Even if your dog’s chances of actually catching a chipmunk are minuscule to nonexistent, the sight of a furry snack scampering away at full pelt can be irresistible to an animal who probably thinks he is a wolf. This isn’t good for your peace of mind or your dog and it most certainly is not good for the chipmunk. Begin your training early to stop your dog harassing chipmunks, other wildlife or some random pet who happens to resemble a chipmunk.
Stop feeding your dog outside, if this is something you do. Use spill-proof bird feeders as well. Spilled bird seed or left-over dog food makes passing chipmunks think you are feeding them. The more chipmunks that hang around, the more opportunity your dog has to chase them.
Begin supervising all your dog’s outdoor excursions, including visits to your yard. Wild animals appear in the most surprising places, and dog-proofing a yard will not keep out climbing animals, such as cats, or small ones, such as chipmunks. Put him on a leash for every single toilet trip or exercise break.
Locate a wide-open spot full of chipmunks, such as an area of a park. This may be where you first noticed your dog’s chipmunk-chasing tendencies or any other suitable place. Try to determine when the space is relatively quiet, without too many other distractions in the form of dogs or people.
Walk him through this space on a leash, initially a short one. Keep his attention focused on you and if you see a chipmunk, walk rapidly in the opposite direction. Give him a treat and/or lots of attention once you are past the chipmunk
Increase the leash length once your dog is accustomed to the chipmunks and appears to be paying them little attention. If he shows any interest or makes a move toward them, repeat the previous step of walking quickly away.
Attach a long line to your dog’s collar and let it trail along the group, if off-leash dogs are allowed in the chipmunk zone. This is just a precaution -- you shouldn’t need to pull him away. If he does move towards a chipmunk, pick up the end of the line just in case and call his name. Give him some loving and/or a treat when he comes up to you.
Items You Will Need
- Spill-proof bird feeders
- Long line or length of rope
- If you have friends with small rodents similar to chipmunks, such as other squirrels, rats or chinchillas, you can employ them as part of your chipmunk training, provided of course that your friend agrees and that the pet rodents aren’t too nervous. The procedure is to take your dog into the room with the rodent cage but keep him focusing on you. Don’t allow him to investigate the rodents. After numerous sessions, it may be possible to allow the rodents out of their cage while you get your dog to sit calmly and ignore them. Never leave the rodents and the dog unattended together.
- A dog whistle, which makes a noise you cannot usually hear but is very loud to a dog, is a useful tool if you need to catch a dog’s attention outside. Only use the whistle when calling him to you -- then he will not associate it with anything else.
- If your dog doesn’t respond to chipmunk training, consider avoidance instead. Walk him outside of chipmunk territory. It also helps to walk him during the middle of the afternoon because chipmunks are most active in the early morning and early evening.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Dogs Chasing Wildlife
- The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Chipmunk Control
- Canine Concepts: Why Is My Dog Chasing Other Animals?
- Ohio State University Extension: The Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) in the Home, Yard, and Garden
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images