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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19289
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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What do you do with a dog who is obsessed with chasing cats

Resolved Question:

What do you do with a dog who is obsessed with chasing cats when you want to rescue a cat?
My Westie x Yorkie aged 5 years grew up with 2 cats and knew his place with them one has since died and we have an 18 year old cat which the dog respects and avoids her as she will hit him. 10 weeks ago we rescued a 2year old gentle little cat and we have had to keep them completely apart as the dog goes wild whenever he sees the cat and now she is terrified of him, so we are sending her back but want to try again with a bigger more confident cat this time.
Have you any advise as to how to proceed?

Pauline Tuckley
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Pauline,
.
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
.
There is a couple of ways that I introduce dogs to new cats and vice versa. One thing that helps is to take a couple of towels and rub them on each animal until the scent is transferred to the towel. Then switch the towels. This gets each one used to the other one's scent and makes them less confrontational. If you can do this before you bring the new cat home that would be best.
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The other thing that helps is to crate the new cat in an open wire style crate initially and let the dog smell the cat and get to know them through the bars first. Then you switch and put the dog in the crate and let the cat move around the house. I also try and take the dog outside before I bring the cat in the first time and let them explore the house for a half hour or more. This gives them time to find some hiding spots or escape paths and transfer their scent around the house and again get used to the scent of the dog.

You should also have some places where the cat can escape to that the dog can not get to. Some owners will put a child gate up in a doorway and have that be the cat's area initially. Most dogs can not jump over the gates and most cats have no problem going over them. Other owners use cat trees or other high areas for the cat to escape to.

Training will help as well. Keep a leash on your dog when you first get the cat especially when neigher one is crated. Keep a hand on the leash and if he goes to chase the cat, he won't be able to and you can give him a firm low toned "NO" when the leash stops him. Once he stops lunging at him, you can start giving a small hot dog sliver for his good behavior around the cat. Once you are at this point, you want to give him a small tug and firm NO if he even looks like he is focusing too hard on the cat. By this point he should be more used to the cat and you might want to try letting them interact a bit. Keep the leash on him though so you can grab it if he misbehaves.
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Since he is barking as well, I recommend teaching the quiet command. As crazy as this sounds she may wish to teach the pup the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after the dog has learned the speak command. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.
http://www.dogskool.com/web/news/summer2002/page3.html

Use the tiny hot dog slivers as rewards for this training as well. I would also try and find a cat that is used to small dogs and one that is not jumpy around dogs. It is very hard for a dog not to chase a cat that runs. If the cat is more likely to stand their ground, your dog will be less likely to chase them.
.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19289
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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