Originally Posted by krdahmer
Ok, so you all know I am new to dogs....I have a couple of behaviour questions. We knew Venus had issues when we got her... fear/aggression towards people and other dogs. I have started crating her in the living room so she can meet the cats and we are taking everything very slowly, especially meeting new people. Now when she's in the crate and she sees one of the cats coming down the hall, she stands up, barks, whines and the fur on her back stands up like a cats when it's threatened, and she pounds her front paws on the crate bottom, is that aggression or fear??
I would say neither. It is likely just frustration but could also be a sign that she has a strong prey drive and wants to chase the cat. I would start to work on some positive conditioning with her and the cats. This is a great use for clicker training.
Start first with some attention exercises with her. Have her either on leash or in the crate with no cats around. Just stand there until she turns and gives you some eye contact then say her name, click and feed. Do not lure her with treats (have them hidden until after the click) as you want to reward the behaviour offered not bribe her into doing it. Soon she basically will just have her eyes glued to you. Break that up by tossing the treat away from you when you reward, she should then grab it and return to give you eye contact. Gradually up the distractions and eventually include the cats. The goal is to have her associate the cats with yummy treats and calm behaviour.
When you do away with the crate then you probably want to have her tethered to your waist for added security until you can judge her reactions.
Good luck and congrats on your gorgeous pup