My dog thinks she's a red light
How to get your dog to stop running in the street, barking at cars
I didn’t understand the method to her madness, but my dog would bark at cars to get them to stop. I saw her do it a couple of times and thought it was coincidental, until I realized she did it any time we were getting ready to cross a street and a car moved forward even an inch. It makes sense. She’d already darted into the street and found out the hard way that busy streets are not dog parks.
The worst part is I hadn’t even had the dog for two weeks before she made a run for it. It took a jogger, a passersby and me darting into the street to catch her. From that one time, she learned her lesson. Although this wasn’t the last time that her leash slipped out of my hand, I’m confident she won’t dart into the street nowadays. She’s too bossy to do so.
Dog training manuals often encourage dogs to sit near curbs. During my two years of dog walking, that trick came in handy for quite a few. However, my Hound mix is not a big fan of a cold butt. She protests sitting in the rain, snow or even a nippy day. She has no problem rolling around in the dirt or flopping down on warm cloth or the couch, but there’s 100% chance that she’ll do something that looks more like a squat than a sit during two of four months (three of four, if you count spring’s rainy days).
Why do dogs run, then walk, then run again across streets
Something else curious happened with my dog. While it used to be a complete hassle to get her to cross any street after that incident, she started responding in extremes later on. She’d try to race across the street to get away from as many cars as possible sometimes. Then other times she’d stroll along, calm, cool and collected. On quiet streets with no traffic, her stroll made sense. On busy streets with cars trying to decide whether to make a right turn, that made sense, too. But it was the in-between traffic where it was neither busy nor quiet that made her reaction peculiar.
Here’s what I started and stopped doing to get her to reevaluate her actions:
Stop: Do NOT run across the street, trying to make it to the other side before the orange hand stops blinking.
Start: Wait for the “walk” man to flash. I used to constantly jog across streets if I knew I could make it before the cross street’s light turned green. Doing it on my two legs was no big deal; four more is. The problem with doing this is your dog doesn’t understand that you’re not always supposed to run across the street. When you stop, she’ll stop. When you go, she’ll go. But if you’re always “on the go,” don’t expect her to stop.