Many dogs don’t seem to bother running after joggers but there are a few that will dart out of their yard, bark, or lunge while on a walk towards a jogger. It can be scary if you’re the jogger. There are some reasons why a dog may do chase the jogger.
1: Some dogs are triggered by the fast movement of the person jogging by and want to chase. It becomes like a game or playing and they may jump and try to catch up with the jogger. Many will stop if the jogger stops. They may bark and leap showing that they are happy to chase a jogger.
2: Some are afraid and may think the jogger is a threat. Fearful dogs will show aggression if they perceive the jogger as a threat and run after them. It’s a way of scaring the jogger away. Some may also try to nip the jogger in the shins or butt. Fearful dogs tend to also bark during the chase.
3: Some dogs are territorial and will act aggressively if there is a perceived threat to their space. This will result in a dog trying to chase a jogger that runs by their yard. Like a fearful dog, a territorial dog will want to drive the jogger away and bark during the chase. If they catch the jogger, they may nip or bite.
4: A dog that has a predatory drive will chase a jogger and may try to bite or attack. This is rare as many dogs do not display this behavior towards people. You may see it in a dog that is chasing and hunting wildlife. The body will be tense, ears flat, and the dog will be in a mode that is often not seen in times of play.
If your dog shows interest in runners, joggers, and anyone who zips by try to curb this behavior by associating people running with good things that come from you. When on a walk, teach your dog to sit, stay, and let the jogger go by. Reward your dog for not chasing or leaping towards the jogger. If the treat is especially tempting like a piece of cheese, hot dog, get your dog to look at you and ignore the jogger completely. This will take some time and repetition. Eventually, your dog may learn to sit and look at you and let the jogger go by without paying them any mind.
When your dog is in the yard and running along the fence barking, you can try to curb this by saying No very loudly and bring your dog inside the house. You may also have to change the time your dog is out. Joggers tend to be active in the early morning before working hours and after work. It’s never a good idea to leave your dog unsupervised in the yard alone for more than 15 or 20 minutes, even if it is fenced. You can try to also teach your dog to ignore the joggers with games, treats, and toys that are more interesting than watching people.
If you are a jogger, take your dog with you. Some dogs will lose interest in other joggers as you and your pup jog by. If your dog jumps up on you as a game, say No, and stop jogging. When your dog has relaxed try the jog again. Everytime your dog interferes the run, stop and wait. Your dog should make eye contact with you and as soon as that happens, begin the jog again. Even though this may make the time out longer, break your exercise routine, it will provide exercise, training, and bonding between you and your pet. A tired dog is often times a well-behaved dog.
Sometimes it seems the tricks we try to change the behavior of our pets may not work, or we’re unsure if we’re implementing the tips correctly. If your dog seems to not understand what you’d like him to know, it’s best to contact a trainer. There are many resources available for finding a trainer, contacting your local humane society or doing a search on the internet will help you find the right trainer for you and your dog.