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I have an australian cattle dog -"zero" about 16 mos. old.
I rescued him about 8 months ago from the humane society - think he was a stray - no name or story - no leash training, etc.
Super smart dog though, within a few months I taught him a whole array of tricks, leash training has been a success, and he listens very very well (most of the time).
The only thing is, he only listens when he's not chasing a cat or squirrel or something. Once he is in hunting mode - he hunts, and ignores me. When he sees a cat or knows one is around, it gets his full attention. And i've tried a number of things to get his attention from the cat, but he's very onto it(the cat). Just recently, he escaped from the front door that was just left slightly ajar for a second. and ran to the other side of our fence (he never goes very far if he escapes-usually to find something to eat). It took us a minute to find him and once we did, we found he was in a standoff with a cat, which doesn't last long usually. The cat gets a few good swipes in and is usually gone up a tree or away from him. This time however, the cat got a few swipes in and zero grabbed it by the neck and shook it like a toy and broke its neck. There are a lot of loose cats around our area, but it's not to say that it might not have been someone's pet. I know dogs have instinctual traits, but I was wondering if there is any training methods or things I could teach him so that I can control him better by voice, or distract him from his dire intent on the cat.
Thanks for any advice!
-Chad
 

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I would look for a good trainer in your area, and work with them. This isn't something IMO that you are going to fix using advice on the www. If it was my dog, I would also be introducing it to an electric collar. I don't know how you feel about compulsion training, but considering he's now killed one cat, you have to fix this problem NOW. He's learned now that he can kill them, and probably won't back down the next time he corners one and it takes a swipe at him. I'm all about teaching without compulsion, although will proof using it. But not when other animals are being injured and/or killed.
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^ditto this.

And since he does not sound biddable, he likely will never be able to be trusted. He has killed. He has found it fun. End of story without really knowing what you are doing.

My last dog, who herded cattle, would kill anything I set her on to kill but would STOP any time I told her. I had her let go of wood chucks she had in her mouth. I would say, "ENOUGH!" (her leave it command) and she did. I never used an e collar to train it. I did start from day one. She had to stop in prey drive in order to herd cattle.. or the cattle would be over a cliff or through a fence.

There is an Australian Cattle dog fellow on this Forum.. Johnny Bandit.. who could give you advice but I suspect he would send you to a trainer as well. He is in FL as are you and I believe he is a professional trainer of dogs and especially this breed.
 

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X3 I would be consulting a trainer now as its so much easier to deal with a dog if you've seen it in person.

That being said, I just wanted to add that you need to make sure you're working under the dog's threshold. If you're trying to train him when you're 10 feet away from a cat and he's totally focused on the cat, you're not going to get anywhere. My dog has high prey drive and apparently caught and ate squirrels etc. (he was on the run for a few weeks) before I got him. I had to start working him a good 200 feet or more away from the "prey" before I got anywhere. He can be called off now but I still don't trust him 100%. If we're in an unfenced area and we're working he's on a harness and long line. Period. If having him not get out again means that he needs a tie-down that you put him on before you open an outside door, do that. Deeken is boundary trained to our front and side door (they go into unfenced yard) so he only crosses when he's told he can but I used to crate him or close him in the back of the house before I opened the front door since if he saw the neighbours cat, he would try to bolt toward it.
 
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