My 5-1/2 year-old dog has suddenly become a car predator. All his life he's been around cars; I walk him on busy streets, I run with him for an hour at a time and he stays right at my side, no problem. he has never paid any attention to cars. Within the last month he has started seeing cars as springboks (or, name your prey). I can't fathom what causes it..sometime he will ignore 6-8 cars in a row, then suddenly he will freak out at one pulling out of a driveway 200 yards away.

Other times he is insane about ALL cars...near ones, far ones, slow ones, motionless ones...he goes berserk. I cannot discover what sets him off...speed of car, size of car, type of tire...I see no distinction among the various vehicles. I guess I know enough about obedience training to be familiar with the various "deterrents" for dogs who chase cars (and I've always DESPISED DOGS THAT DO THAT!!)..my inclination now is simply to leave him at home..last time we went for a run I got complacent because he seemed utterly calm and then out of the blue he leaped nearly into the path of a vehicle and scared the driver practically to death (yes, he is always on a leash, always).

he seems utterly out of control during these episodes, willing (apparently) to choke himself in order to "warn" the approaching or departing vehicle. what in the world could be causing him to do this??? sometimes he simply STARES at the cars as if they were squirrels or birds, but he makes no sound and doesn't lunge. if I pick him up, by the way, he is fine (this is his pattern anyway; carrying or holding him always shuts him up and calms him down, whatever the stimulus)..but what point is there in taking a dog for a walk if you carry him the whole way??
My 5-1/2 year-old dog has suddenly become a car predator. All his life he's been around cars; I walk him ... fathom what causes it..sometime he will ignore 6-8 cars in a row, then suddenly he will freak out at one

Anytime there is a sudden unexplained change in behavior the first step is to discuss the problem with your vet. Some of the behavior issues that go along with physical health problems are not at all intuitive. I would look for changes in eyesight and hearing most closely, and blood chemistry, especially thyroid.
Having ruled out physical problems I'd look for a place where I could vary the distance from the road, and thus work on keeping my dog's attnetion starting far enough away that he could be successful then gradually reducing the distance. It may be a bit of a pin to get to such a place, but the more you put into it short term the more likely it is to be successful long term.
Diane Blackman
thanks. seeing vet on Monday. Hadn't thought of ear thing but it's a possibility. of course, my dog is nutty and always has been, so logic is generally irrelevant!
My 5-1/2 year-old dog has suddenly become a car predator.

I don't have much insight to offer (besides the already suggested getting him checked by a vet) but I had to comment because I grew up next door to a black cocker spaniel that tried to chase cars - and he was named Perky.

FurPaw

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