Can We Stop Our Dog From Chasing Squirrels?

Help Keep Chase Safe and Fun

If your dog’s favorite part of chasing the squirrels is the actual chase, redirect him to an appropriate toy. A flirt pole or a stuffed toy tied to the end of a rope is a good alternative to chasing a real squirrel. Encouraging your dog to chase after designated toys can help release pent-up energy, which can lead to better behavior in other situations.

Turn the sight of a squirrel into an opportunity to engage with you in an acceptable chase by immediately getting out the flirt pole toy. You can also use "come when called" to turn a squirrel sighting into a fun game of doggy tag — followed by a treat party to reinforce the behavior.

Take Up a Sport

You might also want to consider channeling your dog’s natural talents into a dog sport (that is, once your veterinarian examines your dog and feels he's physically capable of this kind of exercise). Canines who are driven to sniff out interesting trails are likely to excel in dog sports like Earthdog and nose work, while dogs who love to chase and move may enjoy flyball and lure coursing.

If your dog’s chase behavior is becoming a concern, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for her guidance and potential partnership with a reward-based trainer or referral to a veterinary behaviorist to give you the full help you need. Best wishes and happy training!

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