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Wonderful new dog - but HOW to STOP cat-chasing?

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  • Wonderful new dog - but HOW to STOP cat-chasing?

    We are in our first 24 hours with a lovely new dog - part Pyr, part Lab, about 70 lbs, around 2/3 years old. Very smart, sweet, loves other dogs, very gentle to people - but is obsessed with chasing our 10-year-old cat. This MUST stop. We love this dog, but Mr. Kitty has been here for ten years and he has the right to sleep on the couch in peace.

    Any suggestions are welcome. His foster home says that he responds to a water spray bottle so we are going to get one of those. Anything else? We can gate off a safe area for the cat but it won't work all day long, due to blocking exit doors and basement and things.

    ALL help is appreciated; we love this dog and want to keep him!
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

  • #2
    I'm sure others will have more suggestions, but whenever we get a new foster in, we like to have them drag a leash around for a day or so. You could do that and be able to step on it and more quickly correct/restrain the dog.
    He should also learn a leave it command, as well as teaching him alternate behaviors, to redirect his attention away from the cat and onto you. Have small training treats at the ready and watch him. He probably doesn't go from oblivious to the cat to chasing it immediately. He probably watches it, watches it with more intensity, and then goes after ut. You have to intervene right when he looks at the cat initially. Redirect him into a sit or whatever with eye contact. (You might have to teach the eye contact on its own first. Make a sound you want to mean look at me, and wait until the dog makes eye contact. Reward that immediately. Repeat)
    don't forget to reward him when he doesn't chase the cat. Even if it only happens every ten times, reward any time he looks at the cat then looks away or goes back to what he was doing.

    Sorry if any of that isn't clear or eloquently phrased, I'm pre-coffee at the moment. :-)


    • #3
      I hope you have good luck. We had a terrier cross for a couple years and he was really hard on the farm cats. He has now moved to the city and he doesn't even look at them.


      • #4
        We had to break two of our dogs plus a foster dog of this naughty habit.

        You have to "own" the cat. While cat is in the room, allow dog to enter. When he sees kitty and starts to head to her you quickly stand directly in front of her with your arms folded and say a firm, loud "not for dogs!". The dog will try to go around you. Continue stepping in front of him, protecting the cat and repeating the phrase. Eventually dog will give up. You will need to do this for however long it takes the dog to stop getting excited at the cat's presence. I would imagine some breeds will learn more quickly than others. My two dogs figured it out in two days. My little foster dog that had terrier in him took a few weeks. They all came around though so it does work! Good luck!


        • #5
          They also make citronella collars with a remote. Same principal as the electronic training (zap) collars, but with a citronella spritz.

          The beauty of these is that YOU are not involved, as far as the dog is concerned. He shows too much interest in a cat and out of the blue he gets squirted. Makes the chase cat = ICK connection clearer faster. Usually anyway, not all dogs read the rule book


          • #6
            I had good luck with holding the cat in my lap, while I sit on a bed/couch and letting the dog sniff the cats rear end (not butt, but just the hind area so the cat doesn't reach out to swat him.). Sometimes just getting a chance to smell them when they are still gets rid of some of the curiousity.

            You can put toddler gates in a bedroom door raised about 8 inches off the ground to allow the cat to go under, but not fit the dog. You have to give cat places to escape the dog. And for now, I would keep cat and dog separate if you are not home to supervise.


            • #7
              shock collar, stop it in a day. Or go get the $2 spray bottle and see if that does it.
              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


              • #8
                I have had good results using that "sonic egg". button on the egg for you press emits a sonic sound. It is great for lots of behavour issues. I use to for barking and getting in the garbage. A strong no and then the beep if no response. It works well at distracting them, but they don't really know where it came from.

                I got mine from Pet Smart for about $20. The also make a larger automatic one for just barking.


                • Original Poster

                  These are all great suggestions. Of course, I wasn't home today when he chased the cat so I assume it was entirely mayhem, with my daughter chasing rather than correcting. Now, naturally, cat is hiding so I have no opportunity to correct the behavior.
                  I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                  • #10
                    Electronic training collar. Operant conditioning at its finest.


                    • Original Poster

                      Yes, but they are really expensive. I wish I could borrow one from someone.
                      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Guin View Post
                        Yes, but they are really expensive. I wish I could borrow one from someone.
                        That is why I went with the sonic egg. Less expensive, plus no shock (mine never minded the shock from the electric fence so I didn't think it would have much impact).


                        • #13
                          The citronella kind are also less expensive.



                          • #14
                            I'm assuming you have a crate? If not, TSC has a good deal on crates for that size dog. Less than $100.

                            When you're not home, dog is crated.

                            When you are home, and dog chases cat, he gets a five minute time out in the crate. No emotion, no drama - he starts towards cat, you crate him very calmly. Five minutes later you let him out very calmly. Rinse and repeat.

                            I took in a very drive-y border collie and it worked with her - although it takes time and patience.

                            In the alternative, since it's a lab/pyr cross, you could also use a shock collar. They're pretty tough dogs and I don't think you'll induce lasting neuroses (e-collars and collies are a recipe for disaster in most cases). Just be sure you have your timing right. It's easy to train the wrong behavior by being too slow on the trigger.
                            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                            • #15
                              I bought my ecollar to break dog from cat chasing. It was a good, name brand. It cost me 20.00 used on ebay. Don't buy the cheap china import- they don't work-I tried them.
                              ~Former Pet Store Manager (10yrs)
                              ~Vintage Toy Dealer (rememberswhen.us)
                              ~Vet Tech Student
                              Mom to : 2 Horses, 4 Dogs, 2 Cats


                              • #16

                                Originally posted by Molly99 View Post
                                I have had good results using that "sonic egg". button on the egg for you press emits a sonic sound. It is great for lots of behavour issues. I use to for barking and getting in the garbage. A strong no and then the beep if no response. It works well at distracting them, but they don't really know where it came from.

                                I got mine from Pet Smart for about $20. The also make a larger automatic one for just barking.
                                Uh... Wouldn't this also bother the cat and any other dog that wasn't chasing the cat???
                                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                                • #17
                                  Usually if puppies are not carefully socialized TO cats while young, such that they consider "cats" to be part of their extended family of dogs-humans- what have you, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to cure a dog of cat-chasing.
                                  Sure, any dog can be trained to stop chasing cats when a human is around to issue commands, but if the dog is expected to live in the same house with the cat, there will be times when there aren't any people around to issue "LEAVE IT" or "DOWN" commands to the dog, and kitty may very well end up dead.
                                  So if the dog seems very determined to go after the cat, with intense prey-drive, you may want to consider returning the dog.
                                  If the dog just seems curious/playful rather than seriously prey-driven, you can try re-training.
                                  Ecollars often work extremely well for this purpose. There are two ways to use an ecollar for chasing: one is aversion training, and one is negative reinforcement. In aversion training, you just put the collar on the dog, and when the dog goes after the cat you hit the dog with a high-level shock. Sometimes this works just fine, but sometimes you can have serious problems occur instead- keep in mind the dog hasn't the slightest idea what just happened, all he knows is something horrible occurred. Most dogs don't immediately connect their behavior or the cat with the shock and instead figure "the floor got them" or, if a person was standing next to them, "that man got me", and now you have a dog who learned the wrong thing- some dogs won't ever enter that room ever again; some dogs will become fear-aggressive; some dogs will act like they have post-traumatic stress disorder. So aversion training MAY work, but it is also quite likely to backfire horribly. It's not a "safe" training technique.
                                  Negative reinforcement training to stop chasing is, however, very safe and effective for any dog, even a very soft or nervous dog who would be expected to totally melt down if subjected to aversion training. Good description: http://www.loucastle.com/crittering
                                  You could certainly use a vibration collar instead of shock to perform this training, but the crude citronella spray collars won't work for this method, and will probably not be aversive enough to use in aversion training methods.

                                  generally I prefer positive methods of training, but I frankly don't know of any that work well for stopping cat-chasing in the absence of a human to give commands.


                                  • #18
                                    Our hound thinks that the cats are GREAT fun to chase.

                                    We stand up with a sharp "HEY!" and clap. He usually grinds to a halt and stares at us and we reward the pumpkin out of him. He got it, slowly, but he started to get that the cats were not toys.

                                    Our JRT was more of a challenge. Coffee can full of pennies worked for her.

                                    If we aren't home, the stay in the kitchen and the cats have roam of the house. They were here first, after all.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post

                                      Uh... Wouldn't this also bother the cat and any other dog that wasn't chasing the cat???
                                      It would effect other dogs, but OP didn't say anything about other dogs. In my experience the cats around did not seem to react, so it must be at a frequency they don't "hear". But it could just be the moronic cats that roam my neighborhood!!!


                                      • #20
                                        If you have a friend with a cat who is one not impressed with dogs and two knows to beat the living snot out of any dog who comes near them, a day in a cats presence like that will teach a dog a lot.