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*Hi all.
I'm new to dogs, I've never even lived with one till my friend gifted me a Springer Spaniel pup last X-mas. The pup is 6 months old now and he's doing fairly well with training, however, he's terrible by roads.

*I live in the country, and I have no car during daylight on weekdays,
so the public road is the only place I can give him a decent walk. Recently he has developed this problem where he wants to chase cars that drive by. When on the leash, he lunges at cars or even tries to pull to the middle of the road when he hears one coming. These cars are going around 50mph on hilly roads so I have to yank him off the road pretty fast. I never want to see him by a road off leash.

No treats have worked with getting his attention away, nor does my voice (he comes when called normally), I've even tried a whistle. It's like
when he hears a car, nothing exists but that car. I could be calling him, and waving a whole cooked chicken at him; he couldn't care less. Food has never actually been something he values highly.
My friends/family say I should get a shock collar for him, but I wanted to see what others say before I do something that drastic. Any advice?
 

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When I first got Lucas he wanted to chase cars, and skateboards, and bikes, and joggers, and roller skaters, and cats and rabbits and EVERYTHING. I stinks and scary I know!

If you can't find a reward better to the dog than the fun of chasing the cars you'll have to set up controlled training scenarios to work below the dog's threshold for over excitement. When the lunging starts, the dog is too aroused to listen or learn, training has to be done before he gets that worked up.

Is the dog play or toy motivated? Anything that the dog may value more than wanting to chase the cars? Like Lucas was not food motivated either (not in the fact of a distraction especially) and I would use rough play (which I don't like and normally don't engage in or allow with my dogs) as a reward for paying attention to ME instead of whatever because it was one of the few things he cared for, whether I did or not.

As a side note, now Lucas is food motivated (for the most part) because every time we did things he liked (which wasn't much-going for walks, sniffing and peeing on things, car rides, running, and rough play-that was it) I gave one of the few the treats I knew he liked. I created an association between what he liked doing and food, rather than the way we usually use food to create a positive association with something else. Then I could start the vary the treats. Now he'll work for many different kinds of treats.

EDITED TO ADD: For this situation, I doubt a shock collar is going to do you any good. It may work in the short term, but the dog will quickly become desensitized, if not immediately because the desire to chase the cars is so strong. Generally I dislike shock collars, at best they don't solve problems they just band aid them and create anxious dogs that get that anxiety out in other ways that owners never like.
 

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Teach the dog the "Look at me" command (away from distractions at first). Then use that before he gets over the threshold. You can search this forum for tips on how to train it.

And DO NOT use a retractable leash with this type of dog. You will end up with a dead dog.
Also do not use a shock collar, as it will make him MORE reactive to them (cars).
 

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Kobi used to love chasing cars as well. Scared me to death on walks. I began using the "look at me" command as well. As I heard a car approaching, whether or not Kobi noticed it yet. I would have him "sit" and then "look at me" not breaking our eye contact. Sometimes I could see his body flinch as a car passed by, but as long as he didn't break eye contact, I would give him a high value treat.

Now, he may or may not show interest in a car. Sometimes it won't phase him other times, he'll look up, but rarely does he chase after it anymore. If I see he's excited upon seeing an oncoming car, I refresh his "look at me" command to keep him calm.
 

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I agree with others that you'll have to work further away from cars so that he's under threshold and get him to focus on you.

You said he's not particularly interested in food. Is he motivated by toys? You could bring out an awesome tug toy when cars approach and keep him focused on that.
 

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For many dogs, when they are already reacting to something (chasing a car, for example) you WON'T be able to get their attention because they are so focused on the car, or so frightened or excited by the car, that they can't really respond to you, not even with a treat.
The trick is, getting their attention on you and/or the treat BEFORE they get to the point of no return. That means you have to be hyper vigilant, and get your dog's attention before he sees/hears the car.
If you can't seem to get the timing right (meaning he always seems to hear/see the car at the same time as you) then try moving him away from the roadway the second you know there's a car coming. If you are able to put a bit of space between the car and your dog, you may be able to get his attention.

But, as others have said, you have to work on some commands to get his attention on you in a very boring, distraction free place, before you expect him to be able to do those things in an area with lots of distractions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@Tylerthegiant - It's funny, he doesn't even try to chase the rabbits that run across the road; a bicyclist on the other hand really gets him going. His breed is suppose to be good at hunting.
Thanks for all the info! Playtime is the thing he values most in life, so I'll try getting his attention with play and I'm still practicing calming him down on walks. Seriously, the minute I get the leash out he goes crazy.
Heh, I'll keep trying treats too, maybe he'll grow to adore them. And about the shock collar, I figured that wouldn't be a solution. Thanks again, you are very helpful.

@spotted nikes - Oh man, I didn't know retractable leashes were bad. I have one but I never let him pull all the way. I'll invest in a normal leash when I can. Thank you!

@Kobismom - Kobi looks adorable in your signature. Thanks for the info. I really have to work on the "look at me" command, my pup just seems to have ADHD sometimes. He can't seem to do one thing for more than 10 secs. I'll work on it though.

@elrohwen - Very helpful dog owners on here. He does value play above everything, so I'm going to work with play to train him.

@doxiemommy - You explained it nicely, thanks. I realize now that I'm going to need more practice off road first. He's just going to have to live without a long walk for a few days till I get that command down.

Thanks all! Hopefully I can make it work. :)
 

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@Kobismom - Kobi looks adorable in your signature. Thanks for the info. I really have to work on the "look at me" command, my pup just seems to have ADHD sometimes. He can't seem to do one thing for more than 10 secs. I'll work on it though.

Thanks all! Hopefully I can make it work. :)
We call Kobi a "ADHD dog" all the time! What I do is hold something of high value (he has bacon treats he adores!) right over his nose but in the direction of my sightline, so we can hold eye contact. While he's sitting, I'm holding the treat and saying, "look at me" over and over until the car passes. If Kobi continues to sit (even if he flinches to look at the car), then I'll give him the treat. If he doesn't look at the car, then I'll give him doubles! :D

Now that he's 7 months old, his desire to chase cars has lessened, but not entirely gone. I think because he rides in cars more often and sees cars driving beside us and our walks through the parks where there are cars coming/going thru the parking lots, he's becoming desensitized to them... that's my hope! But I still keep him on leash.
 

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These are the times I wish this forum had been around when I was younger and growing up with two GSDs and a Golden. They ALL chased cars. We lived in the woods on a dirt road, and the area close to our house was a straight line of almost a mile. So people used to fly down the road all the time. Giving our dogs a walk was a nightmare because they'd chase. And sometimes they'd get free from the yard and chase cars all the way down the car. My parents were so clueless, so we never really "fixed" the problem. I just remember being young and unable to walk our dogs because they'd pull us along. The advice already given though is really good! Good luck!
 

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My older dog HATES motorcycles and any vehicle with a "powerful" sounding engine. Other cars he's fine with....so I have gotten very good at hearing motorcycles and powerful sounding vehicles from a distance, so I can get him looking at me and focused BEFORE they get close. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@Kobismom - Haha, guess my dog isn't the only one with 'ADHD' moments. Your method sounds nice. I just wish my dog would appreciate treats more.
Maybe when my dog gets older his want to chase will fade. Too bad the only car rides we can do are on the weekends.

@SydTheSpaniel - That sounds like a nightmare, since all 3 dogs chased cars. Can't even imagine trying to hold all of them while a car speeds by. Hope nothing ever happened to them.

@doxiemommy - I'm jealous of your good ears. Sometimes cars just creep up from behind us, and I don't notice till he starts lunging behind me.
 
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