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So my 5 month old Australian Shepherd has just decided that the cat is interesting after all. She has been great up until a few days ago. She is acting as if she just wants to play with the cat and when the cat runs away the chase is on. She is not showing any signs of aggression towards the cat, but will paw her or jump around her (very similar to how she plays with other dogs). The cat has taken lots of swipes but doesn't seem to do anything. I have tried to just let their relationship work itself out but now it's happening inside the house and things are getting broken. The dog will just sit by the cat and whine. Last night our dog got up in the middle of the night to chase the cat! She does know 'leave it' which works great if I can catch her right before she does it, but if she is already chasing there is no stopping it. What do I do? Any tips would be great!

Also... she has been great on a leash but has also just recently started crossing from my left side (the side she is always on) to the right. She does this in the front of me and in back of me. I usually just tug the leash so she gets back on the left side, but she is doing it more and more.

Thanks!
 

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This is my dog, and one of the cats.



I've obviouslly chosen the "work it out for yourselves" method, lol. We also have an indoor-only cat that she does the same thing with inside the house. This particular cat is the neighbor's outdoor cat.

The best thing I can recommend about things being broken is to puppy-proof the house. If things are being broken that the dog and cat can get near, then the house is not dog proof, at least not for the level of activity you now have to deal with. Breakables are pretty to look at but it's time to put them all away or on a higher shelf :D Make sure the dog and cat have no access to anything they can break ever.

You mention the dog is chasing the cat at night.. so confine the dog. You can crate the dog, or you can just lock the dog and cat in different rooms -- at night our 5 month old Eskie sleeps in our bed, but the door is closed and the cat and his food/litter box are locked OUT of the bedroom. This prevents midnight sparring rounds.

Keep up with the "leave it", and make sure there is never a single time you let go by where you don't tell the dog to leave the cat alone. If you only use "leave it" some of the times, and the rest of the time you let them fight, then the command is essentially worthless. You have to pick one: let them do what they want to do, or never let the dog do this again. You can't go half-and-half. You have to choose and be consistent.

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Re: the walking. Perhaps work with a treat-reward when the dog gets back into line. Lots of praise when the dog does well. Make sure you praise while the dog is walking nicely even before she does anything wrong. Often we forget to look for opportunities to praise our dogs.. we often just wait until they do something bad, then when they respond to our commands we praise them. But remember to praise along the way while walking nicely as well, even if the dog never steps out of line, to remind the dog that she's a good pup.

If the dog pulls in either direction, what you can do is take a sharp turn 90-degrees or 180-degrees and walk in a new direction. This reminds the dog that she does not have control of the walk. Dog follows human, not the other way around. You can throw in a verbal command like "heel" and with consistency you can probably get her back into line without tugging the leash at all, just a gentle verbal reminder.

That being said, your pup is 5 months old and is going through that awkward adolescent stage.. it's like a child turning into a teenager. Everything is changing for your dog and so you may find her behavior starts to step out of line even when she was once "perfect" in x-command or y-command. This is normal :) Just be consistent and you'll have no problems going into the future I'm sure.
 
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