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Dog and kittens not getting along - help!

November 10th, 2006, 12:52 PM
I'm new to this board and hoping to get some advice on how to train my dog to stop chasing my kittens.
We have a 2 year old golden retriever/samoyed cross named Franklin who is generally a pretty well-behaved sweet, gentle dog. 3 months ago we adopted 2 kittens knowing there would be lots of training involved to have all 3 pets get along and not destory each other or the house. I had read a lot about introducing a dog to cats and thought we were starting out well those first few days, but 3 months later I still have to keep Franklin on a leash when the cats are in the same room so that he doesn't chase them or paw/mouth them. When he's on the leash he does okay - he'll sit and stay for the most part even if they run right past him. As soon as he's off-leash though it's a whole different story - he'll chase them everywhere and if he catches them he tends to get pretty rough - the weird thing is that even if he's licking the cats to death, pawing at them or has his mouth around them they purr the entire time and don't do anything to defend themselves! Half the time when we seperate them the cats will turn around and come chasing right back after the dog and the whole thing starts all over again.
Some people I've talked too say if the cats are purring then they're all just playing and not to worry about it and let them "figure it out themselves" - some people say to keep him on a leash until he learns not to chase them. I just don't want to have to keep him on a leash in the house or keep them seperated all the time. What else can I do to prevent this chasing behaviour? If they are all tired and calm and not moving everything's fine, but as soon as one of the cats starts running around it's chaos. I'm worried that even if they're playing that one day Franklin will take it a little too far and then it's game over for the cats.
Should I just be more patient or do I perhaps have a more serious problem on my hands. Franklin has always been pretty responsive to training but seems to tune us out completly when the cats are around and the leash is off.

November 10th, 2006, 03:32 PM
You should come to my house - my dogs do the same to my cat but also she reciprocates and does the same to them.

I was worried initally too - but some friends who have had cats all their life said never to worry about the cat, as long as its got its claws its fine. And you know its true! Even if I get a bit worried thinking the puppy is being too rough with the cat I call her off & she stops for enough time so the cat can get away if she wants ... and you know she doesn't she just lies there and then they continue, I assume playing.

If you are unsure try that as if your dog can have a breather, just enough to let the cat get a head start to run away, if they are not playing or she is fed up with it she will run for hills - but if not she might actually be enjoying herself and of course there are those lovely claws to scratch with - your cat has a very valuable weapon if he/she so chooses :cat:

November 10th, 2006, 03:50 PM
Daisy,these are kittens and Franlkinsmom is right,they would be too small and vulnerable,the dog could kill them without even meaning to.
Sorry FM,I have no advice,but I am sure someone will reply who has.

November 10th, 2006, 04:00 PM
Hi, I know someone with dog experience will be along soon to help out but I just wanted to say hi, and what I thought about your situation from a cat person perspective. I think you are wise to worry about the playing one day going to far. The kittens are trusting and not old enough or strong enough to defend themselves if things did get out of hand. Doggy is just acting on the instinct to chase and bite but doesn't have a boundary about where to stop when it starts getting exciting. I think it's best to not let there be any mouthing or chasing of the kittens at all because if things escalate further you won't be able to stop a serious injury.

November 11th, 2006, 10:39 AM
I have the same situation with my 9 mo old dog and one of my cats. When I first brought my puppy home, he did injure one of my cats (I think). Although I was not close enough to see, I think my puppy stepped on my cat's paw on accident. She was in a lot of pain for days, but eventually it healed and I kept a better eye on the puppy for awhile after that. We worked on not chasing and being 'gentle', but, they still like to race around the house and play together. This cat does not have claws but loves to play and will run past him just to get him to play. They both enjoy it and when the cat has had enough, so goes to one of her safe places. I have another cat who doesnt' like playing with either of them and my dog leaves her alone. I dont' think this is really a high prey drive dog, but more of a playful dog and also playful cat. Not sure what to do, as I like the fact they are friends. My dog is quite careful and makes an effort to be gentle, although I still worry, like Franklinsmom. I can easily call him away from her, but then he usually goes right back to playing with her. He is even good with small dogs at the dog park, so all the work to be 'gentle' paid off in other ways. I guess I don't have much in the way off good advice, but hope you get some that works for you and your pets. Have you tried working with a trainer?