Many dogs love to run with joggers. On that same note, many dogs love to run after joggers, which is an entirely different ball game.
When a dog chases a jogger, the dog typically means play, but the jogger may interpret it as aggression and may become afraid of the dog. For this reason, it is important that pet parents do everything they can to stop their dogs from chasing joggers.
Why Do Dogs Chase Joggers?
Dogs chase joggers for several reasons, the first of which being that, typically, when a person runs away from a dog, it is in some form of play. Dogs might not understand that a jogger passing by is not trying to play and may mistake the jogger’s running for an invitation for the dog to follow.
The second reason dogs chase joggers is their inborn prey drive. Some dogs are so instinctually programmed to chase things that run that they do it regardless of what, exactly, is running and why. Even dogs that chase joggers due to this prey drive are not necessarily trying to hurt the jogger – they simply feel the need to chase.
Finally, some dogs may be unable to identify a jogger as a person and may become fearful. They may chase the person, barking the whole time, in an effort to find out what the person is and thus understand the perceived threat.
What to do About a Dog That Chases Joggers
The first step in getting your dog not to chase joggers is prevention. If joggers are present, make sure to keep the dog leashed the entire time. If you live on a street where joggers often pass by, keep the dog on a secure tie-out or in a fenced yard in order to prevent the dog from having the ability to chase joggers.
Although prevention is an important tool in breaking this habit, it is obviously impossible to prevent a dog from ever seeing a jogger again and, for this reason, pet parents need to work on reinforcing and practicing call-back commands like “stay,” “no” and “leave it.” Most dogs that chase people, animals or other dogs do so because their call-back commands are lacking. Once these commands are fully mastered and engrained in a dog’s head, most dogs can be called off in the midst of excitement or stimulation.
Devote at least ten minutes each day to practicing your callback command of choice and, as the dog gets better at it, test it in external environments, such as the dog park, a street and a public event. Mastering these commands is the best way to ensure your dog stops chasing joggers.
Safety for Joggers and Your Dog
Although most dogs that chase joggers are harmless, it is still a dangerous and frightening behavior. Dogs that chase joggers run the risk of being marked as aggressive and may even be euthanized in extreme scenarios. For that reason, it is in the best interests of everyone involved to stop this behavior through training and prevention.