Shelties and Cats?
So Judah our Sheltie is 19 weeks and really showing his good breeding. Yep he LOVES to herd. The problem is he herds our indoor cats and they HATE it. He zig zags, barks and nips at them until he has them running to the basement door and dissapears. Then he proudly marches through the kitchen. He has been doing this to them since he was 10 weeks old.
These are not small cats. Our Main Coon is about 18lbs and 12 inches. He's huge. and he can hold his own. You can just imagine how loud and crazy it gets here during the herding with all the barking and hissing and growling etc. I understand Judah is a herder. BUT the cats were here first, like for 7 years. I did not expect them to be BFF's however I would like the cats to enjoy their lives again.
I am a stay at home mom and I also Home School our middle daughter K who is Judah's person We are home most of the day unless I am bringing kids to school or lessons or tutoring or play dates. Judah is crate trained. He is in his crate at night while he sleeps ( he puts himslef in and we have to coazx him out in the AM to goon his first potty break) We so crate him while we are gone but we are very careful not to be gone more than 2 to 3 hours max. He is on a potty and walking schedule. Kris will take him on 2 35 minute walks each day. He aslo has a neighbor dog, a lab that we try to get him to play with for at least 15 minutes a day. We also play fetch with him in the house and games like hide and go seek. We try to give him the same amout of time we would if he were a human 19 week old.
I realize that he is highly intelligent and was created to work. My hope that as his people we can offer him a mental and physical lifestyle that will keep him happy and with us for at least 15 years and hopefully lots longer.
Ioh, one last thingy. We do live in MN where it is COOOLD. Even he sometimes does not want to go out.
So, I don't want to punish him for his instincts. I would just like to redirect his energy. Good thing that the cats are declawed or he would have been shreaded by now. and whats up with him liking thier food better and them liking his better?
Any suggestions? besides getting the puppy chickens to herd?
Last edited by Sheltie:); 03-21-2010 at 10:39 PM.
Reason: forgot something
Re: Shelties and Cats?
It's more likely prey drive than real 'herding'. Herding is actually truncated prey drive sequence after all. My youngest pap will torment small animals and cats the same way and she's definitely not herding. But he shouldn't be allowed to do that to the cats.
Shelties are very often motion sensitive. Other animals, people, even vacuums will often start them up. Trey would nip your heels if he got worked up too much. All of mine tried to attack the vacuum. It's basically a prevention you need to do. Learn the cues, you can tell when they start into that 'zone' so to speak. Cut it off before it starts. With Trey I'd have to stop running and stand still and he'd not go into nipping mode.
Ask for other behaviors (like a sit) when he's around the cats. Reward good behavior. Introduce them slowly and don't let him get over his threshold. I am working on this with Mia (11 month old pap). She sees my chinchilla and she'll start screaming and shaking. Let her go and she'll start chasing and trying to nip. We're really really having to work on control around small animals.
I'd also think about a baby gate to gate off a 'safe' room for the cats too.
Mia CGC - (5 year old papillon)
Summer TG3 TBAD - (10 year old papillon)
Hank- (10 month old Spotty Dog)
Re: Shelties and Cats?
Funny you should mention the vaccum. UGH the vaccum. Most hated by pets and small children alike.
I noticed early on that if he was out of his crate when I vaccuum he would transform into hyperrvigilent ferocious puppy face. So I would pick him up. Then I thought, nope this is not going to work out so I would crate him. OUT! is a command we use for the bathroom. He is NOT ALLOWED ( in caps for the people in my house) in the bathroom. That is where the cats eat. So I always say OUT! and look away from him. He then will sit at the very edge of the door and wait, patiently wait. I decided to say OUT! when I was vaccuuming yestrday and it like shocked him. He was in mid freak out and I turned off the machine and looked and him and said OUT!. He totally snapped out of it, he didn't quite leave the livingroom but he did chill. I started the machine and he Freaked again but this time I didn't shut it, I just said OUT! and he chilled!! for the rest of the 15 minutes that i vaccumed he chilled. yes!
okay back to the cats;
so he's not allowed in the bathroom and he's not supposed to be in bedrooms because they are carpeted and far from his door and his "potty bell" ( he rings the bell when he wants to go out) SO I am like the door man, cats are allowed in the bedrooms, puppys not. Puppys go outside but not on furniture, Cats go on furniture but not outside. sheesh..it's alot just to type it.
SO, if i am understanding you , the goal is not to allow this young whipper snapper to PREY on my cats. yikes. I have to be aware of them slinking through the house ( haven't seen a happy cat tail during the day in a Long time) and make sure to keep him in check. Do I make a noise or give him a specific command or treat him?
Oh, he also gets bent out of shape when he sees ME pet or snuggle the cats. That is the ONLY time i get mad at him. I don't do anything about it. I'm just like, get over yourself pup.
I am finding that having a pup is like having an infant or a child. and parenting a pup is very similar to raising children. lots of love, steady discipline, stabiltiy and good food.
Re: Shelties and Cats?
One common method for improving relations is treating for calm reactions (Look at That game). If the cats go in the bedroom and the dog is not allowed you could use that as a start for the training (assuming the cats are semi-comfortable in there). I would sit in the doorway with cat and dog treats. Have your dog settle down by asking for a sit or down (this training should be done when the dog is naturally at a lower energy level). Toss treats into the bedroom for the cat and treat the dog for watching them cats move around and continuing to sit or lay calmly. If the dog is having trouble, the treats should be fed quickly. As the dog improves, you can decrease the frequency.
If your cats have any clicker training, you can make this more active by having each animal target an object or your hand then treating and gradually moving the targets closer together.
This approach helped a lot with the way my dog saw my two cats. She is allowed to walk around following the cats, sniff, or lick them, but cannot chase. It also changes how the cats see the dog - my cats have become a bit better at sensing when the dog is calm vs. a playful.
This will not completely eliminate the chasing (at least it didn't for me). When my dog has the zoomies, she will still sometimes chase the cats. For that, you need to make sure you are on top of the energy level and anticipating when the dog will be hyper and getting the dog involved in fetch before he gets too hyper.
Re: Shelties and Cats?
Thank You both so much for helping.
Today was a much better day. Judah and Sebastian actually sat within inches of eachother while looking out the front door. It wasn't all that difficult to train Judah as he is a smarty. The Cat, Sebastian is more of a Smart BUTT. After a calm day he decided to go and eat Judahs food right in front of him. Judah looked at me and I gave the command "go ahead" and he chased the cat to the basement. UGH, nothing like training one fur kid and having the other one mess with his head.
It's just like raising human children.
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