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I just read your updates Scottkeen! I am SO happy things have worked out for you and that Ruger now has 2 kitties to love!!! Good job!
 

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Next Step Question

I realize this post is old, but thought maybe you guys who have had success in training down that prey drive with your GSD and your cats, could give a girl some help??

I have a foster GSD that my hubby has fallen in love with (for good reason, he has a beautiful soul) and we're thinking about keeping him BUT we have to be able to safely trust him with the cats. That's the issue I'm seeking some help on. I've only trained dogs from puppies and the foster training is a different world for me.

My Q is where do you guys suggest we advance to next?

Where we are at: we have been running through "leave it" and "look" drills and he does well (clicker training). We have worked up to highly controlled 'doorframe' interactions (this has been a stepwise process, but right now he is clicker trained to lay down, put his head on the ground, and he can sniff the cat - which is on the other side or in my lap - I bar the doorframe physically and hubby has him on harness and one hand on his collar as a precaution - he does well with all of this - performs beautifully, no straining). BUT he shows stalking behaviors before and after the controlled meetings & has nosed the cat in way that appeared to be engineered to get her to run - we corrected him and he has not done it again. I infer from his behavior that he thinks one day, when he has proved himself, that we will reward him with a kitty snack. So, the "leave it" is being used with something he highly prizes that moves, but that he cannot ever have (a roll ball thing with a very exciting fin on top) & sometimes food (he's simply already very well behaved around our food and is not food motivated so even putting our plate of steak on the floor and he'll turn away).

Background: He has chased one of the cats on meeting -- it was poorly done, and I'm still beating myself up over it, but I was told the cats were up (kids) and I had never worked with a 110# dog - he surprised me, pulled me flat over initially but I gave swift alpha correction which he responded to. We started him on Clomicalm (clomipramine, an old school TCA) for separation anxiety about 4 days ago (hopefully just to work on training him past his SA). He starts obedience in ten days or so. He has been neglected but not physically abused, does not challenge the alpha, only cares about snuggling with his people and loves his tennis balls. We have dates and some info from his owners to the shelter, and from his behaviors (like his marked fear response when he saw the cable out back - we do NOT cable our dogs, it came with the house) I'd say his life has gone like this: He was given as puppy as a christmas gift, never properly trained, so when he hit #110 & they couldn't control him, they put him outside, but he busted loose repeatedly to get to them, eventually they dropped him at a shelter. He does NOT shrink away from the broom, NOR from big gestures, never cowers - simply has no signs of physical trauma, and was HW (-). He is solid and good natured. He appears to have busied himself with chasing squirrels. The trainer we have signed up with is great and I'm excited to work with her, but this is a basic manners class. We cannot afford privates (not until I'm out of school in Dec). I'd like some advice on the cat - dog intro extending beyond the doorway. One of the cats is very determined that she will not remain away from me and I want to make sure it's a controlled meeting that has a positive outcome. One last thing, I am hoping to add a puppy to the family this year for some nose work, dock diving, and maybe SAR - that dog will go with me, the foster would continue to stay with hubby, keeping them separate as much as possible for training purposes, but I want, very much, to ensure that the foster dog's drive is totally under control when we bring the puppy into the house (there is no date on this - I have even been postponing putting in my app to my breeder to make sure the house is settled). So, beside just wanting a calm home environment, I have some other reasons for wanting the foster dog's prey drive to be trained down some. (Bad behaviors rub off.)

Thanks for any next-step advice you guys have for me!
 

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I realize this post is old, but thought maybe you guys who have had success in training down that prey drive with your GSD and your cats, could give a girl some help??

I have a foster GSD that my hubby has fallen in love with (for good reason, he has a beautiful soul) and we're thinking about keeping him BUT we have to be able to safely trust him with the cats. That's the issue I'm seeking some help on. I've only trained dogs from puppies and the foster training is a different world for me.

My Q is where do you guys suggest we advance to next?
As threads go...this one is not that old.

I would loose the Alpha Dog thinking, good way to get yourself hurt! You have "thumbs" your dog doesn't. The "Alpha" thing has been thoroughly debunked :)

I would also "suggest" you rethink the new puppy in a year, idea. The best advice is to "always" have one well trained dog before adding a second!

If you get it wrong, you will more easily be able to understand this, High Rank Drive:

(Elements of Temperament, by Joy Tiz )

Not a lot of fun!:eek:

So finally the cat thing and "leave it??" For "me" uh no, the cat is part of the pack not an object. "Leave it" has a different connotation than "NO!"

No insult intended to "scottkeen" or "leerburgh" for that matter. :) But I don't have cute cat dog clips to post.

My dogs don't do that. My one rule is hard and fast. The Dog "never chases, the cat." If the dog is upright...not foot forward towards the cat period!

If the dogs are on there bed, the cats are free to interact with them as they please. If the cat walks away, play time is over. The cats sleep with and on the dogs, they run up to the dogs when they go outside. The dogs will dip their head to greet them or ignore them as they see fit.

The cats are simply part of the household, no more no less. I would train "The Place Command":

Why the “Place” Command is So Important and Your Dog Should Know It! - TheDogTrainingSecret.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIGq_5r0DeE

If the Dog steps towards the Cat it's ..."Place" playtime is over! He should figure it out pretty quickly! :)
 

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What you say makes a lot of sense. I'll try the place command. It really makes a lot of sense and I used it a lot with my last dog, so yeah - thank you! I know the alpha thing is controversial but it's worked for me to lay the dogs down momma dog style when they have been egregious which is such a rare occurrence that it's not really worth mentioning except I put a stop to that one incident and his behavior improved - it's just info. Thank you for the reply - it helps a lot!
 

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Yes, hubby's in love with the foster but I want a working dog - but that's not now that's later - once we get foster into the groove and really well behaved - and that's if we keep him. [We're not going to rush it + we have a plan in place where the dogs are separate every work day, each w/ their person]

The foster is hard to place with his separation anxiety (HUGE) and his cat issues, so we're working with these issues regardless of whether or not we opt to keep him. The SA is going well but it'll take awhile (solid incremental plan).

Puppies have always been easy enough for me to teach that the cat is part of the family, even my last dog who had a high prey drive and didn't grow up with cats because the basic commands/ respect/ strong relationship were all there. Let me say very clearly, that I'm not a professional trainer and certainly not an expert, I just use what works, am consistent, like the clicker, and work, work, work my dogs and my dogs have grown to be jedi-psychic-yoda masters (jk). Naw, but really, they've been amazing dogs. Growing the puppy up where you make sure the outcome is positive & the temperament is there is just so much easier than training a dog that has 2 years of reinforced prey-hunting behaviors, lol (again, NOT a trainer!). For the record, I do get that it sounds crazy to teach the dog "leave it" with the cat, BUT in spite of the many exposures that should have shown him that the cat is family, he just wasn't making the connection & was totally overcome with his drive (we've had other foster dogs and visitor dogs that we taught to respect the cat in the house) so we backed up to some basic commands that yielded outcomes we wanted and crossed our fingers that the effects wouldn't make our work harder in the end. He is beginning to trust us and is responding really well to the SA work we're doing so we should be able to progress with the cats. Place command this week! I have the week off :)
 
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