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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just got a new foster dog two days ago.

She is an American Staffordshire, about 2-3 years old, and was rescued from
a dog fighting operation.
She loves people and other dogs, but she wants to eat my cat...!! Help!!

We now have a system to keep her seperated from the cat, but does
anyone have any ideas on how to change this behavior, or is it impossible for
her to change?

My husband seems to think that she may have been baited with cats.
 

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Keeping them separated is good, because you don't want to reinforce this behavior by allowing the dog to go after the cat. I've used crates to contain either the dog or the cat, so the cat is safe. Baby gates or ex-pens work, too, however, with a dog who could easily dismantle or knock down the gates, this wouldn't work. Whenever they're in the same room (having control of the dog, of course), you want the dog to associate good things happening whenever that cat is around (yummy treats, belly rugs, tug, or whatever turns the dog's crank the most).

It takes time. I didn't trust my rescue for about a year around my cats without being closely supervised. He gets along great with my cats, and also with daughter's 4 cats when we go over there.
 

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if cat were used to "bait" her then you have a very long and hard battle on your hands......IMO I don't think she would ever be trust worthy around cats.......if your lucky you might be able to get her to tolerate them with you supervising ...but never ever should she be left alone with cats.........thats one of the things that is so sad about dogs that have been fought:mad:
 

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Very, very carefully.

To be honest, if you're not already very familiar with desensitizing dogs, I'd probably just focus on regular obedience and keep her strictly separate from cats (including adopting her only to a no-cats home.) I would work on a REALLY strong recall and leave it and get them REALLY well proofed. (Start by teaching them with low-value items and progress in difficulty until you can call her off a tennis ball (or large, highly desirable treat) in mid-flight or have her do a leave-it mid-meal of something really delicious.) These are behaviors that are really useful for future adopters anyway. Take a look at the Doggy Zen sticky- Doggy Zen is basically teaching a dog self control, and if she's able to be excited but under control around cats, you're a good part of the way to having her be safe around non-running indoor cats.

The book "Control Unleashed" may be useful for you, but I'd strongly advise you, again, to get professional help before declaring her cat safe. Prey drive is SO strong in most pitties and cats are just not equipped to protect themselves from a predatory dog of any size. If there's any chance that a behaviorist (and I do not mean someone Milan-esque, I mean someone like Leslie MacDevitt or Greta Kaplan) can be brought in to set up a training plan, I think it'd be a really good investment for her future adopters, too.

While it's possible that she will someday be able to be trustworthy with cats with a lot of work, it's not a risk I'd take, given that the consequences of being wrong are likely to be a dead cat. A desensitization program for a dog who is seriously reactive to SOMETHING takes months if not years to complete- and you're probably not likely to have a foster dog that long in MOST cases. It's a good thing to START (even a dog in a no-cats home is still going to encounter cats, squirrels, and small dogs SOMETIMES, even if it's just on walks or in a veterinarians's waiting room) no matter what.
 

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Everyone b4 me has said it.

For all the training you will likely never be able to trust this dog around cats. She may have been encouraged to hurt or kill cats.. ppl who fight dogs have little respect for the lives of animals. If the dog has actually killed cats you may be out of luck.

Now.. having said this I will tell you my last GSD would kill Raccoons in the barn. She was taught to do this and she was good at her job (the raccoons carried Lepto and lived in the hay and would go in the grain bin.. and there was no way to raccoon proof the structures.. Lepto is passed through urine).

Anyway, one spring a Mother Raccoon was killed (not by the dog) and I ended up raising one of her babies.. "Ricky." The raccoon killing dog would lick this baby off and helped to care for him. Eventually he grew up and went the way of all adult raccoons. He ended up joining the raccoons in the barn.

In the morning when we went to the barn, we often came on raccoons and the dog would go for them Except Ricky. She would go flying up to Ricky all set for the kill and suddenly screech on the brakes and stand their licking Ricky's head. They had an agreement.. Ricky didn't bite her and she didn't bite him.

Yet, she would still kill other raccoons.

So, there are the RARE dogs out there who will learn the difference. Since this dog you have is a foster and will be rehomed, I would pursue physical separation and be darn sure whoever adopts the dog does not have cats and will never let the dog out loose where other cats may be around.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I don't have much experience in desensitization, just basic obedience.

When I do a written evaluation of this dog for the rescue, I will make sure to specify
NO CATS or small animals.
I tend to agree that she could never be totally trusted around cats, even with training.

It's such a shame, though...
She is such an intelligent dog, so eager to please.
I have already taught her the "sit", "down", and "come".

One more thing I noticed is that she is terribly frightened of running water or the sound of water coming from the hose.....*SIGH*

This is a picture of her from the rescue website:
 

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She's gorgeous.

I have two boxer/lab/pitX, and once they matured..they became cat aggressive. If they see one moving on the street, watch out..they want to hunt and chase. I have one cat inside. She is gated in the upstairs. The dogs do not react to her as long as she's behind a gate. They can be right next to each other....but outside of the gated area is another story. I decided just to keep them separate. My cat is 13 and not tolerant of dogs...so I decided not to go through the desensitization process. You may be able to get her to not chase them while supervised, but never unsupervised (sounds like you already know that though)

Good luck. RBark gave me some good advice with starting the cat in a crate and getting the dogs to where they don't react to the cat in the crate..and building from there. Cat outside the crate with the dogs on the leash, not allowing them to react or lunge. baby steps..and it would take about a year to get them to the point of being able to be in a room together and the cat being able to walk around.
 
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