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How can we help our dog? cat problem.

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by BaffledQueen, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. BaffledQueen

    BaffledQueen New Member Registered

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    Our dog is a rescue, she's very probably a Presa/Bullmastiff mix.

    Sorry for the length but this is a complected issue.

    The issue is the cat refuses to come inside, this problem been made worse by my husband's fear, and thus total separation of the dog and cat from day go, despite me using two baby gates (as advised by the rescue center where we got her) and every effort to calmly train the dog to have good relations with the cat, he closed the door so the dog couldn't see the cat, talked loudly to the cat, sending the dog into a frenzy, so every time she did see him, she did a cavalry charge at him.

    Now the cat refuses to come inside the house full stop, and even runs away from us, he's gone from living in the house for some of the time, to living like a feral.

    I tore down the door in anger, as I also suffer from Tinnitus and it was poorly fitted, I got sick of the constant banging from the dog hurling her full body weight against it knowing that due to the badly fitted door, she could open it if she did it hard enough, and the neighbors one side have kids who go to bed early, so I replaced it with another baby gate that doesn't move an inch, which actually looks better than the broken door! lol.

    Now the cat eats his food in a rabbit hutch outside with a hole in the door and is a perpetual cause of arguments between us. The cat will not enter the house, he's extremely afraid of the garden and us, let alone the house now.

    Even when the dog is not home, he does not come back until evening, where he waits in the shared ginnel for us to put food into the rabbit hutch and the dog to be inside.
    Then between about 6pm and 11pm, the dog does nothing but pace back and forth between the living room and the kitchen, holding her need for the toilet and the lot.

    S/O thinks a lumbering mastiff mix can vault the 6 foot fence (she certainly cannot) and tear the cat to pieces, not going to happen, dogs very rarely hurt cats, because of the sole reason cats are able to sheer high fences and get into spaces you'd never think possible, dogs can't do those things.

    I can train the dog, then husband undoes it with his weird, irritating and irrational ideas. I was close to getting them to get along, I had my own way of doing it which was working for the dog and for me, so I suggested he took the cat upstairs, but his face was stricken with fear and he said 'no! no! the dog might get him!' and gave up.

    This is a serious HUMAN issue/error, not a dog one, that's my feelings on my situation. I know loads of people with multiple pets of different species, even rats, where the dog gets on fine with everyone so long as they're supervised. (yeah even Jack Russel's playing fine with rats!). This is our fault.

    A friend of mine who lives down our road has taken in a dog after their owner passed away, her cats both live happily in the house, despite the dog being a new arrival long after theirs. She has a baby gate across the stairs, cats go upstairs, dog, which is a JR terrier, stays downstairs, no issues.

    The cats sometimes get grumpy but it's nothing compared with our situation.

    I have tried to tell my husband that given the sorry situation we now have, the cat should probably be rehomed. As I said, the cat will not come back or come inside even when the dog is not at home.

    Neighbors have also told us that rats have started visiting their gardens since cat food has been freely available in ours.

    I'm a rat sympathizer, I don't mind rats, we attract them with our throwaway lifestyles, they're not bothering me outside, but I understand people who live close by, who have children etc, may NOT want foot long sewer rats patroling their back yards.

    S/O is also feeding other people's cats, cats congregate on shed roofs and fences just waiting for him now!. Next doors one side have a cat who always waits for him. No wonder the dog is so frustrated, our garden has become a cat canteen.

    This is NOT helpful to owners who's cats may be on restricted diets, or they are putting on weight and they don't know why.

    I have NEVER once seen our cat eating inside the hutch, S/O presumes he does, and insists he does, and that's that. I've yet to see proof that it is indeed our cat that's being fed.

    I disagree with leaving any kind of pet food outside, for the reasons mentioned above.

    Now all I want to do is stop the constant pacing and moaning/heavy breathing from the dog that starts as soon as husband puts the food into the hutch and feeds every single rat, feral cat and hedgehog in the neighborhood, until he brings it back in. We've been having to tie the dog up in the kitchen just so we can watch TV in peace.

    I am pretty certain that had my husband not over reacted, I would have the dog and cat sitting side by side right next to me now as the dog only responds to commands from me. This is sad for me, it's most probably my fault more than anyone's.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Tagging @JudyN as she has a dog and elderly frail cat. She may have some advice.
     
  3. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    As you say, it's a tricky one and I'm not sure how much help I can be. Our dog has always been besotted by our cat - he wants to play.chase/hump him, but the cat, who was 12 when we got him, has never been comfortable around the dog and has never stood up to him. But it's OK, the cat (now 20, so I'm not going to ush for reconciliation even though the dog's usually really good around him now) lives in the walk-in airing cupboard and bathroom behind a stairgate.

    BTW, don't blame yourself - it sounds like you've been doing all the right things but your husband has undone what you've done.

    Given your situation, and that the cat is now afraid of the dog and the dog sent into a tizzy by the cat, I'm not sure you would ever be able to manage full reconciliation. Depending on the age of the dog and how long this has been going on for, there could well be a real risk that the dog would harm/kill the cat. So it might be that you need to look at 'management'.

    You could consider creating a large cat run in the garden. A Google Image search will bring up all sorts of ideas for creating somewhere a cat could happily live his life. I doubt it would be easy to make it rat proof, so to avoid feeding the local wildlife, you could try to convert your cat to set mealtimes - put the food down a couple of times a day, give him 20 minutes or so and then remove the food. This will also be a good time for you to interact and play with the cat.

    Then you can work on stopping the dog going into a tizzy when you feed the cat, which should now be easier as the food isn't left lying around. This could involve one of you feeding the cat while the other plays with/walks the dog, or giving him a treat ball/stuffed kong, or some other sort of distraction. You'd also have to restrict the dog's access to the garden until - hopefully - they can share it. Or you may simply have to walk the dog more often to allow for toileting & not letting him into the garden. I would also work on your dog being more responsive to your OH which will make all of this management a lot easier.

    Another option is, of course, to rehome one or the other, maybe choosing whichever would have the best chance of finding a good home. It may feel like a failure, but it might just be in the best interests of both of them.

    I'm not an expert, so others might have some good suggestions.

    I hope that's given you some food for thought - if you decide which route you wish to go down, do say if you need further details on any of the training aspects.
     
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  4. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    Have you thought of re homing the husband??!:D Sorry that's not helpful but could't resist...:rolleyes:
     
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  5. Caro Perry

    Caro Perry Well-Known Member Registered

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    That was my first thought too!
     
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  6. lynyona

    lynyona Member Registered

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    My puppy is nearly 10 weeks old and my cat has not had doggy company for nearly 6 years my first thought was how are they going to get on that's one of the reasons I put off having a dog but my youngest bought me one bless him didn't think it would be fair to the cat she is 10 now .they tolerate each other the cat is okay as long as puppy doesn't lunge at her to quickly or try to eat her food, but the cats tail on 2 occasions as been to hard for puppy to resist Cat was quite gentle with her she only hissed and swiped out at her which puppy yelped but it didn't put her off.The cat will allow puppy to chase her then she jumps up on the fence and looks down while puppy is thinking how she can get up there...the post above just reminds me of when I got an old English sheep dog many years ago I had to get rid of her she hated my husband with a vengeance and I often say I should have kept the dog and got rid of him. Maybe she was trying to tell me something lol
     
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  7. BaffledQueen

    BaffledQueen New Member Registered

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    This dog is amazing, she doesn't dislike him (husband), but neither will she listen to a word he says, I give all the commands etc. The dog had been failed by someone before, no way I'd fail her too by sending her away again, I love her and she's a member of the family now. I've tried r.e the cat, husband is afraid of many things, specially those that involve working in the unknown.

    It seems cats get irritated, but in most cases, both adapt to a routine that suits both, such as one where the cat lives and eats upstairs, like many I know do.

    The lady across the street got a Bichon for her teenage son and their cat comes in through a window and goes upstairs where there is a room the dog cannot access.

    Our problem is the cat doesn't live here anymore, is most likely getting food elsewhere, and the outdoor feeding may not even be feeding him.

    Rats push their way up under some slabs right by our kitchen wall, cats congregate, deficate and urinate all over our garden and in the shared ginnel.

    Husband refuses to consider rehoming the cat, even to someone close by where he could visit him.

    Is the cat eating in the hutch? According to husband's blind faith, yes, me, I'm not so sure.

    I think there is a hell of a lot of competition for that free food.

    I've owned rats as pets for many years and they are able to sniff the pong of cat food for quite some distance as I mixed it into their food on many occasions.

    How can you feed a cat who is probably not even eating the said food anyway and only comes back (or so S/O says) after dark. I've not seen the cat in ages.


    Yeah husband is free to good home if anyone's interested

    He
     
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  8. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    What does your husband think is the right solution? If he won't rehome the cat because (presumably) he cares for him, can he not see that the current situation is not in the cat's best interests at all?
     
  9. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    It is difficult because the initial introduction of the dog to your home wasn't great and also had the rescue centre done a cat assessment with your dog knowing you had one? But this is by the by as it was what is was, now it seems your cat has made the decision for you( cats are like that!), to try and re introduce them I believe is going to be difficult, and stressful for all parties probably, not impossible but...close, all things considered...
     
  10. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    I think used hubbies are a glut on the market - there's more demand for used dogs & ex-pet cats, primarily i think b/c they can be kept in multiples & generally get along; U can't keep more than one hubby, it's shockingly expensive, plus they don't get along with other hubbies at all. :(

    U could *try* driving out into the country & leaving him there - but unfortunately IME, no-one will take him in as a stray, & the odds are that he'll only find his way home again, & be irrationally angry with U for having left him behind. :rolleyes: That it's obviously in the best interests of the dog & cat will probly not justify his abandonment, in his own selfish perception of this multifactorial conundrum. :(

    Praps U could send Hubby off for re-training as a boarder? - As a long-time trainer, i've been asked many times to train spouses, but i've always refused; i find humans very difficult to train as a species, b/c their behavior as individuals is wildly varied & highly unpredictable, but there may be other trainers who are willing to try.
    This would, of course, be quite expensive, but if U want to keep him, that would give U time to re-train both the dog & the cat, while he wasn't underfoot to stymie yer hard work.
    After a month as a boarding trainee, Hubby could come home to a fait accompli: the dog & cat sharing the house, tolerating each other when supervised, & in separate spaces when they're not closely monitored. :) It's a possibility, at least - if U can afford it.

    - terry

    .
     
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  11. PWDmum

    PWDmum Active Member Registered

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    I’m going to come at this from a different angle, poor cat he must be very traumatised to suddenly having to live outside due to an intruder in his home, thinking of rehoming him due to the situation is upsetting, maybe it would be wiser to send the dog back and accept your cat does not want to share his home .
     
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  12. Nanny71

    Nanny71 Well-Known Member Registered

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    My daughters rescue Staffie with the cat and her kittens Diva and her family.jpg
     
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  13. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    Sending the dog back is an option but the question I don't want to ask is was the decision to adopt the dog in the first place a joint one?? Taking on a rescue dog is an important decision because they've usually had a difficult life already...so...
     
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  14. BaffledQueen

    BaffledQueen New Member Registered

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    Yes we both agreed on the dog, it is a long story, I have a difficult past and the dog helps me a lot, I could not take her back, and it would be fruitless to do that to both me and the dog anyway as the cat doesn't even come home when the dog is not here, if he did it would be possible to sort out a space upstairs for him, perhaps on top of one of the wardrobes or in the spare room. Maybe I did a bad job of explaining this. We were told the dog was ok with cats as she does not have an aggressive reaction to them and ignores them in the street for the best part. With persistent, consistent training, I know with almost 99.9% certainty the dog and cat would be cohabiting in the house just fine, my guess is the cat would be upstairs on top of some tall piece of furniture, and the dog would become so accustomed to his scent and presence she'd leave him be. I know these things cannot be rushed, it has taken some people I know over a year to achieve it, and we are still very early in this. We only got the dog in September last year.

    I think this is still mostly my fault, one for not making it clearer to husband regarding the introduction, and two for not picking up on what the dog has been telling me for so long. I discovered this last night.

    I (much to his dismay lol) put the cat's food out at 4pm as opposed to 8pm, with no reaction what so ever from the dog. She is a one person dog, she's my dog when it comes to listening.

    He told me it was 'too early' and he was worried about rats, and then I've just taken the dog outside and the food was still in there, he usually brings it in after I go to bed, so what gives?!?

    I did a few experiments in one last night. One was this, and another was keeping the dog beside me while he was on the playstation, she loves my pillow so I gave her my pillow to rest her head on as she is doing right now lol, and broke up a couple of these milk bone treats that she loves while I was watching stuff on my tablet. She seemed happy and relaxed, no problem, and soon learned that if she was quiet and stayed put, she got a treat. No pacing, no squeaking sounds. Win!

    Now for the interesting bit, husband got up to make himself a drink, dog followed him into the kitchen, I got up, messed around in the kitchen and she stayed laying down on the sofa.

    This morning I purposely bought the cat food inside, told dog to 'stay' inside and she did, then went back outside and moved some of the bedding and the water dish inside the hutch on purpose, something that if done by S/O would usually provoke a really excited response in the dog and start the pacing and squeaking off, but it did nothing but cause her to remain inside (after being told to stay again) wagging her tail, then she had breakfast and is happily laying down next to me.

    It's him she's having the reaction to, not the cat. I wonder if it's a certain tone in his voice or the anxiety that he feels over the cat issue that she's picking up on? Dogs are very intuitive creatures who can tell when a human is unwell, sad, happy, stressed, oh they pick up on stress and anxiety so much.

    I have Asperger's syndrome, my whole life has been about anxiety, which is why the dog is great for me as I must learn to control it for her sake. This is part why I have the dog, she is like an unofficial assistance dog to me. would not pass her off as one so I can take her into ASDA etc like some idiots would lol, no, she's not that kind of assistance dog to me, what she does is make me aware of my own response to things, and how my anxiety levels can rub off onto her etc. I love her. I love the cat, surely we can find a happy medium somewhere?.

    I suggested asking one of the neighbors to feed him inside their house, many have cats and I've seen him sitting with many cats rather than fighting with them. He has his cats he doesn't like, but because when you live in a terrace where the cats are living in close quarters, they seem to get along ok. Domestic cats do not generally enjoy the company of other domestic cats, but he tolerates them, so if he was able to eat with someone else's cats, he'd still have the choice of returning to us for affection etc, while being able to eat his food without competition from rats, hedgehogs and other cats etc.

    Would it be worth speaking to a builder to see if we could have a cat flap put in that goes directly under the stairs, where we were trying to feed him before? That way he could enter the house without having to run the gauntlet with the dog first? It'd probably be too expensive, but we have an air brick their, which is sort of sunken under the floor though, otherwise I would have converted it into a duel purpose air brick/cat door.

    I also thought about trying to put a GPS tracker on the cat, so I can find out where he goes, because if he is going to someone else for fuss and food, maybe we could come to some sort of arrangement with them with regards to feeding him.

    This would also tell us for certain that it was indeed our cat getting the food from the hutch, as he'd show up on the GPS on our garden and remain there for a while. The furthest I think he comes is the fence, that's it, he won't risk the yard.

    I have also considered other causes for the dog's behavior in the evenings besides the cat, including the next door neighbors, who are not allowed to smoke inside their house, coming outside for a cigarette and talking outside, water rushing down the downpipes every time someone flushes the loo or empties the bath etc, tweeting birds etc. There was a huge pigeon cooing down our chimney last night, you could hear him in the fireplace (we have a solid fuel burner so it really echos), she seemed to react to that too.

    Dogs can pick up on sounds we cannot hear as well as smells we cannot smell, so while I cannot hear the water pipes or the neighbors coming out for a smoke, she can.

    The behavior I mention here only ever occurs in the evening, apart from her hearing things outside. The stress response and the pacing etc only ever happen as the sun starts setting.

    It still feels like I am missing something with her, she's very responsive to me, so I am going to try and give it more time, the cat is his proper weight, so he's eating somewhere, cats will never starve if allowed access to the outdoors, I've always said cats, along with rats, will become the next dominant species on Earth once humans have made the Earth uninhabitable for ourselves and driven ourselves to extinction, or moved on into space to go and trash another planet with plastic and sewage! lol.

    I keep checking the hutch where the food is for rat and mouse droppings too. It could be that the dog is picking up on the other animals that are being attracted to the food as opposed to just our cat.

    But yeah, there is something about S/O that's setting her off, I've concluded this this morning. So what should we both be doing to resolve this issue?. She won't accept commands off him at any given time, not just in the house.

    She's reactive to other dogs, cannot be let off the lead, and I've noticed an increase in this behavior since having to keep her on lead too, she has a lot of energy she cannot burn off.

    We were told she is fine with other dogs, she was in an enclosure with a Labrador and an American Bulldog when we picked her up, and the other time we saw her, she was with a staffy and another large dog. I will start another thread r.e this though. I'm trying to find ways to socialize her and empty space where I can exercise her off the lead too. I know there are places, sometimes you can pay someone to use their paddock etc, so it's all in the pipeline.

    Thanks for the help so far, I don't want to send anyone away, I've given up too easily before.

    Husband says so long as he's feeding someone/something he's happy, I don't get his logic sometimes, I am the one with Aspergers, but he is so much like me it's like looking in a mirror sometimes. We are far from your usual, regular people, we have our own ways of doing things, but when animals are concerned, it's not about what works for us or what is right by us, it's about what they need and what's right by them.
     
  15. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    Why not build a screened room for Kitty, & install a lockable cat-flap that allows YOUR cat & no other animal to enter an insulated shelter, where the food, water, & litter-tray can reside?

    The tray goes on the floor; the food & water go on a shelf, where the cat can reach it, but it's not on the same level with the litter-box. // Like anyone else, cats aren't keen on eating in their bathroom, but vertical space will allow the food & water to be sufficiently distant from the toilet.
    Now the cat's safely confined, the rats aren't being fed, the dog can't get to the cat, & U can spend time with both pets.

    - terry

    .
     
  16. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hello and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to read of your problems, and hopefully some suggestions here will help (I'm sure others will follow). Our dog absolutely hates cats for some reason, and goes ballistic whenever he sees one.
     

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