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meeting the cat

possum
May 3rd, 2008, 05:29 PM
My five month old dachshund, Zoe, still had lots of time to get used to the cat,Rosie. We've only had Zoe two weeks and she's a typical smart, stubborn dachshund. House training is coming along pretty well, but of course hugely time consuming.

Rosie the cat has not great love of dogs, but has been trying really hard tolerate Zoe. Zoe is obsessed with Rosie, always watching her and sometimes chasing her. If the cat tries to approach, Zoe is nippy with her, especially nipping at her ears and feet. Do you have any tips for helping these two get along, or is the cat going to stay up high for the rest of her life?

One of the health concerns is Zoe racing up on to the back of the couch or even onto the table trying to get at the cat. It's not good for Zoe's delicate dachshund back.

Thanks a bunch,
Marnie

sugarcatmom
May 3rd, 2008, 05:53 PM
I think it's crucial that you teach Zoe not to chase Rosie, and enforce it 100%. This link has some good tips on how to do that: http://www.labadoption.org/linkpages/DogBehave/Articles/Cats.pdf

tenderfoot
May 5th, 2008, 04:42 PM
You should start teaching the 'leave it' cue and then move on to 'gentle' or 'easy' cues to teach Zoe how to be with the cat.

Having Zoe on the leash to keep her from making poor choices on the couch will also empower your words and give you an emergency brake.

"Leave it". Teach it in the house first. Get him to "leave it" with all of his favorite toys, treats, etc. This tells him to back away from the very thing he might be interested in - i.e. the cat. Start with objects/food that he might want and put it in the middle of the floor and then move on to dropping things intentionally on the floor in front of him. Have him on the leash to ensure success. Tell him to 'leave it' in a firm tone and if he goes for it step between him and the object with a stomp (throwing energy towards him - to get him to back off), and/or add a slight correction on the leash as you say 'leave it' again. Pretend in your mind that the object is a snake and he absolutely can't have it. Use whatever energy that evokes in your voice and body language to get him to leave it alone. Walk him around the object stopping every few steps to see if he tries for it - ready to catch the thought before it becomes an action. Then, while he is still on the leash, place the object between you and the dog, and call him to come. He should put his own imaginary circle around the object as he comes to you. Now he is respecting your word and understanding that everything is not his to grab, but YOU determine what he can and cannot approach.

Catching him before he rushes to something can make a huge difference. It's easier to stop him before he makes his move than to have to stop him in mid-stride. This gives you a greater vocabulary to use with him as well. Which gives you the chance to 'talk' him through his choices. Be sure to praise him when he makes the good choices - so he is clear when he has done the right thing.

It is also important for your cat to know that you are looking out for her aswell. You dictate the harmony in your house.

It would bode well for both animals to give each other some needed space for a few days, then you can teach the puppy to have gentle energy with the cat. One great way to get it out of his system is for one person to hold the cat with her head tucked into the person and the tail end facing out(less threatening to the cat). Let the puppy (on leash) sniff the tail and hind end to his hearts content. Use the word 'gentle' or 'easy' in a low and slow tone. Ready to correct him if he gets amped up, and then go right back to easy and gentle. Usually the cat quickly becomes a non-event and the pup isn't so enamored anymore. Always end on a good note - success! Be sure to release the cat slowly so she doesn't bolt away and trigger a chase response.

possum
May 12th, 2008, 10:16 AM
Thank you for those very helpful suggestions.
Sorry for the late reply, I was away from the computer for a few days.

Things are coming along quite well. The 'leave it' command is having some effect. Not 100% yet, but coming along. We get lots of chances to work on it with shoes and other pilfered stuff, but I work it into games as well. I still do need to set aside some training time to specifically work on commands now that she's settled in and the house training is going well.

Yes, I've noticed that catching Zoe thinking about doing something has a better success rate. I love her guilty look of, "Geez, mom is reading my mind!" Part of it is that we're getting more intuitive and reading her body language better as well. Helps in house training as well. She asked to be let out for the first time yesterday. Woo hoo!

Zoe and Rosie have had some positive supervised encounters. The cat will let the dog lick her head, and Zoe is less likely to get too excited. The whole intensity of the situation has gone down a heap. A big milestone came last Friday when Zoe came home from getting spayed. My ever compassionate cat came over lay beside her on my lap and comfort her, and Zoe was still too sleepy to react.

I have managed to train Zoe to never whine at the cat, just with 'uh uh' and 'buh' discouraging sounds when she starts the slightest whine. She used to sit and watch her and whine and get herself all worked up. She still watches the cat, but now just sits.

Awesome forum, I've found a lot of info reading old posts as well.
Have a great day!
Marnie

Jim Hall
May 12th, 2008, 10:36 AM
sounds like they are going to get along great
Congrats you sond like you are a very good trainer