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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I have a 9-year-old male terrier mix who eats the cats' food when he knows I'm not looking. Very sneaky. I've tried the obvious things like closing the door (he opens it when my back is turned), yelling at him, etc, etc. With 10 animals in my care in a tiny house, it is virtually impossible to monitor every critter's whereabouts at every moment.

Here's what I envision: a mat on which I can place cat food which will deliver a mild shock via a little device on the miscreant's collar when he sneaks in to steal the food. The mat would not affect humans or cats, just dogs whose collar was so equipped. Same principal as the bark collars. Does such a thing exist?

If you have a suugestion, I'd appreciate your replying via email to (email address deleted) Thanks!
 

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Why not just put the cat's food up where the dog can't reach it but the cat can?

Yelling does no good. Dog's do not speack English.
 

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You don't need anything nearly as complex as a magical mat that will zap a collar when it is stepped on. Just put the cat's food on top of a washing machine, shelf, countertop, table or any high surface that the cat can get to but the dog can't. That, or put the cat's food in a room and put a babygate over the doorway -- the cat can get over it, but the dog can't.

Yelling doesn't help -- he doesn't know what he's doing wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, of course your solution seems obvious. If I hadn't already tried all of the obvious solutions, I would not have contacted the forum. But you'd have to see my miniscule kitchen to realize that there is no such "high" place. The human traffic in the house doesn't remember to close the gate. Did I mention that there are 5 cats and 5 dogs? And this dog DOES know when he is misbehaving. His biggest problem is that he is TOO smart! That's why he watches and waits until I leave the room to approach the cat dishes.

I am very patient with my animals--which is why I bend over backward to meet each of their needs and spend 4-5 hours a day monitoring food, water, and other needs.

So I return to my original question: is there any technology that will assist in training this dog to keep away from places he shouldn't be and doing things he shouldn't do.

Thanks
 

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There is no financially feasible technology that I know of.

However, your post does point out why corrections do not work for things like this. The dog does not associate eating cat food with being bad. He associates eating cat food in your presence with being bad. You have actually trained this (inadvertantly, I am sure).

You actually have another solution you can invoke. Instead of "free feeding" the cats (leaving food out all the time), feed them at specified times and crate the terrier while they eat. By feeding the cats at specified times you can monitor how much the cats eat, prevent the cats from becoming obese and at the same time stop the dog from eating the cat food. I have not "free fed" my cats in years. I immediately know when any cat is sick this way because I know how much each one is eating.

An even easier option is to crate the terrier when he cannot be watched.

You could also try to train the dog not to go into the room where the cat food is at all. My dog is not allowed in teh kitchen EVER. This means she cannot get to the hall where the cat food is located either.

There IS technology in the form of indoor boundary controls which work in a fashion similar to the invisible fence most people use outdoors. The issue in a small house is the dog may not be able to get far enough off the boundary to avoid the warning tone or the shock.

Technology is usually the lazy way out and since nothing like this is available I reckon you will have to do some training work.

Another option is to train the humans. Aversive corrections do often work on adult humans. I will leave it up to your own imagination as to what correction to apply to get the desired result (paying attention to shutting the gate).
 

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Elana55 said it all. I don't have a big house, and used to have as many as 21 cats (fostered pregnant queens and nursing mothers, plus orphans), in addition to my own 5 cats, and 2 dogs. Management is required. Cats do not have to be free fed; mine have learned that you eat when there's a bowl in front of you, or you end up with nothing. Structure and routine is the ticket, along with training your dog that the kitchen is off limits, if you continue to leave cat food out. Otherwise you'll continue to create more work for yourself, and to set your dog up to fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you both! I appreciate your time to provide lengthy replies, as well as your empathetic tone. Just FYI, I don't free feed the cats, but unless I stand over them until they finish eating, I can't be sure the dog won't pop in. Training the "human" (read husband :-> ) is much harder!

Again, thanks. It helps just to write it down!
 

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Oh the husband training is easy. Shock collar. Set it on high. :eek:

I would just crate the terrier when the cats are fed.
 

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PLEASE don't post your email address on a public forum. Spammers have the technology to harvest all those address (with very little effort) and add your address to a long list of spamees. Then you'll be asking, "Why did I start getting all this spam after joining dogforums?"

The purpose of the private messaging here is to make it easy (but not TOO easy) for people to contact you privately.

My son has a dog. His roommate has a cat. Both are free-fed (but not while visiting us, since we have two opportunistic dogs that live here.) The dog would eat the cat's food and the cat would eat the dog's. That wouldn't seem to be a problem, except that dogs and cats have different dietary needs.

The solution, which doesn't sound like it would work for you, but might help others, was to put the cat's food where the dog can't reach it and to switch the dog to a kibble that he likes, and the cat doesn't.

In fact, the dog likes it well-enough that the cat never really gets a chance to try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, Ron. I'm pretty new to forums and blogs, and never even thought of spammers. I appreciate your time and suggestions.
 

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I think you are just out of luck. Either put it up or expect the dog to eat it.

Imagine leaving a small child alone in a room with a candy dish. Would you expect them not to eat any? And they can understand you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think you are right, James. It's the sneakiness that gets to me as much as anything else. Again, you'd have to see this dog to believe it. I've had him his whole life and he's very smart, very stubborn, and VERY sneaky! I love him because he's so much like a cat! :)

Thanks to everyone who responded. I'm glad I found this forum.
 

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Buying a small side table to put the food on seems a lot cheaper than an electric mat. And nicer...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
yes, it does. As I replied early on, there is NO SPACE to do this. For right now, I'm just standing by while the cats eat, then putting the food on the kitchen counter top until the next feeding time. I had hoped to train the dog to behave differently, but the consensus on the forum seems to be "It won't work." After living with--and being owned by--various critters for over 40 years, I guess I can work around this one, too! :) Again, thank you to all who took time to reply.
 

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Wait, so what is wrong with just putting it on the counter top in the first place? The cat can't get on the counteR?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wait, so what is wrong with just putting it on the counter top in the first place? The cat can't get on the counteR?
OK, the countertop available space measures 24 x 24. It is my "storage" area for dish detergent, a spice rack, a rack of jellies, a jar of candied ginger, and a supply of clean kitty dishes. That leaves approximately 1-1/2 sq ft remaining, on which I set cat-food-in-progress (cans, partially eaten kitty dinner, etc). There is simply not enough room, I repeat, for 5 cats to gather there and eat! And no, feeding is shifts is not an option either, since not even ONE cat will really fit there without his stepping in the dish drainer.

When I posted my initial question, I was hoping someone might be able to suggest a training idea, because believe me, I have exhausted all of the space allotment ideas already!
 
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