How to Train Your Dog to Ignore Cats

Medium
2-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Do you dream of living in a harmonious household, without any barking, meowing or yelling? If your dog is always bothering your cat and an altercation ensues where there’s barking and hissing everywhere, then now is the time to teach your pooch to leave that cat alone. This will save you a load of worrying about what they’re up to while you can’t keep an eye on them, as well as keeping your two furry best friends safe by having them live in harmony. It will also keep your house safe. Surely, when your dog chases the cat there are furniture and household items that become casualties of the chase. Save yourself a lot of expense by preventing this. Also, imagine how cute it will be when both your four-legged friends can be friends with each other.

Defining Tasks

If you live in a household with a cat, or you’re thinking about getting a cat in a house with a dog, training will be required. Very serious incidents can occur if not, in particular, if your dog is a real hunter the cat can be very seriously injured by the dog. Or, sometimes dominant cats will give dogs a swipe when they bother them, resulting in nasty injuries such as eye ulcers in your pooch, so make sure this doesn’t happen. Certain breeds are easier to train than others; in general, Labradors, retrievers and smaller breeds such as Pomeranians will be easier to train to ignore cats as, although every dog is an individual, these pups have less of a hunting instinct. Breeds such as German Shepherds, Greyhounds and Jack Russell Terriers will be more difficult to train, as they have natural hunting instincts. Puppies with an older cat will be easier to train also and will be less likely to cause injury to a larger cat, therefore it is advisable to train them young. The timeline for training is variable depending on age and breed, but is likely to take weeks to months.

Getting Started

For this training, you’ll have to be both vigilant and determined. If getting a new dog in a cat household, it is advisable that you take a few days off work to solidify initial training and prevent anything happening when you’re not around. Keep the dog and cat separated nonetheless for quite awhile until you know your dog is not going to chase the cat. Make sure your cat always has an easily accessible safe haven to rest in. Grab a bag of delicious treats, appropriate for your pooch's age and breed or make your own delicious treats at home. Dogs love plain home-cooked chicken breast, cut into the correct size pieces. If you’re clicker training your pooch, also grab your clicker to signify good behavior.

The No Chasing Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Only if your cat is confident
Only use this method if your cat is confident, this is not fair for shy, easily stressed cats. If your cat is timid, you may see them disappear under the couch and refuse to come out for a while.
Step
2
Get the cat carrier
Pop your kitty in their cat carrier with a favorite toy or catnip for distraction. Make sure the carrier is secure and comfortable.
Step
3
Bring in the pup
Get your puppy in the same room, keeping your pup's attention on you by talking to him and giving him lots of treats, paying attention to reward calm behavior.
Step
4
'Sit' and 'stay'
Get your pooch to sit and stay a few yards away from the cat. Keep practicing these commands (in other environments, too), as they will be important in introducing the pair without the carrier.
Step
5
Best treats and reward
Give your pooch the most delicious treats when they don’t pay any attention to the kitty, they need to know you’re rewarding the behavior of ignoring the cat. Use the clicker to click when your pooch looks away from the cat, as well to signify the behavior you want him to display.
Recommend training method?

The Conditioning Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Keep him on a tight leash
First things first, put your pup on a tight leash to make sure he’s completely under your control and can’t physically chase. You want to prevent chasing behavior rather than stop it.
Step
2
Tasty, exclusive treats
Have lots of tasty, strong smelling treats on you, only giving your pooch these treats for this exercise.
Step
3
Keep it natural
Let your cat move around as much as they normally would, expressing normal behavior. The idea is that the cat catches your pooch's attention, but he becomes used to it and learns to ignore the feline.
Step
4
Cat attention
Every time the cat makes any motion you think might get your pup's attention, click and give a treat to distract your pooch.
Step
5
Cat equals treat
Give your puppy a treat whether he's calm and does not bark at the cat, look at the cat or anything else. You’re teaching your pup that the cat being there means reward in the form of treats.
Step
6
Wait for him to look to you
Once you’ve repeated the above step a few times, your puppy should start looking to you for a treat every time the cat is around, meaning his attention is on receiving a treat and not chasing the cat.
Step
7
Keep practicing
Really get this behavior in his head, by keeping doing it for a few weeks, practicing every day for 5-10 minutes.
Step
8
Safety first
Don’t unleash your pooch until you’re a hundred percent sure he gets it and won’t chase your kitty.
Recommend training method?

The Distraction Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Go shopping
Every pup loves a shopping excursion at their favorite pet supply store. Not only do they usually get a biscuit or two, but they also have the opportunity to meet other dogs. Most importantly, a new toy is on the agenda. Buy your dog a toy that really piques their interest.
Step
2
Redirection
The aim of the lesson in ignoring cats is to have your dog redirect their interests elsewhere, other than the cat. Make sure that your dog's new favorite toy is close by.
Step
3
Ignore the cat
Play a game within proximity of the cat (having the cat safely out of reach in a crate). Give your pup the new toy and engage them in play, completely ignoring the cat in the crate. Make sure the cat is not the type easily frightened by a dog.
Step
4
Distract and block
If your dog tries to go near the crate, distract them with the toy and stand between them and the cat. When your dog gains focus on you again and ignores the feline, give them a high reward food treat.
Step
5
Reinforce the ignore
Keep working on reinforcing the ignoring of the cat. You are teaching them that playing and high-reward treats are more fun that looking at the cat.
Step
6
Rewarding good behavior
Eventually, you may have to introduce the dog and cat. After all, they will be existing in the same household. Give your pooch a treat and lots of praise if he gently sniffs the cat, ignores the cat, or doesn’t try to chase your feline friend.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Catherine Lee-Smith

Published: 12/08/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Arlo
Pit bull
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Arlo
Pit bull
1 Year

I recently got a new kitten and arlo isn’t leaving her alone. What are some methods I can use to get him to stop?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, first you have to make sure that the kitten always has a safe and easy access to getting away. A kitten is no match for a persistent dog. I would work on the Crate Intro Method. Have Arlo near the kitten in a cage over and over until he gets used to seeing the kitten. https://wagwalking.com/training/accept-a-kitten. The Controlled Intro Method is also effective but Arlo needs to know the Down-Stay and Leave it Commands. https://wagwalking.com/training/leave-it and https://wagwalking.com/training/perform-the-down-position. Work on those obedience commands as well as any others you have taught him. Work on having him listen at every instance. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you. Practice the Consistency Method. Never leave the two unattended. Good luck!

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Question
Aria
Pit bull
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Aria
Pit bull
10 Months

I want my dog to ignore cats. My neighbor has a cat and when she sees the cat she barks like crazy. Also on walks she really pulls me to chase any stray cat she sees and she's getting heavy. I'm afraid I won't be able to hold her if she grows more. How do I learn her to ignore cats (I don't have a pet cat to get her familiar with it)

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, the first thing to do is let your neighbor know about Aria's feelings about the cat to give the neighbor the opportunity to make sure the cat is kept out of your yard. I suggest that you enroll Aria in obedience classes right away. It is vital that you can handle her in every situation. It's only fair that you train her so that she can be the best she can be. Group classes socialize a dog and help to cement a bond between owner and dog. All of the basic commands are met and you are given the tools to know how to practice. You'll learn how to stop her from pulling etc. Until you start class, work on her heel skills: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. The Turns Method is an excellent way to keep Aria focused and not thinking about anything (like cats) except for the training session. Work on it on every walk! Good luck!

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Question
Juno
Boxer
5 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Juno
Boxer
5 Years

She jumped a cat this morning. Thankfully she hardly has any teeth, but i dont want it happening again. we live in a place with a lot of cats running around.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Your best bet in this situation is to go with a method to desensitize him to the cats. Juno needs to learn that the cats are just a normal part of his environment. So we need to teach him to become less excited by the cats. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching him "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking him around the cats while on leash. Any time he even looks at a cat, you give the command leave it. Once he breaks his attention away from the cats, you reward him with a treat. Ideally, you want to him to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as he isn't focused on the cat, you can reward him. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the cats until he is no longer interested in the cats. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dog. The cats need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Question
maple
Australian Cattle Dog Mix
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
maple
Australian Cattle Dog Mix
1 Year

She has a high drive and instinct to chase the cat. She doesn't care what treats or food you have, her focus is on the cat. I normally have her out on a leash with the cat, and she constantly tries to lunge and chase. She managed to chase the cat a few times already.The cat likes to be chased and 'teases' my dog my walking around and trying to get close. my dog won't bite cat, just wants to play. I don't know how to have them possibly coexist when she doesn't want to listen to me whatsoever.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alana, I suggest hiring a trainer to help you in this case. Look for someone with a lot of experience with behavior issues, impulse control, and prey drive. Check out the videos linked below. How to tackle this depends a lot on the severity of the issue - since pup hasn't tried to bite the cat that is a good sign. This may be more of a herding behavior than a true prey driven instinct - which is still an instinct but just not as dangerous. If this is herding based behavior, then some of the milder, impulse control, structured activities may be enough. Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Severe cat issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long, Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the cat in the same room. You can also back tie pup while they are on place - connecting a long leash attached to pup to something near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. Reward pup for any calmness and tolerance around the cat throughout the day. You can also practice other exercises that keep pup's attention - like games and training exercises with the cat in the background - rewarding pup for focus on you, to help desensitize pup even more to the cat. Place - two ways to teach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjCcVXGFvTs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Athena
Dogo Argentino
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Athena
Dogo Argentino
10 Months

She only chases them when they run but she wants to be up close and personal with them when they aren't running

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, when Athena is up close does she behave? Make sure that your cats always have a safe and secure haven to escape to easily where Athena cannot reach them, and don't leave them unattended together. I always advise this when the dog is young and has a keen interest in the cats. Just to be on the safe side as you do not know the prey drive. I do suspect that Athena will have an innate prey drive as her lineage involves hunting. You can try going back to square one with introductions. Try How to be Friends Method described here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-not-chase-cats. This involves the down-stay which is an important command for any dog to know. There are also tips here:https://wagwalking.com/training/stay-away-from-cats. Read the entire guide through for helpful advice I recommend you take Athena to dog training classes right away as well. She'll do well with the mental and physical stimulation that classes provide. She'll bond with you and also socialize - that's extremely important with any dog but especially one that is big and strong.Good luck and have fun training Athena!

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Question
Ariana
Rottweiler x staffie
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ariana
Rottweiler x staffie
3 Years

We got a kitten over a month ago, and my dog still gets over excited when she sees her, off lead she goes up to her and nudges her roughly (doesn’t try to bite or growl or bark at her) most of the time when I call her she will come back and listen but sometimes this isn’t the case. We’ve had to keep my kitten in a separate room but I’m now worrying that we’re doing more harm then good and our dog is now getting frustrated because she can’t see the cat. How do I get my dog to coexist with my kitten and be able to be in the same room with her but leave her alone?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Your best bet in this situation is to go with a method to desensitize her to the kitten. Your dog needs to learn that the kitten is just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach her to become less reactive by the kitten. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching her "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking her around the kitten while on leash. Any time she even looks at the cat, you give the command leave it. Once she breaks her attention away from the kitten, you reward her with a treat. Ideally, you want to her to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as she isn't focused on the kitten, you can reward her. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the kitten until she is no longer interested in the kitten. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dog. The kitten needs to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Question
Jax
Alaskan Malamute
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jax
Alaskan Malamute
6 Years

I just adopted Jax. He is a really good dog and has met many dogs in just the few days I have had him. He knows to sit and shake and lay down. When he has met any dog he is calm, even around puppies 10x smaller than him. My boyfriend has a cat who is young and spunky. Her and Jax met the other night and I held him tightly and he ignored her... until she ran and then he got very excited and wanted to chase her. This is a HUGE problem because we are probably going to move in together soon and obviously he is a big boy (109 pounds) who we do not want hurting this cat.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alex, I recommend working on pup's obedience around the cat with safety measures in place. Teaching pup things like staying on Place and Heeling past the cat, rewarding pup when they ignore the cat. Practice with the cat still at first, then walking around, then running - like when you set the cat down and they run out of the room. Check out the videos linked below. If you find that you are dealing with a more severe issue or things feel unsafe or you aren't making progress, I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues and has experience with this particular issue, working with prey drive, and building impulse, control to help. Look for someone who also comes well recommended by their previous clients. Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Severe cat issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y More e-collar work with cats with the same dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8lkbX0dhT0 Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long, Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the cat in the same room. You can also back tie pup while they are on place - connecting a long leash attached to pup to something secure near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Below are some other commands in general you can practice to help pup develop better impulse skill/self-control - impulse control takes practice for a dog to gain the ability to control herself. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Maggie
Labrador Retriever
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Maggie
Labrador Retriever
6 Years

Our dog Maggie is too attentive to cats. She barks and whines at them and chases after them. She is food motivated. We just need tips on how to get her to ignore cats and live naturally in the same space as them before my partner and I move in together.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maxx, Check out the videos linked below for teaching calmness around cats. Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the kitten in the same room. I recommend also back tying pup while they are on place - safely connecting a long leash attached to pup to something near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. Make sure what the leash is secured to, the leash itself, and pup's collar or harness are secure and not likely to break or slip off. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. You want pup to learn to stay due to obedience and self-control, and the leash just be back up for safety. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Below are some other commands in general you can practice to help pup develop better impulse skill/self-control - impulse control takes practice for a dog to gain the ability to control herself. Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ If she is highly prey driven towards the cats you will likely need to hire professional help in person. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gracey
Poodle
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gracey
Poodle
4 Years

Gracey is the main offenerd. I have 2 cats who have been relegated to living i an downstairs bebedroom due to Gracey barking and chasing them. The cats previously were accustomed to having free reign of the house. Budd typically ignores the cats downstairs but barks when he sees them upstairs. This has been the case for a year and a half. I would like the cats to be able to be wherever they want. Gracey is on leash when downstairs and the stairway is blocked to keep her from going downstairs.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Your best bet in this situation is to go with a method to desensitize her to the cats. She needs to learn that the cats are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach her to become less reactive by the cats. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching her "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking her around the cats while on leash. Any time she even looks at a cat, you give the command leave it. Once she breaks her attention away from the cats, you reward her with a treat. Ideally, you want to her to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as she isn't focused on the cat, you can reward her. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the cats until she is no longer interested in the cats. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dog. The cats need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Roxie and Sugar
Mix
5 Years
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Question
0 found helpful
Roxie and Sugar
Mix
5 Years

Roxie is a black lab mix. Sugar is a beagle mix. Both are rescues.
I recently adopted a sweet cat named Molly. She’s a social kitty who wants to be where the people are, unlike my other cats who hide in the bedroom. She is often seen in the main hallway, kitchen and at the entrance to the sunken living room, but she never enters. That’s where the dogs are. Roxie on the sofa and Sugar in her chair. I’d love for Molly to be able to join me on the love seat when we watch tv.
Sometimes when I’m with Molly in the kitchen, Sugar will find us. Sugar will start with a low growl (which I have trouble hearing sometimes) and slowly come up to us. (I think she’s jealous.) After she gets Molly to leave Sugar comes to me all happy. It’s like she’s saying “look mommy. I saved you. Aren’t you proud of me.” This will happen no matter how many times I tell her no or leave it. I’m not sure what approach to take with Sugar.
Roxie, on the other hand, will respond to leave it. After reading the other responses, I realize I need to work on this more with her and now know how to do it. My issue comes when both dogs gang up on the cat. One might leave her alone but if the other doesn’t then she’ll be fueled to join in the cat chasing fun.
How do I train them together?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hi Dianna, First, I would work them around the cat separately until both are responding to you around the cat on their own, then I would use back tie leashes to practice training like Place and Quiet and Leave It with pups tethered to something secure so that you can focus on training and not holding to dogs to prevent a fight. You can see in this video two dogs being worked around a cat at the same time, after having been already a bit trained separately, on Place beds. I would add in back tie leashes, to tether them to something secure nearby also for safety of the cat. Choose a leash long enough they won't feel the tension in the leash unless they disobey and try to get off Place. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E This will take a lot of proactive training sessions, keeping the animals more separate with doors when you can't train to keep the dogs from practicing unwanted behavior around the cat at times you can't control the interactions as much, to help them only practice the wanted behavior with your help so training goes faster. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sid
Australian Shepherd
3 Months
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Question
1 found helpful
Sid
Australian Shepherd
3 Months

We adopted a puppy in a house with 2 lovely cats. One is very social and dependent but easily scared. The other one is more quiet and independent, but braver . We have designated the bedroom as their safe place thanks to a safety barrier in the door. We have rewarded the dog every time he could hear or see the cats but stay quiet. The problem is that the cats are now traumatised and won't get out of the room as the dog spends his entire time camping in front of the door. The social cat keeps meowing to get out and it drives him crazy. If by miracle one of the cat got out, the dog is chasing them like crazy. It s been 3 weeks, no progress. I dont know what to do anymore.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ro, Check out the videos linked below for teaching calmness around cats. Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the kitten in the same room. I recommend also back tying pup while they are on place - safely connecting a long leash attached to pup to something near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. Make sure what the leash is secured to, the leash itself, and pup's collar or harness are secure and not likely to break or slip off. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. You want pup to learn to stay due to obedience and self-control, and the leash just be back up for safety. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Below are some other commands in general you can practice to help pup develop better impulse skill/self-control - impulse control takes practice for a dog to gain the ability to control herself. Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ I would specifically pay attention to the section on How to Use Out to Deal with Pushiness once pup has learned what Out means from the Out article. Use that method to teach pup to get away from the cat's door each time pup tries to camp out there. I would also spend at least half the time tethering pup to yourself with a hands free leash while having the cats free to roam, so pup is the one confined and not able to chase. This also allows you to interrupt pup every time they fixate on the cats, and reward when pup is being calm around them on leash, without pup being able to chase them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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