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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I rescued a pooch from Alabama and I am very happy with him. He does have some learned behaviors we are trying to make him unlearn but overall we are happy with our new family member. There is one behavior, which, we are struggling with and not sure exactly how to tackle it.

Our new dog, 20-30% of the time he leaves our 10 year old cat alone. The other 70% of the time he barks at him, chases him, and generally is super annoying. We have been re-directing this behavior with treats/toys/distraction as we have been told from research and a trainer who we know as a co-worker.

The real problem is when the dog decides to "chase" the cat as it's like a switch in his brain. He goes from being super gentle and calm to being a super jerk, doesn't listen, and no matter how many times I re-direct he still, a 1/4 second after the re-direction goes right for the cat. It's becoming a problem and I feel like it's getting worst not better. I'm not sure what to do. I've been getting a little frustrated and have to remove myself from the situation at times because I don't want them to see me frustrated. Not good at all. Makes me sad.

I need help guys. We love him so much and am trying so hard to get him to where he is balanced, and content with life. We want to share this with him in the worst way and I have always thought I was good with dogs. I am, but this boy is stubborn.

His name is Reuben, 64lb, Boxer/Lab. We were told Boxer/Lab online but we are almost convinced he has some pit in his genes.

Please help us!

Thank you!

Mike/Sarah
 

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My dogs are great with the cat but they will chase her when she runs too (which doesn't happen that much thankfully). It's very annoying. I make sure that the cat has places where she can be away from the dog. We have a gated area off the kitchen for cat food and the basement door is open for her too (the dogs don't go down there. I'm not exactly sure why. I guess our first dog didn't dare so the others never dared either LOL).

But otherwise, I'd keep a leash on the dog at all times, and step on it with a firm NO (or a deep 'bah'. Or whatever works for you to get his attention) if he starts chasing. I don't like redirecting because it seems more like 'you're getting praised for being bad' to me. Definitely praise like crazy when he's gentle with the cat though.

Really, my cat will come and rub her face against my dogs though so I don't think that she minds that much anyway...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thank you for the response.

Just so I understand, keep a leash on him at all times so when he does "get cat crazy" I just step on the leash and give him a firm "NO". So, this means that he will be free to roam the house but will have a leash which he will carry around? I suppose a "non-clunky" leash would be good because it wont get caught on everything on the floor?

Okay, I will try that. Sounds reasonable.

I have been trying the re-direct approach for almost 2 months now and it just is only getting worse. I just think he needs a different tactic to get him to lay off the kitty cat.


Mike
 

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As Francl27 said, make sure the cat has safe places he can go to get away from the dog. Have a tall, sturdy cat tower and use gates to block off areas where the dog can't go - either ones that the cat can jump over, or they sell ones that have a small cat door at the bottom.

Prey drive is triggered by movement. I don't think prey drive is something that can be un-learned, but it can be managed. First, teach him a solid "leave it" command. A "look at me" command will also be helpful.

You've had the dog for about 2 months? How old is he?


Leash the dog and have someone else enter the room with the cat. Have the dog look at you and praise/treat him for that. Work your way up to having someone play with the cat while you have the dog on leash. Praise/treat him for leaving the cat alone. Treat him every time he looks away from the cat, looks at you, etc. You will likely have to go slow and keep the sessions short. It will take time and patience to teach him to leave the cat alone, and likely he can probably never be trusted with him when you are not there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As Francl27 said, make sure the cat has safe places he can go to get away from the dog. Have a tall, sturdy cat tower and use gates to block off areas where the dog can't go - either ones that the cat can jump over, or they sell ones that have a small cat door at the bottom.

Prey drive is triggered by movement. I don't think prey drive is something that can be un-learned, but it can be managed. First, teach him a solid "leave it" command. A "look at me" command will also be helpful.

You've had the dog for about 2 months? How old is he?


Leash the dog and have someone else enter the room with the cat. Have the dog look at you and praise/treat him for that. Work your way up to having someone play with the cat while you have the dog on leash. Praise/treat him for leaving the cat alone. Treat him every time he looks away from the cat, looks at you, etc. You will likely have to go slow and keep the sessions short. It will take time and patience to teach him to leave the cat alone, and likely he can probably never be trusted with him when you are not there.
He is speculated to be 2 by the Vet and we agree. Thank you. We live in a house way too big for us so the cat has the entire upstairs to free roam(3 bedrooms) which he has easy access to. That kitty has the life...well all our animals do.

I will start giving your recommendations a try tonight. Believe it or not I had good success last night from the help of Francl27 by keeping Reuben on the leash and stepping on it with a firm "NO" when he was going for the cat. He kinda got it scary quick. It's like he knows I don't want him to go near the cat now. Before I feel by redirecting he was getting treats or a toy for chasing the cat. Heck, I'd continue to chase the cat too! I'm beginning to be a believer of treats as a reward get the dog to do the requested task for the cookie...not because he knows you are alpha and has to do it our of respect.

We did notice that Reuben really only chases the cat when I am home. I handle him most because my girlfriend is in school and works full time so, well, she's busy as heck. I wonder if it's a jealously thing or something? He knows the cat loves me a lot just by how the cat and I interact as we have known each other for 10 years and at times he was my best friend including humans :) Just a thought, we found it weird that he mainly does it when I'm home.

Thanks
 

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17854823_1689761371053151_2021328643076492826_o_zps3ureqhcz.jpg

does take time, started off with rotation, restriction, supervision and a safe place for the cats to come and go. I have a large cat house in my house for the cats to be when I am not home or have a new dog in the house that doesn't know cats.. Others accomplish the same thing using a baby gate for cats to come and go from the dog areas. or they rotate having a cat room with a closed door when the dog is loose and then put the dog behind a gate, or in a crate when it's the cats turn to roam freely.

Main thing at the beginning is to set physical boundaries, even just being on a lead with you while watching TV.. It takes time, keep everyone safe, and that the cats are non of the dogs business... Lots of situations a dog has to learn about cats and movement. Being contained and restricted during those events helps them learn boundaries of not chasing them while they getting use to the cats being cats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
View attachment 246226

does take time, started off with rotation, restriction, supervision and a safe place for the cats to come and go. I have a large cat house in my house for the cats to be when I am not home or have a new dog in the house that doesn't know cats.. Others accomplish the same thing using a baby gate for cats to come and go from the dog areas. or they rotate having a cat room with a closed door when the dog is loose and then put the dog behind a gate, or in a crate when it's the cats turn to roam freely.

Main thing at the beginning is to set physical boundaries, even just being on a lead with you while watching TV.. It takes time, keep everyone safe, and that the cats are non of the dogs business... Lots of situations a dog has to learn about cats and movement. Being contained and restricted during those events helps them learn boundaries of not chasing them while they getting use to the cats being cats.
Thank you for the input. Keeping them safe is critical and the cat house idea I like. We currently use the upstairs as the cats sanctuary but having some safe zones in and around downstairs might be a good idea. We moved things so it's almost impossible for the cat to get cornered but my anxiety always goes up a few ticks when he flips that switch and decides to chase. I'll have to look online for the cat houses....or I could make it myself.
 

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Thanks for this thread. I don't have advice, but I'm having a similar problem with my new puppy (4 month old rescue, had her a month) and my older dog (14 yrs). Not chasing but barking in his face, jumping on him etc. and he comes to me for help, although he's more than double her size. :( Like your dog and cat, they DO get along, but when she wants to play, she haunts him. Also our puppy has been nipping and biting. She jumps and thinks it's a game to nip us. And she does this when she's angry, too, for being corrected. I have been totally redirecting but ALSO felt that I was giving her positive attention for bad behavior, and wound up putting her in our bathroom until she calms down. Horrible, but I get scared for my little kids when she playfully launches at them--and for my old dogman, with his bad hips and heart. I'm going to try the leash thing too. Thanks for the idea!!!
 
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