How to get my dog to leave the cats alone... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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How to get my dog to leave the cats alone...

So its been a LONG time since I posted Draven is now approaching 2 and close to 90 pounds ... far way from my profile pic

So we have 2 cats who basically haven't left the basement in 2 years.... other than when the dog is in the kennel outside.... I feel horrible about this especially because one of my cats is almost 13 years old and he has been one of my best "friends" for a long time and now its like I've tossed him to the side.

Draven sits at the top of the stairs and growls anytime the cats close and his prey drive is high and when the cats run he chases...

I thought about perhaps leashing Draven and dropping him beside me and putting a cat in a Crate about 6 feet away and everytime Draven homes in on the cat correct the behavior but I'm not sure if that will work ... and well the cats will go bonkers in the crate too...

Looking for opinions ...

Draven - GSD - 07/26/2012
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 08:36 AM
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Welcome back The good news is that the cats have a safe area in the basement, make sure they have a few others in the house as well to get away if needed. I used baby gates personally for the first bit, the less the cats run and are spooked the less fun they become for the dog to chase. Set very clear guidelines that the cats are not to be touched. Both my cats have their claws and have scratched him before but it really didn't dissuade him, he still saw them as fun things to chase.

There are two things I did personally which I found very helpful.

It's easiest if you have a person helping you so each animal has a handler for this exercise. Use a leash at first, sit on one end of a couch and have the dog calm and quiet at your feet. Take whichever cat is calmer and have the other person sit on the other end of the couch with the cat. Correct any intense eye contact or movement from the dog; keep the mood of the exercise light and natural. Talk to each other and do what you would normally do, once both animals relax and are calm then keep rewarding the behaviour with pets and treats. Keep it short and end on a good note, slowly progress and hopefully you can reach a goal with both humans and animals sitting together calm and happy.

The second thing I did was use a squirt bottle when he was off leash in the house. We had one for the cats to deal with jumping on the kitchen counter and I squirted one of them one day and Delgado saw the cat get corrected and tried to step in so I squirted him too not thinking and he immediately backed off. So the next time Delgado was off leash and showed too much interest in a cat I made sure he didn't see the bottle and quickly squirted him and hid it. So he associated certain behaviours around the cats with being corrected by something he didn't see. Almost like an ecollar, they don't associate the correction with the human, just the behaviour. Delgado loves the hose and will cheerfully bite the stream and romp in the water, so it's more the shock value than anything rather than water itself being a negative.

It took a few months but now it's a common site for both cats and dogs to be sharing the couch together. In fact Koda loves when Delgado is lying on the couch and he jumps up and sleeps in between his paws and grooms him.

So the answer is yes, dogs with high prey drive can be taught to live with cats and leave them alone. It rarely happens overnight, Delgado will still something chase them if they get spooked and run suddenly but he self corrects himself 95% of the time and the rest a simple verbal negative marker has him backing off. He realizes that certain cats are not to be chased, mine are in that category. He even has learned to leave my parents barn cats alone when we visit and he goes off leash with them running around and doesn't bother them.


My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 7 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 09:12 AM
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Here's another vote for the squirt bottle.

Ralphie - GSD, rescue, Gotcha Day 2/10/13
Nightshade - born 6/3/2003 - Domestic medium hair/Maine Coon mix (feline)
James - Domestic short hair (feline), rescue, Gotcha Day 6/23/11
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 10:26 AM
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I tried a squirt bottle with my pup. Best thing he ever had happen in the house .. he thought. Didn't quite work as intended. He's still overly interested in the cat, wants to nose her and be all up in her business. She corrects him and so do I. He isn't aggressive, just pushy. I'm still trying to figure out how to get him to keep his nose out of her business all...the...time.

If he were acting up to that degree, he would probably be permanently affixed to me with a leash so I could keep a handle on it and instantly correct. I'm not having my kitty terrorized.

I also wouldn't let him fixate .. sitting at the top of the stairs. I would redirect him.

Xan Varik von Fernheim (born 4/3/13)
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 12:58 PM
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I stopped my female Lexie from chasing our cats with NO in the form of a verbal brick.

With Dex, It took the shock collar. It was short and sweet.

They all sleep together now. All of this is in the house.

Dex and Lexie are still prone to chase them outside unless I am around.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 01:00 PM
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My dog loves the squirt bottle. He loves anything to do with water...except a bath.

I taught him the leave it command. It seems to work.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 01:29 PM
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I agree that letting him sit waiting for them at the top of the stairs is a problem. I'd stop that immediately, even by gating off the room to keep him out of it. I'd keep a leash on him to let him know that the cats aren't there to be chased, ever. It's easier to teach them this when they're younger, but it's never too late. Good luck!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 02:02 PM
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Needless to say this should have been taken care of a long time ago. First rule is the dog never chases the cats ever! I have lived with up to 15 cats (cat rescue) and three dogs (mine) for 13 years. In all that time I have never had a single cat/dog incident.

My dogs see the cats as a part of the pack. The cats sleep with the dogs and head butt and run up to them when the dogs out to go potty in the morning.

At your point it's going to be harder, your cats don't trust your dog because you haven't controlled him! If he has never hurt the cats and you can teach him to ignore them. Then maybe they can develope a good relationship. The rule is the dog "NEVER" chases the cats,"Never" not one paw forward ever! Dog should be in a down position with the cats free to move about.

At this point you most likely have to go to the cat area to train him, take necessary precautions leash on the dog have him down and observe the cats if he moves correction. If he is a handful..then you have more work to do anyway. I tell my dog down and stay...that's what I expect him to do!

I posted a video link, one caution, my guys aren't as good as his dog. General, cat head butting the dog and the cats grooming the dogs was good enough for me.

I never did the eating together thing...that was a paw to far for me!

Leerburg | Introducing Dogs or Puppies into Homes with Cats
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 09:31 PM
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Take a look at this article. Game Chasing (Crittering)
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by LouCastle View Post
Take a look at this article. Game Chasing (Crittering)
That was a good article. Chasing cats is a problem for us too. We have barn cats so it is impossible to use one for "training". I can use the recall for deer, moose, and anything else (maybe not dogs) but cats are another story. Maybe the ecollar is the answer?
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