I hate when people let their dogs chase squirrels. They usually think it’s harmless, but they are encouraging their dog to participate in an activity that the dog can never succeed at. Would you want to chase something that is always just out of your reach? Occasionally dogs do catch squirrels and will the owners be happy about it? Of course not. They will instead punish their dog by yelling at him to drop it and shouting “No”. But they were the ones that encourage their dog to do so in the first place. If you bike with your dog, do you want him running after a squirrel then? What happens if your dog takes after a squirrel and the leash slips out of your hand and the squirrel runs across the street? Your dog thinks it’s doing what it’s supposed to do: chase the squirrel until it jumps into a tree.

If your dog is consistently chasing squirrels, ┬ámaybe he’d like another job. For instance, fetching the newspaper or a ball, carrying a backpack, running alongside you, etc. Give your dog a job to be proud of. You can un-train your dog to chase squirrels by being the leader and taking charge. Give your dog a firm leash correction and keep walking. Don’t allow your dog to show excitement or stare the squirrel down. If you need to, stop walking and wait until your dog is calmly facing away from the squirrel, then keep walking. In a short time, he will get the message that you no longer want them to exhibit that behavior and they will stop.

Okay. Rant over (there’s a dog in my park that gets run over nearly daily from chasing squirrels–oy). Lead your dog!

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