My Pet World: Training and Desensitization Can Help Dogs Who Chase Bikes | Pets
reCathy ear, I have an 8 year old pit that despises motorcycles. When he was younger he was afraid of them, but now he will rush and try to chase them away. He’s pretty strong, especially when he’s on alert and could easily pull me to the ground. I got to the point where I’m afraid to walk it in broad daylight for fear of meeting one. I know my anxiety plays a role in his behavior, but honestly I don’t know what to do. What can I do?
– Paula, Levittown, New York
Dear Paule, First of all, let’s make sure your dog doesn’t pull you to the ground. Walk your dog on a halter, not a harness. It attaches to your leash and gives you more control over your dog.
Second, some dogs need what is called proximity and desensitization training to things with wheels, like motorcycles, cars, bikes, strollers, and even inline skates. To begin with, expose it to a motorcycle that is turned off. Stand at a distance where you know he won’t bark and walk him towards the motorcycle giving him treats all the time. If he is rushing, back up enough to where he stops. If you know the biker, you can ask him to go around his bike, always staying away where your dog isn’t reacting, and always giving him lots of praise and treats.
The next, more difficult task is to expose it to motorcycles on the pavement. This can be tricky, and it’s always easier to do if you have a friend with a motorcycle, but the same approach applies. Parking lots are also good places to encounter vehicles moving at a slower pace, which might not keep your dog spinning as much.