Why is My Border Collie Chasing Cars?

by | Jul 15, 2022

border collie chasing cars

If you end on this page, it means your Border Collie is chasing cars or moving objects, which has got you worried.

Many dog parents like you are surprised to see their beautiful Collie running after cars on the streets or trying to run after sheep or other animals they see on the sidewalk when they walk.

We have seen cases of Collies chasing kids in the house, nipping, and leaving marks on their feet.

Why do Border Collie Chase Cars, Sheep, and Kids?

It is natural for border collies to chase animals; Border Collies are herding dogs.

They are used on the farm to round up animals in the field from one point to another. 

This herding behavior is a trait that has been with the collies for generations. 

What happens to your Collie is all about natural selection; it is not as if your dog is bad or something is wrong with him. 

Border Collies are considered the best at herding sheep. They are intelligent and powerful, and they are the choice of many farmers who needs a dog to work on the farm.

So when you see Border Collie chasing you, the kids, or cars on the road, he is only trying to do what his breed has been doing for many generations.

What Triggers the Chase in Border Collie

Movements trigger this inner trait or behavior in Border Collie. The Collies naturally run after anything that moves. 

Border Collies will chase after cyclists, cars, skateboards, cats, or other animals.

They are simply trying to herd anything they see showing any movement.

There are times when the Collies snap at the furniture and chairs in the house and try to get them to move because they imagine movement. 

They sometimes imagine the furnishings moving and attempt to herd them in a particular direction.

Knowing When Your Border Collie is About to Start Chasing Cars

As sheepdogs, they usually start by stalking any moving object, like cars, from a distance.

Border Collies usually take certain positions when they are about to herd sheep or any object they choose to go after.

If you notice these behaviors or positions on time, you may be able to prevent them from running after cars.


When you see your Collie keeping an earnest gaze on a car or any moving object, you should get ready for action; chances are he is about to unleash his inner self.


Sometimes, they start by stalking the prey they want to herd. The Collies begin to move around, giving the impression that they are doing something else but with a different intention.


The Collies adopt a position where they bend their knees, bring down and project forward the upper body.


The Collies then make a sudden and swift movement after the object they have been stalking.


They keep running after and around any moving object or people they try to herd. This chase is usually dangerous.


They snap at anything they are herding that refuse to go in their chosen direction.

They don’t always follow this order, but you have a general idea of how they act when they have any moving object in focus.

Other Breed of Dogs that Chases after Cars

Now you may be saying, Oh Snap, I should have chosen another breed of dog. Well, the truth is, it is not only Border Collies that are sheepdogs.

Now is not the time to have any regrets over your beautiful Collie doing what is natural to him.

Farmers used other dogs to work as working dogs for centuries on the farm.

They used them to herd sheep and are notorious for chasing after moving objects when not on the farm herding animals.

Below are some other dog breeds that are known to herd sheep, like your Border Collie:

  • Old English Sheep Dog (OED)
  • Cardigan Welsh corgi
  • Australian shepherd
  • German shepherd
  • Rough Collie
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Icelandic Sheepdog

If you want to read more about some of these working dogs with similar car chasing characteristics as your Border Collie, check this article.

Why You Must Stop Your Border Collie from Chasing Cars

Well, this is where I am going to confirm your fear. You should be worried if your Border collie is chasing cars. 

When you have a Collie that is not on the farm as a working dog, you can’t allow him to run after cars, kids, motorcycles, or any moving objects.

Even on the farms, some farmers will not tolerate a stray dog running around their farms and upsetting their livestock.

There have been cases where herding dogs chased after pregnant sheep and caused miscarriages, and some animals got stressed, suffered cardiac arrest, and died after being chased by herding dogs.

Dogs chasing cars on the road has caused accidents, where there have been dog fatalities. Some dogs lost their legs or limbs when the vehicle they were herding ran them over.

Moreover, some kids had to visit the Emergency room after being snapped on by herding dogs.

If you must keep your Collie alive and avoid possible fines or legal suits, you must ensure your dog is not chasing people, pets, or cars.

How to Stop the Behavior of Chasing Cars in Border Collie

As a pet owner, you are responsible for your dog’s actions. You can’t be watching your dog chasing after people or cars or constituting a nuisance on the road and not feel responsible.

While herding is a natural activity for your Collie, allowing him to run amok and put himself or other people in danger on the road should not be tolerated.

Let us talk about helping your dog change its innate behavior.

Aversion or PreConditioned Treatment

To stop your dog from chasing after cars, people, or moving objects, you will let him pass through aversion treatment. 

Aversion treatment is a behavioral modification therapy to help your dog attach pain to his instinct of chasing after moving objects or attach pleasure to choosing not to pursue.

This behavior modification treatment is a kind of preconditioning therapy where you let your dog attach displeasure to stalking and running after cars and people.

This treatment involves creating scenarios that would trigger your dog’s herding nature, and when your dog attempts to start the chase, you stop and control the situation.

Let’s start with the car chase.

Making your Border Collie Stop Running After Cars.

Controlled Environment

First and foremost, you have to create a controlled environment. You must ensure the safety of your dog and other road users.

Put your dog on a leash and walk on the side of the road where there is no heavy traffic.

Get someone to drive past at slow speed.

When you notice your dog getting into the herding pose described above, be ready to take control.

Command and Reward

Watch as your dog tries to chase after the car and restrain him. 

It would be best to issue the STOP, SIT command; make sure your Collie obeys. You have to establish your authority.

Two things are crucial here:

Whoever is holding the leash must ensure that they are firmly holding on to it. Secondly, the person must be very swift to react. 

The response time is significant. 

You don’t want your dog to take off while you carelessly hold the leash, and you must start chasing after him while he is also running after the car. 

This car chase problem is why we started the treatment; it is not something you want to happen.

Punish Bad Behaviors and Reward the Good ones

When your dog refuses to stop, you hold on to the leash.

You must continue issuing the command until the dog displeases his intention.

Whenever your dog listens and obeys your command, you give him some ‘good boy, good boy’ and rewards like a pat on the head, a little treat.

It would help if you kept repeating the same treatment until your dog begins to attach some pleasure to the idea of not chasing after cars.

Let your dog feel that not following the herding urges or chasing after cars lead to getting treats and rewards.

Does Behavior Modification Treatment Stops Border Collie from Chasing Cars? 

Yes, it does. Most of our behavior as humans has happened through the same process.

We learned not to play with hot objects by getting burnt, or our parents yelled at us as kids to stay away from dangerous things.

This treatment is Classical Conditioning, developed by a Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov. 

This treatment is a learning condition where your dog learns to associate a different response to a stimulus (like chasing cars) due to the simultaneous introduction of another incentive (treats or praises and sharp command from the dog owner).

Relocating your Border Collie to the Right Environment.

An alternative to the treatment described above is giving your dog away.

I know that sounds harsh and may not be the solution you are happy to hear, but I have to put it here anyway.

It may be a good idea if you let your Collie move to an environment where he can run around and herd sheep and do what naturally comes to him.

We have seen people taking their collies to live with families in the countryside, and both the dog and the owner are happy.


Car chasing is an instinct to your Border Collie and comes to them naturally to chase after any moving objects or cars.

Border Collies have been raised for centuries to herd sheep and animals on the farm. 

The behavior results from traits of the breed through natural selection.

However, you can make your dog change its behavior through aversion treatment.

About Me

Hi, I am Sarah! At Amado Pets we are passionate about pets and love sharing our knowledge and research with you. We strive to be the ultimate resource for you to learn all that you can about caring for your pet!