is the size of him), balls, frisbees, kongs, chew toys, none of them pique his interest.

 

When we're walking, he isn't that interested in other people, dogs or cats. He'll give them a glance and watch them a little but will keep walking and it's more curiosity then anything else. At home, he will watch the cars from the window or through the fence but only when he is already there looking out at the street and they don't excite him all that much. The only things that get him revved up at home are if a Harley or a V8 drive by, the sound drives him crazy.

 

I try distract him before he notices the car, and that works maybe 1 out of 10 tries. When a car comes past, I've been grabbing him by the collar the last 2 days so he doesn't self reward with the pulling and twirling. I'm not sure if it's doing any good at this point, but I hope so. He is trained to look at me when prompted, as a way to distract him and make eye contact with me at the same time, but when a car is coming that doesn't work.

 

He has matured a lot over the last 6 months, and with all the progress he has made on the leash this month, I have faith in him giving up the car chase eventually. It's going to take some work but I really think he'll get there.

 

At the moment, I'm training him on the leash at home, we'll walk around the house and I'll drop the leash, if he runs off the leash comes off but if he comes to me and sits while I pick it back up then we go for a walk. We started this a week ago and the first day he ran off twice but came back 3 times, since then he has come back every time. I spent 3 days using "come" and "sit" each time and then stopped with the commands altogether, apart from day one, he has come back each time. Tonight on our walk, while it was quiet I made him sit and I let go of the leash for a few moments, he didn't move, I also let go of the leash unexpectedly in our front yard as we came home and he stopped and sat within seconds. (Little steps, but I'm proud of him.)

 

Thank you for the recommendation D'Elle, I'm going to have a look at some local booksellers this week and see if I can find it somewhere before ordering it from Amazon, I'm in Australia and it gets quite expensive using Amazon. But I will definitely get my hands on it.

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Hi Riika, I'm hesitant to do this. As a pup he had a couple of digestive issues when we got him, nothing serious or of concern (it turned out that the food the that he was being fed from his previous home didn't agree with him and made him feel quite sick, and they simply had an eat or starve approach to feeding) and it only lasted a few weeks until he starting feeling better, but those few weeks (and his time with the previous owners) was enough to create an unhealthy relationship with food that we had to slowly break him from. He is still a bit funny, like if he sniffs our other dog's food and the other dog growls, he has a day or two where he is cautious about eating. Just little things set him off his food, not often, but it's still there. So I'm not too sure about changing up his meal routine in hopes to get him to work for it. I feel he worked hard enough for it already. (Maybe I'm just a sap lol!)

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Sophie I just looked at Kindle - Control Unleashed isn't on Kindle, but 3 other good general training books are. If you've got such a device, instant gratification and no shipping fee! The books are Fired Up, Frantic and Unleashed, The Other End of the Leash, and Behavior Adjustment Training. Any of the 3 might help you, and I think you can get a 'sample' before you buy.

 

Good luck!

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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Oh, eBooks are more my speed! Thank you for the recommendation. I shall get on to those tonight.

 

We had a really good walk this morning, so instead of a short 20 minute walk we stuck out there wandering around for a good 1.5 hours.

15 cars went passed.

4 he tried to chase.

2 he started to pull and then corrected himself.

3 he watched calm but intently while they passed but didn't go for them.

And 6 he ignored, he gave them a quick glance and looked away.

 

Baby steps but I'm so excited about the progress. This time a month ago, he would have gone ALL the cars.

 

Our second walk was only 20 mins and no cars.

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That sounds terrific! Now, can you figure out the differences in situation between the cars he chose to chase, the ones where he stopped himself, the ones he only observed, and the ones that did not tempt him? If you can, that might give you a clue as to how to fine-tune your approach to training to solve the problem "the rest of the way".

 

Best wishes!

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