Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just recently fostered a rescue family and adopted the female out of the litter. Her name is Zoe, she's a Pit/Akita mix, and she's... well... she's a puppy. She's around 4 months now. We're doing pretty well on the leash training, house breaking (with the occasional accident), and basic obedience commands. However, Zoe has a problem.

I have an senior cat who has been the Queen of her domain her entire life. Friends that would bring over their dogs were greeted by an angry swatting cat. But my cat, Belle, has really gone above and beyond for this puppy. She's never been aggressive towards Zoe without provocation and she's even kissed and scent-marked Zoe while she is sitting still/sleeping (which is a rare occasion if the cat is around).

The problem is that Zoe views Belle as a litter mate and wants to play. She puts her little butt up in the air, tail wagging, and lunges at Belle, which to a cat is VERY aggressive. She runs after Belle, not in a "prey instinct" way, but in a "HEY LET'S RUN TOGETHER!" way, and this scares Belle to death. We've tried to correct this (by holding her back, keeping Zoe out of the bedroom, which is Belle's "safe zone", and punishing her when she DOES chase Belle, lunge, or bark). BELLE has tried correcting her by hissing and sometimes popping her. But Zoe thinks, "YAY! THE CAT IS PLAYING WITH ME!"

It's not just cat. My friend brought over his very well behaved Pit to kind of "show Zoe the ropes" because that's how all of his other animals were such quick learners -- they learned by example. The Pit would try to correct Zoe with a slight nip or growl, and Zoe, again, thinks "OH BOY! PLAY!"

Just this afternoon I took her outside to visit her momma and daddy and her mother was eating. Zoe was on the outside of the pen bouncing around and her mother growled at her. Zoe didn't get it, and Momma lunged and barked at the fence. Zoe responded with a tail wag and went RIGHT BACK TO THE PEN.

What is her problem? Is she just too young to understand?

Thanks for reading all this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
She sounds like a normal over energetic puppy. It takes them a while to learn their lessons sometimes.

I'd work on getting her more exercise to start so she has less energy to bother the cat. Then I'd work on training proper behavior around the cat rather than punishing for bad behavior. Every time she is calm around the cat or isn't bugging the cat or even just ignoring the cat for a second, mark (with a clicker or your voice) and treat that behavior.

Why are her parents outside?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Oh, we definitely reward her when she's being calm and sweet. We let her run a bit when we take her out to potty potty, but when we install the electric fence she'll definitely be burning off a lot more energy, so I'm hoping that will make a difference. We also play fetch and tug of war for a decent amount of time each day. She's a puppy and a terrier, so I understand there's a lot of energy to burn.

The adults are outside because 1. we don't know how they are around cats and 2. we knew it would be easier to get Belle adjusted to a puppy rather than adults, since her bad experiences were with bigger, adults dogs. I'm going to assume that they wouldn't be great with a cat because I know that they have super high prey drives. Daddy (Akit mix) got loose and chased the HORSES. I thought I was having a heart attack.

Also, I should probably clarify that Belle scent marks Zoe by rubbing her face on her, not peeing. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
And it's not an "electric fence", once of the invisible ones with the collars. We have an acre for her to run before she even gets to that barrier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
You could get a long line leash so she can have some more freedom to run around, always supervised of course. By electric fence I'm guessing you mean the invisible type where the dog wears a collar? I think you will find many people on this forum don't support the use of that type of containment system. There is a thread here if you'd like to read about the reasons why: http://www.dogforums.com/general-dog-forum/27194-invisible-fence-not-good.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'm currently using a 15ft retractable leash but we have a 30ft lead for the adults. Mainly when we're outside she's more interested in finding bugs to eat. lol

And I'll read that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
Gally was the same as a young pup, just wanted to eat bugs! We got a 30 ft leash for Gally. We'd go sit in the middle of the field near our house and let him explore wherever he wanted or more likely run around like a loon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
She won't be left out in the yard all day, just maybe an hour to do her business and get some exercise. And we will be watching her. We actually have two acres and that's just too much to fence in. This was Dad's idea, but I may just do the long lead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Gally was the same as a young pup, just wanted to eat bugs! We got a 30 ft leash for Gally. We'd go sit in the middle of the field near our house and let him explore wherever he wanted or more likely run around like a loon.
Awww... I wonder what that is? Small prey for a little baby? lol The long lead sounds like a good idea though. I guess I'll be getting tanner now!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
I would keep the puppy on a leash at all times, and crated or playpenned when not supervised. Prevent her from practising this bad behaviour. The more she practises it, the more of a habit it will become, and the more difficult it will be to fix later on.

By keeping her on a leash you prevent her from doing it, which also reduces the need to "correct" her and yell etc. If you control reinforcement, there is no need to ever punish. So when your puppy tries to chase the cat, she will be stopped by the leash. Most likely she will then pull and whine and be silly. Wait her out. When she looks away from the cat, ANY look to the side or at you or at anything else, mark with a clicker or verbal marker "yes", then give a really nice treat.

By not ever letting her have reinforcement from chasing the cat, and only giving her reinforcement when she's not obsessing over the cat, you show her where the advantage lies - leave cat alone, look at owner. It's very reinforcing to be allowed to run with the cat, so even if you yell at her after or give her a time-out or whatever you do, it will have no or very limited effect, as she's already been rewarded for the behaviour by being allowed to practise it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
You could do a smaller permanent fenced in area near the house and then take her out for walks so she can make use of the rest of your property. Then you'd have a smaller area where she can run around and go out to do her business that's attached the house for easy supervision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I would keep the puppy on a leash at all times, and crated or playpenned when not supervised. Prevent her from practising this bad behaviour. The more she practises it, the more of a habit it will become, and the more difficult it will be to fix later on.

By keeping her on a leash you prevent her from doing it, which also reduces the need to "correct" her and yell etc. If you control reinforcement, there is no need to ever punish. So when your puppy tries to chase the cat, she will be stopped by the leash. Most likely she will then pull and whine and be silly. Wait her out. When she looks away from the cat, ANY look to the side or at you or at anything else, mark with a clicker or verbal marker "yes", then give a really nice treat.

By not ever letting her have reinforcement from chasing the cat, and only giving her reinforcement when she's not obsessing over the cat, you show her where the advantage lies - leave cat alone, look at owner. It's very reinforcing to be allowed to run with the cat, so even if you yell at her after or give her a time-out or whatever you do, it will have no or very limited effect, as she's already been rewarded for the behaviour by being allowed to practise it.
So leashing her would be for the rest of her life? I've been putting her on a 6 foot leash attached to my work area while I'm on the computer and that keeps her from getting into things when I'm unable to watch her without putting her in her crate. That works, but Belle likes to sleep on the couch and get on her kitty tower and look out the window, which is within that 6 foot limit. But if she tries to chase her into the bedroom, the leash will stop her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
You could do a smaller permanent fenced in area near the house and then take her out for walks so she can make use of the rest of your property. Then you'd have a smaller area where she can run around and go out to do her business that's attached the house for easy supervision.
That would work, because the pen with her parents is right outside our back door, and there's shade and room to run. The problem is the cost. I'd have to get a quote on that. It was 200 for the fence and 80 times two for the extra collars... so we'll see. We can still return all of that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,415 Posts
Even a trolley type system is better than an invisible fence. It's cheap. Two tall posts, a guide wire between the two, and a lead that goes to a harness. Dog can run around/back and forth yet is safe. Still need to supervise due to stray dogs/wildlife, but is safer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Even a trolley type system is better than an invisible fence. It's cheap. Two tall posts, a guide wire between the two, and a lead that goes to a harness. Dog can run around/back and forth yet is safe. Still need to supervise due to stray dogs/wildlife, but is safer.
The was the original plan, but we wanted the other two in the pen to be able to run around as well. It kills me that they have to be out there, but they're still looking for homes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
I just recently fostered a rescue family and adopted the female out of the litter... She's around 4 months now.
...
Just this afternoon I took her outside to visit her momma and daddy and her mother was eating. Zoe was on the outside of the pen bouncing around and her mother growled at her...
The adults are outside because 1. we don't know how they are around cats and 2. we knew it would be easier to get Belle adjusted to a puppy rather than adults, since her bad experiences were with bigger, adults dogs. I'm going to assume that they wouldn't be great with a cat because I know that they have super high prey drives. Daddy (Akit mix) got loose and chased the HORSES. I thought I was having a heart attack.
Okay, I thought someone else would ask, but since no one has...

What is going on with these two foster dogs? It sounds like you have had them for a long time, and they are living outside only, in a pen. Is the rescue/shelter aware that they are outdoors 24/7? Have they been spayed and neutered? Are there plans to get them into a different foster environment?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
So leashing her would be for the rest of her life? I've been putting her on a 6 foot leash attached to my work area while I'm on the computer and that keeps her from getting into things when I'm unable to watch her without putting her in her crate. That works, but Belle likes to sleep on the couch and get on her kitty tower and look out the window, which is within that 6 foot limit. But if she tries to chase her into the bedroom, the leash will stop her.
No, it wouldn't be for the rest of her life. Only until she reliably never even tries to go after a cat, which could be a week or several months, depending on the dog. When you can't have her on leash or can't supervise, the dog shouldn't be able to chase cats, to that means crating or playpenning.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top