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I have a maybe 1.5 year old English Springer Spaniel. He was a puppy mill dog that nearly died and has come a long way. He's getting more social with people and other dogs and LOVES his dog "brother."

We have two cats. One cat doesn't run from him and will claw him if he feels like it. The spaniel got clawed once or twice and now the cat and him have a working relationship. The spaniel goes up to him once a day or so, sniffs him, cat stays still, spaniel walks away and does whatever.

The other cat is a different story. This cat has "smacked" him but doesn't use his claws. When he sees the dog coming, he takes off running. This sets off the spaniels prey drive and he wants to chase him. The cat wants to come into the room where we are (and of course where the dogs are) and it's really causing anxiety in the cat.

So far, we have been using "leave it," yelling like lunatics when he tries to go after the cats, using treats when he's good around the cats, having him lay and stay when the cat walks through a room, and tried petting/praising him when the cat is around (basically showering him with love for being a good boy).

After 6 months he is still acting like he wants to chase them. Even if we get him to stay when the cat goes through the room, he is full of anxiety and his whole body shakes. If the cat is on the bed, the spaniel will run all around the bed and whimper, totally high strung. If he's separated from the cat, he will get as close as he can and just stare at the cat. Nothing lures him away - he's transfixed.

The other dog (a terrier/retriever mix) initially wanted to chase and bark at the cats. We kept him on a leash any time he was near the cats. We would basically feed him treats when the cat was around and get him to realize that leaving the cats alone was a good thing. He basically ignores the cats now.

With the spaniel, I'm guessing it's his hunting instinct that is driving him crazy. I don't really know what else to do. We've put literally thousands of dollars into this dog (he had a tick disease when we got him and had serious medical issues) and we love him so we don't want to get rid of him. But after 6 months of working with him and having a stressed out cat, I'm not sure what else I can do.

Please help with suggestions!
 

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I have the same problem (on bad days)... my solution was... gate the upstairs which is an escape for the cat... he can squeeze up the stairs and the dog can't... sometimes I think the cat enjoys it. Some days Brody doesn't care, some days he won't leave the cat alone and I think it depends on if the cat is walking around or sprinting.... like you said.
 

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We did put up a gate to the kitchen where the food is. The problem is that this is a very social cat and wants to follow his people around (he's way more dog like than cat like!). :-(

I'm having a baby soon and I was hoping I could have harmony among the pets in our family so that I can spend time with all the animals at once instead of having to lock myself in different rooms with the cat for quality time.
 

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I have two cats as well. One of them will actually initiate play with the dogs and likes to wrestles with them. He'll claw them if they're too rough, so they play great. The other cat runs away and hides when they approach, until he's used to them. I let the dogs chase him, but monitor to make sure he isn't overwhelmed. We adopted Kaytu in early October. The scaredy cat lived on the cat tree and on the chairs under the table for the last two months, coming out only to drink and use the litter box when Kaytu wasn't around. In the last couple days he's finally gotten over it and doesn't hide any more. Also I think in my case it's important to note that scaredy cat would run and hide for a week when I fostered kittens. He was scared and would hiss at 4 week old kittens. But he would warm up to them and become friends. That's why I didn't care that he was living on the cat tree for 2 months, I knew he'd get over it without being babied. Obviously there's a difference between a 4 week old kitten and a dog, but I knew he'd get over it.
 

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Be aware that yelling like lunatics, regardless of the words you use, will just encourage the behavior, as your body language and tone tell the dog that you are joining in his little game of chase.

Kind of ironic isn't it, the one dog whose instincts say "catch and kill" learned to ignore the cat, while the pointer/flusher/retriever can't give up the chase? But of course, what dog wouldn't chase a fleeing cat.

Were it mine, I'd pursue a strategy based on distracting and redirecting at the very first sign that he's getting "transfixed." Not sure how I'd implement, though.......
 
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