How to Train Your Dog to Stop Chasing Bicycles

How to Train Your Dog to Stop Chasing Bicycles
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-4 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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!

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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.

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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.

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The Alternative Behavior Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The 'Off' Command Method

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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.

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.

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.

4

Reward 'off'

When your dog relaxes and responds, reward. If your dog still pulls, repeat but with the bicycle farther away.

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.

The Run with Bike Method

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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.

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.

3

Introduce special leash

Introduce a specialized bike leash and continue walking with your dog and the bike.

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.

5

Increase difficulty

Work up to longer rides and more difficult situations, with other cyclists, dogs, and traffic.

By Laurie Haggart

Published: 11/02/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Tegan

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Mixed

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2 Years

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My rescue dog looks so much like the dog in this article's photo. What kind of doggie is that? https://images.wagwalkingweb.com/media/training_guides/stop-chasing-bicycles/hero/How-to-Train-Your-Dog-to-Stop-Chasing-Bicycles.jpg

April 9, 2022

Tegan's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stephen, Unfortunately I don't have a thorough history on the dog in that photo. Most of these photos are generic stock photos used in advertising. My personal option would be that that dog is also a mix. The brindle coloring would indicate a breed that comes in that coat color, which could be one of many things but you can somewhat narrow it down by looking up a list of brindle color coated dog breeds. The fur itself would indicate something with a thick double coat with feathering, such as a Golden Retriever, Husky, German Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, or Anatolian Shepherd. This dog might be a combination of a dozen breeds potentially. I would invest in a genetic test like wisdompanel.com to satisfying your curiosity. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 10, 2022

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Queen

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Border Collie

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11 Months

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How to train my dog to Pee on the pad and to don’t chase motorbike

March 14, 2021

Queen's Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

March 16, 2021


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