Chasing cars

Dear Pawfessor:

I have a nine-month-old female Yorkshire terrier with several issues, most importantly one that may get her killed. She is only five pounds and wants to chase cars. A very dangerous combination. Correcting her, having her sit and look at me, walking in the opposite direction and even distracting her with toys is not working. What should I do? I try to walk her for an hour every day and play games with her and other dogs in my apartment complex.

What is the next step? Please help!!!

There are other issues I am working on, but this issue is a matter of life or death.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Lynn Fiore
Long Island, New York.

Pawfessor Dion’s answer:

Dear Jennifer,

Your issue is indeed one of life or death, but I am at a disadvantage not being able to see your dog or work with her directly. My instinct, however, is that the correction that you describe may not be strong enough to redirect your dog, because it doesn’t match the level of intensity of her instinct and desire to chase the cars. Whenever you want to correct a dog’s unwanted behavior, you have to match the intensity of that behavior.

While positive reinforcement like food and toys are excellent ways to redirect many behavior issues, if a dog is fixated on something, those tools often won’t match the intensity of the fixation. Sometimes it takes a more physical-psychological approach. That’s why I suggest you hire a professional trained in blocking or redirecting serious behavior issues, who won’t use force or hurt your dog, just block and redirect. Right now, the important thing is to condition your dog to stop her dangerous behavior before she seriously injures herself.

Stay calm and committed,

Pawfessor Dion

Does your dog have an obsession? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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