Dogs have been domesticated to become our best friends, but they still possess instincts from their time in the wild. One of these instincts is called “prey drive,” which compels them to chase fast-moving animals or objects. For some, this manifests itself when they chase wheels, such as trying to catch bicycles, motorcycles, vehicles, or other objects that possess them. The following tips will help you train your dog to keep his cool and resist this urge to chase people and things he should avoid.
Understand Your Dog’s Threshold
A threshold is the point at which your dog will be unable to respond normally to you or to continue training. Knowing his threshold is important because if he passes it, you will not be able to train him effectively anymore during that session. In order to be able to help your dog become desensitized to wheels, you should begin training him at a distance from the things he wishes to chase and gradually get closer. This will prevent you from breaching the threshold and losing control of your dog.
Set Up the Training Environment
You will want to train your dog in an environment that you can manage completely by yourself. Do not take your dog out into an environment where you are unable to predict what may occur. Ask one or more people to volunteer to help with your training by providing distractions- such as riding a bicycle or using a skateboard within your controlled environment. Begin with these distractions at a distance and gradually train your dog closer to the person who is providing the stimulus.
Choose a Command to Obtain His Attention
When you begin to train your dog to ignore wheels, you want to give him a command that will make him look back at you. This can be any word that you choose, such as “watch,” or “look.” Once you have chosen the command, use it when your dog becomes interested in the distraction. The moment he looks back at you, give him a high-value reward.
High-value rewards can include chicken, cheese, liver treats, tuna, salmon, or any treat that has a strong smell and your dog gets excited about. By rewarding him whenever he looks back at you, he will learn to place his focus on you instead of an object. Repeat this process as you gradually bring the distractions closer to him. Eventually, he will have learned to focus on you even when encountering someone on wheels only mere feet away.
Sign Your Dog Up for Training
Zwinger vom Heidelberger Schloss can help you address problem behaviors with your dog. Located in Northern California, we serve clients throughout San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Reno, and the Bay Area. To learn more about what we can do for your dog, give us a call at 530-749-8861.