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What to do if a dog chases you?

How to manage your dog’s chase behaviours

Chasing is a natural behaviour for your dog. Hunting and herding breeds in particular have been bred over centuries to have a strong chase instinct.

However almost every dog has a natural tendency toward some chase, or predatory behaviour, and this can be triggered by something they see, smell or hear.

Quite often chase behaviours are directed towards “prey” such as other animals, but they can also be directed towards moving objects such as cars, bikes, people running, and other dogs.

In the wrong situation, chasing or predatory behaviour can be dangerous. However, dogs that do not have an outlet for this behaviour can become frustrated, and often find other potentially harmful ways of expressing it, so the key is to try and provide your dog with alternative ways to chase, but in an appropriate and safe way. We also want to make sure we manage situations where your dog’s chase behaviours might kick in, such as keeping them on a lead around wildlife. Remember, it is our responsibility as dog owners to make sure that our dog does not cause a threat to wildlife or chase other people or dogs too.

Take a look at our video on managing chase behaviours in your dog, or follow along with the steps below:

View the audio transcript for this video


For dogs who already have a high prey drive, there are a number of toys and activities which can help redirect this behaviour in a safe and fun way. For example, you could use a flirt pole which mimics the movement of a prey animal.

Flirt Poles

A flirt pole usually consists of a rod and a long cord with a toy attached to the end. You can whip it around on the floor and encourage your dog to run, chase and catch the toy. You ideally need an open space on soft grass where the dog can be off lead or on a short long-line lead.

Show the dog the toy and then drop it to the floor and start to move it around. You want to imitate the movement of “prey” so darting movements along the floor will encourage the most interest. Don’t worry if your dog is not showing interest to begin with, but make sure to give lots of praise for any signs they might want to engage.

Try to keep the flirt pole low to the ground so you don’t encourage too much jumping and make sure to allow the dog to catch the toy on the end too. ‘Misses’ or not catching the toy can build motivation for the game but you do not want your dog to lose interest completely.

It can be helpful if your dog knows a drop command so you can ask them to drop the toy before playing again, but if not, wait and see if they will drop it on their own, or exchange it for another toy or some high value treats.

Flirt poles shouldn’t be used with puppies as their bones are still developing and the high impact running and twisting could cause injury.

Tug toys

Long chaser-type tug toys can come on a bungee cord or a material line with a fluffy toy on the end. Similar to the flirt pole this allows you to drag the toy across the floor and then also play tug too. These toys are easier to carry out on walks with you and furry material toys are often more likely to grab your dog’s attention.

Fetch and Retrieves

Teaching your dog to fetch a toy can be a good way to encourage running after the toy, grabbing a moving item and then crucially, coming back to you. You can use a variety of toys that your dog is motivated by. Each toy will move in a different way when thrown, which will keep them interested in the chase.

Introduce your dog to a dog sport

Although dog sports may not include a ‘chase’ element they involve channelling your dog’s motivation and excitement for the activity in question which can be beneficial when teaching your dog to ignore things in an environment. Many sports such as agility, flyball, canicross and lure coursing are active and engaging for dogs who love to run and have lots of energy.


As well as letting our dogs get their desire to chase out of their system in a safe way, we can also manage situations where they might come across sights, sounds and smells that could trigger the behaviour.

  1. Start working on building up your dog’s focus and recall, but in less distracting environments first. If your dog won’t come away from another dog or will go after someone throwing a tennis ball instead of coming back to you for example you know there is going to need to be a lot more practise before you will be able to reliably recall them away from something like a squirrel.
  2. Keep your dog on a harness and long-line lead while working on their recall and teaching them to focus on you around possible chase distractions. This will stop them running off but allows for some freedom too. Find out more about these in our long-line video.
  3. Make food rewards an active part of training by using big treats that you can roll and throw along the ground to be chased as a distraction. This also makes the reward much more interesting for and can be used alongside toy play to keep things fresh.
  4. We can also use the appropriate toy outlets as a reward. For example, you could reward your dog with some play-time with a flirt pole whilst out walking when they successfully come back to you when called.

Download this guidance as a handy advice sheet and use it to train regularly:

Teaching your dog a strong recall is essential before letting them off the lead in a public space.

Get advice on how to help your dog get used to wearing a muzzle


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Here’s What To Do When A Dog Chases You On A Motorcycle

There’s nothing quite like a leisurely stroll on your motorcycle through your local neighborhood. It feels nice being able to take a break from life and just enjoy time with your bike. But sometimes unexpected encounters can happen on strolls like this. It’s not uncommon for a motorcyclist to get chased by a dog, especially in residential areas. If you’re a seasoned rider, you’ve probably already experienced this yourself. It can be scary and also difficult to know what course of action to take in a situation like this. So, what do you do when a dog chases you on a motorcycle? If you are getting chased by a dog while riding a motorcycle, slow down before you reach the animal to avoid collision. If it looks like the dog is going to intercept with you, speed up just before interception to throw off the dog’s timing. Do not kick the animal as that can throw off your balance on your motorcycle. It can be stressful knowing this is a possibility while riding. You probably don’t necessarily want to have a lot of practice with this, but knowing what to do beforehand can save you and your motorcycle from injury.

How To Avoid Contact With Dogs On Your Motorcycle

Having a pet is meant to be something that’s enjoyed. Unfortunately, not everyone trains their pets properly, even their dogs, which can result in a catastrophic situation for strangers and the dog itself. Dogs chasing motorcycles is nothing new and unfortunately some owners don’t do anything about it. It can be a very scary situation if you’re the one being chased. It can lead to unpleasant confrontation with the owner. Getting chased by a dog while riding is most common in residential neighborhoods, though it’s not unheard of to be chased on busier street. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, if a dog is chasing you from behind or you notice you will soon be encountering an aggressive dog that will attack, slow down your motorcycle. Some dogs still don’t get the concept of what motorcycles are and will run right in front of the motorcycle tires. Slowing down can help you control such a situation. If it looks like the dog is going to intercept with you, meaning you feel like the dog is going to bite either you or the motorcycle, speed up right before you feel interception will happen. This will throw off the dog’s timing and give you a head start if the dog decides to continue to pursue you. If the dog seems aggressive, it may help if you’re far enough away to put your motorcycle in neutral and do a high rev. The loud sound has a good chance of scaring the dog away. Avoid using that street again on future motorcycle rides. If it a road that you have to use frequently and you notice the dog(s) keep chasing you, you’ll need to have a discussion with the owner and request they keep their dogs locked up. If the owners still have done nothing to help with your situation, you have an obligation to call animal control. While you are talking with the dog owner, make sure you are cordial but firm about your request. Report that if it is not resolved, that you will call animal control. Talking with aggressive dog owners can be tricky. Some may take offense to what you are saying or may even find you threatening. If you have another encounter with their dog and their dog gets hurt, they may claim you threatened to hurt their dog when you came to talk with them. If you are planning on talking to the owner, take a witness with you. Also have some sort of recording device with you in your pocket that records the conversation between you and the dog owner. If the dog gets hurt and the owner tries to come after you, you have a witness as well as a recording that will back you up.

What To Do If You Get Bit

When you’re riding a motorcycle, there is no guarantee of safety. This also means that even if you follow every step of safety while getting chased by a dog on your motorcycle, you may still end up getting attacked or bit. There’s not way to completely prevent this, even if you are the safest rider out there. If you get bit or attacked by a dog while riding, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure your safety as well as the safety of the public. If you get attacked or bit and it breaks skin, immediately get medical attention. Not every dog owner gives their dog a rabies shots. So not only will you need to get your wounds professionally dressed, you’ll also need to get checked for rabies. Once you get the right medical attention, you can call the police since this is now a serious enough issue for authorities. You’ll give a description of what happened to the police and the police will directly contact the owner. You also have the option to press charges if needed and get the damages covered by the dog owner. If there have been several similar complaints about the same dog, the police have a right to take the dog from the owner. It may sound inhumane, but you have to remember this is now a public safety issue. If their dog attacks you, they’re likely to attack other people riding or walking by such as children or the elderly. Contacting authorities is not something that you have to do. If you prefer, get the medical attention you need then contact the dog owner yourself and let them know of the incident. Warn them that if it happens again, you will contact the police. If you decide to go this route, you will be paying for your own medical expenses.

What To Do If The Dog Gets Hurt

If you’re caught in a situation where a dog is chasing you, it may result in the dog getting hurt. As a disclaimer, you should never actually try to run the dog over if you’re getting chased. That can end up in a messy lawsuit. But there are some situations where there is nothing you could have done and the dog ran in front of either of the tires. If the dog is noticeably hurt, you should notify the owner. Again, be cordial but firm with your confrontation and let them know the dog ran in front of you. If there was a neighbor outside or if you have a fellow rider, have them talk to the owner with you as a witness. You will need to take the same steps in the dog is injured to the point where they can’t move or if the dog seems unconscious. Doing a hit and run with a dog, even if it wasn’t your fault, can result is police charges as well as a lawsuit from the owner. If you’re unsure of who the owner is, ask around to some of the homeowners close by. If they’re not sure who the dog belongs to, contact the police and let them know what happened. They should be able to help you locate the owner.

Why Dogs Chase Motorcycles

The biggest reason a dog chases a motorcycle is because of poor training and care from the owner. When a dog is well trained, they should not be chasing any vehicles; if they’re chasing vehicles, they’re probably chasing people, too. Most neighborhoods and cities don’t allow dog owners to let their dogs walk around freely. Dogs should be either leashed or fenced in the owner’s yard. If a dog chases you on a motorcycle, that is poor care on the owner’s part. Most dogs are people pleasers and love the company of humans. But there are a few breeds that do have a higher innate territorial characteristic. When a motorcycle drives by, an untrained dog may see your motorcycle as threat and go after you to defend it’s territory. Other dogs may simply chase out of playfulness and don’t have any intention of attacking; they simply like the reason to run a long distance. But it’s hard to know exactly what a dog’s intentions are while it’s chasing you on a motorcycle, so always take the right steps to avoid any type of injury to make sure you get out of the situation safely.

Related Questions

How do I avoid hitting a deer on a motorcycle? If you are inevitably going to hit a deer while riding your motorcycle, do not swerve, rather slow down as quickly and safely as you can. Hitting straight in to the deer at a slower and upright position with decrease chances of injury. How can you tell if a motorcycle has been in an accident? Some motorcycle accident signs you can look for are wobbly wheels, bent or gouged front forks, bent or crooked handlebars, dented or scratched gas tank, or a bent frame. For more information, see our other article here.

Kyle Cannon Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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