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Old May 11th, 2011, 10:22 AM
mommad mommad is offline
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Big puppy too rough with cat.. cat doesn't react?

Hi,
not sure if the problem is the puppy (considering it's normal puppy behavior that I need to train out of him) or the crazy cat... but, here's my problem..
I've got a 4 month old weimaraner/gsh pointer mix puppy who is a big goofball. I've also got 2 cats and a shih tzu.. the puppy plays too rough with the shih tzu and the other cat but they will snap at him, nip at him or scratch and hiss when they don't like what he's doing.. the problem is with my other cat .. he's 9 months old and when the dog comes at him, he just lays down.. so of course if given the chance the puppy grabs him and the cat just lays there.. doesn't meow, doesn't even try to get away!? My husband says that obviously the puppy is not hurting the cat if the cat is not howling or trying to get away but the way he grabs him by the throat and tries to carry him away is scarey! I am currentlly in puppy classes with puppy and will be continuing into the next level of obedience because we know he will be a big dog and want to make sure we can control him... in the meantime, how can I make him stop doing this.. or make the cat start defending himself!? I've tried keeping him on leash, tried keeping them apart (there is always a place for the cat to go away from puppy (baby gate on stairs that cat can get over but dog can't, etc) tried penny shaker can, tried squirting with water... etc, etc.. Problem is the darn cat just loves to hang around with the puppy?? If the cat was getting hurt or even fearful he would not come around the dog right?? I don't want to resort to a shock collar but I'm really worried that he is going to kill my sweet kitkat! It is very difficult to break his concentration when he's focused on something, my trainer is running out of ideas.... anyone know of a good way of controlling this behavior.
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Old May 11th, 2011, 01:30 PM
pattymac pattymac is offline
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You have to be persistent with the puppy. I have one dog, and 4 cats. The dog plays with her kitten but knows when to stop, mind you the dog is 5.

I would say keep a leash on the pup, when he starts getting too rambunctious, call him over, guide him with the leash and play or teach him something, lots of good stuff...make yourself more exciting than the cat.

Noella, kitten, lets the dog know when she's had enough. Bayley knows not to use her mouth. So teaching a really solid bite inhibition is very important so that he knows not to use his mouth. The way Bayley and the kitten play together kind of looks a bit rough but it isn't. If the kitten squeaks, I call Bayley over to me for a bit of a time out. But then kitten usually starts the next play round!!
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Old May 11th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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I have 3 cats and one dog. My oldest cat at 13 wants nothing to do with the dog since day one and will let the dog know exactly that. My youngest cat at 8 months is just starting to get comfy with the dog. My middle cat at 2 years sounds like your cat does, he hasnt' cared since day one what the dog does to him. The dog walks around with the cats head in her mouth while he walks beside her, they play fight, paw each other, the cat bites ears and feet and the dog gets all excited. They hide,they chase (but not chase in prey mode) but the moment anything gets too rough, or someone gets tired or grumpy......one HEY and the dog knows play time with kitty is over.

My dog is now going on 7. But when she was a pup I had rules. NEVER chase the cats. NO means NO. Come means come. For the first few months, the cats had the whole second floor of the house as their own space, even now the dog knows those rooms are off limits UNLESS it is bed time or invited. If your cats have a room to themselves, teach puppy that that room is OFF LIMITS.

if you pup is only 4 months old and your trainer is running out of ideas on how to get the dog's attention when he is super focused on something, I personally would look for another trainer. That is just my opinion.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
My husband says that obviously the puppy is not hurting the cat if the cat is not howling or trying to get away but the way he grabs him by the throat and tries to carry him away is scarey
That's not necessarily true. Only 2 of my cats will make noise if the dog bothers them. The others just lay down and let the dog do whatever they want and don't make any noise. When Morgan was a puppy she'd leave small puncture wounds on them between the time she got rough and the time I took to stop her (and it wasn't long) and they never made any noise. It can take a split second for a large playful dog to go from not hurting the cat to crushing its head or something on accident. Some dogs have a fairly soft mouth and would not bite down that hard (my 95 lb dog has a very soft mouth and never even bit down as a puppy, whereas my 35 lb dog can get very rough, so it's not strictly size related), but some don't know their strength, and ANY dog can suddenly get excited and get too rough.
Also, there is a chance from it to go from friendly play to predator/prey behavior when not kept in check. I HAVE seen it happen. Even between very small dogs and big dogs where they got along great and the larger dog never hurt the smaller dog, so the owner just let them regulate their own play, then suddenly the large dog is shaking the small dog back and forth in its mouth (luckily none of the animals I know about or saw have been killed, but there were injuries). It's NOT pretty. I do know of a cat that was killed by a dog in a pet store when an owner brought their dog in off leash. It's not an example of play behavior gone wrong (the dog never tried to play first) but it only took a few seconds for the dog to run after and kill the cat, so it's an example of how quickly things can happen.

Anyway, the cat is not bothered right now obviously, but the dog still has to learn to be gentle just like with humans. The best bet, IMO is to simply make the dog leave the cat alone. If the dog becomes physical with the cat at all, stop the behavior. Something like going up and sniffing calmly is ok, but if the dog tries to make physical contact with the cat, like biting, pawing, etc., then they should be corrected. If the dog tries to run at the cat or chase, or starts to look at it too intently, the same is true. A sharp noise to get their attention, followed by "leave it!" (which is an important command to teach for all kinds of reasons), and then call them to you and praise and/or give a treat. It will work easier if you can have a long leash on them in the house to pull them toward you if need be so you can positively reinforce the command. Do not give commands you can't reinforce. Do not give commands until the dog has your attention or you have a way to MAKE them follow through (such as a long leash to pull them toward you. a puppy of that age would benefit by always being on leash or having a long tether on anyway since they can quickly get away or easily become too focused on something). This goes for other commands like "come" also. Don't say "come" if you KNOW you don't have your dogs attention, or if you cannot enforce the command. It teaches the dog they can ignore you when you give commands. And always have a treat and praise at ready to reward.

Quote:
if you pup is only 4 months old and your trainer is running out of ideas on how to get the dog's attention when he is super focused on something, I personally would look for another trainer. That is just my opinion.
I completely agree with this. A good trainer should be able to redirect attention BEFORE it turns to obsessive focus, and something like teaching a dog to leave cats, other animals, and small children alone is something ANY decent trainer should be able to do. It's one of the most necessary and simple training procedures, and if they can't do that I'd be worried they have no clue about what to do for anything more serious.
Also I'm confused as to why the trainer hasn't been teaching/suggesting the "leave it" command, which is pretty much one of the first things you should teach.

Try to find someone that actually has some certification, education and references. Or at least a lot of experience with good references. Anyone can call themselves a trainer. The humane society is a good place to ask since they have trainers to assess and train dogs. The vet possibly. People at dog shows, or reputable breeders. Any of those places/people should be able to give you some kind of heads up so you can choose a trainer.

Last edited by MyBirdIsEvil; May 12th, 2011 at 01:24 PM.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 06:11 AM
reanne reanne is offline
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I also agree with keeping puppy on a leash or line in the house around the cats so his behaviour can be closely monitored and controlled with them.
I too have a story to share about a cat not making a sound if they're being hurt. I was staying with my Mom for a couple of months about 6 years ago, with my cat and dog. My Mom had 3 little dogs, and a family friend had 3 dogs, and we were all at my Mom's house. ALL of these dogs were good with cats, all of these dogs lived with cats. However, this day, a few of the dogs got together and went after my cat; it was probably that they were playing, as they did used to play together and would respect Josie if she decided to end the play. That day, they were "regulating their own play" and I heard some noise from one of the dogs, and ran upstairs to find my cat in the mouth of one of them. When I ran up and yelled she dropped my cat, and Josie literally ran up the bathroom wall, bit me when I tried to grab her, and ran and hid. It happened really fast. I think that Josie would have done nothing if I hadn't run up though, it was my panic that created the rest of the panic.

Josie had big, bleeding puncture wounds in her belly. Thankfully she was okay, after dropping a considerable amount of money at the vet's office. This was from TRAINED ADULT DOGS who were all raised with cats. I know that probably the "pack mentality" contributed to it, but just keep in mind that things can turn really fast, and the cat won't always fight back or even protest.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
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I'll (5th? ) the advice you've gotten. Keep the dog dragging a leash at all times, keep the cat safe room an option at all times and separate them when you cannot supervise (this means ever, even if you are just going down to the basement for something). Decide on contact boundaries and stick with them (i.e. it's ok for the dog to sniff the cat, but not put paws or mouth on it - this part is totally up to you). When it looks like the dog is about to cross that boundary, calmly call them over or re-direct them gently with the leash to a better activity.
What you want is for touching the cat to become less rewarding than playing with you/other toys. Here is a great video to work on a "leave it" which will also help.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNAOe1djDyc


Quote:
Originally Posted by mommad View Post
I don't want to resort to a shock collar but I'm really worried that he is going to kill my sweet kitkat!
I wouldn't do this, or keep using some of the other adversives you've tried (they arrent working anyway ). First of all, adversive stimuli actually increases a dog's level of arousal. You could inadvertantly charge that behavior and make your dog more interested in getting at the cat. Secondly (and prehaps most importantly) you want to avoid associating the cats with negative stimuli. If being near cats becomes the predictor of pain or punishment the dog may work to keep the cats at a distance, and play could become aggression.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Just to add to an opinion about the cat...my youngest daughter, Madeline, LOVES one of our cats, SweetPea. She used to pick her up and carry her around everywhere, and the cat would tolerate it, then eventually start howling, so we'd make Maddy put her down. We eventually taught Maddy to be more gentle, but the cat still didn't seem to enjoy the attention. Well, the other day we noticed that SweetPea goes into Maddy's room, and jumps up on the bed and sits with her. We always figured that the cat tolerated her, but wasn't real happy with her, especially since it seemed the only time Maddy got to hold her is when SweetPea didn't see her coming. So, what the heck do we know?

I do think that it seems sometimes some animals seem to realize when someone's a danger, or if they're just "rough". I know our dog Daisy treats kids different then adults, too.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 03:16 PM
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I'd like to point out that this behavior is dangerous to the dog, too. If the cat is pushed so far he feels he has to defend himself, he can seriously injure the dog. I knew a dog who lost his eye to a cat he stepped on.
Not trying to scare you, just letting you know that any animal pushed too far will try to protect itself and if this cat won't cry out YOU have no way of knowing how close to "too far" your dog had gotten.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 03:26 PM
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I would like to urge you to never ever leave the cat alone with the dogs. This is a recipe for disaster in the making. If the cat does not react to the dog being rough with it things could turn pretty nasty. The dog's prey instinct could kick in resulting in a dead cat. The cat's pain index could kick in resulting in a badly injured dog who will most likely go after the cat if no one is there to intercept. A baby gate may hold back a big goof that is playing. It may not hold back a big dog intent on going after it's prey.
If the cats could have a separate room, even a bathroom, to be in when no one is home to watch the puppy things may eventually turn around. IE: the kitty may figure out to defend itself before the puppy gets too rough.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 12:29 AM
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MyBirdIsEvil MyBirdIsEvil is offline
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Originally Posted by ownedbycats View Post
I'd like to point out that this behavior is dangerous to the dog, too. If the cat is pushed so far he feels he has to defend himself, he can seriously injure the dog. I knew a dog who lost his eye to a cat he stepped on.
Not trying to scare you, just letting you know that any animal pushed too far will try to protect itself and if this cat won't cry out YOU have no way of knowing how close to "too far" your dog had gotten.
That's very true. It can even happen during play when the cat is being friendly.
I have an issue right now where I've been treating an infected spot on Morgans head because one of my cats went up to play with her and while batting at her accidentally got a claw stuck in her head. I think a piece of the claw came off which made it get infected.
Not anything serious, but that's just something that happened during normal run of the mill activities. Imagine what could happen if the cat does actually lash out aggressively. Infections and injuries from animal is always a concern to think about.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 03:28 PM
peeboysowner peeboysowner is offline
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I had that problem too. My cat is very docile and when the dog runs up to her, she just lies down and freezes(awaiting death?:P). She would curiously go up to him and then change her mind when he decided to sniff her a little to vigourously. I don't know about your cat, but I knew mine didn't like it even though she wouldn't fight back. I used the technique others are suggesting, keeping a leash always on him, and it worked really well. If he runs towards her, I'll step on the leash before he can get to her. If he walks towards her, I allow it to a certain point. He's not allowed to touch her and if it looks like he's going to, I call him over to me and the distract him with something else. The only one allowed to initiate contact is the cat and I find that once he stopped bugging her, she's doing it a lot more often. Oh, and in the early days, I would reward heavily for looking at the cat and then back at me.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 03:43 PM
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My dog has always been very playful with my crazy cat. But I can tell when she's getting too rough, my cat will flick it's tail and ANY biting or my dog getting too excited I interrupt (positive interrupter) and she calms down and they continue.

If the cat doesn't look like he's interested, just call her off and give her a reward for stopping.

Here's my crazy pair http://s662.photobucket.com/albums/u...rent=BB024.mp4
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:00 PM
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We just did week 4 of training and just learned the leave it command... working on that... tough though He's also started barking right in our 4 year old shih tzu's face.. again, it seems like play but my scrappy hates it and responds by snapping at him... can't say I blame scrappy, extrememly loud bark right in her face! If he goes up to her calmly she's fine but unfortunately calmly doesn't seem to be in his vocabulary right now! The cats have the second floor to themselves, it is off limits to the dogs during the day.. however he has unbelievably learned to jump the baby gate and has also started to force himself through the railing .. he has bald spots on his sides from forcing himself through!! Pretty soon he will not be able to do that anymore as it's already alot tighter than it was when he started it considering he's growing everyday. I am keeping him on a training leash inside the house now... however I end up with a raw hand from his fighting it and pulling.... he's flipped himself backwards many times now from taking a race to get away... he's one stubborn puppy and I am desperately trying to establish dominance. I welcome any and all tips to establishing dominance while I search for a new trainer to help me. Thanks
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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:39 PM
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I don't have any training advice for you, just sympathy I went through this with our dog and cats, and it does get better. At four months he's still full of puppy energy and mischief but doesn't have the self-control and brains to behave. It's slow going but it is worth it when they finally get older and better behaved.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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You don't need to establish dominance, or what most people mean by that anyway.
You simply need to teach that you control all situations. All reward items are held by you, and all situations are controlled by you.

You do this by being consistent and firm. You can start teaching this by using play to establish your role. Play items (like favorite toys), treats, and praise will be given upon him submitting to your requests.
Do not let him make decisions like when to run out the door, when to eat, when to get on furniture, when to play with you, etc.. You choose when these things happen and when he complies with commands like "sit" or "wait" then he can be rewarded. Or for instance when you're on a walk make him sit and wait before you do stuff like cross the street (for one it teaches that you control where he goes, and second it's a good thing to teach anyway since running into the street can be dangerous).
Games can be turned into training activities by using the same system. For instance if you play fetch you don't throw the ball until he sits or something. And he doesn't get any attention or treats until he brings it back and gives it to you. A run in the park can be turned into training when two people are present by having each person stand on one end of the area. One person calls "come" (remember to have a long line in hand so you can reinforce), and when he comes to them he gets a big ol' treat. Then the person on the other side calls "come" and does the same.
Find games that he really likes to play and use that as a training session. Find items or treats that he really likes and use those as rewards. If you're trying to use a game that he finds boring to teach, most likely he's going to get distracted. If you use treats that he doesn't find that great they're not going to be very good encouragement for him to comply. If you work around what HE likes to keep him interested it will be much easier.

Those are just a few examples. You can be creative and figure your own activities out also based on what you and your dog like. In any situation just think about what behavior you're going for and praise/treat based on that. You can also reward when he's already doing stuff. Like if he's sitting calmly you can say "Sit, good!" and give a treat immediately. This is often a better way to teach words than simply setting up a training session because the dog is already exhibiting the behavior you want and will associate the word with what he's doing. It's easier to ask for behavior that the dog is already doing than trying to get him to do something when he may already be distracted, or trying to say words that he doesn't associate with anything yet and then getting him to do it. For instance, if he doesn't already know sit and you say "sit" you're going to have to push his butt down and then reward. If he's already sitting and you say it and reward he can figure it out on his own without you having to force it. Eventually you can work up to teaching harder stuff, but you need a base first where he understands that words = behaviors. He's young and you want to go at his pace.
The same goes for something like the come command, and any others. If he's already started to run toward you, you can say "come!", encourage it and then treat and praise to get him to associate the commands with behavior.

Establishing "dominance" just has to do with creating a bond with your dog, getting him to understand what you're asking, discouraging behavior you don't want, and STRONGLY encouraging behavior you do want by rewarding with high value items such as treats. There's no reason you should have to act by force, as some people suggest, as long as you are being consistent and teaching that all situations are controlled by you. When you slack off and let your dog start making decisions for himself (which occurs when you're inconsistent - for instance you scold for begging for table scraps one day, and then you or someone else gives table scraps another day) is when the dog learns that he can gain the upper hand by exhibiting certain behaviors. As long as you're consistent (act the same in every situation, give the same commands for every behavior, etc.) he will catch on that he can not win through force or manipulation because the same thing will result every time. You may have to get creative, and there's is no one way you HAVE to do things, but as long as you understand the above and are patient and consistent things should go pretty smoothly. And remember that he is still a puppy, things will take awhile for him to catch onto, and the main thing is that you do not lose your patience before him. He will try to challenge you in many situations and you should simply be ready for that to happen, and ready to curtail the problem behavior and reward the good.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Your pup may be bored or require more excercise.

You should be giving him LOTS of excercise, he's a young high energy dog. Also try to arrange daily play dates with people who have dogs that bigger or more his size and energy level.....Other dogs are great teachers for young energetic pups, they'll put him in his place!!

Our dog Buddy knows the "leave it" command, and he has been trained to completely ignore our cats.....cats are a no no and no contact whatsoever is tolerated.......Now they actually will all sleep together in Buddy's bed
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