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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Need Advice

<span style='font-family: Century Gothic'>My husband and I have a wonderful, lovable GSD named Schumi who is 9 months old. We got him in July. We have had our cat Piper now for 5 months, and she has always been kinda tempermental. She hates other animals and people other than myself and my hubby, so we knew it would be a challenge with a dog in the house.

At first they kind of ignored each other, but now he is obsessed with her. He will sit by the bed forEVER and wait for her to run out, which she always does. Then he corners her, which scares her, and she usually ends up peeing everywhere. I wanted to try putting them both in kennels, clicking and giving him a treat whenever he doesn't bark, show interest etc, and then slowly letting one or the other out, and eventually work up to where they are both out. The problem is she is TERRIFIED of him and I don't want to scar her. She has been throwing up and is very stressed, so I want to do something about it without emotionally harming her.

Any thoughts? Thank you so much!</span>

Becky

Mom to ~ Alta-Tollhaus Schumi BH
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:18 PM
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Re: Need Advice

I'd do it without the crates. She can be under the bed if she likes, and he can be across the room if that makes her more comfortable. You click and treat for him looking at you, not her. If he's focusing on her still, you need to move further back until you're sufficiently far enough away that she's not an overwhelming diversion. Eventually as he starts to ignore her, she'll start calming down and coming out from under the bed, and then you click and treat for his ignoring that, etc.

Also, when you're not working on training sessions, why don't you either crate him or close her off into a different part of the house, so that she doesn't have to be subjected to this stress. Don't give him the opportunity to misbehave.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:24 PM
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Re: Need Advice

I know you've mentioned Schumi and the cat to me before. Is there any way to setup the house so that, at least for starters, the cat has a "safe" zone? For example, at our house the basement and the dinning room are "safe". There's a cat door (the kind with the swinging flap) in the door to the basement, and all the cats' food and litter boxes are down there. Absolutely no dogs are ever allowed in the basement. The door is shut, unless I'm doing laundry, and they know better than to move farther down than the first step! The dinning room is gated off, so *if* there is some sort of chase, the cat can go over or under and immediately be safe. Also, while I'm not home, I gate off the base of the stairs to the upstairs, so my cats can sleep on our bed. At night we switch, the cats are out and get the entire house, the dogs sleep on the floor of our bedroom.

I tried a lot of things on Coke and Nikon, trying to get them uninterested in cats, but what it really came down to for us was the cats just getting comfortable around dogs and not totally FREAKING OUT anytime they saw a dog. Before, the cats would see a dog, their eyes would bulge, their hair would puff out, and they would RUN wildly all over. No training I can do can make THAT not look like fun for a dog, and I don't blame them! After a long period of the cats having their "safe zones" and not being forced to interact with the dogs.....



This cat actually rubs her cheeks on the dogs' faces!





Notice the position of the cats relative to the dogs







The cats have learned to just hold their own, and generally if they tell the dog off rather than run, the dog leaves.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need Advice

<span style='font-family: Century Gothic'>Thanks for the advice. OMG Lies, I'm so jealous of your pictures! After a period of not doing this and having the problems mentiond above, now we block Schumi off so he can't go upstairs. The cat has the run of the whole upstairs, except when Schumi is crated in our room at night. At night she sleeps with us on the bed while he's crated, which I don't want to get rid of because that's basically the main time she spends with us, unless one of us does homework upstairs or something. The only problem with that is whenever she walks out of the room at night to eat or go potty he barks and she freaks out.

Sigh. Piper is very set in her ways; it probably will just take some time. And for now I will continue to block Schumi's way upstairs. Sometimes I feel like that makes him want to go up there MORE though. Lies, how long did it take for your cats to chill out with this?</span>

Becky

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:38 PM
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Re: Need Advice

Great pics of harmony. My cats will just lay there if the dogs are around. But if the cats run, the game is on. The cats don't come into the living room anymore or my bedroom. They stay upstairs and go downstairs/ we have a multi-level house. When a pup comes into the pic, the game will change I am sure, but I agree w/Lies, it is the cat that decides how it gets played. Too bad, as sometimes the cat will lose. I wish they'd just stand their ground!

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:49 PM
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Re: Need Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Rebecca P<span style='font-family: Century Gothic'>Lies, how long did it take for your cats to chill out with this?</span>
Well, they regressed each time I got a new dog. Honestly, with Kenya, it really was never an issue. They avoided her at first, but she's never made a move toward them. She never barked once until we got Coke. She just wasn't interested in them at all, so they never felt threatened. Coke on the other hand was VERY interested in them, and still is to some extent. It used to be that anytime he saw them he would try to chase them. Now, he doesn't even notice them (I've seen them walk OVER him while he's sleeping) unless he is already riled up, like if he and Nikon are wrestling and a cat wanders by, they both chase the cat. They definitely know which dog is which. They don't care about Kenya at all, but all three of them still avoid Nikon like the plague. It took Marijke the longest to get over Coke. I would say it took almost a year before she would voluntarily be in the same room (or within eye sight) of Coke. I was sad for a long time, b/c she used to sit on my lap for hours each night and for months I never saw her except to feed them or do laundry down stairs. With her, I couldn't do any sort of training or controlled desensitization, she would panic. I just let her come around on her own.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need Advice

<span style='font-family: Century Gothic'>Marijke (love the name by the way, that's my mom's cousin's name. My mom was born in the Netherlands although I've only met the family there a few times) sounds a lot like Piper. She was literally on my lap or Joe's lap constantly if we were home - before Schumi, of course! Well that makes me feel better; thanks!</span>

Becky

Mom to ~ Alta-Tollhaus Schumi BH
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