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Discussion Starter #1
Hello folks, I recently adopted a GSD through this forum, actually, and she has made leaps and bounds of improvement in only 10 days. I have one area of great importance that I am not able to make any breakthroughs, unfortunately.

I have an indoor only cat. He is kind of wimpy and is terrified of the new dog. This dog seems to have a very high prey drive and loves to chase any sort of critter, birds, lizards, bugs, rodents, squirrels and rabbits. She actually caught a rabbit 3 days ago and it screamed and thrashed (so sad!) and it startled her so she let it go.

I have tried to have the new dog on a leash with the cat in the room and the dog goes crazy, jumping , whining, lunging. I have tried to have the cat in crate in the room and the dog is just as obsessed. I tried to hold the cat in my arms and dog tore a good sized hole in the screen door trying to get the cat. uugh.

I am working on commands such as "leave it", but when it comes to small animals I am unable to re-direct the dogs attention. Her focus is intense.

The cat is actually my daughter pet, and it is her "baby". If anything were to happen her cat because I wanted to add another dog to the household, I would feel like a selfish and horrible parent!

If anyone has had any experience in this department I would be glad for any advice!

Thanks so much! ~Gia~
 

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I am sure there will be plenty of advice from folks with more experience than me, but I am going through the same thing. Our first dog came from rescue already cat ready. Max however is a project in that respect.

It will take lots of patience and work. You will likely have to keep them seperated for a while and keep working at it. Part of it is just desensitization. Also the dog needs to come to understand that the cat is part of your pack, therefore part of his too.

Do you have a crate for the dog? Nothing like him being crated and watching the cat hand out with you.

Child gates will be needed to make sure the cat has some safe zones until the job is accomplished. I didn't want to hear when I was advised it could take 6 months, but I'm on 5 and it's working, but still not "there" yet.

Patience and perseverence and you will succeed, although there are some dogs who can never be trusted with cats.
 

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BTW, we have three cats with my daughter's boyfriends cat making 4 on occasion.
 

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When we first got Bodie, if the cat was ever around, he would completely forget that we were even there. To make it worse our cat was timid too, and would run every time he was around, inciting his prey drive. We used a water bottle to squirt him in the face every time he tried to chase her. It doesn't hurt, snapped him out of his focus, and we were able to teach him "leave it" that way. No point in teaching something if he's not even listening. We only used water, none of that water + lemon, or water + vinegar nonsense. That can damage or hurt their eyes.
 

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We have the same problem at home. We installed a cat door to the laundry room (that's where the cat's food & litter are). The youngest cat is gettling a little more curious than scared now. We'll catch her peeking around the corner when Jake is sleeping. The other cat, the queen bee. She pretty much comes around as she pleases, actually sits on the other side of child gate we put at the stairs and stares at Jake, hisses and moans a little, but of course won't move .. driving Jake absolutely crazy! At first I felt bad for her, cuz when Jake actually could catch her . .OMG . . sounded like she was possessed. But now . . I don't . . she brings it on her self.

The point . . it's getting better . .and we don't do anything. They all learn their place. Jake doesn't hurt the cats, has never bitten, mouthed, etc. Just the paw in the face :)
 

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Sometimes this problem is workable and sometimes it is not. High prey drive dogs have killed many a cat unfortunately. I know of two fellow rescue people who had it happen to them, one was a kitten she had handraised. It was devastating for her.

Anybody that knows me knows I am not one to encourage returning a dog or ever one to give up lightly, but prey drive is one area that can be a difficult thing to change. Please be very very very careful as you're working on this. One accidently cracked door or a dog left unsupervised for a second can mean tragedy.
 

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This is something I went thru just two months ago or so. When I adopted Z, he was almost a year and a half and I was told he was not cat safe. I tend to like a challenge. I used a muzzle on Z and let him sniff the cats behinds a few times while he was crated first. Then, while still using the muzzle, I allowed him to sit at my feet while I held each cat. He was not allowed to sniff when I was holding the cats at first. As he calmed down, then he would be allowed to sniff. He could come in my room to see my 'queen bee' but never up on "her bed". Each cat has their own space where they are safe from him if he gets overly sniffy. It was the way Cesar Milan says 'own that item' so I owned these cats until he could behave. Now they all live in harmony. I adopted this dog on Feb 7, 09 and he has had free roam of the house at night for a month. This is all indoors- we are working on cat manners outdoors still but he has a decent respect for them sharp claws now too Hope this helps!!
 

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Forgot to say that eventually, hopefully the dog will understand that not only do you own that cat, but that the cat is a part of the pack
 

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I use the water bottle trick, and I made my own cat trees...the big carpeted cat things....so that the cats can get away from the dogs. It takes a LOT of work with some dogs. When the dog goes for the cat squirt them and make a high pitched noise...kind of like the rabbit did to scare her. Also use the positive reinforcement as the dog begins to be calm around the cats give a treat or reward for ignoring it. It may or may not be workable. I also use a baby gate to block off a room specifically for the cats to get away from the dogs.

Keep in mind though that mine are not horribly prey driven only slightly, but these tips may help to some extent.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you everyone for your advice and insight! Last night I had the cat in a safe crate in the middle of the living room (much to his dismay!) and I kept Toffee on a leash (with a prong collar) next to me while I watched Heroes on TV, lol. She was pretty much acting like a "kitty junkie". Quivering, panting, staring...but remaining in down postition next to me. I re-directed her attention as often as every couple of minutes and when she would relax, I praised her for her calmness. I am going to try this approach again tonight. I'm calling a animal behaviorist tommorrow..I am fully aware of how dangerous this situation is. I have been hardwired to check gates, doors, locks, fences..etc. having worked with dogs and horses for most of my life!
I can't tell you how much this dog has improved in such a short time! She really is brilliant and I am dually impressed with her adaptablility and willingness to please me! This is the only hurdle that I am having difficulty getting over...
Toffee is so very bright and STABLE...I just can't believe that she won't eventually realize that this cat is MY cat and not to be hunted.
 

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http://leerburg.com/dog-cat.htm

I couple this with positive stuff-good treats for being nice to kitty, shaping the behavior in a good way.

I have, though, returned a dog-the very first one I tried to adopt-because she was trying to climb the bannister to get to my cat who was hiding in the back of a closet-so the cat was not being tempting-just her scent drove the dog wild. Her prey drive was too high for me to feel that I could provide a good match home for her, with her still being who she was and my cat living!
 

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I have a 10 year old Rott that is very slow and he still to this
day trys to get my cats. sigh....like some of the others have
said some dogs you can never change.

Good luck hope you can fix the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone, still working on it...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just thought I'd give an update on Toffee and her kitty addiction!
She is listening much better and I feel she has lost that predator "look" when she sees my cat. The kitty is still not allowed to run free when Toffee is in the house, but with ex-pens and supervision I DO have both of them in the house at the same time. Yes..progress!!! Thanks again for all the advice, everyone!
 

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Originally Posted By: JeanKBBMMMAANhttp://leerburg.com/dog-cat.htm

I couple this with positive stuff-good treats for being nice to kitty, shaping the behavior in a good way.

I have, though, returned a dog-the very first one I tried to adopt-because she was trying to climb the bannister to get to my cat who was hiding in the back of a closet-so the cat was not being tempting-just her scent drove the dog wild. Her prey drive was too high for me to feel that I could provide a good match home for her, with her still being who she was and my cat living!
This is pretty much how I handled it with my high-drive dog as well, and with any new fosters that may be around for a length of time (shorter term ones I just keep seperated if there's too much kitty interest).

Glad you're making progress - one thing to keep in mind, however, is no matter how reliable your dog may be with you there, never, ever leave them together unsupervised or when you are gone. Be sure that there is plenty of protection between kitty and dog (as in, don't leave it to a crate or a single door as mistakes happen). I learned this one the hard way, and would hate to see it happen to someone else! We have at least 3, sometimes 4 "layers" of protection when we are gone (crates, two doors, and sometimes a pet gate in front of a closed door) - that way if a door doesn't shut tight, or a crate doesn't get locked, there's still plenty to keep them seperated just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes! I am an avid door and gate checker! I may never let the two of them alone together.. that's just fine with me. I just wanted to be able to have the two of them in the same house together without fearing for my cats life (even with me right there). This dog is incredible, she tries very hard to please. I am continuing to work at it and still seeing progress! Thanks again for everyone's help!!
 
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