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Should You Chase Your Dog

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How to play catch with your dog:

Playing catch with your dog or puppy can be a lot of fun as long as you remember to initiate the game with some sort of marker. I like to use “Come Get Me” or “I’m going to get you!”. Always stop the game when he gets too wild for your liking, remember you are in control. Stop with a marker, like “All Done” which can indicate to your dog that the chase is over. If he is still being wild, just be boring until he calms down. You can have the dog chase you or you can chase your dog. Never chase your dog if you are not intending it as a game.

Are you allowed to chase your dog:

A lot of people believe that chasing your dog will cause the dog to misbehave and run away from you. They are not wrong. You should never chase a dog if you are not intending it to be a game.

For example, if your dog has a sock and is running around the yard, this is not the time to chase him. If you do, you will teach him that “hey when I steal things from my owners, they run around playing with me!” Same goes for when you are calling your dog. If you keep calling your dog and he is not coming to you, you should never go after them. This can teach them that to have fun, you have to ignore what your owner says and just run around.

So why is this scenario different?

Dogs learn through association. This happens first and then this happens right after. From the examples above your dog is learning:

  • Steal socks and a fun game starts OR Steal socks and no one pays any attention to me OR It is best to give the sock back so then I can get attention
  • Run around so my owner can chase me when I hear “Come” OR When I hear come and I go to my owner, good things happen

You are always in control of what you are teaching your dog.

But dogs love to play chase! Truffle lives for it. So to make sure you differentiate between times when you want to chase your dog and when you do not, is to be consistent with your dog. Make sure that you are only chasing your dog when you initiate it through a game. Using a cue like “I’m coming to get you” can teach your dog that this means I am allowed to run away from my owner.

Stopping the game is also very important. When you are done chasing your dog and you need him to be able to obey your commands, you need to provide a way for the dog to know “We are done now and need to get serious.” To do this, simply say “All Done” and walk away. That’s it. Do not let the dog keep running around and chase him. Become boring until the dog comes to you.