How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?
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Thread: How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

  1. #1
    Senior Member zgomot's Avatar
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    How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

    My wire-haired doxie is a veritable hunter, always on the trail, always sniffing something and while I understand this is part of what he is and what they've been bred to do for generations, it's sometimes simply not appropriate. He has a very high prey drive and I want to tone it down a bit.

    For instance, when my fiancee and I go to visit her parents at their countryside house, their cat is banished from the property for the entire period (2-3 days generally). It will only stay on the roof or in trees from fear of our dog. Same deal when we visit my grandparents, also at the country side.

    I'm sure my dog would kill (or at least badly injure) the cats if he would catch them. One time, a chicken got loose in my grandparent's front yard and my dog charged at it and got a very tight hold of it. My brother was very near and he quickly picked my dog up so the chicken escaped with it's life. Sarma had his mouth full of feathers and a "murderous" look in his eyes.

    He's also very reactive to horses and goats from what I noticed.

    How do I teach him to not want to kill our families' cats?

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    Re: How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

    Not sure you can teach him, but the first and foremost responsibility is to control him (leash and crate as necessary.. sorry.. even in the country) so he cannot and does not damage other animals. Small Dogs often have no sense of scale.. and this breed is noted for that sort of thing. They will go for horses and things much larger.

    Since you believe he would kill a cat, that is the answer. You can also get between him and the cat and step quickly into his space (with the dog on leash) and tell him harshly, "MY CAT" and it may help (your body language is essentially telling him the cat is YOURS not HIS and he is to not touch it). I would not trust this training on a truly fixated dog (and yours sounds like that). LEASH HIM and CONTROL HIM so he CANNOT go for other animals.

    Do not allow him to chase things. It is very unfair to the resident animals and pets and would be considered very rude behavior on your part as a guest, even in the homes of family (at least here in the US).

    As to chasing horses.. Years ago I used to ride my horse past a house with a very small dog that would launch off the front porch and harass my horse. The horse would kick at the dog but because the dog was so short, he never hit him. The owner would look out the window. One time I was finally sick of riding this dancing horse and dealing with the dog, so I let the horse give chase. The horse went for the dog and nearly stomped him.. dog turned and ran with the horse hot on his heels right up onto the front porch. I reined the horse back and stopped him so he would not go up the steps.. but we were than close. The owner of the dog saw it all.

    We never had an issue with that dog again.

  4. #3
    Senior Member a7dk's Avatar
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    Re: How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

    I agree that control is the primary tool here. My dog likes to chase as well, although in the beginning my control of him wasn't as good, and he actually caught one of my cats on 2 occasions. She's old and slow, and when he caught her he just held her down with his paw and looked like he wanted to play with her. She was not happy but luckily also not hurt. Since then we keep him on leash all the time. I've only had him 2 months, so I expect we'll be able to let him be off leash in the house at some point, but so far he's not ready.

    What has helped is what Elana55 said, to get in front of him (body block him) when he wants to give chase and yell at him "No!" or "My cat!" Also, when the cats are around and he's being calm we do "leave it" training and treat him when he looks away from the cat. This has helped tremendously, and now, provided he has had some exercise and is calm, he will let the cat walk around the house without giving chase. Keep in mind, like I said, he's still on leash 100% of the time so if he tries to chase we grab his leash to protect the cats. Outside he used to want to chase squirrels and birds all the time, but teaching him heel training has helped A LOT with this! We treat him constantly for being in the "sweet spot" (right next to me, on my left side) and he generally stays close. Now, when he sees something he wants to chase, he freezes and stares, but doesn't start chasing. Since he's on leash I can then pull him away and redirect him.

    Not sure if these methods will be as effective for a dog who actually wants to kill the animals he catches, but I hope its helpful! Good luck!

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    Senior Member zgomot's Avatar
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    Re: How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

    Would getting a small kittie help him learn to tolerate cats?

    Maybe I was a bit quick to use the words "I'm sure" and "kill", because I'm not really sure, but seeing how he ruffled that chicken up, I thought he might not have the best of intentions regarding cats.
    Last edited by zgomot; 05-31-2011 at 09:18 AM.

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    Re: How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

    It is incumbent on YOU to protect other animals. Getting a cat so you can train the dog is only good if you REALLY want a pet cat. Anything less is horrible and unfair to the cat. If you get a kitten the dog can easily kill it (and this dog can easily kill and adult cat).

    The reason to get a cat is because you want a cat and are willing to NEVER let the dog and cat loose in the house alone together. It means you will manage the situation and work to keep the cat safe.

    I love my cats (have 6) and I love my dogs (have 2). They all get along because it is my house, my rules. The dogs and cats actually play together. The cats walk on a leash and the dogs never play with the cat's toys (even the puppy.. all I say to her if she looks at the cat's toys is to say, "Cats toy, not yours" and she walks on by). The cats will SEEK the dogs out for comfort or play. I worked hard for this.

    That being said, I never leave the dogs and cats loose together in the house when I am not there.

    This is how it is now in my house:

    How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?-nap-time1-31-2010.jpg

    How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?-img_0513red.jpg

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    Senior Member zgomot's Avatar
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    Re: How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

    Please don't get me wrong, I would never get a cat, or any other animal, be it a caterpillar or a cat, just so my dog has a tool to use for learning a new behaviour. I love animals in general (maybe not mosquitoes, fleas and ticks) and if I do get a cat, I would protect it from all harm, my dog included.

    Would a cat require as extensive a training as dogs?

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    Re: How to get my dog to leave cats (and other animals) alone?

    It is sort of funny.. but I do train my cats. They are much different than dogs in that they do not train the same way. I always used to say a cat is like having a man around.. you have to make them think it is 'their' idea to get them to do something. A clicker is very good tool for training cats (see www.clickertraining.com).

    My cats sit. I taught them to sit by saying to them, "Take a Load Off" or "Have a Seat" whenever they were in the process of sitting down anyway. Pretty soon, I would say the words and the cats would sit. My cats know their names. I use their names when I am feeding them and doing other things with them. Cats tend to naturally use a litter box (and because they have a litter box, you can leave them for longer periods of time than dogs). I use clumping litter and clean the box out daily.. sometimes 2X a day and then monthly I take all the litter out, scrub the boxes with chlorox, rinse and put in all new litter.

    Leash training is different too. You put the leash and collar on and let the cat drag it around. When you first have a leash on a cat you let the cat do the leading. Actually,. my dogs taught the cats to work with a leash. The cats are buddies with the dog(s) and so the dogs lead, the cats follow and I follow behind the cats. I can direct the dogs so it was pretty easy. Socializing cats is different as well. I start with the cat in a carrier... and most people do not socialize their cats at all.

    Cats are affectionate but on their own terms. Many things not toxic to dogs are toxic to cats such as phenol cleaners and any type of lilly and other things.. like aspirin, tylenol and other NSAID drugs. Cats should be fed canned food because they concentrate urine and being desert animals they do not always drink enough water (they get a lot of their moisture from the food they eat). Home made food for cats is difficult to get right in their needs for vitamines and minerals is fairly specialized.

    I used to raise and show cats. I like them a lot and know a lot about them.

    Someone said that dogs live for you and cats live with you.
    Last edited by Elana55; 05-31-2011 at 12:23 PM.

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