The Most Dog Friendly Community Online
Join and Discover the Best Things to do with your Dog

Welcome to Our Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Dog barking and chasing our cats

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by sshoults, Jan 14, 2020 at 12:35 PM.

  1. sshoults

    sshoults New Member Registered

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hello, firstly thanks for listening!

    My partner and I got a new dog just before Christmas who had been cat tested and was apparently un-bothered by cats. This was important to us as we have two fairly nervous cats who are about 6 years old, we have had them for 5 years. He is a Spanish street dog so we don't know much about his makeup - at a guess could be a blend of terrier, Portuguese podengo, possibly pyrenean shepherd, no doubt a bunch of others too. He is around 18 months old, 11.5kg.

    In his first week, he really wasn't fussed about the cats, looked away, left them alone, walked away from them, etc. We were super thrilled, and the cats began to get braver and walk through the room past him. Then after about a week he began to move towards them and bark - now if he sees them he will leap up and bark at them, which of course means they run, then he runs, which is a great game. The cats have grown even more terrified, they are pretty skittish and have more or less retreated back upstairs. They rarely try to get past the dog now if we are in (unfortunately we have a house that is linear and prohibits any exit that doesn't involve walking past the dog).

    We have researched predatory chasing but I'm not sure that's what it is, because he does respond when we call him off. He also chases squirrels in the park, he has chased a fox at dusk, and a random cat we saw in a field. On none of these occasions has he barked, but has got into that 'focused' state where he cannot be called back. On the whole he is quite well behaved, with good recall - apart from in these outside chase scenarios. He is social with other dogs and loves to play chase in the park, again with no barking (and often seems confused if the other dog barks). So I'm a bit confused as to what it is with the cats. Could it be territorial? Herding? It doesn't seem aggressive because he's never tried to hurt them, and on more than one occasion has been close enough to do serious harm if he wanted. There's no growling either, and he is always in a state of high excitement after (whirling waggy tail, pricked forward puppy ears). In the last day or two I've had some success in distracting him with treats when one of the cats was nearby and he began to stare at her. We are starting obedience training in February, he does have most of the basics but it's good to consolidate, plus a nice bonding experience. Hopefully being more consistently attentive to our commands will help. We also try to make sure he gets a good, tiring walk in the morning (lots of running around with other dogs!) so he's not looking to play or too bouncy in the house.

    Anyone have any insight or thoughts? Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Store
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

    Messages:
    3,253
    Likes Received:
    2,948
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Tagging @JudyN who has experience of dogs with cats. My tuppence worth is that I see terrier but not podengo in him, which from the cats' pov is probably a good thing.
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

    Messages:
    3,704
    Likes Received:
    5,252
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Oh he's lovely:) I'm sure it's not predatory at all - he probably just wants the cats to play (probably chase, so if they turn and run he's been rewarded!), and their nervous response might also be making him focus on them more (not in a predatory sense at all - just 'Why are you being all odd?')

    My dog, who arrived as a puppy, LOVED our cat but again, the cat was nervous and did end up spending most of his time upstairs. Our house isn't linear though, which helped when the cat wanted to come downstairs. I would do whatever it takes to stop your dog approaching the cats - stairgates (you can, or at least you used to because we have one, get ones with catflaps in), penning off an area of a room for him when you can't supervise, and a trailing house lead (lightweight, with no loop - then when a cat appears you can simply pick up the end and encourage him over to you.

    It's great that you can distract him when he focuses on the cats. What I would to is to use the house lead and every time a cat appears, call him to you, using the lead if needed, and give him a treat. You want him to learn 'cat = focus on Mum/Dad and get a treat'. If you can't supervise him, have him in a penned-off area he can't get to the cats. It'll be hard work, but will be really worth it in the long run.

    It might also help to train a 'quiet' cue to stop him barking. Not something I've had to do with my dog, but I'm sure there's a lot of info on the internet (NOT a method that punishes barking in any way, of course - one that rewards or NOT barking!).

    You might also want to think of ways to help your cats relax. Try to give them as much attention as they used to, and make upstairs a 'safe' refuge with all their home comforts - if you haven't got a litter tray up there, this might be necessary (our cat went through a phase of toileting on our bed). There's also Feliway pheromone diffusers that would be worth a try.
     
  5. sshoults

    sshoults New Member Registered

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks! We thought podengo maybe because of the size, colouring and curly tail. Plus they are more common in the area he's from, southern Spain. Not many terriers around there, according to our vet. His passport says Daschund mix but we struggle to see any Daschund in there!
     
  6. sshoults

    sshoults New Member Registered

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks Judy, good to know we aren't alone! We do have him on a house line at the moment which helps us relax as well because we know roughly where he is at all times! Stairgates are in place too - we go one with a cat flap thinking it'd help but the dog can get through it... Definitely working on cat = treat though it's difficult to get it a habit when the cats are so reclusive. We are still spending time with the cats, dog gets penned into kitchen when we are upstairs with them, etc. Maybe we'll give some Feliway a go too, we have some from when we moved - it certainly can't hurt.

    We're reluctant to get a litter tray in because it seems like a step back for the cats. One does go out while we're out during the day on walks, etc, but the other has been weeing and occasionally pooing in the bath. (At least cleanup is easy!) We're considering a routine of putting them outside first thing in the morning while the dog is still sleepy, then they can do their business and come back in while we're out on a walk.
     
  7. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

    Messages:
    3,704
    Likes Received:
    5,252
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Good luck :)

    I've heard it said that with a lot of street dogs, you can look all you like for what's in the 'mix' but that really, it's like trying to spot the individual colours in plasticene once it's ended up all brown... any resemblances might be purely coincidental!
     
  8. DixieD

    DixieD Active Member Registered

    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    104
    Trophy Points:
    43
    There are cats and cats. It may be he’s responding to their flight and nervousness, it excites him. The cat we had used to lie down and wrap it’s legs round our high prey drive lurcher’s front leg, for a game, and basically go “What are you going to do about THAT?” When we lost the cat, we took on a very similar build and look of cat from the local rescue, but had to return him, as he turned out to be more concerned about the dogs, and the high prey drive one kept chasing it. (The cat ended up in a lovely home as an indoor cat, which suited him perfectly, I heard through the grapevine.) :)
     
  9. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

    Messages:
    3,704
    Likes Received:
    5,252
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Just to add - we never quite fixed the problem as Monty, the cat, was 12 when Jasper arrived, and being inexperienced, it took us some time to get a handle on the issue. Then, as fast as Jasper improved, Monty became more frail - a relatively friendly paw on the back would make him fall over, and though Jasper became even more gentle, a friendly sniff of the bum was eventually enough to make Monty collapse! (He lived till nearly 22 - I spent a lot of time in the airing cupboard with him!)
     
    DixieD likes this.
  10. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    596
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Just a comment on stopping it barking, the best and easiest way is to train it to bark on command. Sounds wrong but as part of that you also train stopping, and its a lot easier to stop on command when it learns to start on command. Obviously I will always say when any training use plenty of treats, if you are worried about it putting weight on using many small treats work perfectly.
     
    Buddy1 likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.