With a full-time job and busy family, many people opt for a low maintenance pet like a cat. But circumstances change and many an animal lover's thoughts then turn to getting a dog. This faces them with the problem of how to stop cats and dogs fighting like...ahem...cats and dogs.
Most dogs can learn to live in peace with a cat, however, some dogs are tougher to train than others. For example, terriers are hard-wired to chase down prey, and seeing a moving target such as a cat, pushes their 'chase' button. If you are in the position of weighing up which dog to get, one option is to make life easier for everyone involved and avoid terrier breeds.
Also, starting out with a puppy is a lot easier than re-educating an adult dog. Puppies that are still within their socialization period (the time when they accept what they see around them as normal) are much quicker to catch on that the cat is a family member and not a toy to chase.
Having a dog get along with cats can mean different things to different people. It might be that 'getting along' simply means ignoring one another in a live-and-let-live standoff. It is a rare dog and cat that will snuggle up together, but anything is possible!
Most pet parents would be happy if the cat feels able to stroll around in a relaxed manner and isn't stressed by the dog's presence. Indeed, to facilitate this you can help by providing cat-friendly walkways that are up off the ground (shelving will do it!) When the cat is able to navigate round the room without touching the ground, then she is automatically more at ease.
Chasing behavior is self-rewarding for a dog. Therefore, it pays to start the training early, indeed before the dog and cat meet. Teaching a good solid "Sit" and "Look" enables you to stop the dog in his tracks or distract him when the cat strolls into the room. Interrupting chasing behavior in this way helps keep everyone happy.
Train the dog in several short sessions a few times a day, but keep things light and fun. Praise and reward the dog when he gets things right, and never punish him for making a mistake.
To train a dog to get along with cats you'll need:
A collar and leash
A friend to assist you
A crate for the dog or carrier for the cat
A squeaky toy or something to distract the dog
my dog keeps lunging at the cats we have and grunting and wineing at the cat so we dont know what to do as we dont want the dog hurting the cats.
Hello Charlotte, If Kyra is simply acting excited about the cats, like he wants to chase them and be too rough, but not acting like he has a prey drive toward them and wants to kill them intentionally, suggest working on the following commands to teach manners and encourage calmness around the cats: Place command - practice him being able to stay in place when the cats are around. Use Place as somewhere he can go and chew on a chew toy when he gets too excited also. https://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo Teach the Out command (which means leave an area) and use it when he is being pushy, overly fixated on, or too close to the cats, to get him to leave the area where they are so he can calm back down. When you enforce this command using your body language like the article mentions you often also communicate that you own the cats and he should respect them because of his respect for you (do not do this if there is true aggression however): https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It command - when teaching this you want the dog to mentally leave something alone and not just be waiting to get it, so when to teach it using treats at first, never give your dog the treat he is supposed to leave, instead feed him a different treat from your other hand when he leaves something alone. Follow the Leave It method from the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite If you have issues with him listening and respecting house rules in general, then building his respect for you can help with management also. Commands like Down Stay, a structured Heel, and Watch Me help to build respect, in addition to the other commands mentioned above, like Place. Also, making him work for what he wants by doing a command first, like sitting before having a ball thrown, or laying down before being fed, can also help. Also, do not tolerate pushiness, rushing through doors and bumping into you, or other rude behavior. Make him practice politeness when he acts rude, and in general. If his behavior toward the cats is not just roughness and over excitement but is predatory, I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer who has experience with aggression, prey drive, and high level obedience, and can give good referrals or has good recommendations. Prey drive is a more serious situation that often requires in person help. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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