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My Rebel is a 6 yr old American Bulldog, we've only had him for 1 year. 2 months ago we moved into a farmhouse that came with two outdoor cats. The female cat let rebel know pretty quickly that any unwanted affection will get him a scratch on the nose. He and she now get along just fine.

However, the male cat is much more skidish and tends to run from Rebel. The other day the male cat (Beast) came into the house and found me in the kitchen. I was petting him when Rebel came into the kitchen and did the following pose: head down, ears perked, rump up and tail wagging. He was barking but seemed excited. Beast cowered and growled. I got on my knees and moved the cat into my lap. Rebel then began sniffing and he nipped a little. when he nipped I would pull Beast away and keeping my voice calm I would tell him gentle all while petting his head. This didnt really help him to calm down, he seemed really stressed and barked the entire time. My husband came into the room and I had him hold the cat while we both sat on the kitchen floor. He petted the cat while I petted the dog. We both kept a calm tone and told him to be gentle. He kept barking and seemed really distressed.. and then he LUNGED at the cat. At that point we made the dog go to his bed and put the cat outside.

Why does he act this way towards just the one cat? Both animals are very gentle and are both nutured. The cat gets along with other dogs and the dog gets along with other cats.

In the future, what should we be doing to encourage a better friendship?
 

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You let them work it out on their own. The mistake you made was making a 'big deal' about their relationship. Human attempts to correct that often fail or make it worse.
You step in only when it crosses the line....when a battle is going to start. Even then, you do it calmly by just stepping between them.
 

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Perhaps I should have mentioned that when the cat and the dog first met the dog tried his hardest to BITE the cat. We're very worried he's going to actually take a bite out of beast. How do we introduce them so that Rebel will not be voilent?
 

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As a cat owner myself with two dogs I know how hard this is but, you have to let them try and set their own rules of interaction.
My male dog went after the cat when we first got her. Fur flew only once (which was immediately broken up by me). He quickly learned that she has very sharp claws.
They were quite wary of each other and made large circles around each other for months. Now, they touch noses, sleep fairly close to each other and get along just fine.
The only thing you can really try to do is teach Rebel that the cat is not his to play with....you own the cat. If Rebel looks like he's about to pounce, step between them...make Rebel take one step back (that says he got the message). No corrections, yelling or commands....just your presence should be enough.
 

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I rarely disagree with Tooney on things but on this one I do. I have never allowed the dog and cats to "work it out." I have always controlled the dog and allowed the cats to control the relatinship, if there is even going to be one. It is important to train the dog and control the dog.

First off the bat, the cat runs. The dog chases. It is what dogs do. And yes, they will kill cats if they catch them.

Your dog's prey drive has kicked in and he would now kill the cat if allowed to.. and turst me, in these things the cat will ALWAYS lose.

The cat knows it too. He hunkered down and growled and hissed. This is called fight or flight. You prevented flight so he did the ONLY thing the cat thought he could do, and that is take an aggressive stance. Dogs do this when they feel threatened and it is called fear aggression.

You made a few mistakes in all this. You needed to stop the dog chasing the cat right at the start. You needed to control the dog and never allow him to approach the cats on his own. Cats do all the approaching, if they approach at all. Ever.

The other day when the dog came in and you were petting the cat, you tried to force a friendship that may never work.. especially with a dog that barks. Yes.. the dog sounds like he was initiating play but cats do not read dog body language at all.

The dog barking is another problem. Some cats will NEVER tolerate a dog barking and will always run. My dogs have all been taught from day one to quiet when I tell them... and since dogs that bark a lot drive me up the wall I get them over this very early on. No barking unless I say it is OK. Period. Nothing worse than a dog with so little self control he barks and barks when you first get home etc. so I put an end to that stuff right away.

The past is passed and you need to work this out now. I point out the mistakes so that if you get another dog, you know what to do.

First and foremost you have to control the dog. NO barking at the cat. NO approaching the cat. This relationship needs to be in the cat's control because the dog can kill the cat. Control the dog, NOT the cat. Do not hold the cat or force the relationship. Do control the dog. Restrain him if necessary. Remove the dog from the area if need be.

Agreeing with Tooney, IF the dog comes into a room and the cat is there and he starts up, get between the dog and the cat and lean over the dog and "cha cha" into him so he has to beack down. Let him know the cat is YOUR property and to leave the cat ALONE.

Most important of all, NEVER EVER allow the dog to chase the cat or the dog WILL kill him. This will require vigilance. Be sure that the cat has places he can go that are ALWAYS very close by that are DOG PROOF so the cat can get away should your vigilance lapse.

I have 5 cats and a dog and no problems. Have not had problems with dog and cat interactions in 30 years by handling things with the dog being controlled and quiet.
 

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Elana makes a good point about knowing your dogs prey habits. My guys are herding dogs, senior citizens and will chase sometimes when the cat runs but, they stop when the cat is cornered....game over...they all turn and walk away from each other. The cat almost aways starts this game in my house.....she taunts, teases and ambushes them into this game.
It is a fine line to walk....knowing how much control is needed and I agree with Elana....error on the side of caution.
 

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Those of us who operate herding dogs for herding really do have to train our pups to come off anything they chase. The dog must be trained to listen even in the face of a strong prey drive.

Fact is, that is really what herding is.. highly controlled prey drive.

I believe Tooney has Shelties. Wonderful dogs BTW. Almost got one instead of my GSD.

BTW myu dog plays with the cats on their invite and my supervision. Oliver is young and will insitgate the game. It can work.. but the OP is a long ways from that and some cats won't engage. Ever.
 
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