How do I train my dog to fear respect avoid cars? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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How do I train my dog to fear respect avoid cars?

Sorry for the cumbersome title but I wanted to make this thread searchable.

I want to train Liesl to avoid cars. We walk in a quiet neighborhood, with occasional 20 mph traffic, so it is not that I am trying to teach her to navigate a 4 lane highway. However, she has no understanding or fear of even a slow-moving car. It is as if she assumes it will stop or avoid her. I understand that she of course has no concept of what a car is or what damage it can do to her, so I must train her that she should turn and leave when one is approaching her. It seems that the training process would be similar to teaching a dog to respect cattle, horses, etc. If I could get her to fear cars like she fears lawnmowers we'd be fine.

Does anyone have any direction for me on how to train a dog to avoid or respect a moving car?

My thoughts now are along the line of controlled exposure by having my son drive our car toward her on the street and honk/scare her/correct her until she learns to move out of the way. Obviously this is pretty crude and I don't want to "experiment" on her like this. Please provide your constructive suggestions, thanks.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 11:09 AM
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I haven't taught my dogs to avoid cars per se, but I did teach them that they are not allowed in the street unless I say it is ok. On walks, when we come to a cross street, they will stop and look back at me, and wait for me to say "OK" to enter the street.

Of course, since I don't let them off leash, I'm not sure if that would be enough to stop them if they were out and chasing a cat...but at least they know that the street is off limits unless I say it is ok.

Could be a start of training at least.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 11:17 AM
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I once had a dog that was hit by a car, not enough to cause injury other than road rash, but boy did he have a healthy respect for traffic after that!

I wish there was some way you could set up a controlled situation in order to make such a deep and lasting impression on the dog, without actually hurting them, or causing them to be afraid of cars that aren't moving (or afraid to walk down the sidewalk), or creating other phobias. I don't know how you could do this.

How do they train guide dogs to deal with traffic? To stop their handler from walking into the path of a moving vehicle?
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Jprice, you're right, tight control is solution #1. I'm trying to build in a fail-safe since we walk almost all non-leash now.

Freestep: exactly! Service dogs will prevent their blind owners from walking into the path of a car. How is this trained? Guess I need to sift through the junk on youtube and see if there are any nuggets of gold there.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 12:23 PM
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I walk down country roads with Milla every day and what I have started doing with her is when a car approaches we get out of the road, she sits and has to pay attention to me "watch me". All focus is on me. She went from spooking with cars, to wanting to go after them to completely avoiding them for the most part now.

Since I live in the middle of nowhere the cars go down my road at 90 MPH so if one of my dogs got on the road this would be very very bad.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 12:55 PM
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I live on 2 busy streets. All my dogs knew not to step out into the street but I'm not really sure how I trained them. I just scream loud I guess LOL
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 12:57 PM
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When I have to pull my truck inside the fence I make them "wait" by the side of the gate. As I pull in the yard they are normally very good about waiting there. Then I have to get out of the truck to close the gate. By this time they know they aren't going anywhere but are eager to check out the truck. I have to get back into the truck and back into my spot of course by now one of them must be in the way. As I roll back very slowly telling who ever it is to "MOVE". I watch them and the older dogs do kind of move when the truck is coming, the younger one follows the older dogs lead.
My pup still likes to lunge at passing vehicles every once in a while, the other 2 never did.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 12:59 PM
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I helped my friend stop her dog from chasing cars.. She tried everything and didn't work. Honking, yelling, banging on car door didn't seem to phase her.
So, we got a bunch of friends to help us in their cars at about 4 or 5 minute intervals. The person in the passenget side of car, which was closest to her driveway held big water balloons. As the car drove slowly by, the dog of course came running out to bark at car. She got a face full of water balloon that broke on her head... Sure stopped her in her tracks. The next car approached and as she came out, a bit more cautiously, she got another face full of water. We did this comeing and going, drivers side and passenger side. If she laid by the driveway, we did not touch her. After four or five times, she just stood by driveway and watched cars go by. did it again next day. She started to run out of driveway towards car, then hit the brakes and returned to driveway. We did a few "remember" drivebys in the following days/weeks and she will no longer run out to cars.
Not sure if this would work for your dog, it might get her to realize cars equate getting a face full of water. Even if it hits her body, she will still get a surprise and in no way can the balloons of water cause damage.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 03:43 PM
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Hit the dog with water balloons? No, I can't say that I would want to use that method, I would just keep the dog on leash if the dog's heel was not solid.

When I walk my dogs, every time we reach a street, I make them sit and pause and then we heel across the street. Every single time. We do this on leash. And when I do go off leash, it is the same. Though, when I work off-lead, unless it is out in the woods somewhere, we heel the whole time. When we are on lead, as long as the lead is loose it is ok, except for street crossing, then we always sit first, then I start and we heel across streets. I think it does teach the dog to at least pause before running into the road. But some things you can't take back. After the dog gets hit and breaks bones, it is too late to think that maybe you should have used a leash.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-03-2012, 03:49 PM
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Well, in this instance it was either stop her somehow or she was going to get killed.. Lots and lots of folks around here do not believe in fences or leashes, after all, "we live in the country and the dogs should roam free"..........
I have had folks call me cruel because I have 6 ft chain link fences around my home and kennels and the dogs are not running loose.
Would I hit my dog with water balloons? No, but then again, I keep my dog on leash when walking next to the road, even though she is good on recalls and staying with me.
Deperate measures sometimes call for desperate measures or a dead dog.
Not surprising you don't agree with me Selzer.. But then again, you never do.
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