Q: One of my students recently asked me what to do when their dog chases them when riding a bike. The dog runs in front and around the bicycle. The student would like to stop this behavior, especially when the dog does this with the children. I struck a blank. Do you have a suggestion? This dog is just playing, but it could develop into something else if left alone.
A: This is a class of problem that has many solutions, ranging from training a good recall to proofing against distractions. Being able to call the dog away from the bikes is probably the best step. It will take some work with clicks and treats without the bikes around, though.
Here are resources that have step-by-step instructions for just this kind of task:
Book: Click to Calm, by Emma Parsons
Video: The How of Bow Wow
Your Border Collie is doing her job: trying to control the movement of the "herd" of cars. While not appropriate behavior (and certainly not safe), it's easy to see where this behavior comes from, as she was bred to notice movement and try to contain it.
Have you continually maintained the training you did with her when she was younger, and she's still deteriorating? With a dog bred to herd, you'll never be "done" training. This will most likely be a life-long training assignment.
What are you asking her to do when the car approaches?Can you work her farther away from the road, so the distraction of the oncoming car can be lowered enough so she can successfully respond to your cue? What are you asking her to do when the car approaches? Have you tried any of the work in the book "Control Unleashed," by Leslie McDevitt? There are several exercises in that book that you might find helpful.
Let me know if I've answered your questions, I'm happy to help!
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
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My Six month old border collie has a bad habit of chasing cars, she started at an early age and I did some training with her, clicking when she was calm and not rewarding when not, she improved dramatically but recently has detiorated to a worse extent, I have tried refreshing my original training and she has shown a little improvement (only minor) but I wondered if there is anything else I can practice. Her recall is good, and I can get her to work very effectively for a tennis ball but this is a little difficult to give on the side of a road, she will work for treats but the approaching car is far more superior. I would like to do some intensive training with her have you any suggestions?
Does your pup have good focus? Can you ask her to perform a behavior that is inconsistent with chasing a car? ie: sitting and watching you when a car approaches & treat once the car is past?
This is something I have continuously had to work on with my 3 year old BC, he has gotten to the point that he will look to me for a command anytime he knows a car is coming, but we still work on it regularly! Best of luck!
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