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Cats and Dogs

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Can anyone tell me how to teach a dog NOT to chase cats? Our 15 month old Beagle/JRT mix, Sophie, persists in being very interested in our cats. They want nothing to do with her. They run, and she chases; the few times she has managed to catch one, she holds the cat down with her front paws so she can sniff them all over. This doesn't hurt the cats, but of course they hate it. We have been trying to keep them separate, but I really hope we don't have to continue this for the rest of their lives.

The main problem at this point is that my Cornish Rex, Crumbs, is very determined to walk (or run) on her own four feet, rather than let me carry her from one "safe room" to another. She has been known to leap out of my arms and make a run for it. Sophie is almost as fast as she is, and sometimes catches her, but that doesn't stop Crumbs from trying it again, and again, and agian.

I would be grateful for any suggestions.

Here is Sophie, looking innocent:


This is Crumbs:


And Beauty, our other dog:

She wasn't nearly so determined to chase the cats when she was young - a few bops on the nose from angry kitties soon convinced her to leave them alone.
post #2 of 16
My Zoey is just over a year old and has had her bluff in on the dogs since she arrived last May. The dogs are a Golden Retriever and two Old English Sheepdogs - 10, 6 and 3. She was hissing, spitting and swatting them a few times at first. The herding instinct is very strong, so I've caught the girls trying to herd Zoey a couple of times - from a safe distance.

My son just took in a rescued 10 week old Blue Heeler or Australian Cattle Dog. She is the same size as Zoey, both around 9 pounds. Want to guess who chases who? Today, Scally ran into the livingroom and jumped up on the hearth, not yet realizing cats can jump further & higher. Zoey stood up in front of Scally and popped her on the nose three times. Poor puppy sounded so abused. Zoey also stalks Scally, about 3 feet behind her. It's very funny to watch.

In each room of our house, our furniture is aranged so Zoey has plenty of high spots to escape to if needed.

Have your dogs been to obedience school? Do they know the "off" command? Have you tried having them "heel" when they get up as if to chase her - preventing the chase is the best. Also, think about "No chase" and then putting them in a separate room for a short "time-out." My dogs absolutely hate being away from people, so that is the worst punishment for them.
post #3 of 16
You've got two breeds going against you. JRT are known ratters & known to be bad with cats. What I would do, I guess....is keep the dogs on leash & let the cats run around them. When a dog goes for a cat, correct them or stop them. With my two, all it took was a light tug on the leash, a sit, & "leave it". Depends on the commands the dog knows.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
keep the dogs on leash & let the cats run around them. When a dog goes for a cat, correct them or stop them. With my two, all it took was a light tug on the leash, a sit, & "leave it".
That's what we did with our dog, had him in a sit/stay on lead and corrected anytime he went to get up, also used 'leave it'. Now he's best of friends with all the cats.

I would not try to introduce a dog that doesn't have at least basic obedience training.
post #5 of 16
White Cat Lover is totally right. JRT's are known for being horrible with cats. Before we got Hershey, I did a lot of research regarding the best breeds to get with cats [and yet i still ended up getting a lab/gsp ], and across the board: JRT's were not good matches. With that said, either are Labs [until they are 7, when their brain is returned to them], but we've managed to get our pup and kitties to at least coexist through LOTS of praise and treats when "NO KITTY!" was obeyed. A good swat from one of the kitties helped drive that point home.

We used Kongs to motivate Hershey, and it worked like a charm. It's a double-whammy of a toy - mental stimulation and food! We filled it with things he would only get for outstanding behavior: cheese, bananas, peanut butter, real ham - things he loves. It got to the point where Hershey would go lay right by the kitties, just to prove he could, and not jump, while looking at me with the what we now call "kong eyes". Didn't take long for him to figure out that no kitty meant good food.

Maybe your dog is more motivated by praise and toys than food. It's helpful to figure out what he will work for, and then motivate him with it. I've found it quite easy to teach Hershey to do anything, as long as he's got something good to work for. And although it sounds like a problem in itself, cat chasing just boils down to obedience.

Now, if someone could just tell me how to get the kitties to stop chasing the dog?
post #6 of 16
I myself have a Lab & a Lab/GSP with an extremly high prey drive. I mean, it can be done, but it takes training. The dog can not ever be allowed to "slip up" & go after a cat. I've had my girls for 3 years now & they still need regular reminders. But, I wouldn't trade either of them for the world(at least not yet ).
post #7 of 16
I recommend the book by Jan Fennel called The Dog Listener to anyone who has behavior issues with their dogs. Her basic training methods correct just about any issue that they have. It's all about getting a dog to understand their place in their "pack" and putting yourself on top.

I had 2 greyhounds - another breed with a high prey drive. I had to keep total control over them and teach them that the cats were part of their pack.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions! It sounds like a few training sessions with a leash and some really good treats are in order. Sophie has been to basic obedience classes and is generally well-behaved, but she is still young and easily distracted. She and Crumbs are both so quick that it's hard to stop problems before they start.

Unfortunately we didn't know Sophie was half JRT when we adopted her; the shelter called her a "Beagle mix" (which she is). We only found what the "mix" is later. I guess I expected her to figure out for herself that cats have claws and must be respected, as our first dog did. Beauty is a Lab, BTW. I had never heard that Labs are bad with cats. Ours certainly isn't.

ETA: The cats *do* have high places in every room where they can get away from dogs. Crumbs chooses instead to go to the door of one of "her" rooms, and since those rooms are off-limits to dogs, the door is always closed unless I am going in/out. So, she finds herself cornered and that's when Sophie pounces.
post #9 of 16
I had to use a leash and lots of baby gates after that, chasing the cat is NEVER tolerated. Time outs are given as well, as well as treats and praise for good behavior, but in the beginning months (yes, I said months) a long leash was used for training. When I leave, the kitty has to go in her own room for safety reasons due to one dog, I think they would be okay, everyone is okay at night but I just don't want to chance things. Everyone gets along wonderfully in the wild kingdom now - but it did take a lot of work in the beginning and still requires occassional reminders, but for the most part it is smooth sailing. All the work in the beginning pays off for years to come.
post #10 of 16
I have a JRT also, he used to be really bad with the cats, now we have it down, thats its bad to chase them, and he only does it every once in a while. Both him and my poodle would chase the ca ts, and Spike (the poodle) got his eye scratched from chasing the cats, and now doesnt have an eye. And after that, both of them didnt chase the cats, and spike still doesnt . But Luke does sometimes, but he stops as soon as we call his name. It really takes presistance with the JRTs. Though I truely think that luke who isnt a year old yet, is much easier to train than our poodle was/is. He knows alot more commands, and he hasnt been to trainging yet. And it didnt take too long to housebreak him at all. its muchbetter than when spike was a puppy. One of the reasons that I dont think I ever want to get a poodle again-or atleast a puppy.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by momto3cats View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions! It sounds like a few training sessions with a leash and some really good treats are in order. Sophie has been to basic obedience classes and is generally well-behaved, but she is still young and easily distracted. She and Crumbs are both so quick that it's hard to stop problems before they start.
.
The one that gave me the most problems had the most obedience classes and several titles, a lovely well behaved dog most of the time. The urge to chase, hold down, shove with face, & basically be a bully was just too strong. There wasn't any aggression, but I was worried kitty would accidently get hurt when stepped on and held down. Chasing kicks up the prey drive another notch where I just didn't want it to go. Thank goodness the other dogs are much better with kitty pretty much from the start, but now they all are. You have to be firm and consistent. No letting them chase one time, but not the next. Make sure they know the rules and limits.

Stopping problems before they have a chance to start is important. Don't think a few training sessions will solve all your problems, I hope it does, that would be great, but be prepared for spend months training depending on your dogs drives, attention span, obedience, and other factors.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
The one that gave me the most problems had the most obedience classes and several titles, a lovely well behaved dog most of the time. The urge to chase, hold down, shove with face, & basically be a bully was just too strong. There wasn't any aggression, but I was worried kitty would accidently get hurt when stepped on and held down. Chasing kicks up the prey drive another notch where I just didn't want it to go. Thank goodness the other dogs are much better with kitty pretty much from the start, but now they all are. You have to be firm and consistent. No letting them chase one time, but not the next. Make sure they know the rules and limits.

Stopping problems before they have a chance to start is important. Don't think a few training sessions will solve all your problems, I hope it does, that would be great, but be prepared for spend months training depending on your dogs drives, attention span, obedience, and other factors.
Thank you for the advice; it sounds like you've been through the same thing.
I admit, I don't have much experience with dogs yet, but I'm always learning. I do know that "a few training sessions" won't solve all my problems - I'm planning to start over and reintroduce everyone and do some intensive training sessions to establish new rules. I'm sure it will take months before I can trust her, if ever. Still, knowing where to start is helps a lot.
post #13 of 16
I don't want to scare you (this came from JRT owners) but you don't really want to trust a JRT with cats unsupervised. Both JRT (especially) and the Beagle has a hunting/prey instinct. You won't stop your pup from chasing the cats, and my fear is one day the JRT in him will take over and you will have a dead cat.

The labrador message board posted from a JRT message board about the warnings of JRT-cat homes. One of them had a JRT and cats for years. Thought everything was fine. One day they came home to a dead cat and one that barely survived. What happened in the house, they don't know, but the JRT apparently attacked and killed the one cat.

They warned JRT owners who have cats never to let them be alone unsupervised. If you can't separate the two when you are gone, the JRT should be kenneled/crated.


BTW Keno's a lab and she's great with the cats - yes she does get excited at times and sorta chases them - but only cause Ling/Charlie are arguing and she can't stand animals/people arguing But one sharp "NO" and she immediately stops.
post #14 of 16
I've been trying to introduce my new kitten to my two dogs. She's been sleeping in an enclosure in the same area as the dogs. At first the terrior was very interested, wanting to get right up in the cats face and the cat hissed, growled, and arched her back (all 2.5 pounds off her). The big dog (half doberman/half rottweiler) has been very disinterested in the cat. Actually hid from it at first, has sniffed it a couple of times, but mostly just ignores it.

To calm the terrior down, I would put her in her kennel whenever she went towards the cat aggressively. Then I put her on a leash, made her sit and gave her treats for being good (cat was nearby in its enclosure). After around thirty minutes of this, they went from both being on alert to the terrier lying down to get her belly rubbed and the cat cleaning herself. Next I advanced to having the cat on a table and then in my lap, with the terrier nearby. Then one day the cat was determined to get down on the ground. She kept her distance and the terrior obeyed a few stern "NO" s. If the terrior did go towards her with any quick motion, I would put the terrior in her kennel...just for a few minutes.

Today, they both were nose to nose through the wires of the kitty's enclosure with no growling, hissing, or arching backs. The terrier was actually wagging her tail. Later I let the kitty out to play and she actually would run at the terrier. I think she was trying to play. Of course when the terrier's ears perked up, the cat hissed and bowed up. A stern no and then praise for behaving kept the terrier from chasing even though she was being provoked. Interestingly, the terrior has seemed very happy the last couple of days despite the new creature in the viscinity. She played well with our last cat and I'm thinking she may actually be warming up to this one. Hopefully the kitten will get out of stalk and pounce mode soon though because she's really pushing the terrier's buttons.

As for the big dog, other than a curious sniff on occasion, he's content to play with his own squeaky toy and leave both the kitten and terrior alone. It's sort of funny. I saw the kitten meow at him yesterday trying to get his attention and today she actually ran a few feet toward him (he was several yards away) before turning back and running for cover. I think she wants him to come play too. Crazy little creature.

Hopefully they will all become friends and live peacefully. But I don't intent to leave the cat alone with them until she's big a lot larger and can defend herself better and then only if the terrier has proven she's going to behave. It's an interesting process.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the warning GoldenKitty. I have no intention of leaving them together unsupervised.

We are already starting to make progress. Sophie is learning to stay calm when she sees a cat (sometimes). It's a start.
post #16 of 16
My sister kimmy has a lab/jrt mix and a chinese crested. Bailey (the lab/jrt mix) never really messes with the cats- but the chinese crested just loves to - so they thought them both the "sit" "freeze" and "stay" commands - it has really helped! You might try that. I am currently having the same problem with our Carolina Dog, Whiskey chasing the cats- he will give a low growl and chase them (makes me a bit nervous) so i've talked with a local trainer and we are currently working around the clock with him on that. he is responding very well We do not use baby gates as we have an Australian Shepherd (Fosters) who can clear a 5' fence easily He doesn't chase the kitties though- he likes to herd them around the house like cattle but he's very gentle with our kitties and stops on command when we catch him. Just be patient with your dog- training is a life long process of positive reinforcemen. There is an AWESOME book called, "The Loved Dog" - it teaches you all about positive reinforcement training and best of all- it really works!!!!
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