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Would Dog Playmate Stop Cat Chasing?

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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Stella

Waiting for- Treats
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 14, '13 11:15pm PST 
Hello! I'm working on Stella's training and hoping this will have some impact on Stella's cat chasing/teasing behavior. I know that no amount of training can make Stella not interested in my cats, but I'm told that we can get her to the point where she'll stop and listen to our commands in the middle of messing with the cats. I'll believe this when I see it. Right now, if she's focused on the cats, she ignores us.

Stella just turned one, and has very high energy. She's 60 pounds, and most people who meet her lately think she's a Schnoodle. She's not a snuggler, but she does enjoy petting and will let me hug her. She wants her personal space though (not a lap dog)!

She deeply adores all dogs, and came from a rescue where she was fostered with other dogs. She's in love with the neighbor's dog, but the neighbor only wants her to play with her dog when he needs a bath as she says that Stella's slobber makes her dog stink. Stella goes to doggie daycare twice a week, where she's very popular. I'm told she never rests the whole time she's there. She gets one to two walks a day and play time.

Stella is tired after daycare, but she still gets in her cat annoying for the night. Amazing. I know this isn't prey drive. She jumps up and wags her tail. Other times, she'll run into the house from a potty break and immediately start chasing the cats. This scares them very badly. Whether or not it's play drive doesn't matter. The cats don't like it.

I don't want to have to control Stella with a leash in the house, but that's the only way to have peace if the cats and dogs are out at the same time. And it's annoying to have to constantly correct her. This has been going on for about seven months, so I'm thinking it's not going to stop soon. Stella will leave the cats alone if she has a frozen treat or rawhide, puzzle ball with treats, etc. to eat, but these things only last so long.

So, my question is whether adding another dog will redirect Stella's interest away from the cats. Of course, this would have to be a cat-friendly dog that loves to play with other dogs! Any suggestions on breeds/age if I go the second dog route?

I work from home, and I'm willing to get another dog if this will solve the problem. If I don't get another dog, I'll end up spending much more on doggie daycare than I'd prefer, that is, unless I can find another neighborhood dog that can play with Stella more often. Dog parks are out of the question.

I have also considered agility training as a way to tire her out, but right now I'm still working on commands she needs to get down first. She obeys for treats, but not with distractions. I have my doubts about agility training having an impact on Stella's interest in the cats. I feel like she has a deep need to connect with other dogs. It's almost like she's trying to make my two cats substitute dogs. Maybe it's all in my head. Any thoughts?
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Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 14, '13 11:30pm PST 
I personally would say no to another dog at the moment. I'd be worried that even a dog that is really cat friendly might be amped up by Stella's fixation on the cats and decide to join in.

Unfortunately it takes time to decrease a dog's interest in cats. I would be starting off by making sure that she doesn't get any opportunity to chase them (the more she does it, the better she gets at it), and would be working on focus and impulse control.

For us, that included tethering and crating. I made sure to reward calm, appropriate behaviour, but also used a lot of time outs with Rexy. Any inappropriate behaviour with the cats (lunging, chasing, barking, paw smacking, fur chewing, ignoring the cats' "go away" signals) meant a short time out in her crate.
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Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 5:31am PST 
I agree with Rexy, two dogs can end up back firing for the cats, because dogs tend to egg each on when it comes to getting excited about chase or play. Make sure your cats have a dog free zone where she's not allowed and only they can get in.

You might try clicker training to work on getting her focus on you and off the cats, so you can get her to not chase them. Check out kikopup videos on youtube or Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt.

While keeping her exercised helps, you can't really tire her out enough to solve the problem, but agility training will help your bond with her and her focus and improve your training skills . . . anything that does that is going to help and your agility instructor likely will be able to give you some good advice about the cats too. way to go
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Chase

Oh boy!- Ohboyohboyohboy!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 8:41am PST 
While it may not be ideal to have your dog leashed while in the house at all times, sometimes it's necessary.
Chase still gets fixated on our cat at times and wants to play (and typically the cat is okay with this) but when Chase gets too rough, or Napoleon has clearly had enough I just interrupt their session. I give Chase the chance to chill out on her own, but if she won't leave the cat alone I crate her for a few minutes, or I tether her to myself. Once she's just sitting or laying down she forgets how fun the cat is.
Napoleon is a fairly new addition to our family (she's been with us for about 5 months) but when we first adopted Chase at 10 months my roommate had 3 cats. So we've gone through the cat thing a couple of times haha
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Stella

Waiting for- Treats
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 10:28am PST 
Thanks for the replies. As for using the crate as a timeout, won't the dog see this as the crate being a punishing place? I think I read that you should never use the crate as punishment. Right now, Stella sees her crate as a very positive place. She eats there and sleeps there and stays there when I'm gone. I don't want her to associate it with bad things. Am I being too paranoid about that?

I was thinking that another dog that didn't bother the cats would be a good influence on Stella, but I didn't think about Stella being a bad influence on another dog. laugh out loud

Clicker training. Hmm. I once tried to clicker train my cats and they were so terrified of the clicker noise I gave my clicker away. I'm wondering if they'd still be bothered by it. Cats hear everything, you know...
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Nare

Woo-woo- whineybutt
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 11:20am PST 
stella the crate advice is when first introducing the dog to it. shes had a year of positive encounters with it, one negative one wont ruin for her. besides, its not like you angrily throw her in there, its like feeding time with no food.

i don't know the extent of your dog's drive towards the cats.
But when Nare was a puppy we'd kind of play with the cats as a distraction ?
This is what we did:
We had a cat flirt pole and let Nare play with it, then put him in a down stay and flick it towards the cats, then Nare got to play with it again.
Soon it was play with Nare 30 seconds, cat for 5 seconds.. Nare 1 minute, cats 30 seconds.
He stopped chasing the cats after that..
Cause I have the cool treats and the coolest toy ever wink

Again, idk if Stella has that much focus yet..
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Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 11:22am PST 
Do you have a separate room that can be a safe place for the cat? How about cat ledges where it can escape? Just temporary suggestions, of course, while you work on his behavior.
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Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 11:34am PST 
Stella, as Nare said, so long as you very calmly and quietly place Stella in her crate when she misbehaves with the cats, then there shouldn't be any negative associations with the crate. It's a good question to ask though!
Rexy still happily naps in her crate and uses her crate for classes.

Basically what you are doing is removing her from the fun (being around the cats) when she is being obnoxious. Eventually, she will figure out that obnoxiousness towards the cats = time away from the fun. It takes time though, and you will likely be doing many T.O.s per day.
After a T.O., do make sure that you immediately give her the opportunity to try again.

As other posters have mentioned, make sure that the cats have dog-free zones (particularly for eating, napping and litter boxes), and plenty of hiding and perching places.
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Opheila

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 11:54am PST 
Everyone has great ideas on the subject. I would also suggest a spray bottle something like you'd mist plants with. The first month with both dogs if they chased cats they would get an immediate verbal correction and a light quick spray of water on the snoot. After even a few weeks we only had to pick up the bottle and not even use it and they'd back away from the catkitty
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Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 1:49pm PST 
No.

In fact... A friend of mine had a Shepherd mix. Great with her cats, because she quickly learned after a few scratches to respect their space. She left them alone entirely.

Then she brought in a puppy. An older puppy, who was overly interested in chasing the cats. This set off the Shepherd and they would actually TAG TEAM the cats. And even on their own, would go after them MORE. It was a scary situation, and I repeatedly pointed out to my friend, the dangers of the situation, as the cats could have easily ended up killed, but in one ear and out the other.

She now only has one dog. But her cats are much safer with just the one because the one is less interested in chasing, and now just tries to get them to play with her and backs off when they tell her.
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