Helping Dog Adapt to Cats?

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by Peacock, May 16, 2006.

  1. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

    Apr 12, 2006
    SW Ohio
    We have 4 cats - they were with us first. Then we got Rocky, a Lab mix who's now 10 months old. He's interested in the cats, but in a friendly way. They're not amused, but not scared of him much either. But then we got Maverick, a 4 year old German Shepherd Dog. Maverick's previous owner said "he likes cats". I thought, um...for dinner? No, the previous owner said he'd chase them but just want to lick them when he "caught" them and be friendly. Liar. Mavvy isn't friendly with them at all. I don't think he'd hurt them - he would have already, probably, if he was going to - but he corners them and barks like crazy at them, and they're terrified.

    Our cats stay indoors. Maverick's accustomed to being an outdoor dog and remains so, except to sleep at night in a cage and to just hang out and relax sometimes. Our house is large enough that the cats can easily stay in another part of it when the dogs are inside, and they can roam freely when the dogs are outside. So all is well, most of the time.

    But I'd like to "desensitize" Maverick to the cats so he doesn't go ballistic when he spots one of them. I know they'll never get to the point where they're lying down together (Rocky and one of our cats will share a couch occasionally) but you know, I think the cats deserve a more peaceful home. So do we! Any ideas?
  2. RockysMom

    RockysMom Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2005
    When we brought my DD's boxer here to stay, we had to teach her not to chase the cats. Everytime she went after one, I would yell NO CAT, and would have a spray bottle with water and would squirt her. It took about two weeks to teach her not to chase the cats. Now this doesn't mean that she likes the cats, but she knows not to chase them. We still reinforce the command when ever she is around one of the cats.

  3. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    southern New Jersey
    You haven't had Maverick very long yet, give it some more time. In the meanwhile, any time he does that, make sure you let him know that cornering and barking at the cats is UNACCEPTABLE! Use whatever discipline method you find works with him. Most shepherds are smart and want to please their owners, so he should get the idea that his life will be better if he leaves the cats alone!
  4. kgchis

    kgchis Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    OK I saw this on the Dog Whisperer. I don't agree with everything on that show, but this really did look like a good idea. I plan to try it next time I bring a new dog into the house.

    They put the cat in it's carrier so the dog could not hurt it. Then the brought the dog into the room. This way they had a controlled environment so they could correct the dogs behavior. When the dog barked at or was too interested in the cat, they corrected him.

    They just kept repeating this until the dog learned to ignore the cat. The cat ignored the dog. The idea is to next work up to having them in the same room with no carrier. Then on and on until you get back to their normal environment.

    I have herding dogs myself, and it can be tough to get them to leave the cats alone. I plan to try the carrier technique the next time I bring in a new dog. Also, it keeps your cat safe while you work with the dog.