TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Need advice on how to bring peace beween my dog and cat.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need advice on how to bring peace beween my dog and cat.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My wife and I were married just over 3 years ago. I brought a 100 pound black lab into the picture (Buddy) and she had a tuxedo cat (Oreo). I adopted Buddy from a Lab Rescue about 3 years before the marriage and my wife adopted Oreo about 2 years before the marriage. Both animals are alpha males, and we are living in what was my wife's home. The cat and dog act as though they want to kill each other, so we've been afraid to introduce them beyond a couple of very brief attempts from a distance. The cat is living in the master bedroom, and the dog is inside the house when we're home.

I had trained the dog with a professional, and I have to admit that I need to revisit some of that, as I let things get lax. I am now starting to work with the dog on basic obedience training. Lately the dog is spending more time at the bedroom door, and aggressively rushes the door, trying to nose under it or open it. The pattern is pretty disturbing, the dog used to have the complete run of my house before the marriage, and now can't go into the bedroom at night. The cat used to have the complete run of his house, but now is almost permanently in the bedroom. I feel horrible about this arrangement, but I'm really afraid that one or both of the animals will be seriously hurt if I just let them roam the house together. I've had friends suggest that I just put them together and let them sort it out, but I've seen both animals act very aggressive at the site of the other.

It seems to me that the key is to get the dog under complete control with obedience training, but I'm not sure how to begin permanently introducing them, or if I should even try. Any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 16
I wouldn't let a hundred pound dog sort anything out on his own. That seems like a very bad idea to me. The cat, even at potential nastiest, won't be able to do much to the dog. I think your instincts are right about getting the dog under control. I might even talk to a dog trainer about what he or she might suggest as it will be the dog's behavior that's key to the success of their relationship.

Whenever you do introduce them keep the dog on a leash and have him lay down. Give them both super duper extra special treats like chicken or steak so they associate good things that they really want with being together. Start that gradually with one on one side of the room and the other on the opposite side. Take your time and only ask the cat to move into the room slowly. I'd let the dog stay in one spot for this exercise and do it frequently like every day for as long as it takes. I'd take my time and wait until they seemed bored with each other before letting things progress past that.
post #3 of 16
Labradors are retrievers, they seek out, hunt, its instinctual for them. This doesn't mean that Buddy can't learn to respect the kitty. However it may not be easy and you will need to give discipline and leadership on a daily basis. For one you should never let him focus, especially dig or charge the door where the kitty is. This only increases the hunt mentality. He needs exercise, obedience walking, to respect what boundaries you set. If you don't set them, he won't respect them, and there could be a tragic outcome.......
post #4 of 16
What do you mean when you say the two act "very aggressively" towards each other?

I would expect a normal cat reaction to be arched back, fur completely on end, and hissing menacingly.

BTW, if they really got into it, my money would be on the cat inflicting major pain on the lab.

I don't know how the dog is reacting, but I think the cat would stay clear of the dog for quite a while unless cornered.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hwc View Post
What do you mean when you say the two act "very aggressively" towards each other?

I would expect a normal cat reaction to be arched back, fur completely on end, and hissing menacingly.

BTW, if they really got into it, my money would be on the cat inflicting major pain on the lab.

I don't know how the dog is reacting, but I think the cat would stay clear of the dog for quite a while unless cornered.
I disagree in this case completely. You mentioned Buddy rushing the door and seeking out the kitty, this is hunting mode. This is very dangerous for the kitty. It would be different if Buddy didn't pay attention to the door to the bedroom, but he shows aggressive interest.
post #6 of 16
These two animals have been kept apart, living in the same house, for over three years?
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
I disagree in this case completely. You mentioned Buddy rushing the door and seeking out the kitty, this is hunting mode. This is very dangerous for the kitty. It would be different if Buddy didn't pay attention to the door to the bedroom, but he shows aggressive interest.
It could also be play, though I wouldn't leave it up to chance.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcatiller View Post
My wife and I were married just over 3 years ago. I brought a 100 pound black lab into the picture (Buddy) and she had a tuxedo cat (Oreo). I adopted Buddy from a Lab Rescue about 3 years before the marriage and my wife adopted Oreo about 2 years before the marriage. Both animals are alpha males, and we are living in what was my wife's home. The cat and dog act as though they want to kill each other, so we've been afraid to introduce them beyond a couple of very brief attempts from a distance. The cat is living in the master bedroom, and the dog is inside the house when we're home.

I had trained the dog with a professional, and I have to admit that I need to revisit some of that, as I let things get lax. I am now starting to work with the dog on basic obedience training. Lately the dog is spending more time at the bedroom door, and aggressively rushes the door, trying to nose under it or open it. The pattern is pretty disturbing, the dog used to have the complete run of my house before the marriage, and now can't go into the bedroom at night. The cat used to have the complete run of his house, but now is almost permanently in the bedroom. I feel horrible about this arrangement, but I'm really afraid that one or both of the animals will be seriously hurt if I just let them roam the house together. I've had friends suggest that I just put them together and let them sort it out, but I've seen both animals act very aggressive at the site of the other.

It seems to me that the key is to get the dog under complete control with obedience training, but I'm not sure how to begin permanently introducing them, or if I should even try. Any help would be appreciated.
Welcome and glad you are here! I am sure the wife would love peace too, and I am glad you are trying to attempt to bring peace to the household. Dogs and cats can peacefully exist in most cases.

Yes, get the dog under control and use a leash. I also have a dog that isn't great with cats. It took months to work it out where the cat could be in the same room without the dog so focused on the cat. Now they can walk around and roam the house together in peace when we are home. It has been years now but once in a rare while the dog lapses and chases and then the prey drive kicks in. We always are watching them. The cat is great with dogs and a really great cat, but she is a cat, and she will tease the dogs. It is fine with the other dogs, but not with this one. So we have made a blanket rule, no dogs are allowed to chase the cat. Ever. Regardless of what the dumb cat does to try to make them play.

First of all, brush up on the dog's obedience. If he rushes the door, make him come back to you. You tell him what is and isn't off limits. Set some rules, he can never ever chase the cat. He can't rush the cat. He can't get all excited and spin around the cat or get all tense and focused, for instance, he must down or sit when cat is out or focus on something else, maybe a really good chew bone, tricks for treats, something to distract him. He can't make contact with the cat and follow cat around obsessive complusive. These things aren't allowed. He can't go to the door unless he is calm. Stuff like that.
Your dog might be harmless, he might be playing, he might still have a puppy brain, but he is so huge and his play could harm the cat easily. And his play drive could kick into prey drive and he could become overstimulated.

Use a leash at first for many weeks to enforce your commands. If he is not listening to you, use it longer, use it longer just for the safety of the cat if you feel it is needed. The cat can't be trained really, you will have to control and train the dog. Make sure you have baby gates up so the cat can have dog safe places to retreat to when the cat doesn't feel like looking at the dog.

Having your dog trained by a professional means little, the dog needs to have you, the owner, train him as he has to pay attention to you You have to be consistent and take baby steps. It is a slow process with some dogs, and yours might be one of those. Just to be safe I wouldn't even consider leaving them alone together for a very long time, even if the cat has safe places to go.

Hope this helps some.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Jennifer. That is probably some of the best advice I've had so far. I think I'm going to do something along these lines, but I really need to work with the dog first to make sure he's absolutely under my control. At the moment, he's laxed a bit in that because I've let things get a bit too casual, contributing to the overall problem.

Thanks again!
Doug
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
Labradors are retrievers, they seek out, hunt, its instinctual for them. This doesn't mean that Buddy can't learn to respect the kitty. However it may not be easy and you will need to give discipline and leadership on a daily basis. For one you should never let him focus, especially dig or charge the door where the kitty is. This only increases the hunt mentality. He needs exercise, obedience walking, to respect what boundaries you set. If you don't set them, he won't respect them, and there could be a tragic outcome.......
I think you're absolutely right about this, and thanks for your help. I've been thinking that the dog is the important step here, so I'm going to get cracking on that!

Doug
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hwc View Post
What do you mean when you say the two act "very aggressively" towards each other?

I would expect a normal cat reaction to be arched back, fur completely on end, and hissing menacingly.

BTW, if they really got into it, my money would be on the cat inflicting major pain on the lab.

I don't know how the dog is reacting, but I think the cat would stay clear of the dog for quite a while unless cornered.

The cat does the standard arched back and devilish hissing, but also begins to advance on the dog. The dog is definitely in hunt mode as well. When the cat has been inside the house, and the dog comes up to the sliding glass door from the outside, both charge the glass. The cat is up against the glass swinging at the dog! It's pretty nasty, and has been very discouraging. I think the failure has been in our inconsistency with trying to intoduce them (even at a distance) and reinforcing the positives. We've avoided it out of fear more than anything.

Doug
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hwc View Post
These two animals have been kept apart, living in the same house, for over three years?
Yes, unfortunately because we don't know how to deal with it, and I regret not dealing with it earlier because I've only made the problem worse. My wife and I are getting tired of a situation that has too many parallels to the Israel-Palestine situation in our household. The advice in the forum is helping a lot, so I really appreciate all you who are posting advice. The solution is becoming much more clear to me. Not easier, just more clear.

Doug
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
Welcome and glad you are here! I am sure the wife would love peace too, and I am glad you are trying to attempt to bring peace to the household. Dogs and cats can peacefully exist in most cases.

Yes, get the dog under control and use a leash. I also have a dog that isn't great with cats. It took months to work it out where the cat could be in the same room without the dog so focused on the cat. Now they can walk around and roam the house together in peace when we are home. It has been years now but once in a rare while the dog lapses and chases and then the prey drive kicks in. We always are watching them. The cat is great with dogs and a really great cat, but she is a cat, and she will tease the dogs. It is fine with the other dogs, but not with this one. So we have made a blanket rule, no dogs are allowed to chase the cat. Ever. Regardless of what the dumb cat does to try to make them play.

First of all, brush up on the dog's obedience. If he rushes the door, make him come back to you. You tell him what is and isn't off limits. Set some rules, he can never ever chase the cat. He can't rush the cat. He can't get all excited and spin around the cat or get all tense and focused, for instance, he must down or sit when cat is out or focus on something else, maybe a really good chew bone, tricks for treats, something to distract him. He can't make contact with the cat and follow cat around obsessive complusive. These things aren't allowed. He can't go to the door unless he is calm. Stuff like that.
Your dog might be harmless, he might be playing, he might still have a puppy brain, but he is so huge and his play could harm the cat easily. And his play drive could kick into prey drive and he could become overstimulated.

Use a leash at first for many weeks to enforce your commands. If he is not listening to you, use it longer, use it longer just for the safety of the cat if you feel it is needed. The cat can't be trained really, you will have to control and train the dog. Make sure you have baby gates up so the cat can have dog safe places to retreat to when the cat doesn't feel like looking at the dog.

Having your dog trained by a professional means little, the dog needs to have you, the owner, train him as he has to pay attention to you You have to be consistent and take baby steps. It is a slow process with some dogs, and yours might be one of those. Just to be safe I wouldn't even consider leaving them alone together for a very long time, even if the cat has safe places to go.

Hope this helps some.
Thanks a million for your advice. This just helps me solidify what I need to do. The dog is definitely in prey mode with how he is acting, and it is very difficult to get his focus away from the door wher the cat is. I'm thinking the most effective start would be to put his training collar on and walk him up the stairs to the bedroom door. Then bring him closer to the door and correct his reactions and work to regain his focus on me and not the door. Once I can get some positive association with that, it will probably be time to put up a kiddie gate and try the same kind of association from a distance, then closer, etc.

My wife and I dream of a situation where the cat and dog can be in the house together and just kind of keep their distance from each other!

I agree that my work will be more important than a professional trainer. I paid good money for a very good trainer, and thankfully got the most important thing out of it. He trained me, so I could control my dog. At this point, I just need to get off my duff and use those skills consistently.

Thanks,
Doug
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
Having your dog trained by a professional means little, the dog needs to have you, the owner, train him as he has to pay attention to you You have to be consistent and take baby steps. It is a slow process with some dogs, and yours might be one of those. Just to be safe I wouldn't even consider leaving them alone together for a very long time, even if the cat has safe places to go.

Hope this helps some.
A friend of mine is a dog trainer, and says that half her job is training the owners.

I second everything and also suggest that any of the exercises take place in a room with tall bookshelves, mantles, desks, etc. so that the cat can have an avenue of escape if necessary. Cats' instinct for safety is to go up. (Humans too; it is a cliche in TV/movies to have someone running away from 'the bad guys' to run upstairs and get cornered on the roof.) In the wild that would have meant trees, but a tall wardrobe will do in a pinch.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
Cats' instinct for safety is to go up. (Humans too; it is a cliche in TV/movies to have someone running away from 'the bad guys' to run upstairs and get cornered on the roof.) In the wild that would have meant trees, but a tall wardrobe will do in a pinch.
When you said humans too, my first thought was that cat's will go up bookshelves and will also go up humans.. which they will! I was carrying my 22lb cat to the car at a boarding facility, and when the lady who owns the place let her dog out, It rushed the fence and my cat went up my face. I had to go to the hospital to get the wounds cleaned. Needless to say I don't trust carrying a cat outside, I use a carrier, now.

In terms of your situation, I'm sure that better training will help, but familiarity is going to be what calms the situation down long term. They are reacting strongly to each other, and even if your dog is trained to stay down, he'll still want to get that cat. Is there a way that they can be in the same space, but separated? A dog gate keeping the dog in the kitchen while the cat explores the living room? I know, my dogs would go over a gate... I admit that I can't fully appreciate the situation as I have 2 shepherds that allow my cat to sleep on them (which he does, daily). But outside, I really need to watch them, they see cats differently outside.

When new animals come into my house, I bring them over to my shepherds as soon as they feel comfortable being close, and I tell my shepherds that this is a nice kitty... Yeah, maybe they don't understand, but they understand that I am demonstrating the proper behaviour around small animals. My dogs will play with both my cats and my chihuahua, and they tone it down to their level. Don't know how they know, but they do.
post #16 of 16
It's going to take some dedication on your part, regular exorcise and discipline for both Buddy and you. Not for nothing but the Dog Whisperer is no joke!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Need advice on how to bring peace beween my dog and cat.