Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why Dogs Love To Chase Moving Objects

An Unexpected Attack

Last week, a 62-year-old man was running along a beach. Out of nowhere, two pitbulls chased him and nearly mauled him to death. If a neighbor hadn't intervened, by hitting the dogs with a baseball bat, he would have died. He was admitted to the hospital in a coma.

Because they attacked a human, the dogs shot on site, and the owner was cited with failure to own a proper license as well as failure to restrain each dog. How did this happen? Someone had left the gate open in their backyard.

What makes this story especially tragic was the owner, Jimmy Johnson, was forthcoming when the story broke. He was hoping that these weren't his dogs but his worst nightmare came true.

What Drives Dogs To Chase Objects In Motion

This story is terrifying for all parties involved. It's a situation where all dog owners should be proactive. I couldn't help but wonder what drives them to chase people and other moving objects. All it takes is for a dog to chase a car and get hit. There isn't just one reason but many. Here are some.

They are protecting their territory.
Many dogs feel that their job is to keep watch over their home. A home with a fenced-in yard is practically a requirement for dog owners because it's easy for a dog to take off an running. They will stop at nothing to protect their territory and one of those ways is to chase intruders away.

They are intriguing.
Joggers and bicyclists are interesting to dogs. They are naturally curious and when they see a jogger running by they want to see what's happening.

They view it as prey.
Although dogs are domesticated, many have a natural prey drive. Whether it's a squirrel, rabbit or cat, many are inclined to want to chase them down. Seeing a person or fast moving object can easily trigger the prey drive, especially if the dog is a hunting breed. Dogs don't see this as work, but more as if it's sport.

Final Thoughts
Accidents happen. Not everything can be seen in black and white when it comes to dogs. Even though they are now domesticated, it's always important to remember that they will have a strong animal instinct that comes out from time to time. It's a reminder to owners that being a dog lover comes with an even stronger ability to anticipate these moments.

Let's Discuss!

What are some things that your dog loves to chase that you wish they wouldn't?

It's All Related!

Prey Of The Dog: Down Under
Rabbit Frenzy

I know it's been awhile since I've written a post. I'm in the middle of learning a new technology (Drupal). The process has taken more of my time than usual. Balancing it out with blogging has been quite a challenge but I just wanted to let you know that I will always be writing, just not as frequently. I appreciate your patience and if anyone has any comments or questions, leave them below.


  1. Interesting points. They remind me of similar behavior in cats - chasing after and attacking insects and rodents just for the sake of physical activity.

  2. Being terriers, rabbits provide the ultimate chase to my dogs. Luckily, I have managed to distract them when I've seen rabbits and they've somehow missed them, but I dread the day when it happens as I know my dogs will follow their prey under ground.

    While normally dogs are initially motivated to chase because they are interested, or see it as prey, or for territorial reasons, sometimes it is also just FUN. Chasing stuff is normally a good game to dogs.

    1. I agree Tegan. I'm all for them chasing for fun as long as it's not chasing a moving car or something dangerous. Thanks for writing in.



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