How to Train Your Dog to Stop Chasing Bicycles

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Sparky is a sighthound. For generations, dogs like Sparky were carefully chosen and bred for their ability to respond to prey that crosses their field of vision and chase the prey down for their masters. Today, however, Sparky lives in a quiet suburban neighborhood. No prey here to chase, just lots of kids and adults on bikes!  What do you think Sparky is inclined to do?  His predatory instinct and generations of ancestors chosen for their ability to aid their human handlers running after anything that moves across their field of vision are now a setup for disaster. 

If Sparky is allowed to chase bikes, the person on the bike could become startled, or knocked over and hurt, Sparky could run out into traffic and be struck by a car or could get tangled up in the pedals or spokes of the bike and be injured. Nothing good is going to come of this unless Sparky's owner teaches him to stop chasing bikes!

Defining Tasks

While it may be natural for your dog to respond to a fast moving object, like a bike, by chasing,  this behavior can be extremely dangerous for the people riding the bike, and for your dog. It is important to teach dogs from as young an age as possible not to chase cyclists, for their safety and the cyclists'. You will want your dog to ignore a cyclist when they pass by, behaving in a calm, quiet, manner and resisting the urge to chase after the bike. Introducing a command to 'leave' the bike or an alternative behavior to perform when a cyclist goes by are both effective ways of changing your dog's chasing behavior when presented with a moving bicycle. You can even teach your dog to run next to a bike on a leash to introduce a different way of viewing a bike, as a pack member instead of prey. This will help change how your dog views and responds to a bicycle.

Getting Started

While training your dog to stop chasing bicycles, it will be useful to have an assistant on a bicycle that understands what you are working at accomplishing, and who is not afraid of your dog. You do not want to frighten or startle an unknown cyclist while training your dog and have someone get hurt. You will need a sturdy leash and halter so that your dog does not get injured if they lunge at the bike and need to be restrained. Treats to redirect behavior may also be appropriate. You can even use commercially available leashes, appropriate for training your dog to run alongside a bicycle, to teach your dog to run alongside a bicycle for exercise and change your dog's view of the bike.

The Alternative Behavior Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Teach 'turn and sit' command
Teach your dog to turn, sit and look at you. Provide treats, and use a clicker if appropriate to establish the behavior in a quiet environment. Take your dog out into your yard where other distractions are present and practice the 'turn and sit' behavior. Continue to reinforce and reward.
Step
2
Practice outside
Take your dog about the neighborhood on a leash. Periodically provide the 'turn and sit' command when distractions like kids, dogs, and squirrels appear, to ensure that your dog performs even when motivated to attend to something else.
Step
3
Introduce bike
Have an assistant ride a bicycle several feet away from you and your dog while your dog is leashed. When your dog sees the bicycle approaching and gets excited, give the 'turn and sit' command.
Step
4
Reward 'turn and sit'
Reward when your dog complies. If your dog tries to chase, correct, and repeat, have your assistant increase their distance away until your dog responds to your command appropriately. Have your assistant bring the bicycle closer, as long as your dog responds to the turn and sit command.
Step
5
Practice off leash
When your dog is consistently turning and sitting when the bike is ridden closely by, remove the leash and practice 'turn and sit' off-leash and with the bicycle at a distance. When successful, gradually move the bicycle closer. Continue commanding alternate behavior. Move back to a previous step if necessary and repeat.
Recommend training method?

The 'Off' Command Method

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Step
1
Teach 'off'
Put your dog on a leash in your home. Roll a tennis ball from one end of a room to the other or down a hallway. When your dog proceeds after the ball, say “off” and tug the leash. Do not let the dog touch the ball.
Step
2
Practice outside
Practice until your dog learns to leave the ball when you say “off”. Practice off leash, reward your dog for complying. Use a larger ball and move outside to the yard where there are more distractions. Repeat, reinforce your dog for responding appropriately.
Step
3
Introduce bike
Have an assistant ride a bicycle by, keep your dog on a leash. When your dog gets excited or pulls toward the bicycle, say “off” and pull back if necessary.
Step
4
Reward 'off'
When your dog relaxes and responds, reward. If your dog still pulls, repeat but with the bicycle farther away.
Step
5
Repeat and move bike closer
Gradually move the bicycle closer as your dog responds obediently to the “off” command. Practice off-leash when behavior is established.
Recommend training method?

The Run with Bike Method

Effective
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Step
1
Walk next to bike
Walk your dog on a regular leash alongside your bike so your dog gets used to walking with the bike, and learns not to become entangled with it. Give him a treat for walking in a controlled method beside your bike. Ensure you go over different terrain and obstacles such as curbs and through puddles, just like you will when you are riding.
Step
2
Introduce verbal cues
While walking with your bike and dog, teach your dog some verbal cues such as 'slow', 'fast', 'stop', 'away', and 'close' to control how fast they are going and where they are in relation to the bike. Turn your bike, do u-turns, and start and stop abruptly. Reward your dog's good responses.
Step
3
Introduce special leash
Introduce a specialized bike leash and continue walking with your dog and the bike.
Step
4
Start riding
Get on your bike and start riding slowly as your dog jogs alongside your bike. Make short trips, stop often, and praise and reward your dog for appropriate behavior, like not pulling and responding to verbal commands.
Step
5
Increase difficulty
Work up to longer rides and more difficult situations, with other cyclists, dogs, and traffic.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
John Harrison
German Shepherd
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
John Harrison
German Shepherd
3 Years

My dog Saber is scared of bikes. I have purchased a cheap bike and keep it outside. I have managed to aleviate his fear of the stationary bike.

Though he is still scared to death of a moving bike. He will cower and physically shake if he has no room to escape. How can I change this behaviour.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
422 Dog owners recommended

Hello John, You will have to do this very gradually. Think of his favorite things in life - a ball, chicken, a dog friend, a favorite person, ect...Make a list of his favorite things. In a safely fenced in area, do something with him that involves that wonderful thing. Once he is engaged in something fun and focused on that, have a well-known friend he trusts calmly walk the bike around the yard pretty far away from him at a slow pace. Keep the bike far enough away that he can stay relaxed and having fun with your fun activity but close enough that he can see that it's there. Practice this a lot. When he is completely comfortable around the bike from that distance and that pace and will just ignore it, then gradually make it slightly harder by getting the bike a few feet closer or making the bike go a little faster...Only make it harder in one way at a time - either faster or close but not both. Practice each new difficultly until he is completely comfortable with that, then make it a little harder again. Overtime the bike should slowly start to get closer to him and faster. Whenever he looks over at the bike and hasn't reacted badly yet, make it a party. Praise him and get him excited - act happy and confident and not worried or sorry for him. He is watching your emotions to see how he should feel, so you need to convey confidence and upbeat happy or at least calm and relaxed. If all you want is for him to overcome his fear of bikes, then he should be over his fear of them by this point in the training. Refresh the training every once in a while to keep bikes fun and to off set any less pleasant encounters with strangers on bikes. When he can handle the bike riding past him, if you are wanting to train him to run next to you while you ride a bike, then encourage him to run next to you while you run by a bike someone else is on while in a fenced in area. You can use a favorite toy to encourage him to follow you. Only do this when he has already worked up to the bike going past him at a normal biking pace. Practice running alongside the bike until he learns to enjoy that activity and is completely relaxed and happy while doing it. At this point you can transition to normal bike jogging training for dogs. If you are not needing him to run next to you while you ride, then I don't suggest working on this last part because it is safer if he just learns to ignore bikes and not expect to run next to them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Crimson
Goldendoodle
2 Years
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Question
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Crimson
Goldendoodle
2 Years

My Dog Crimson will go after anybody who is on a bike or scooter and we can’t get him to stop what should we do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
422 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dorian, First, I suggest teaching a solid Leave It command to pup. Follow the Leave It command using the Leave It method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Second, teach pup a structured heel - practice away from moving things like bikes and scooters at first. Check out the article and video linked below Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Third, purchase a high quality remote training collar with stimulation, lean how to fit it properly and find your dog's "Working level" - which is the lowest level that your dog feels and responds to. Only use a high quality collar such as E-collar Technologies, Dogtra, Sportdog, or Garmin. Check out the videos below: Fitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Finding pup's Working Level on e-collar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Fourth, teach an e-collar heel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJaZsZdcjwU Fifth, put it all together. Walk pup on a collar or harness that's secure. Practice your e-collar heeling with bikes and/or scooters in sight. Whenever pup starts to fixate on the bikes or scooters or break the heel position, tell pup "Ah Ah Heel" - If breaking heel, or "Ah Ah, Leave It" - for fixating on bikers or scooters and correct on pup's working level on the e-collar. Practice around bikes and scooters a lot until pup will ignore them and focus on you around them. Any other training you can do to help with impulse control is also great, such as a long Place, Down-Stay, waiting at doors, not exiting a crate until told Okay, ect... Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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