Last night, my 2 GSD's that I've had for about 2 weeks attacked my cat.
The dogs are well trained, they are 5 years old but had no experience with cats or other dogs. Here's the post I made about them: Post
They have been very well behaved with me and my wife. They respond very well to commands and our voices, and haven't show any aggression or irritability. They have nipped at our 2.5 year old boy a few times, but only when we would lift him up suddenly or hang him upside down or spin around. I think they were nipping more out of concern and worry, not aggression.
I have been trying to expose them to our cat gradually. I will hold the cat and tell them "soft" and "leave it" and they will stay away, but they are extremely focused on the cat whenever they know where he is. If I am not between them, they will go towards the cat, but they'll do a 180 if I tell them to leave it.
So, I had planned on continuing to work with them and expose them more over time, but last night I was in bed with a migraine headache, and the dogs were sleeping in the room with me, door always shut (cat and dog are never exposed together, I am always holding the car, or there's a shut door between them). My wife came in and the dogs must have seen the cat in the hall, because they bolted out and got him.
According to her, they just frenzied on him for a few seconds before she could really control them. As soon as she came in, she yelled "leave it" and they did stop their frenzy, but you could tell they were hyped up over it.
So, the cat didn't move all night, and there was no blood anywhere. We took him to the vet and the vet said he seemed to have no serious injury, but he probably was crushed pretty good and is probably pretty banged up. The cat still won't move/walk but he's not paralyzed or permanently injured.
So this morning, the dogs instantly ran back to the scene of the crime to sniff around and get all excited, to which I ordered them to leave the room to not give them the chance to get riled up again.
But what should I do? I had hoped that I could condition them to leave the cat alone while I am around, and when I am not I'd keep them separated. But now I am scared of what the dogs can do. And also what they might do to the 2.5 year old boy.
Granted, my toddler plays around them, is totally unphased by their presence and not scared at all. He doesn't interact with them, and they don't try to interact with him, they give him a wide berth and don't go near him. So I am not concerned about their behavior with humans. But I really like this cat and don't want to expose him to danger if the dogs are going to be a problem.
The dogs are staying, so if someone has to leave, it's the cat. What should I do? Keep trying to train them? Is there a way to flood them and desensitize them? Should I use an E-collar? Or is this just one of those things where the cat might need a new home?
Is it odd that they didn't kill the cat? They didn't seem to break the skin either (no blood anywhere), but they appeared to have bit down pretty hard (the cat was literally drenched in dog saliva).
I really love this cat, but I can't play referee for the rest of their lives, it's just impossible to foresee every situation where the dogs might slip free and just break his neck in an instant.
Please help me figure this out!