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Why Do Dogs REALLY Chase Cars?

| Published on June 8, 2023

Some dogs chase cars. We all know it is a dangerous habit, and we probably all have our theories as to why they do it. Have you noticed that it seems to be even worse for dogs that are tied or in a fence?

Some dogs are selected by generations of breeding to be herding dogs. It is in their DNA to try to guide their targets in a desired direction. People have chosen to breed dogs that are strong in this trait. Certain breeds are herders by nature, like border collies and Australian Shepherds. These dogs may chase cars merely because they are trying to herd them.


Other dogs may be a little fearful of cars and react to them in a defensive way so that their lunging toward the car is more a fear response than a herding one. If you watch a fearful dog closely as a car approaches, you might see some of the body language of fear. It may seem odd to a human that a fearful dog appears to act aggressively, but fear may play a role in this behavior.

But what if some dogs actually chase cars because the cars always run away, and the dog feels like a victor? Dogs may experience some life frustration, whether it is because they are fenced in an enclosure or tied outside or on a leash. We all love small victories in a life full of challenges. Maybe dogs are the same way. The car is much larger than the dog, yet he feels so intimidating that when he rushes at the car to drive it away, it runs in fear. Maybe chasing cars is an ego boost for a dog. He can defend his territory like a boss!

Trust me, if I could find an endeavor that offered a 100% success rate, it would make me feel terrific. So now I am left wondering if I should start chasing cars or if I need to stop my car whenever my neighbor’s dog lunges at it, just to shake things up!

Does your dog do something that makes you go “hmmm”? Follow me on Facebook to find out if anyone else wonders the same thing! Click here.

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