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Old 01-31-2013, 10:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Vet recommends Muzzling

We have three indoor cats. We LOVE our cats very much, royal attitudes notwithstanding.

They are having an issue with Beth's presence, and Beth has an issue with all cats.

When Beth is crated, we allow the cats to roam free. When Beth comes out, cats are put up. We use the outdoor cats to 'walk by' with th goal of getting her to see them as just another fixture in her new life.

Wile she is getting mch better, she would still eat them, given the chance. Our vet believes that we're doing great, but that using a wire basket muzzle may accelerate the process by allowing closer contact.

Ideas? Thoughts? Experiences?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cat escaped room tonight, btw. Instantly, I barked 'LEAVE IT', and she took a step back. We're still in the middle of the forest, here....but it was sure nice to glimpse the clearing!
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would use a plastic one so that way if she were to muzzle punch a cat, it wouldn't be such an impact. I would also be sure to have her leashed to me.

I would tether her, reward her from her threshold distance for being "nice to kitty" I use that general phrase so dogs who leave me will do it in their new homes without having to learn all sorts of cat names. Move closer over time, rewarding a lot with great things - praise, toys, treats. Focus on you, still tethered. Short periods of time to setup for success. I have had fosters who got so good at this that they would go and sit next to the cats like look, look, look and adopters who had to kind of undo a bit of that and reward for leaving the cat's side!

I let the dogs see the cats get their food first. While I don't even do that for myself, my message to them is always that cats are clearly at the top of the pack here. I would do the same if I have a puppy that is small, or if there were a small dog here. It's all about safety for me! I can tell you care about the cats, and that is nice (in rescue...the stories are not nice sometimes).

The intent though is important. My cats are good at sensing it and I would not allow a dog who had any kind of harmful intent to interact with the cats. I am not sure if the eating comment is tongue in cheek or not. Because the first dog I adopted through rescue was returned after 2 days for extreeeeeeeme prey drive (aggression?). She never saw the cat, who was hiding in the back of a closet, and tried to climb the bannister to get to her relentlessly. I have no doubt what would have happened. So I got a fear biter who was nice to kitties - a much better fit for me.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am almost joking about the eating. The truth is, When Beth first came to us, she sounded like Cujo. Seriously demented barking/growling/teeth gnashing. Add to this the powerhouse tugs on leash (she weighs close to 90ls)....the intent to harm seemed pretty clear. Fast forward one week to this creature who steps back at a strong LEAVE IT and a fairly easy redirect. She went from needing to be crated to regroup to a few minutes of play for her to forget running down the hallway and trying to push the door open to get the cats.

So...all this to say I could have misread her intent. I think she *wants* to be friends.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi zivagirl,
this might not help very much. I've known of a woman who works out dog on dog agression issues in her pack of 5 schnauzers by putting muzzles on them and letting them fight it out with their muzzles on. She says it works but it's a temporary fix, and she'll repeat the exercise when they start fighting again.
She keeps the dogs kenneled and takes 1 or 2 out at a time but they bust out of the kennels to fight and fight through the crate door.
So my guess is that the muzzle may help a little but dont rely on it solely. It sounds like you've got pretty good control of Beth though with that leave it and that's really what is going to get you through. Good luck. I hope you find a way to work it out safely.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Phoebe,
I feel she is smart enough to 'get' this. It is going to require time, and patience. Lots of deep, or held breaths along the way.

For the briefest moment after her response to my command, I stood there with my mouth open in shock while a dozen thoughts all piled into my frozen brain: Did she really just do that, or was it a fluke? I treated her, then praised her like she'd just written her first screen play.

After a few minutes of goofy celebration, Beth told me to get a grip, already.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That's very awesome and I saw your post that your Beth may just have been wanting to be friends.
I'm with my 1st GSP so that's why I can't offer strong solid advice but I totally see why people are telling me that I finally got a real dog. I've got some issues to work out and am seeking help for them but I'm amazed how fast they learn.
That's very cool your girl got that so fast. I've been good with my boy with the fun stuff but I dont have control like you do. So I'd say goofy celebrating is definitely in order!
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanKBBMMMAAN View Post
I let the dogs see the cats get their food first. While I don't even do that for myself, my message to them is always that cats are clearly at the top of the pack here.
That's great advice. I don't know why I never thought of it myself. Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoebes View Post
I've known of a woman who works out dog on dog agression issues in her pack of 5 schnauzers by putting muzzles on them and letting them fight it out with their muzzles on. She says it works but it's a temporary fix, and she'll repeat the exercise when they start fighting again.
That's because it isn't a fix at all and is likley just increasing the frustration because she is not addressing their root cause of the issues and they don't actually get to work anything out.

That said. OP, a muzzle is not a bad idea in your case but I would still take your time and counter condition. Beth gets lots of reinforcement (whatever is most reinforcing to her - food, affection, play) when she is CALM around the cats.

You will likley have better luck working it inside first as there are less distractions. If you have a cat that is brave and won't run, that is the one you want to start with. You could use Look At That (LAT) to encourage calm behavior around the cats.

My own dogs are great with my indoor cats but outside cats are all bets off. They also do better with my male cat who is very confident around the dogs and doesn't run. They aren't as good with my female who is scared and runs from them.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Ziva! I love all the Beth posts!!! Reminds me so much of Fynn. I thought Fynn was going to eat, literally eat, my boyfriends cat when we moved in. When she went through the scared and, angry phase Fynn was an angel. When she went back to normal Fynn would chase her and corner her. I yelled "enough!" 20 times a day. He'd stop but, five minutes later he was at it again. I couldn't understand why Fynn wouldn't let up. Finally after weeks we started to notice Sammie instigating. She'd attack his tail forever, she'd sneak up and give him a playful swat. It got to the point where Fynn was avoiding her but, eventually would give in and, chase her. He got a point where it looked like he was killing her, he had his mouth all over her and she's a freaking spec to begin with so all Of her was in his mouth. No harm ever came to that kitty,except really bad hair days due to the drool she was covered in. She does live with a friend now because Fynn is protective of Vandy and, that cat was definitely plotting against Vandy. Also she was a massive pain and, never got over me "taking her man" when I moved in. Crazy cat. Beth sounds like she's learning the ropes so well. I totally agree with a previous post that letting her know cats rule there will do wonders!
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