Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I introduced a rescue pit mix to my household about 4 weeks ago. One of the reasons I chose this dog was his disinterest in feral cats outside of the shelter. There were 5-8 cats within a few feet of him and the dog took notice of them, but kept his focus on me and getting pet. He couldn't care less about the cats.

When I brought the dog home, he initially had the same level of interest in my cat. We've established that he can not go upstairs or downstairs, so the cat has a couple of safe havens and is free to be a kitty at night.

The problem is....within the last week or so a game of "chase kitty" has begun and doesn't seem to have an end in sight. The cat will try to join us in the living room or lay in his normal spot on one of the chairs and the dog will almost immediately get up to chase him into one of the stairwells. If the cat is laying at the top of the stairs the dog will bark at the bottom of the stairs which is startling when your relaxing in front of the tv and a piercing bark comes out of nowhere. The interest in the cat doesn't seem to be aggressive more playful. He just doesn't get that the cat doesnt want to play.

So what should I be doing to stop the chase game? I was telling the dog "leave it," but that isn't working entirely. If the dog is laying on the couch and the cat comes into the room he immediately springs off of the couch so even if I stop him, he still succeeds in chasing the cat out of the room.

Your thoughts please :wave:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
have you thought of doggy time outs?

when he chases the kitty, say "too bad" and make him go to his spot for about 5 minutes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
If your going to use leave it, then teach it completely first, then use it with the cat..I had to do this with my shepherd pup and it works most of the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
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.

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 cats 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.

(BTW mods....is there a sticky that I've missed on having cats and dogs? if there isn't one I would recommend it! If the above helps feel free to use and edit as needed).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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.

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 cats 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.

(BTW mods....is there a sticky that I've missed on having cats and dogs? if there isn't one I would recommend it! If the above helps feel free to use and edit as needed).
Thanks so much for all the info, Greater Swiss! I'll definitely give it a go. I actually don't have multiple cats, just the one. The other cats I was referring to in my post were some outdoor feral cats at the shelter. Given that my dog had zero interest in them, I took that as a good sign that he wouldnt be aggressive with my own cat. I crate him when I'm not home to err to caution, but so far no overt aggression toward the cat. He's definitely having too much fun with this chase game, though, and I want to put an end to it ASAP.

A couple follow-up questions.....when the cat is in the stairwell, the dog will go over to the bottom of the stairs and look up at him. I wasn't sure if he should be looking/focusing on the cat all at so I've been correcting that. I either try to distract him or tell him leave it. He never goes up the stairs after the cat (he can climb the stairs and has been up there with me a few time, but he's learned that I don't want him upstairs and he doesn't ever try going up there after the cat). That said....there is a period of time when he's looking up at the cat and is calm. Based on your post, that is OK and I should reward the calm interest. After a while at the bottom of the stairs, he'll start to get bouncey and eventually bark at the cat. What specifically should I do when the calm changes to excited?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
259 Posts
I have a cat as well in the house. Jax is similar, in that he doesn't get aggressive with Turbo (the cat) but does try to play a lot more often than Turbo would like. I also have a second floor, which Jax isn't allowed to venture up to without me, and that's only when going to sleep at night as he now sleeps in my room. That gives Turbo the second floor to get away to when he wants, and his food, water, and litter box are up there as well. Downstairs, Turbo also has "his" place which happens to be on the end of my futon that sits in a corner with 2 windows. Jax can get on the couch with me, but isn't allowed on the futon. Every once in a while, if he's being calm, I won't instantly tell him to get off if he jumps up there, but he does know better. They've made a lot of progress in the 2 months I've had Jax. It's been a little more work than expected, as Turbo is also a playful nut who's learned the hard way from other cats that family have, that not every animal wants to play as much or as rough as he does. But with Jax, he has no desire.

When I'm not home, Jax is either crated or confined to the kitchen. Turbo will venture in and around him, but obviously has every opportunity to stay away. When I'm home, I just keep an eye on them. It sounds like you have a slightly more aggressive/frustrating situation in part because of the barking (which I don't have an issue with) but really, I just watch the both of them and when Jax begins to irritate Turbo, I give Turbo the chance to end the situation (yeah, Jax has been slapped in the face a few times, walked away with a whimper once), and if Jax is getting too aggressive in his attempts to play, I'll call him off. Often times I'll proceed to keep his attention for a few minutes, distract him with a few playful attempts of my own and get him to focus elsewhere and calm down before I let him go.

So I guess a lot of my method has been to make certain Turbo has his own places he can get away (upstairs completely during the day, and any time on the futon) but otherwise to let them sort it out themselves unless Jax tries too hard to play and won't back down. Slowly but surely, they've gotten better and better. I'd have tried more clear training had there been any real issue introducing them, but after the first 2 days of having Jax and Turbo being scared to death around him, Turbo quickly took over and showed him who was here first (even had Jax pinned into a corner of the kitchen at one point in the first week) before Jax realized he's the bigger animal. I walked in on them together in Jax's crate, quietly and peacefully, maybe 3 weeks back. I just started having Jax sleep in my room the past week or two, and while he sleeps on the floor, Turbo hadn't slept in the room since (he previously slept in my bed nearly every night) until the past 2 nights. Now Jax is in the floor and Turbo is back in the bed. Earlier, with Turbo on the futon, Jax sniffed around, crawled up there, and I let him for a minute or two as he was being nice...until he decided to play, at which time I called him off.

Time will likely go a long way for you, being that it doesn't sound like the dog is doing much other than wanting to play. Add a few positive reinforcement methods in there to try to keep him calm and away, and continue to give the cat freedom to get away from him to quiet places, and they'll likely both improve. It's an adjustment. My first 2 weeks were crazy with one being scared, then the other, till they both returned to normal and began warming up to each other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Thanks so much for all the info, Greater Swiss! I'll definitely give it a go. I actually don't have multiple cats, just the one. The other cats I was referring to in my post were some outdoor feral cats at the shelter. Given that my dog had zero interest in them, I took that as a good sign that he wouldnt be aggressive with my own cat. I crate him when I'm not home to err to caution, but so far no overt aggression toward the cat. He's definitely having too much fun with this chase game, though, and I want to put an end to it ASAP.

A couple follow-up questions.....when the cat is in the stairwell, the dog will go over to the bottom of the stairs and look up at him. I wasn't sure if he should be looking/focusing on the cat all at so I've been correcting that. I either try to distract him or tell him leave it. He never goes up the stairs after the cat (he can climb the stairs and has been up there with me a few time, but he's learned that I don't want him upstairs and he doesn't ever try going up there after the cat). That said....there is a period of time when he's looking up at the cat and is calm. Based on your post, that is OK and I should reward the calm interest. After a while at the bottom of the stairs, he'll start to get bouncey and eventually bark at the cat. What specifically should I do when the calm changes to excited?
AH only one...I read the bit about 8 cats and got that stuck in my head. Way easier! I agree with Sscot it sound like play, so at least you just have to worry about how hard your dog might try to play with the cat, not about your dog actually attacking (at least for now).
With my cat, since we're ok with interaction, we praised calm interest, so as long as you (and especially your cat!) are ok with some interaction I would say praising that is fine. When he starts getting bouncy grab his drag lead (which I would recommend while you're getting him good with the cat) and pull him back, or if just a distraction works, do that. If you want to do a training session right there and then walk back towards the cat, and again praise the calm interest, or even better if he looks at the cat then just ignores it. Try to work closer. Whenever the calm changes to excited, back up a few steps, distract and then work a little closer again when he is calm. The annoying thing that I found is that the threshold were Caeda would get excited often changed depending on her state of mind, if she was already excited we couldn't get as close, but those odd times we made little breakthroughs and got closer without her dashing seemed to make a big difference! If you can train a really really solid "Down" I found this helped with the chasing, Caeda would skid to a halt during a chase and down, giving the cat time to escape (Treats for that!!!), or at minimum get her attention on me for a second. It can also help with the moment the excitement starts

Of course this is your dog, who might not respond the same way to this kind of thing, but it did work wonders for us. Once you get them nose to nose (some day!) if you want interaction treat for a sniff or a lick, so long as the cat is cool with it. If you or the cat don't want interaction only treat for ignoring the cat.

If you ever have the situation where they accidentally meet and the dog does really well be absolutely sure to at least give a "GOOD DOG!" get a treat if you can. I loved it when these moments happened!

Watch the cat too though, be aware of how it is responding to the dog. If you're unlucky enough to have a cat that taunts the dog like mine did you might have to (I hated doing it) pull out a squirt gun for the cat. If your cat has lots of places to go and actually instigates the chase game I wouldn't worry TOO much, but about stopping it completely, but you'll have to watch what your dog does when it gets to the cat. I also found a calming collar useful for the other cat who gets UTIs when he is stressed.

If your cat ever claws at your dog you'll have to watch how that goes too.....it'll either make the dog smarten up, or make it want to chase the cat more (depending on the dog, or state of mind). If one little scratch across the nose does the job you'll be in luck (so long as no eyeballs get hit!).

Now when Caeda gets bad and plays too hard (which she still does occasionally), we'll tell her "NO" and "BAD" (words she's familiar with as warnings for a time out) tether her to a doorknob in a safe spot and walk away for 5 mins or so. The harshest we ever got with her was a little whack on the butt, just enough to get her attention (not hard). We're at the stage interruption, or even just "No" normally works to snap her out of it.

Again, be sure to watch your cat!!! It really needs to be up to the cat what is ok and what isn't, and you need to be the one to kind of translate that for the dog.

I know how frustrating the situation is, but eventually it'll catch on. Ignoring the feral cats is a good sign, but this is a different cat, so no shock that there's some new interest. It takes lots of time and patience. I know the first time I saw one of our cats and the dog cuddled on the bed it became all worth it!
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top