Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Crate/Pen Guarding

PetFriendly
December 19th, 2005, 04:29 PM
Charley has taken to guarding his pen in the livingroom (where he stays during the day) and his crate (where he sleeps at night) from the cats. If he finds a cat in his pen/crate he barks/snarls and attacks the cat until it runs from the room in question.

While attacking the cats isn't good, is this behaviour that will get worse, or should he be allowed to have a place (or two) that are his and only his? He'll share everything else but the meat bones (he just runs away from them with those) with the cats. I've been scolding him for snarling and jumping on them, and will set him up to ignore it by putting my cat in his pen/crate and making him leave her alone then praising him when he does. But lately his 'attacks' are less frequent but much more intense. Any thoughts?

StaceyB
December 19th, 2005, 07:57 PM
Try moving his crate to another area in the room and correct him each time he does this.

PetFriendly
December 20th, 2005, 11:40 AM
There's no-where else to put the pen (we moved it from the dinning room because he was doing the same thing when it was in there) but I can probably move the crate.

He only does it to the cats too, won't even blink if my little niece or my boyfriend's puppy goes in or near the pen or crate.

StaceyB
December 20th, 2005, 11:48 AM
Is he getting rough or nasty about it.

tenderfoot
December 20th, 2005, 12:59 PM
I would close the crate door and don't let the cats in. Invite him into a crate when you think he would like some quiet time or needs to go in. The problem is that he is showing his dominance over the cats in a very dangerous situation. The cats are trapped by the crate itself and if he takes this any further someone is going to get hurt.
You can also start to teach the cats to stay out of the crate by pressuring them when ever you see them go near one. Do they have their own hiding places (baskets or boxes) to go in that they can have to themselves?
Definately teach him that threatening the cats is bad. he needs to learn 'leave it' and 'be gentle' so that he can learn good manners.
If you wanted to set him up for crate manners - do it with the leash attached to you. That way when a cat walks near his crate and he even flinches you can interupt the thought befor it becomes an action. Get him to feel your displeasure in his bad choices and defer to your wishes, and praise him for making good choices.
I would work much harder on his bone manners too. He should not be getting so protective.

PetFriendly
December 20th, 2005, 04:33 PM
I try very hard to keep the doors closed, and will try harder. The cat can climb in and out of the pen even if the door is closed and I scold her for it by squirting her with water and in both the case of the crate and the pen I redirect her to her closest bed/spot. The cats have their own places, boxes in closets, baskets, etc that the dog can't get to.

Yes, he's getting rough about it, I don't think he's trying to hurt the cat so much as impress upon her that its his and he means business (not making excuses, its not ok no matter what the reason).

He already knows gentle and 'leave it' and will respond properly to the commands. He just doesn't associate his behaviour with causing the command to be given so doesn't stop himself. No matter how many repetitions of 'Leave it' we do with a particular object or situation, it just doesn't 'stick in his brain' until we've been practising for a few months. Like now if someone puts food down on the coffee table and says 'leave it' he will, but if you don't say anything he thinks the food is fair game.

I'll be a better human and keep a closer eye on him. He's usually dragging a leash anyway...

The bone issue is being worked on, we've come a long way from the hold your ground a bite reactions he had this summer, and we're still working but there's only so much the cats will take before they stop co-operating and run away. And no-one around me wants to take the chance of being bit to get him used to sharing them so he only get them rarely now (my room-mate and I can take them no problem).

PetFriendly
December 20th, 2005, 04:47 PM
I just thought of something else, if there's food in the dog's dish that the cats or the boyfriend's are eating, or the cats or other pup are drinking (communal water dishes), Charley will just sit there and wait for them to get out of the way.

Same goes if the cats or other pup are sleeping in his bed on the middle of the floor or his favorite spot on my bed (only gets to go on the bed on weekday mornings when I'm getting dressed for work).

StaceyB
December 21st, 2005, 04:05 PM
He sleeps on his bed so I would close up the crate when he is not in it. He sees you getting the cats to leave this area. Maybe you should switch it around so that he has to be tolerant of the cats using his crate just as he is with most everything else. Correct him for his bad behaviour instead of moving the cats.