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We have a one year old sheltie (Dexter) and a 2-3 year old long-hair cat (Lizzie). Lizzie is an extremely laid back cat. Because of this, Dex doesn't fear her claws and proceeds to tackle her frequently and gnaw on her neck or jump up and pull out clumps of her fur. Lizzie just meows and lays back down. This happens over and over again on a daily basis. Lately, Dex has been getting more aggressive going after her. He'll tackle her and won't let her get up as she is meowing for help.

We have tried the following at various times to get him to stop:
- Putting him on his back and telling him 'no'
- Tried standing between them and telling him 'no'
- Keeping him on a leash inside so he can't get to her
- Confining him to a hallway for 5-10 minutes as a 'time-out'
- Trying to distract him by offering him a toy to play with instead of her

As soon as he is 'released' from the leash or hallway, he always runs and tries to find her. If we just tell him no or offer him a different toy, he looks at us, then runs and gets her.

What can I do to stop him from pestering the cat? I am desparate to fix this problem as it seems to be getting worse.
 

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I don't really have any experience since my dog isn't good with cats so I've never owned both a dog and a cat.

However "Putting him on his back and telling him 'no'" isn't really a good approach.
and I would wonder if "Trying to distract him by offering him a toy to play with instead of her" reinforces the behavior rather than discourages it since it could be seen as mess with cat = more toys and playtime......

Does Dexter actually understand what "no" even means? I know a lot of dogs tends to respond better to have more consistent sounds like "acht" instead of "no" to be trained as the correcting command.

I would think something like rewarding him be being calm around the cat and removing him away from the cat for being rough could be a way to approach training him. But like I said I have no experience and am certainly not an expert on these things. Ideally, I would just keep the cat and dog separate.
 

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We have a one year old sheltie (Dexter) and a 2-3 year old long-hair cat (Lizzie). Lizzie is an extremely laid back cat. Because of this, Dex doesn't fear her claws and proceeds to tackle her frequently and gnaw on her neck or jump up and pull out clumps of her fur. Lizzie just meows and lays back down. This happens over and over again on a daily basis. Lately, Dex has been getting more aggressive going after her. He'll tackle her and won't let her get up as she is meowing for help.

We have tried the following at various times to get him to stop:
- Putting him on his back and telling him 'no'

Agreed, this isn't a good choice.

- Tried standing between them and telling him 'no'
- Keeping him on a leash inside so he can't get to her
- Confining him to a hallway for 5-10 minutes as a 'time-out'
- Trying to distract him by offering him a toy to play with instead of her

As soon as he is 'released' from the leash or hallway, he always runs and tries to find her. If we just tell him no or offer him a different toy, he looks at us, then runs and gets her.

What can I do to stop him from pestering the cat? I am desparate to fix this problem as it seems to be getting worse.
How long have you had Lizzie and Dexter?

My dogs and cats get along great. The thing is, if one of our dogs ever gets too rough, and doesn't respond to our "gentle" command, then he and the cat are separated so he cannot go back to the cat. Then, after a bit, it's back to normal.
BUT, you have to supervise them together. That way, you never really let things get rough without being right there to be able to respond. If there are any times that you kind of give up, or don't see them together, and he's rough with her, then all the training, distracting, interrupting in the world isn't really going to work, as Dexter will realize that sometimes he gets away with it and sometimes he doesn't.

Does Lizzie have an area in the home where he can get away from Dexter, to have a break?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We have had Dexter since last October. We brought him home at 9 weeks old. We got Lizzie around the new year at about 2 years old. Lizzie can get away as the basement is hers and Dex can't get down there. However, she is such a laid back cat, she usually just sits there and takes it.

As for separating them when Dexter gets rough, we can lock her in the bathroom for a bit, but my wife feels we are punishing Lizzie for what Dexter is doing. Dexter doesn't seem to care when we move him or Lizzie to another room. He simply waits until the next time they are together and goes after her.

It seems people here are against putting the dog on their back and telling them "no." What other options do I have for getting my point across that he is doing wrong?
 

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Putting a dog on his back is basically, in a dog's mind, being a bully. A dog will voluntarily lay on it's back with someone they trust, for belly rubs and such. But, forcing a dog on his back can cause him to not trust you. And, it can take awhile to get that trust back.

Teach the "leave it" command. Manage the situation so that he is never allowed to get to the "too rough" point. Observe him closely for the very subtle signs that mean he's about to get rough with her. Then, BEFORE it happens, stop him from getting there by using the "leave it" command, or by asking him to sit, or perform some other incompatible behavior.

What happened when you tried the leash thing?

And, by the way, you don't have to put Lizzie in confinement, you can put Dexter in a pen, or crate, or doggy safe area.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll try to work on the "leave it" command, but when Dex is going after Lizzie, he usually doesn't respond to much.

What happened when you tried the leash thing?
When he is on the leash, he chews on it. As soon as he is let off the leash, he runs back over to Lizzie.

And, by the way, you don't have to put Lizzie in confinement, you can put Dexter in a pen, or crate, or doggy safe area.
We don't want to put him in his crate since that is his "safe area" and we don't want to associate that with punishment. When we put him in doggy time out, as soon as he is out, he runs right back over to Lizzie.
 

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Many people may not agree with this but I firmly believe in the water bottle method because my dogs respond to it well. I’ve only actually had to shoot them a couple of times but it’s the only way interfere as soon as the harassing starts. It really solidified the “I said no” principal. Now when they get super excited or rowdy and won’t calm down, I can walk across the room to get it and the behavior stops before I even pick it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Many people may not agree with this but I firmly believe in the water bottle method because my dogs respond to it well. I’ve only actually had to shoot them a couple of times but it’s the only way interfere as soon as the harassing starts. It really solidified the “I said no” principal. Now when they get super excited or rowdy and won’t calm down, I can walk across the room to get it and the behavior stops before I even pick it up.
Maybe I'll pick up a squirt gun or water bottle tonight. Since saying "NO" or even yelling it doesn't seem to get his attention, I'm sure water will. Dexter hates getting wet so hopefully, that can deter him.
 

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Yes, water might work, but if he already hates getting wet that will only escalate his dislike of water, making baths harder, and swimming no fun.
You have to start teaching leave it with something other than the cat, and work up to it. Of course, when he's excited and is chasing the cat he is too distracted to be taught/work on a new concept. You can teach with a toy, or with some other object. Do a search on how to teach it.

Time out can be a different place besides the crate. I agree that you don't want the crate used for punishment. But, if you have a laundry room, or a bathroom, or other dog safe room, you can use that when you need it.

Yelling can excite a dog even more. So, if he's after the cat, and you yell, it can seem like part of the fun to him. And, "no" doesn't mean anything to dogs, they don't speak English.

"No" is confusing to dogs, too, because, well, how many times a day do we use the word? I use it when my husband asks if I need anything at the store, or when my niece asks if she can cut holes in her new jeans, or a loud "oh no!" when I spill my coffee. Dogs hear it. But, then we use it to them, and expect them to know that it is a negative word. And, sometimes, it changes, like when we say "no, no, no-no! NO NO!" when something goes from bad to worse or when someone doesn't respond right away.

But, dogs go on sounds. So, "No" is different from "no, no, no-no! NO NO!"
And, the biggest problem is that we humans inherently understand that no is a negative word. It means stop, it means the opposite of yes, it has lots of suble meanings, but they are all negative. We assume dogs know that, and they don't.

Better to use an "interrupter" word that has no secret, hidden meanings that humans know and dogs don't. Like "hey!" or "ah ah"......
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We got two squirt bottles for around the house and it has greatly reduced the "attacks." I think the quick squirt surprises Dex and it immediately separates the two. He is much better about being around Lizzie while being nice rather than gnawing on her. There are times where you can tell he is thinking about going after her, but after weighing it over in his head, decides not to.
 
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