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Can you teach a dog not to chase cats?

Dracko
August 11th, 2007, 09:38 PM
I have a GSD and 3 cats. They all get along very well. Once in a blue moon my dog, Dracko, will chase one of the cats if they run but overall they are all buddies.

After being inspired from this site I decided I wanted to adopt an older dog that needed a home. Yesterday I checked out the link about the GSD in Alberta that needs a home. While on the site I clicked on the city I live in. One of the dogs I saw really touched me. Here's the link http://saskatoon.kijiji.ca/c-pets-to-give-or-donate-Terrier-Poodle-Cross-needs-a-new-home-W0QQAdIdZ19877214. Charlie is his name and he's a Terrier/Poodle cross. He is 5 years old and the people who own him adopted him at 1 from the SPCA.

http://img471.imageshack.us/img471/7033/a16720cs5.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

I contacted the owners and the wife brought the dog over this afternoon to see if he would get along with Dracko and what would happen with regards to the cats. I knew 2 of my cats would hide the whole time but the other one is very brave and used to dogs. He hung out and Charlie got to see him.

Overall he was good with this cat. Initially he walked up and smelled him and walked away. Over the next few hours he checked Smitty out and was curious. I think he chased him once when he ran but stopped when the cat stopped.

Just before the owner came back to pick him up (she had stayed most of the time but we decided she would leave and we'd see how he did) Mochie, my older skittish cat, came out. He went to go to her, she ran and he chased her. I do not believe he did so aggressively. He just saw this new thing "run" and did what dogs do. When I said his name he even slowed down and looked at me. Not sure if he would have stopped cuz the cat got away from him anyway at that point.

I read on the net that a dog has to be trained/told that he should not chase. This dog, not having been around cats, obviously doesn't know that yet. I feel pretty confident I can work with him BUT what I need to know is are Terriers a bad dog to have around cats overall? I read that they often have a strong prey drive. This worries me. Though I have no doubt my cats could defend themselves if need be. Dracko learned quickly enough what a cat "claw" was.

I don't think I could handle it if every time Charlie saw one of my cats he chased them and the cats hid all the time. :sad: I love to have my cats around me. Guess I'm just a worry wort and would be about any dog I brought in to my home.

I took Charlie for a ride in the car to pick my nephew up from work. He was adorable. Just sitting in the front seat looking around. My nephew got in and Charlie layed down beside him and put his head on his lap. My nephew (who lives with me) fell in love with him right away. It's also a plus that the dog doesn't shed and my nephew works in a Men's Clothing store and has to wear suits all the time.

We'd decided that he would spend some time at my place but go home tonight to make the transition easier on him. You can tell Charlie is bonded to his owners and I feel badly for him that he will be separated from them. When the wife picked him up she told me that last night her husband had talked to some friends of theirs (she didn't know about it earlier today when she brought the dog over) and they had shown an interest in taking Charlie. They are taking him over to their house tonight to meet their dog. :yell: I was heartbroken when she told me this. Though she did say that she thinks the couple might have just agreed out of a sense of obligation and it wouldn't work out. See, what happened was this couple initially had someone lined up to take the dog and the other day they backed out. They leave for New Zealand pretty quickly (they give up possession of their house on Monday), so they placed the ad as they were in a bind. I can't believe they could leave a dog like this. I'd say screw the job (why they are relocating) and keep the dog.

Anyway, they are going to call me tomorrow and let me know what they have decided. I almost feel sick to my stomach and wish I would know right now whether he was coming to live with me. My nephew and I took him out for a walk and he was so sweat. Both dogs walked well together though Dracko almost peed on Charlie's head when Charlie went in for a "sniff" when Dracko had his leg up. :eek:

So, what do you guys think? Should I take the chance in upsetting my household and bring him in to my home if they decide to give him to me? Do you think my cats will be safe and he can be taught not to chase them?

Frenchy
August 11th, 2007, 10:48 PM
You seem to already made up your mind ;) the only thing I can tell you is , if your cats gets use to him , and stop running from him , he will not chase or harm them. Dogs chase cats mostly because it's exciting and they want to smell the cat. I had many foster dogs since I adopted my cat, he never ever ran away from any dogs , and I never had a dog do anything to him.

Dracko
August 11th, 2007, 11:05 PM
I guess I was just wondering about the breed itself. Seems every site I go on says Terriers aren't great to have around cats. Hopefully the Poodle in him will temper that.

And, I'm sure if he was going to be aggressive he would have shown that already.

My one cat will probably continue to run now that he chased her once. But, I read on the net that you can start off by keeping them on a leash when they are with you. When/if they go to chase the cat, obviously they can't get far and then you correct them. I think I would just need to get the message across to him not to chase.

Oh man, I am just sick to my stomach right now. Have a headache and everything. This stresses me out. I don't want my cats to be unhappy. But I suppose just like when I introduced each new animal it takes a bit of acclimation time. Mochie, the oldest I'm most worried about hide and hissed at Ginkgo when I got her and then Smitty. But it all worked itself out.

I just wish I knew if he was coming to me or not! And, I have to admit I love the terrier dogs. There is one with a foster right now I will call if this doesn't work out. Surely you can teach a terrier NOT to chase. :o This is the little guy. His name is Cosmo. http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=8970121 I wish they said whether he'd been around cats before. Typically they do for the dogs fostered with New Hope Rescue.

If anyone who's had a terrier has any insight I'd love to hear it?????

Frenchy
August 11th, 2007, 11:09 PM
I found something !!! Check this out Dracko :

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=43500

2 Terriers and a cat ! :cloud9:

Dracko
August 11th, 2007, 11:18 PM
Thanks!!! I remember reading that thread.

I'll PM Dogastrophe and ask if his/her (not sure which it is) were around cats from when they were young, etc.

:thumbs up

Frenchy
August 11th, 2007, 11:23 PM
Thanks!!! I remember reading that thread.

I'll PM Dogastrophe and ask if his/her (not sure which it is) were around cats from when they were young, etc.

:thumbs up

He got the kitten last winter , he already had his 2 dogs , he was very careful about the introduction, they did it very slow and it worked out perfectly. :thumbs up

Dracko
August 11th, 2007, 11:28 PM
Oh awesome to hear. I was hoping he didn't get the dogs as pups and they were always used to cats. Well, just for my sake. :laughing:

I sent him a PM in case he doesn't see this thread.

Right now Dracko is beside the bed snoozing. All 3 cats are on the bed sleeping/cleaning and that is the way I like it. Well, would be better if Dracko was on the bed, too, but guess he doesn't want to right now. Charlie hasn't been allow to sleep in his owner's bed (husband wants him to, wife didn't) but I'll fix that up pretty quickly. ;) I told her I dumped my boyfriend last year to make room for all the animals. :D Seriously though, he was jealous of the dog and I was sick of hearing about it. If a guy's gonna bitch about my pets, he gets the boot. :loser:

Frenchy
August 11th, 2007, 11:30 PM
Seriously though, he was jealous of the dog and I was sick of hearing about it. If a guy's gonna bitch about my pets, he gets the boot. :loser:

:laughing: Kinda happened to me too. Now I can enjoy my dogs 100%.

Tommysmom
August 11th, 2007, 11:33 PM
If it helps any, I have a jack russell terrier - one of the supposedly WORST dogs to have around cats, according to all the books and sites I've seen. All you hear is high prey drive, they'll kill cats, etc etc. Yep, he's awful with them... takes us ages to walk down the road here because he wants to get to know all the ones sunning themselves on the sidewalk, he steals all my mom's cats' toys to play with himself, and he even tries to steal their favourite chairs! LOL. He'll chase cats, sort of... well, he follows them around to see if they are doing anything interesting. It's at the point now where my mom's cats don't even bother to hide when we visit, they barely even acknowledge that there's a dog in their midst - I think they think my dog is just a really strange cat! So much for all the warnings. Not all terriers are bad with cats!

Dracko
August 11th, 2007, 11:35 PM
Yup, me too. I get so much more out of my pets than some whiny assed GUY. :laughing: Plus, Dracko's big enough (GSD) that I can hug him at night if I need something to cuddle.

Dracko
August 11th, 2007, 11:39 PM
If it helps any, I have a jack russell terrier - one of the supposedly WORST dogs to have around cats, according to all the books and sites I've seen. All you hear is high prey drive, they'll kill cats, etc etc. Yep, he's awful with them... takes us ages to walk down the road here because he wants to get to know all the ones sunning themselves on the sidewalk, he steals all my mom's cats' toys to play with himself, and he even tries to steal their favourite chairs! LOL. He'll chase cats, sort of... well, he follows them around to see if they are doing anything interesting. It's at the point now where my mom's cats don't even bother to hide when we visit, they barely even acknowledge that there's a dog in their midst - I think they think my dog is just a really strange cat! So much for all the warnings. Not all terriers are bad with cats!

WONDERFUL to hear. Plus this guy has Poodle in him to "offset" the Terrier. ;) This makes me feel much better. I don't mind him chasing on occasion (Dracko still does once in a while) and don't expect him to be perfect around them, but sort of just needed some reassurance that it will most likely work out.

Damn this dog is a sweetie pie. What's funny is he's a whiner when he wants something. She said some people she's talked to expressed she may have a hard time finding a home for him. Well, Dracko is a whiner, too. I am so used to it. He barks when people come to the door...ditto for Dracko.

Okay I am feeling somewhat better about all this. I will be heartbroken if they don't decide to give him to me. :cry:

MyBirdIsEvil
August 12th, 2007, 08:32 AM
It's doubtful that he'll end up hurting them, but yeah he should be taught not to chase.

You could always try the method where you tether him to you with a leash so he has to go wherever you go. That way if he tries to lunge at a cat you can distract him and if distracting him doesn't work he won't be able to get very far.

That also seems like a pretty good way for him to learn the rules of your house. Even if he's really well behaved at his current owner's house he may try to get away with stuff after he's been at your house for awhile.

I think first, see how it goes when he comes to your house. Let him get used to everything, and if he chases after the cats try a loud noise to distract him and get him to stop. If the behavior elevates to the point where you're worried about him hurting the cats then then try the tether method.
Every time he looks at the cat and does NOT chase you should reward him. If in his mind not chasing the cat = reward and chasing the cat = either no reward or something bad (like a loud noise to distract him) then he's less likely to do it. Call him to you for this, don't come to him. This way he'll associate him not chasing the cat and coming to you as the right behavior. If you go to him he may actually associate looking at the cat as what elicited the reward and that's the opposite of what you want.

Here's another thing I thought I would point out, because it could go either way:
Your dogs may learn from him that it's ok to chase cats if you allow the behavior. When a new dog is put into the mix they may try to disregard your orders if they don't feel you can control the new dog.

On the other hand, if your dogs listen to you well and are well trained and know not to chase the cats he may learn from them that he isn't supposed to chase the cats. This is why it's especially important to reward him for not chasing the cats. Say a cat runs by and your dogs just sit there. He looks at the cat so you know he was thinking about it, but he doesn't get up and run after it. That should be rewarded.

Sorry if any of this was suggested already, I didn't read all the comments/links in the thread.

The easiest thing would be to get a dog that is already calm with cats and knows how to behave with them (because with other dogs they will feed off of negative behavior and this makes it much more difficult). But if you have your heart set on this dog it is DEFINATELY doable to teach him to behave with the cats.
Use persistance and patience and everything will turn out ok. There's no reason this dog can't learn how to behave around cats, and you never know, after he's there for awhile he may get bored with them anyway *shrug*.

I have my fingers crossed that they pick you, as it seems you've fallen in love with him already :cloud9: :lovestruck:

Good luck and stay positive :fingerscr

sugarcatmom
August 12th, 2007, 12:51 PM
You might find this PDF about introducing cats and dogs to have some useful tips: http://www.labadoption.org/linkpages/DogBehave/Articles/Cats.pdf

Fingers crossed that you get to be Charlie's new momma! He sure looks like a sweetie-pie.

Dracko
August 12th, 2007, 01:07 PM
Thanks for the advice guys! I am waiting for the owners to call me and let me know what's up. I was restless most of the night and couldn't sleep well thinking about it.

If I get Charlie I will print your advice out (the article above is really helpful) and start the reward thing for NOT chasing the cats right away. :thumbs up

Dracko
August 12th, 2007, 02:10 PM
Well, I just heard from Charlie's owner. They decided to place him with the other family. The reason was they had kids and they felt Charlie was used to having kids to play with. :cry:

I'm sad and I know my nephew will be but at least it sounds like he has a good home.

I am going to contact a rescue in my city, New Hope, and talk to them about what I am looking for. Hopefully I can find an adult dog that is used to being around cats. That will make the transition much easier.

Thanks for all your help guys. I'll post as soon as I have info on the next addition to my furry family.

Frenchy
August 12th, 2007, 03:30 PM
I am going to contact a rescue in my city, New Hope, and talk to them about what I am looking for. Hopefully I can find an adult dog that is used to being around cats.

I'm sure you will , rescues sometimes get dogs with previous "cat experience" or they can get fostered by someone who has one. :thumbs up