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7 Real Reasons Why Dogs Chase Cars + How To Stop It (2023)

Why Dogs Chase Cars

Walking Fido is supposed to be a relaxing activity…

Not until they start chasing after cars.

And they won’t stop even if you tell them to.

What went wrong?

Not only is it dangerous… 

But it also makes you curious. 

“Why does my dog chase cars?” 

Continue reading to find out: 

  • 14 dog breeds who are more likely to chase cars.
  • 3 easy tips on how to stop Fido’s car chasing habits.
  • 7 real reasons why dogs chase cars (#7 is intriguing).
  • And a lot more…

Why dogs chase cars – 7 reasons

#1: It’s their instinct 

First, let’s start with the top reason of all. 

And it’s your dog’s instincts. 

Simply put, chasing things is just a natural habit for canines. 

In that case… 

It’s not only cars they’d typically run after.

Honestly, anything that moves can be a victim. Most dogs initially feel invited to chase after them. 

But how did this become so normal for your pooch? 

To answer that, let’s talk about the history of dogs.

For one, dogs are predators. 

That’s why they have what we call: Prey drive. 

It means canines have a desire to catch their targets.

Not to mention…

Dogs came from wolves. And these wild Fidos are great hunters. 

That’s why your pooch has this wild instinct in them. 


Humans also encouraged their chasing habits

Curious? Let me explain. 

As people domesticated Fidos…

They bred canines for certain tasks. 

I’m referring to activities like: 

  • Herding.
  • Tracking.
  • Sports show.
  • Meat hunting.
  • Fighting contests.

As you can tell, dogs are very effective for these jobs. 

With Fido’s chasing nature…

They can easily herd, track, hunt, fight, and even join sports events. 

And that’s why many dogs still have the instinct to chase up until today.

#2: Their breed has a higher prey drive 

Dogs Chase Cars Because Their Breed Has A Higher Prey Drive

As I briefly mentioned above…

Some furry friends are bred for specific tasks. 

And that’s why certain Fidos have a higher prey drive than others. 

To be clear, I’m referring to dogs such as: 

Now, these 14 furry friends are just a few examples. 

And once again, they’re bred for activities that involve chasing. 

That said, a study found: 

These breeds are more prone to aggression than others. And experts believe this act satisfies Fidos.

Simply put…

Your pooch naturally finds it fun to chase things. 

Why so?

That’s due to their history as working dogs. 

Back then, they used to get rewarded for acting out on their instincts. 

So if your furry pal belongs to the breeds I listed above… 

Expect Fido to be active when it comes to chasing things like cars.


Don’t let their high prey drive scare you off. 

Like any other pooch…

These dogs only need proper guidance from you.

You might also like: 25 Best Ways To Calm An Aggressive Dog (#1 Works Instantly)

#3: Your dog’s bored

Let’s say your pooch isn’t one of those breeds from #2…

So why would they still suddenly chase cars? 

Sometimes, your dog might be bored. 

You see, if Fido has nothing to do all day…

Their energy would pile up. 

And many people could relate to this feeling: 

During the lockdown, many fur parents were so bored at home. 

Then after a long wait…

Everyone’s finally free to go out again. 

And most people were too excited about it. They were overjoyed to leave their houses.

Now, that’s the same feeling that your pooch has.

After all, they’re social animals. Thus, boredom can be too much for them.

So the moment you take your dog outside, they might get too hyper. 

And before you know it, Fido’s already chasing after cars. 

But this isn’t the only risky thing that boredom can do to dogs. 

“What else could happen to my pooch?” 

When dogs get too bored, the AKC says they might develop issues like: 

Warning: Boredom can lead to depression in dogs. Especially if they’re a hyperactive pooch. So once you notice these signs, start spending more time with Fido.

Reading tip: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Suddenly Being Destructive + Tips

#4: The scent of some cars attracts them

This one’s a popular theory among fur parents…

And I’m sure you’ve noticed this before. 


Have you seen dogs pee on car tires?

It seems that any pooch loves doing this.

And it’s almost like a ritual for them. Whether they’re stray Fidos or not.

But what’s that gotta do with dogs chasing cars? 

Well, first of all…

These furry friends have a great sense of smell

And as per research, here’s an interesting fact about that: 

Dogs pick up messages from other dogs through their urine. Moreover, Dr. Coren described this as pee-mail. 

So when Fidos chases after cars…

Some experts believe that they’re running after their mail. 

“Hey, where are you going? I haven’t read that hot topic headline yet!” 

…That’s something your pooch might be thinking of. 

#5: Due to territorial behavior

Due To Territorial Behavior

Another common trait in Fidos is…

Their territorial nature.

And that’s typically seen in breeds like: 

  • Puli.
  • Kuvasz.
  • Rottweiler.
  • Komondor.
  • Doberman.
  • Bull Mastiff.
  • Chow Chow.
  • Giant Schnauzer.
  • German Shepherd.
  • Staffordshire Terrier.
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback.

As you can tell, these 11 dogs are often great with guarding. 

They’re so good at their job…

Some of them would even fight vacuum cleaners.

And they do it to defend their territory.

Moreover, VCA Hospitals says:

Chasing anything that moves is a common sign of this issue 

Moreover, you’ll also notice symptoms, such as: 

So when Fido sees a car pass by… 

Remember what I mentioned in reason #4. 

Some dogs tend to pee on car tires, right? 

And once your pooch picks up that scent… 

They’ll think there’s an enemy around. 

“Whose smell is that? I’m not familiar with it.” 

And due to their prey drive and protective nature… 

Your pooch would chase after the car. 

#6: They’re protecting their puppies 

While some furry pals are defending their turf.

And other Fidos are just keeping their fur parents safe.

Momma dogs only want to protect her babies.

That said…

Some Fidos chase after cars when they have newborn puppies 

And here’s what science says about it: 

Female dogs can be fierce after giving birth. And she might also be more protective of her den. 

This means she’ll attack other dogs too, not just people. 

Not to mention…

Another study states: 

Emotions can affect your pup’s behavior

When driven by fear or anxiety

Some dogs are more likely to be aggressive. 

So when momma Fido senses an intruder…

Like the scent on the car, she might chase after it as well. 

#7: Due to a grudge 

Though scientists still debate over this…

One research concludes: 

Dogs can hold grudges

And they can remember bad events in their life. 

“Wait, so they won’t forget when I accidentally stepped on them?” 

That’s possible.

But those are minor things. 

And experts think… 

Dogs only remember the worst scenarios the most. 

So you don’t have to worry about those little accidents. 

Your pooch must’ve already forgiven you. 

Instead, you should be wondering: 

“What does this have to do with my dog chasing cars?” 

Well, since Fidos can hold a grudge…

Stories of some fur parents finally make sense. 

For example, a stray dog kept chasing a specific car. 

That pooch only ran after red autos. And they all looked like mini-vans. 

But why so specific? 

Apparently, people living in the area explained…

That poor Fido’s puppies got ran over by a red mini-van. 

With this, locals believed the pooch held a grudge. 

Now, whether all this is true or not…

It’s up to your interpretation to believe in Fido’s intellect.

How to stop dogs from chasing cars

#1: Impulse training

The best thing you can do is train your pooch. 

“But how? I have no experience in this.” 

It can be simple.

First, ensure that your pup’s well socialized. 

This means you help them get used to other animals or people. 

“Why? That has nothing to do with chasing cars.” 

It seems like it. But this actually helps them.

You see, socialization lets your pooch relax even more. 

And this would keep Fido’s impulses in check. 

Now, once this step’s done, you can move to: 

Impulse control training. 

For that, here’s an easy tip from the AKC:

Reward their good behavior with treats

Positive training’s the best way to teach a pooch. 

And to make this work…

Call out your dog’s attention when they start chasing something. 

If they stop and listen…

Give them a treat

You can practice this at home with a toy until your pooch gets it.

Now, this is just the basic training process. 

So if you want to learn more…

You could always reach out to professional trainers. 

Or you can also watch this helpful video:

Reading tip: 27 Best Dog Trainers In The World (Updated Guide)

#2: Get them spayed or neutered

From the reasons above…

It’s clear that dogs tend to chase cars due to their nature. 

But there’s something that can help your pooch settle down.

And it’s spaying or neutering

That said… 

Here are the pros of fixing Fido, as per ASPCA

  • Prevents cancer.
  • Avoids aggression.
  • Improves their lifespan.
  • No more in-heat stress.
  • Gets rid of territorial acts. 

As you can see from this list…

Dogs become more well-behaved after the procedure. 

#3: Keep Fido entertained

As I mentioned in reason #3…

Some dogs chase cars out of boredom. 

So as a solution…

You have to keep them entertained. 

For that, here are some tips you can try: 

With these 7 ideas, your pooch won’t get bored again. 

#BONUS: Ask a vet or a dog therapist

If you’ve tried all the tips above…

And yet, Fido continues to chase one car after the other…

You should seek professional help for your pooch.

Especially if your dog might have trauma.

Remember what I said in reason #7? 

Some Fidos hold grudges too. And this might be common in rescue dogs. 

In that case…

A pooch with mental concerns should get therapy. 

And that’s something only an expert can assist you with.