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Thread: Trying to Chase Cars While on Leash

  1. #1

    Default Trying to Chase Cars While on Leash

    I have a 5 year old Border Collie. I have had him since January. He walks well on leash, doesn't pull. However if I am walking him on leash in town he is uncontrollable when he sees cars travelling along the street. Any ideas for remedying this problem behaviour?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010


    Is he trying to chase the cars or get away from them?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    You're going to need to work at desensitising your dog to moving cars, which means starting at a distance where he can still pay attention to you then moving closer until he starts to get excited and then moving away and trying to approach again, with loads of treats and games or rewards your dog likes. You need to turn away as the dog starts to get interested - but way before he loses control.

    You may find a head halter or a front attach harness or both will help you.

  4. #4


    Thanks Hyacinth and Lala.

    So maybe I should just stand in the street and when a car comes and he is getting interested move away? I live on a rural property so have to go into the town for his desensitising therapy.

    Hyacinth - Could you explain further about how to use the head halter? Does that keep his head low or high? What sort of head halter could I purchase?

    Lala he is trying to chase cars. He crouches low when he sees one in the distance and then barks and lunges at it as it approaches.


  5. #5


    He is a working dog breed, its in his instincts.
    We have a ACD and he did the exact same thing.
    He is getting over it now. But what we did is whenever a car approached and he would get in the position to jump we would tell him to 'NO' in a very firm voice, and he is starting the get the idea that its naughty to do that.
    You can also try and get him to sit whenever he starts to do it.
    Sit, drop & roll!!! So proud of my little man

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Hi gerrib

    How to use the head halter is best explained in Susan Garrett's book "shaping success" in the back.

    Shaping Success

    Essentially you get your dog comfortable wearing the halter at home, starting by clicking the clip around the dog and giving a high value treat - like roast chicken, and then by encouraging the dog to put his nose through the loop, more treats, and then hooking the whole thing up and feeding him his dinner in it.

    Then you can teach him to be comfortable going for a walk in it, and it gives you complete control over the dog's head, so when he looks towards the car, you can turn his head back to you, until he calms down, then release the pressure to see if he makes "a good choice" ie keeps his attention with you, or a "bad choice" - turning back towards the car - in which case you repeat. It seems tedious but five to ten minutes and a few sessions over a few days - and a smart dog like a BC is quick to understand "what his job is" eg paying attention to you unless given permisson to do something else like "go play" or "go sniff" or "roundemup".

    The halter works the same way as a horse halter - ie the dog can put his head where he likes - not high or low - unless you take control and turn his head back towards you. Like the front attach harness it gives a lot of power back to you, and the correctly fitted head halter with a very tight strap around the neck but well above the adams apple or trachea and right up under the base of the scull - puts less pressure on the sensitive bits of the dog's neck (you can try the feel on yourself by making a V between your thumb and forefinger and first pushing that on your adam's apple, then higher up under your chin. A badly fitted head halter will rub on the nose and twist around the dog's face and make him squint - so you know when you've got it wrong. And if you're constantly pulling on the halter to get the dog to behave - you're using it wrong ie like the choke chain - the reward comes when you let the pressure off. So you MUST let the pressure off when the dog does the right thing, and you must make it easy for the dog to do the right thing - ie sufficient distance ie you might need to go away from the main street - to behind the pub before your dog can pay attention to you in the face of his favourite distraction.

    You can practice at home if you can get someone to drive by you on the farm road or driveway while you're in the adjacent yard or paddock, up and back maybe five to ten times at a time, and vary the speed until you are working on the edge of what excites the dog - ie as little/slow/far as possible until he starts making good choices (staying calm on the lead not lunging).

    I have a head halter called the "gentle leader", it comes with a DVD explaining how to fit it, and use it. It really helps if you follow the instructions, the bit around the dog's neck needs to be really high and tight (one finger fit in), and the nose bit - once you hook a lead on - needs to be so that the dog can't pull or rub it off (best if you gently stop the dog from trying). And I use a super light lead on mine - with an ordinary lead on the harness (I use a "sensible" front attach harness but there are others).

    Gentle Leader Product Description - Premier Pet
    Dog Harness, Dog Training Supplies | Sense-ible and Sense-ation Dog Harness

    I think Susan Garrett uses a "snoot loop".
    Snoot Loop Head Collar Illustrated Instructions

    She puts a bit of soft padding around the nose band to make extra sure it doesn't rub as her puppies or new dogs spend around a month in it when walking so they learn to make good choices (no chasing squirrels, cars, joggers or jumping in the pond without permission) before they're allowed to run free without it.

    For any behaviours the dog might do that are ok sometimes and not other times - you have to give permission before you send the dog to do them. Ie get the dog to do something you want, like sit, then use a word when release the dog to do what he wants.

    Eg when I'm at the off lead beach, I make my dog sit, I might practice a recall on lead and another sit, and then I unclip and say "go play". And the whole time we're at the beach I will practice recalls, remote sits and drops, and all sorts of games to test that she's paying attention when I want like turning and walking the other way so she remembers to pay attention to where I'm going - but she gets upset when she doesn't know where I am - wouldn't work so well with a dog that doesn't care.

    When she was a puppy, I always put her back on lead if I saw any kind of fast thing she might chase (other than dogs) like joggers, bikes, cars and tractor mowers. And I'd put her on lead to meet other dogs on that were on lead (after checking with the owner that it would be ok - some dogs are on lead cos they don't come back, and some are on lead because they aren't friendly).

    My dog only gets to chase me (nobody else) when I'm running, and she's not allowed to trip me up or jump on me (I stop the running fun). And she's allowed to chase other dogs that want to play - but not dogs that are clearly frightened (or their owners are) and not having fun. If she forgets what her job is because the jogger sounds like a rude possum - then she goes back on lead.

  7. #7


    Thanks for your detailed reply Hyacinth.

    I have got the Gentle Leader and am starting to get Bear used to it. He is now fine with it on when it is not attached to the lead. However when I put the lead on I find the metal clip of the lead is always getting in his face or the lead ends up on the wrong side of his face. He is resisting it when walking, lags behind and resists when I give the GL a tug. I think the answer might be a super light lead as you suggest. As you know he is not a lead puller. I intend to use the GL as a device to mange his tendency to want to want to chase cars when on lead. I haven't tried it for that yet. A

    Hyacinth any suggestion re a light lead.

    Thanks very much. I am now going to read the links you posted.


  8. #8


    Today I purchased a Sporn Halter. For Bear it is much better than the Gentle Leader. It's probably like your Sens-ible Harness Hyacinth. I didn't feel comfortable with the control of the GL being under the neck. I feel much more in control when he lunges at moving cars.

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