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Cat Chasing

November 24th, 2006, 12:25 AM
I am looking for a way to teach my dog Riley to stop chasing our cats and to generally calm down in their presence...

When I got him I had not one clue about dogs. I let him chase the cats for months until I was told that was wrong. (I had no idea, thought it was normal, oops!) Now 2yrs later they hate him. He wants nothing more than just to get close to sniff them and be friends but they won't let him have that much.

Yet, other peoples cats he doesn't bother. When he goes to the groomer (a cage free groomer) she brings her cat sometimes... Riley pays no attention to the cat at all. And the cats that live at the vet, he sniffs them, kisses them, then leaves them alone. But goes WILD over my 3...

They have their own room as a safe spot with their litter boxes, food, beds, and a door that leads to an outside pen... the only time they will really come out anymore is when they know Riley is outside or sleeping. If he comes inside and one is upstairs he goes NUTS trying to find them and will chase them before I can grab hold of him.

Any ideas or suggestions? Everyone tells me to seek a professional, which I did...and she told me to fill a soda can with rocks and throw it in his direction when he chases them, but I can never get the can fast enough to catch him and stop it... so any other ideas anyone has I'm very open to.

November 24th, 2006, 12:29 AM
Not sure how to fix this one other than leashing and correcting... but throwing a can?! :eek: IMO, all that will get you is an unconscious dog (especially with the rocks)... Well.. I guess that would stop him from chasing the cats...

November 24th, 2006, 12:34 AM
lol, throwing a can in his direction but not actually hitting him. Just enough to make the noise to get him to stop. Should have explained that better.

November 24th, 2006, 12:34 AM
Either way... I don't know about your aim, but I tend to hit everything I try not to.:rolleyes: :D

November 24th, 2006, 09:50 AM
Maybe instead of throwing the can with rocks, you can get something that will make a loud noise, that don't have to be thrown :shrug:

Rocks in a larger, louder can can be shaken to make a loud noise.

But in my experience with Hunter and my room-mates cats, leashing and correcting and just a gradual acceptance by both parties was all that was needed. It meant a few cat swipes to the nose:eek: , but eventually Hunter learned that when one ran away, it was not a game. ;)

November 24th, 2006, 09:51 AM
They really hate ( mine anyway) a pop can with pennies in it ( just shake it)

November 24th, 2006, 01:06 PM
So your little child bashed your other kids on the heads for years and no one said much, because he was so little that it didn't hurt them and everyone thought it was kind of cute. Now he is 4 yrs old and still bashing people on the head - except now it hurts and its not so cute. What are you going to do? Throw cans/rocks at him?

Teach him to make better choices. First teach him the 'leave it' command. Practice with tons of different things - his dinner, your dinner, cheese, bones, balls, etc. Then have him on the leash (to ensure success) and walk him past the cats and tell him 'leave it' in a firm tone. If he seems too focused on them you can give a slight leash correction and you keep walking past. Do not stop. Now practice, practice, practice - until you can walk past them and he doesn't even turn his head or glance at them. When he is good - give him warm, soft praise.

The problem is that he chases - they run - you throw a can and it was all failure. CREATE SUCCESS, and repeat it until you get the success you want. Otherwise he just learns failure. Now you did permit this behavior for 2 years and so we can't be mad at him - his people basically told him it was okay to do. We have to help him understand that there are new rules now and chasing will no longer be permitted.

The cats themselves are going to take a longer time to adjust to the new rules. They have lost trust in everyone. They only know him as obnoxious - so it it will take him proving he can calm down and you insisting on harmony in the house. Gradually the cats will permit him to come a little closer as he is able to show self control - but they may never trust him completely.

We have a dog who is a natural chaser. It took him months to adjust to a new cat in the house. That was 4 years ago. This past summer I brought home 5 cats in 6 weeks - some adults some kittens - he adjusted quicky with our help and is doing better than even I imagined him capable of.

November 25th, 2006, 05:11 AM
I agree with Tenderfoot that because the behaviour has gone on for a while it will take longer to correct, but if he know enough to leave other cats alone he is cat correctable. Training has to be consistent and you can not allow him opportunities to get away with chasing uncorrected during the training phase meaning he has to be well supervised at all times when the cats are loose around the house, so when you cannot supervise you either have to crate Riley away or close the door to the room that the cats are in

I introduced a cat to 3 dogs that did not have exposure to cats and who are small prey animal killers(squirrels, rabbits birds), one has a very high prey drive, that I cannot eliminate all I can do is control enviroment(cats are indoors at all times, and teach him his hunting grounds are outside the house) I did not have time to take months of training otherwise the cat could end up dead before the lessons are completed and for a dog with strong chase instincts the ultimate choice would be to chase, the reward being the thrill/high he gets from chasing and definitely that is definitely more rewarding to a dog with a strong chase instinct than a cookie and all it takes is another dog starting to chase without intent to hurt to give the one with the preydrive the incentive to try and compete to get the quarry before the other does, when you have multiple dogs competition can create added danger. So I had to nip the behaviour in the butt right away, my tool was a squirt bottle with water with the bottle hooked into my pant pocket for easy access if a dog went to chase it automatically got squirted and a firm sharp "no chase" was said, the cat was a kitten so cooperated fully with the training since it has no fear of the dogs and though the dogs were playing with it and loved running around in mad spurts which meant in the first couple of hours the dogs all got squirted several times after the cat was put away in a safe area and taken out later for another lesson , when they ignore the cats running I praised them , by day 2 the dogs would start the chase but looked at me to see if I was watching and had the bottle that I showed then and said "no chase" and quickly changed their mind I continued this for a couple more days and was then just using the command "no chase" within a week they were no longer interested in chasing the cat.

I know Tenderfoot does not agree with the spray bottle training , but I want the dogs to know there is a consequence and that in no way is it acceptable to me, dogs understand correction right from the time they are pups, as their moms do correct them usually with a nip and growl, though the water startles them it does not hurt them and reaches them faster than I can since I can't run 30 or 40 miles per hour to stop them, and with 3 dogs it is impossible to have them all on a leash at the same time in the house for training to leave the cat alone, also it could be dangerous to do so as one of the dogs could become quite frustrated not being able to get to the cat and that can set up a situation where it redirects it's frustration to another dog by biting it and you would have a fight break out and you could end up getting hurt since the dogs are leashed to you. unleashed the dogs are less stressed and excited with less stress they are better able to recieve the message(the water hitting them) that chasing is totally not acceptable to me, I also risk some confusion in want I want from them if on leash, to them it may be percieved that it is only unacceptable to chase while on leash, I continue the strict observation and seperating when I can't supervise until a period of time has passed where they no loinger get excited by the cat running. I know another person who was not firm with training about 2 years later they came home from work to find 2 cats dead and 1 critically injured, the dogs made the choice it just happened to be the wrong one, both dogs got returned to the rescue, the dogs never learned there was a negative consequence for chasing they were simply trained with rewards if they showed no interest, the owner figured there was enough hiding spaces for the cats to run to should a chase begin that they would be safe, the first successful catch of one would have driven them into a frenzy afterward to catch the others. When my dogs do catch something outside, I take it away, and then wait it out outside till they settle down and their adrenlin subsides before bringing them into the house, the next few times outside they will be worked up looking excitedly for more prey and again I wait till they settle down before bringing them in. In a very high excited state with lots of adrenalin coursing through their blood, spraying them with a water bottle will not be effective (with Sunny in the middle of one outside chase ran into the fence knocking out some of his teeth, it never even fizzed on him he simply continued chasing the rabbit which luckily got away with only bits of hair mising) the effects of adrenalin is very powerful so when it's at it peak, I won't allow the dogs near the cats intil they have calmed down.

When I introduced cat number 2 they showed interest and curiousity all I had to do is warn with a simple "no chase" they understood it also was off limits for chasing and would look to me when it ran for the first bit, till they got used to the cat being in the house, When I fostered greyhounds they also had to know chasing even in play was unacceptable, the greys are only with me for a month and 95% of the adopters have cats in their homes, adopters were pre approved and there was a waiting list of adopters so as a foster parent I had to ensure the dogs understood that no chasing was allowed in the house, and because they are in an enviroment totally foreign to them it may take them a week or so to relax enough to suddenly take an interest in the cats and I had only about 2 weeks from the time they arrive to make the decision if the dog can be safely be put in a home with cats with unexperienced dogs owners, and write up my assessment and needs report on the dogs , which gave the group time to go thru their applicant waiting list to find an appropriate match and then contact the owner and let them know so they could prepare for its arrival. . The training method I choose cannot create fear of cats, if it did there is a danger that in the new home the dog would realaize their is no threat from the new owners and that would give them confidence to start chasing the cat, all I want them to understand is that chasing the cat is unacceptable just like peeing in the house is unacceptable. One of the fosters who took the longest to train not to chase as she really wanted to play and at 16 months was still very much a puppy went to a home that later adopted a very young kitten, her lesson was well learned instead she became a fantastic mother with the kitten and one time when it got into trouble and fell into the toilet went running for her owners and ended up saving its life. So the training does not need to create fear of being around the cats it simple teaches them how to interact with the cats in an acceptable manner, and I encourage and reward good interactions.

Such as Nitro playing with Tipper after 2 weeks in my home

Sunny my high prey drive dog after his first week of training, the muzzle was an extra precaution because he is a high prey dog the picture was taken 4 years ago

November 25th, 2006, 03:11 PM
Hi Ontario Greys,

You have done a fabulous job with your GH's. It's not that we are totally against squirt bottles but all things in balance. Try not to rely on them and use your voice just a heartbeat before you squirt and the startle of the squirt will empower your word. Too many people just squirt the dog but don't associate anything to help the dog learn. It should be that your word alone tells the dog to 'leave it' or 'be gentle' but sometimes we need something to make sure the dog stops immediately and if a squirt does that then okay. But then see if you can just use your word and not squirt. Now your dog is respecting you, and not just the the water bottle.

We had a client whose living room in their cabin was soooo tiny. But they had 9 squirt bottles in that tiny room to try to correct their dog - dog was still out of control because they dog only behaved when the person had a bottle in their hand. So it isn't just the squirt bottle that teaches - its using it properly to create the right association.

November 28th, 2006, 11:02 AM
Change the name, only kidding. My Riley has had the same issue from day one, i have just let them get on with it, hte cats have a seperate door with a cat flap if they want into the other side of the house, there side has there litter, and magnetic key operated cat flap, their food and the games room. They NEVER come through and Riley is usually seen with his head through the flap trying to play with them, but there old and wise so no dice. They now get fairly close and I have done a LOT of training with Riley to heel, sit-stay and leave. So last night I saw the cat was 6 inches away from the flap and Riley was his usual stance of putting his head throught the flap with no con=mment from the other side so i got a 12inch leash and clipped Riley on (he knows he has to be good once the leash is on. We went to heel and the cat stayed htere, he was put into sit and the cat walked away and he stayed, so I walked Riley past Pootle and kept him so tight and as soon as his head turned he was on a leave. WE DID IT, he jsut walked on by, no barking jsut wagging and wanting to play, so I put riley in a down stay and called the cat over, having a short leash I could hold Riley at arms length. The cat was nose to nose but didn't like being licked and took a swipe, to my surprise Riley didn't move (don't worry the nearest Pootle could get to was his nose), I was waiting for the yelp and possibly a drop of blood, nothing, he actually patted Riley away rather than attack, no hiss, no backing up just a simple 'stop that' I carried on stroking the cat with Riley just 6 inches away and noses touched again and before anything happened I took Riley out of his stay and we went back through. 2 minutes later I heard the cat flap go adn so did Riley, for once he walked round to investigate rather then running up barking. he stopped 12 inches short and in his ecitement let out a bark, ha went to put a paw put and got a hiss, and pootle promptly turned and slowly walked back through (usually he bolts through and Riley thinks thats his cue to chase) addmittedly I put Riley in a down-stay to give the cat a chance. I think I might be making a breakthrough, the think I think that has made th difference is being able to walk at a close heel and the leave it. No adversives work with riley (cold water spray jsut has him licking and wanting more) we used a bopper (rolled up pillow case) and he thought it was a new toy, he picked it up brought it back and asked for it to be thrown again. coins in a tin just makes him look at us funny and then carry on with what ever he is doing. Now we pick up his toys and put them in his crate and close the door, when we do this he knows he is doing something wrong and just sits in front of his crate looking at his precious things. We now cue the toys going away with a 'no' or 'off' and it's starting to work. So my only advice after all this is work on keeping Riley close and in heel, leave-it's will bring his attention back to you and allow the cats to see there is no threat. However I am probably only one step ahead of you and as we all know tomorrow he will probably have his head through the cat flap barking his head off at the cats again :shrug: If you get a breakthrough please let us know. Unfortuantly my cats are 15-16 years old and are not going to be won over easily.:sad:
Good luck.

November 28th, 2006, 11:09 AM
XLR ~ your Riley sounds JUST like my Riley... he sticks his head under the gate to try to play with them.
This was at our old house....

Thanks for all the advice. I'll have to reread everything and take notes and go from there. I appreciate it!! :grouphug: