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Dog is very intent on the cat -- help!!

November 25th, 2010, 10:53 AM
I'm new here, so sorry if this is in the wrong area! :sorry:

My husband and I recently adopted a dog, saving him from a kill shelter. He is a 4 year old weimaraner/vizsla cross, and so smart! He knows how to open gates but we fixed that. The lady we got him from said he was good with everything and everyone - cats included. She said that he only sniffed at cats, that was all. After several days, we are beginning to wonder...

Our cat is older, and has grown up with dogs around her whole life. We have tried slowly getting them used to each other -- first through his crate, then through smells on cloths. If he can't see the cat, he's alright, listens well and everything. But, when he sees her, he gets very very intense, but his body language isn't telling me anything, at least not something I can interpret. His tail is straight and down a bit, ears are to the side. His eyes are fixated on the cat, body not so much tense as... well, maybe tense is the right word. Once he sees her there seems to be no way we can get his attention back. Toys, treats, commands -- nothing works! If he gets too excited we remove him and try again, with the same results. If she starts hissing and spitting, then he goes into overdrive, with lunges and barking and whining. At first we thought he needed to calm down before we introduced them, so we would take him for a long walk.

I'm already at my wits end! I have no idea what to do, giving him up seems to be the only option, but I hope someone can give me some advice. He's so loving, I want them all to get along, isn't that what everyone wants? :cry: Please help us!

November 25th, 2010, 01:17 PM
Welcome to pets. I do not have any advise for you but there are many here who will be able to offer some. If you go back and open your own thread yoou will have more response. Also go to the "introduce yourself" thread...patti

November 25th, 2010, 02:35 PM
Sounds like he sees her as a prey (both breeds in him are hunters with some very strong hunting instincts) but is conflicted about what to do with her, which is actually a good thing. At least he didn't bee-line it right for the cat, so he is showing self control. I would definitely not let the two out without supervision, even keep him on leash when the cat is out.

Next thing you can do is gradually try to desensitize him to the cat. I would stick to treats. Will he eat treats if he's in the crate and can see the cat, but the cat is still relatively far away? Start with that and gradually work on repeating this with the cat closer. If he's ignoring the treats, the cat is too much of a temptation and you need to step back with your training. Keep in mind this is something that will take place over weeks if not months depending on his progress.

November 25th, 2010, 03:17 PM
can you keep him on a leash connected to you at home? that way he can see and be aroudn the cat but cannot go for the cat. this will eventualyl desenthesize him to the cat... that worked for us and Jermy when he was younger was VERY intent on chasing Monkey... he wanted to play, never aggressive, but he is big and we didnt want monkey being chased aruodn the house. keeping him on the leash and having this controlled interaction definitely helped.

November 25th, 2010, 08:57 PM
Unfortunately some people will say anything when giving up a dog. But then again, there are some dogs who do well with cats that they have lived with, but not with new ones in a new home.

Do I think it's the breed mixture? No.

When you say he is lunging(not attacking) barking and "whinning", to me that sounds like play. The reason I think this is because all my dogs did this with my cats. It's like they were saying come play with me.:)

I agree with having him on the leash. I would also teach him the be "nice/gentle" command and the "enough/leave it" command. I used these commands for my dogs.

When you have him on the leash, and you give him the "enough" command, walk away from the cat. But you need to do this just as he does it. If/when he settles, PRAISE like crazy and if you want give him a treat. Also, don't have him on a short leash. You want him and the cat to be somewhat close. Hope that made sense. LOL. The way he is might just be the way he plays with cats. If a dog wanted to harm a cat, he would not hesitate to do so.

You can work with him on this. Just takes time and patience.:)

How is his sit/stay command?

November 25th, 2010, 10:48 PM
Your dog is a mix of two continental pointing (hence the arrested motion and fixation) breeds , both with high prey drive. To some extent, you can expect the instinct to point will delay any action on the urge to chase, but the urge to chase is bound to win out eventually if you don't intervene now. I'm not convinced that the lunging, barking and whining is necessarily a play invitation (although without seeing it, I can't be sure). If you're unsure of what you're seeing in your dog's body language, you might want to find a reputable behaviorist to help you interpret. Certainly, if the behavior turns out to be play invitation, your task will be much easier. However, I have seen pointing dogs with high prey drive suddenly 'snap' out of point and into chase to the detriment of the kitty , so you'll have to be very careful.

First and foremost, until you can get the dog desensitized, make sure the kitty has a safe place to get away to, someplace you're sure the dog can't get into but that is easily accessible to the cat. I agree with having your dog on the leash anytime the cat is in the room with him. Work on the "enough/leave it" command and getting him to settle in the presence of the cat first. Then work on loose-leash supervised interactions.

This may take a long while--instinct is a hard thing to overcome--but it can be done if you're consistent and patient.

November 26th, 2010, 10:59 AM
Any dog will/can chase. And for us who own both cats and dogs, we know this. Everything has to do with training. Sorry, but I think of a dog as a dog first, not the breed.

My breed is a so called high prey drive breed. Never seen it it them. When they were pups yes they chased the cats. It a natural thing in any breed. A cat is something new to them, so they are trying to figure it out. When they chase a ball, is it cause of the breed? No. It is play.

When my dogs got older, they did chase the cats, that's only cause the it was in play. There was no aggression what so ever. The cats never got hurt. And I know many people who have these so called high prey breeds and cats together. Again, everything has to do with training. My daughter and future SIL brought their pup over. Well what was the first thing Milo wanted to do? It was to chase the cats. More out of play then anything. We put him on his leash and were teaching him not to. By the end of the night he figured it out. He would just walk up to them. He was able to "play" with them.

Go on YouTube and check out the videos of these breeds with cats. Every cat survived in the videos. :D

I am not trying to start a war, but I get so frustrated at times when I hear it's the "breed". But that's just me. :)

gulzaar, is there anyway you can take a video of the way he is?

November 26th, 2010, 01:38 PM
Sorry, Mona, my intent wasn't to focus on the breed except to explain the behavior--these types of dogs were selectively bred to 'fix' the trait. My concern is more with the behavior itself--classic intense point. I've seen this in high prey drive dogs, and what can happen to the cat if it's not addressed.

And, in fact, I was agreeing with your training suggestions. :D

A video would be very helpful, gulzaar. Especially of the follow-up behavior after the point. As I said, if this turns out to be classic play invitation, then your task to train good manners becomes much easier. :thumbs up

November 26th, 2010, 01:55 PM
There is a significant difference when bringing up a puppy with cats, then bringing in an adult dog with cats.

As the poster was advised previously that the dog lived with cats...this could be true infact..and without incident. It is also important to point out that a dog who previously lived with his/her cats, can be different when now introduced to a cat that he/she is unfamiliar with.

My concern is for this cat in particular. If the dog is focussing to the point where there is no way to distract..this alone is concerning. As stated by others, the introduction between the cat and dog takes time and supervision. The dog should never be left alone with the cat at this point. I also believe that keeping the dog on the leash is a good idea as well as the cat having an escape route.

Currently I have 5 dogs. One of the five is an Anatolean Shepard which killed a cat at large prior to him being adopted. He is now living with 5 cats without incident, but based on his is supervised at all times. He ignores my cats completely, but the cats outside are a different story. Also, my GSD who lives in harmony with my indoor cats, does not fare well at all with outside cats who roam. Same goes for the min pin. No problem with the shih Tzu nor the doberman.

I would exercise caution. They must become familiar with one another but this is very gradual. If it does not improve and you fear for the life of your cat, then you may have to make a hard decision...for the dog.

I do not believe that all different species can live together unless they are inclined to do so. Sometimes even the best of training does not protect the weaker of species.

Good luck and I hope that everything works out for you and your pets.

doggy lover
November 26th, 2010, 06:10 PM
My border collie tries to herd my cats and he is told leave it...great command works on many things including food even squirrels. When in his herd mode when you say look at me to try and take his attention off the cats he will just glance at you out of the corner of his eye, but when he is told to leave them he will just lay and give them the eye.. He came after one of my cats and I got him as a puppy and for some reason he seems to do it more to her than the other cat I adopted over a year ago, might be because this cats doesn't pay any mind to Tucker..But he does try to play with the cats bouncing and doing the play bow thing to them somehow I don't think they get it though:laughing: