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Cats compatible with Service Dogs?

MaryBeth
September 26th, 2008, 01:49 PM
I've had a beloved cat for more than 10 years. I've been accepted for a Service Dog (an 18 month old black Lab) to assist me as a wheelchair user with daily activities. A requirement of the agency is that if the animals are not compatible, I must be willing to "give up" my cat. This would break my heart.
Any tips to help the cat and dog to get along?
Thank you

sugarcatmom
September 26th, 2008, 02:18 PM
A requirement of the agency is that if the animals are not compatible, I must be willing to "give up" my cat.

I gotta say, I find this outrageous. Over my dead body would I ever agree to give up a beloved member of my family, no matter what the circumstances. But anywaaaaaaay..... there are some things you can do to help ensure they get along. I would think that a service dog would be highly trained and that ignoring distractions (such as cats) might be a part of it. If not, here is a good link on how to keep the peace between cats and dogs: http://www.labadoption.org/linkpages/DogBehave/Articles/Cats.pdf

happycats
September 26th, 2008, 02:37 PM
I wouldn't ever give up my cats!

I have trained dogs to get along with my cat's, actually I have trained them to completely ignore the cat's.

Any movement towards the cat must be addressed, even a stare at the cat that is to long (or longing :D) must be addressed, the dog is not allowed to focus on the cat in any way. You must tap the dog and make a noise or command like "leave it" every time the dog does "any" of those things. Be 100% consistant. I keep the dog on a leash at first, until I know he won't chase or hurt the cats.

Good luck, and I so hope you don't agree to give up your cat, re-homing a 10 year old cat would be very very difficult if not impossible. :sad:

Tundra_Queen
September 26th, 2008, 10:00 PM
Marybeth, when hubs had to get a new guide dog, we told them that we had a cat in the family and that the dog MUST be able to get along with cats, as Willie was part of our family and we weren't going to see him get hurt.

All of our 4 guide dogs have always gotten along with cats. I would ask that your service dog is trained around cats if at all possible.

I hope things work out and I hope your dog and cat get along.

Debbie

Frenchy
September 26th, 2008, 10:49 PM
I would think that a guide dog would be so focus on his work , he would ignore the cat. :shrug:

Good luck :goodvibes:

aslan
September 26th, 2008, 10:52 PM
i would think that a service dog would be trained to ignore other animals period. wouldn't it be dangerous to you otherwise.

rainbow
September 27th, 2008, 12:35 AM
I would think that a guide dog would be so focus on his work , he would ignore the cat. :shrug:

Good luck :goodvibes:

i would think that a service dog would be trained to ignore other animals period. wouldn't it be dangerous to you otherwise.

I agree....I'm sure (at least here in Canada) that guide dogs are assessed re their compatability with other animals before they are placed.

PwD-SD
September 27th, 2008, 10:51 AM
I could understand why schools have this policy. Because there have been cases in which two animals just do not get along 24/7, (Jealousy). Remember this will be a 24/7 partnership with other family members per say (furry ones too) lol! It's not always a new dog coming into the picture, I have seen older dogs and even cats not being able to handle a new pup, whether it's a companion or a service animal.

A service dog is taught to be non animal distracted but lets remember one thing when they are off duty in a home environment it can be a different story. Playing around, getting annoyed, making mistakes, these things happens. And it's not always the service dog not getting along with a companion animal. I have seen companion animals no matter how young or old, not get along with a service animal. This could then make a bigger issue when out in public.

Though this doesn't help your situation.

My suggestion is to see if your school is willing to work with your cat. Like they would do with a special cat by bringing the cat in and having the pups in training work around the cat that is loose. If they are willing to do this and some schools are then your cat will also get use to your new dog. As the school knows how to bring the distraction (cat) into the equation. They could introduce your cat to your new service pup slowly.

Also another suggestion which people may not think about, give your service dog some quiet time. Doesn't have to be long but it's not a punishment. Just it gives the dog some time to just chill by itself. Also it helps with down the road separation anxiety issues. And there have been cases where service animals have such issues because of the 24/7 without doing quiet times.

DoubleRR
September 27th, 2008, 12:17 PM
Pwd SD---portugese water dog Service Dog? Or something else entirely?

I agree, try to see if the school will work with your cat and ease transition for everyone.

PwD-SD
September 27th, 2008, 02:51 PM
Pwd SD---portugese water dog Service Dog? Or something else entirely?

If you are asking if a Portuguese Water Dog could become a Service Dog, it depends on ones needs. Each breed has something to give. However not every dog could become a True Service Dog. Although these dogs are not for everybody. You have to really comprehend the characteristics of this breed in order to know the pros and cons and if this breed would be for you (per say).

These dogs are great around children and other dogs. They have a stable, pleasant and highly intelligent temperament. Love to work and are quick learners in general.

They are a hardy, muscular, medium-sized, retriever dog, with a good temperament. Being muscular and retriever this breed would be a good mobility service dog and or guide dog. Besides counter-balancing, bracing, pulling in combination, but with the right training would be able to bring, meds, phone, take packages, money, etc.

However the con side is that these dogs in general love water and love to retrieve things in water. Therefore I would suggest having water games in which you set up the games and times. If you add water games in and use those water games to enhance the mobility training then this wouldn't be really a con.

Again though not every dog of the same breed will have the right temperament or willingness to work. Example a Husky that hated snow! Not usual in a Husky breed.