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Dog attacking cats?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Koda

Born to run -- loves to sleep
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 1:46pm PST 
Hi! I've got a Siberian Husky who is always chasing and attacking our two cats. One is 15 years old and is declawed and the other is 2 and has all of her claws. Just today, Smokey, the older cat, was laying on the couch when the husky walked up and tore a clump of fur off from Smokey's back and walked away like nothing had happened. Earlier today than that, he had cornered the younger cat and was attacking her. He came away with several bloody scratches on his face.

Please, help! I don't know what I should do and I'm afraid he will kill on of the cats!
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 2:27pm PST 
They need to be separated for the safety of your cats. Going after cats is part of prey drive -- some dogs have a very high prey drive. It is very common in Huskies and this is written about them frequently. I'm not sure how to "cure" a dog of a high prey drive...
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Buster

1201864
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 2:30pm PST 
You need to keep them seperated especially the poor declawed one frown. Huskies are very high prey drive and while some can live with cats it seems like this one can't.

Edited by author Sun Dec 16, '12 2:31pm PST

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Farley

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 3:43pm PST 
This is extremely common in Huskies. My friend had two Huskies that would go after any small prey-like animal- rabbits, cats, even small dogs. They couldn't bring them to the dog park off-leash for that reason and because it is very hard to teach a reliable recall to Huskies.

You *may* be able to teach your dog some sort of self control around the cats when you are around, but drive/instinct is extremely strong and you will likely never be able to leave them alone together. Keep them separated as much as possible, and ABSOLUTELY when you are gone. If your cats are going to be in danger, and since they were there first, I would seriously consider looking for a home without cats or other small animals for your dog. It is not fair to your cats, and especially for the declawed one which has no means to defend itself.

Edited by author Sun Dec 16, '12 3:43pm PST

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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 4:10pm PST 
I agree with the above. Sadly, it may only be a matter of time. Huskies are notorious cat killers, and it could be in time the dog decides to up the game or builds confidence. Please manage the situation until you decide what to do.
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Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 4:46pm PST 
You need to keep him separate from the cats, or he will kill them. It is not "might," he WILL kill them.

Or he could get cat scratch fever from his injuries and die before he gets the chance... I've seen that happen too.

All three of my Huskies have been bad with cats, to varying degrees. They're just an extremely prey-driven breed and I would never recommend them to anyone who wants to share their home with small animals.

That being said, we have lived with cats in several homes, but the dogs are never off leash in the same room as the cats.

You can teach them to focus on you in distractions including small animals, and to listen to you in the moment you need to ask them not to chase the cat. But you can not override the innate drive to try it. And they will want to try it at every opportunity.
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Fritz

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 3:46am PST 
I'm a cat killer. You need to separate him from your cats. Maybe set up the house so he and the cats have their own areas. If you can't do that, you will need to find him a different home before he kills the kitties.

We have cats, they don't live in the house. We just found an adorable black kitten, we are looking for a home for it because I will kill it if I get the chance.

I'm not a bad dog, I just have a lot of prey drive.
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Opheila

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 5:45am PST 
What you said about "tore a clump of fur" got my attention. That means he made contact and isn't afraid to actually put his mouth on a cat. This is a very bad thing. The other things that first come to mind are baby gates, squirty bottles, and various commands.

Since one cat is quite old and apparently you don't want to rehome them-a baby gate, make sure it's secure and high enough not to be knocked down or leapt over-will block some space as a safe kitty only zone.

When we brought each of our dogs home we had spray bottles of water in different corners of the house. If the dog gave chase or showed any great excitment over a cat the dog got a short strong zap in the puss with the water bottle. After a few days you just had to TOUCH the bottle and the dog would turn away from the cat.

Other people can advise you on commands that might help the situation.

There is a big difference in how tolerant some dogs can be with cats. Fortunately both of my have made a strong distinction between our house cats compared to any other cats. Stray cats are prey like squirrels but the house cats are surrounded by a protective shield. Some of our cats like Ninja and Stumpy will lay with the dogs so they can groom each other. We have seven cats and the dogs can be submissive enough that even something like having a tomcat trying to hump them just sends them seeking the humans for protection.

So if you can picture a fifty pound pibble laying his head in my lap because a five pound tabbie just diced his nose...don't know if tolerance to that degree can be taught, but there have to be some answers out there for ya, Best of Luck!!!!

I hope other folks here can give you some good advice too. I'm sure tolerance can be taught as well.
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Fritz

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 18, '12 3:47am PST 
Tolerance can be taught, but not to every dog. It depends on prey drive and probably how the dog was raised as a pup. Fritz is safe around small dogs, but even so I don't take chances with him around Cocoa unless I can supervise. I am guessing that he was raised or exposed to small dogs but not cats when growing up.

Water wouldn't phase his prey drive around a cat, you would just get a dead wet cat out of the mix. I don't think anything would make Fritz 100% safe around cats and it would take extreme measures to get him to leave them alone at all.

I have worked with him, he no longer hits the end of the leash when he see's a cat, but he still drools and smacks his lips.
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Kye

I'm like- Einstein only- hairier.
 
 
Barked: Fri Dec 21, '12 12:37am PST 
My boy Kye is a cat killer through and through. I have 2 cats that he gets along with really well with, he seems to know that if I brought them in they're family but if he sees a cat outside (and god forbid it be running) prey drives kicks into high. It took me about 3 months to feel confident enough to leave the cats out with the dogs and when I did I would get in my car and park a ways down the road and wait 5 minutes. I started leaving them longer and longer until the day my Hunter cat came and rubbed up against Kye, who wagged his tail and licked his ears!
I know many Huskies that have a very strong prey drive and have to be the smallest pets in the house, they were bred as working animals not house pets and have only been in domestic homes for a short while. I agree that you have to keep him separate from the cats. If you really do not want to give him up to keep the cats safe you could try talking with a professional trainer/behaviorist and see what he/she says, second opinions never hurt. If the dog can not learn to accept the cats it would be in your best interest (and that of the cats and dog) to find him a new, cat free family. Even if you keep them separate from each other there is always the chance someone could forget to put up a baby gate or shut a door and he gets a chance to go after the cats.
Good luck and keep us posted!

Edited by author Fri Dec 21, '12 12:38am PST

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