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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Need some advice on teaching a one year old dog not to chase cats. He is part beagle and part cattle dog. For about the first 3 weeks, he completely ignored the cats and the adoption place assured me he as good with cats. Now the instant he sees them, he chases them then pins them to the ground by their neck. We have had him for a total of 2 months now. So far we have dealt with it by saying no and directing him to the couch where he has to stay for a few min before he can be off again. I also push him away of he is messing with the cat within arm reach. The cats do have a bedroom they can relax in and plenty of high places that the dogs can’t reach in the rest of the house. I just need to know what else I can do. He is usually pretty obedient but he really likes chasing them more than he wants to listen to me. If I catch him starring and say no and put a hand on him, he doesn’t take off, otherwise it’s all bets are off. I am not against aversive training. By that I mean spraying water or making noise to stop him mid chase instead of waiting till I can reach them to interfere. Unfortunately sound and water have no effect on him. Shock collars aren’t an option I would be willing to consider though.

Is this a lost cause? I have one cat that braves coming out and he is getting better about going after him, 50% success, but I have another one that is just terrified and he hasn’t walked comfortable through the house in over a month. I know part of the draw is chasing him because he never sees him, but I have to make it stop. At the end of the day, the cats were here first so Rory is just going to have to get on board.
 

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Not a lost cause at all, though it does take a lot of time effort and work (plus maintenance!). I'm going to copy and paste a reply I made to someone with the same question a while ago. Hopefully it'll help you!

Well, I'll tell you what we did with Caeda, and you can take it or leave it, though I will say it has helped a LOT. Keep in mind though, nothing is an immediate fix, and it is an ongoing thing and will likely requite a bit of maintenance if things slip! I know this is long and I apologize, but it was a long process with a fair number of considerations!

First off, get AWESOME treats. If you have a distraction/correction word, use it, if you don't I would recommend one (You can check out Kikopup's info on positive distractors, very helpful). I strongly suggest to not scold or correct harshly, only use the leash pressure you need to to remove your dog from the situation if they are overstimulated, if they're really pulling I'd suggest a harness so there's less chance of the dog hurting its neck.

Have your dog on leash or a line so you can pull them away if necessary. Do NOT let your dog get at the cat (I would recommend separating the dog from the cats if possible for a while). Walk the dog in the direction of the cat, when he notices it pay attention! If there is no running or bolting or barking at the cat, treat for being calm. Work closer to the cat slowly, a foot or less at a time always give AWESOME treats for being calm. I did this method as a variation on kikopup's "Leave it without intimidation" and "Solving Counter Surfing"
If your dog bolts, use the correction word or positive distractor noise. and back up a bit. The responses might vary day to day, or minute by minute depending on the state of mind of your dog and on what the cat is doing.

Once you get some good calmness and you've worked up to a foot or two away you need to make a decision. What kind of relationship will the dog and cat have? Should they have contact at all? If your dog is showing ANY aggression towards the cat AT ALL separation is preferable, but if it is impossible you'll have to train your dog to ignore the cats period. If there isn't anything troubling you could leave it up to the cat. If the cat seems interested and willing to have interaction with the dog let them have contact, and praise and treat all good interactions (a sniff or a lick or whatever). If your cat seems uncomfortable, or is running off do not treat, if your dog chases after the cat when it runs, interrupt and no treat.

Keep it up again and again and again. Do it often with your dog in various states of mind (right after vigorous play when he might still be a little hyper....do this when he's already doing REALLY well). I would also recommend getting someone to play with one of the cats (or even just start out with someone holding the cat) and repeat the same procedure, so you can hopefully play with your cat or cuddle it without the dog jumping in.

If you have multiple cats, so you might have some issues, since it'll likely vary from cat to cat what is ok and what isn't. We have two, and Caeda has (mostly) learned what is ok with one isn't with the other one, though being puppyish she still gets the odd hiss out of the older one that HATES her, but plays with the younger one (who taunts her) quite well 95% of the time, and we can generally see when she's too hyper to be with the cats and control things. Just to put it in perspective, it took us easily 6 months of close monitoring to get comfortable with the interactions that they now have, but still make sure to praise good interactions and interrupt when necessary.

Please be careful with leaving your cat and dog unattended. Make sure there are LOTS of escape routes for the cats all over the house, safe high places for them to hang out. I know its a pain in the behind to do all of this stuff, but it is worth it...hindsight might be 20/20, but it doesn't make a difference if you come home to any of the potential nightmares that could happen. Not just the cats could get hurt, but the dog too, BIG vet bills and an animal in pain.

Also keep in mind you may just have a cat that will taunt the dog (I do!)...you may have to consider a bit of management and training on the cat side of things too.

Good luck, I hope this helps. It is what we did with Caeda who is fairly prey driven and pretty hyper, and it has worked relatively well, but it may or may not work for you. Sorry again for the length, but I wanted to describe it well.

Again mods, I'd like to recommend a sticky on this issue!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just wanted to say thank you Great Swiss. Last night I started giving Rory treats when the cat walked through the room and he didn’t lunge for him. By the end of the night he would see the cat then look at me waiting to see if he would get a treat. I’m using this for “not on the couch” as well. This basically means that if they are having a wrestle session on the couch and I say not on the couch and he comes over then he gets a treat. I let them do whatever they want on the floor. I’m pretty sure that if I keep doing it, the behavior will stop. Either that or he will have the best recall ever 
 
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