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Brodie's new and unacceptable behaviour 

My dog Brodie is an eight year old Maltese/Shitzu Cross.
Brodie has always chased skateboards in the park, but over the last month he has began to chase runners, then jumping up beside them and barking. He has also began doing this to people just walking through the park. I don't know why he has started this unacceptable behaviour. He is usually in a relaxed state and without warning he charges off. A lot of people are quite understanding, but I'm terrified that he will be kicked or injured - how can I stop him from doing this? Help. Many thanks, Lee

Answered Monday 9 February 2015

Hi Lee, thanks for your question. This is not an uncommon problem with dogs, however it is difficult for us to determine if Brodie is being playful or aggressive when demonstrating this chasing behaviour. 

Regardless of his motivation, you’re right in being concerned, as Brodie’s chasing people could definitely result in him being kicked or injured. In order to get Brodie to stop chasing people in the park, you need to redirect his behaviour. What we mean by that is you need to change Brodie’s reaction from “chase” to another behaviour, for example “sit”, whenever he sees a runner or skateboarder. Initially we would recommend that you keep Brodie on a lead at the park. When he sees a runner and goes to chase him or her, get Brodie’s attention with a treat. If he’s not paying attention to you, wiggle it right in front of his nose. Get him to “sit” with the treat ad this is a mutually exclusive behaviour . The “sit” behaviour needs to completely replace the running and barking; he can’t “sit” once for a treat and then get up and pull at the leash and bark. The first few times you may have to feed him multiple treats in order to have him sit down next to you the whole time. Unfortunately this kind of training takes a long time (sometimes months) and once you try it with him off-leash he might start chasing again, which means you have to start him all over again on-leash. Patience is key! If you are really struggling, ask your veterinarian to recommend a local dog trainer. Good luck and hope this advice helps!

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