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.
Tip #1 - 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.
Tip #2 - 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.
Tip #3 - 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.
Tip #4 - 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
Tip #5 - 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.
Tip #6 - 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.
By Judith Willson
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
About the Author
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.