Training To Be Calm Around Cats

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  • #61522
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Hello.

    I’m an experienced trainer but I’ve come across a problem I’ve no idea how to solve so wondered whether somebody here could help me out.

    The owner’s dog clearly hates cats. The owner wants to be able to take the dog to her mother’s house but because the dog has already gone for her mother’s cat, she’s naturally wary.

    Is there any way to train a dog to leave cats alone without actually having to put the cat through the trauma of meeting the dog again before he’s cured?

    Thanks,
    Rae

    #79192

    hi and welcome  🙂

    what breed of dog and what age and where was any basic training started etc

    does the dog have leave, recall, stop etc on cue? and if so how reliable is it at what criteria?

    did the cat fight or flight last time?

    #79193
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Surly if the leave it cue is in place the dog should leave it come what may ?
    Val

    #79194
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote author=kizkiznobite link=topic=8426.msg150356#msg150356 date=1181401196]
    hi and welcome  🙂

    what breed of dog and what age and where was any basic training started etc

    does the dog have leave, recall, stop etc on cue? and if so how reliable is it at what criteria?

    did the cat fight or flight last time?
    [/quote]

    Staffy around 2-3 years old (rescue). Basic training was started around 6 months ago.

    The dog does have leave and recall but neither are yet 100% reliable. I’d say the dog’s recall is good  but not excellent. He’ll call off around dogs, humans, birds etc but NOT cats. Obviously we have no idea of his past but I’m thinking he may have been sent down the garden to deliberately chase the cats away as his prey drive kicks in immediately he sees a cat and he’s off.

    Last time the cat fought (and came off worse).

    [quote author=Val link=topic=8426.msg150357#msg150357 date=1181401223]
    Surly if the leave it cue is in place the dog should leave it come what may ?
    [/quote]

    If only it were that easy. As you will respect, a dog’s prey drive is extremely strong and calling off a dog that’s been taught to rid the garden of cats (it definately appears so from how this dog’s actions during walks and what I’ve been told about his home reactions) is NOT an easy task. It’s one thing to teach a dog to go for cats but something else entirely to unteach it. Of course, if you have any constructive ideas to come with as to how I can work the dog to 100% leave/recall with cats around then I’d be grateful to hear them.

    Rae

    #79195
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Kiz is back this evening she’s the lass for you, but I do get your point of unteaching I have herding breeds that work so in away I have to teach them not every cow needs moving  ;D but they are not rescues having said that one of my girls would love to chase a cat given the chance she knows that the place to be is round me  ::) but she watches them like a hawk till we are out of sight
    Val

    #79196
    *Nat*
    Member

    We have a cat and Piper does know the “leave it” when it comes to her  ::) Even though Piper’s been bought up with the cat she still finds them very attractive to chase if we’re out – other cats obviously have something different and new about them which makes them more interesting  ::) On lead she will “leave it” while out and just stare but off lead……………mmmmm not 100% but getting better  🙂

    #79197
    Anonymous
    Guest

    My own dog is safe around cats because a) she grew up with a cat and b) she was taught from a pup to control her prey drive. She looks at them (and rabbits, birds and any other prey) and it’s clear she’d love to have a chance but her training stops her.

    Unfortunately as I said before it’s much easier to train a dog from scratch than to change what’s already a conditioned response but I’m sure there must be a way – I just don’t know about it. At least not without actually involving cats and putting them through the trauma of being chased and possibly caught.

    Btw, this particular dog has caught two cats while out walking. The first caused him considerable damage but the second came off worse itself. So far none have been killed but his owners is quite rightly concerned that it’s just a matter of time. For the time being he’s wearing a muzzle but the owner has also received some comments about dangerous dogs being allowed off lead (he isn’t dangerous per se) because they jump to conclusions when they see a muzzle. Obviously, the muzzle isn’t going to be any help with the situation re visiting the mother (we’re talking visits that last several days or more)

    Thanks for your advice so far.

    Rae

    #79198

    so there has been major extinction bursts?

    do you know the history of the cat kills – other than killed 2 cats??

    also – you didnt say at what criteria cues are fluent at?

    if you can give more info then will help but this is not a training issue – this is a remodification issue and that is a whole new boardgame

    #79199
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Hi there,

    I have resurrected this as I feel we have something to add.

    As you know I have a rescued Lurcher, Bonnie who came to me without any reliable, fluent cues at any criteria.  If I had opened my front door at the time and she had even glimpsed a cat she would have been off as fast as her spindly legs would carry her fat wee body.  A typical lurcher in chase will not only willingly go through the pain barrier but also ignore all other input around it – it is a very focussed chase.

    I live in a semi-rural area on the edge of Northampton and every piece of green near to me is covered in rabbits and squirrels.  If they are not there themselves then their scents, poop and burrow smells are there.  In our road we also have many pet cats that wander and generally lurk about.

    With my end goal of walking 2 dogs to heel with a pushchair or toddler in tow – any extinction bursts are not only a pain in the backside but also potentially quite dangerous too.  So, under the guidance of Kiz I set about teaching Bonnie a leaveit which has come in useful for all sorts of things.  Once we got good enough I “borrowed” the rabbits that sit basking in the field and we started with static rabbits and gradually progressed to moving rabbits and got closer until I can now get a leaveit with a good early cue about 2 metres away from a static rabbit and work among moving rabbits.

    Then we started with cats!  Luckily I have a rather handy stooge cat (ruby visited him too – as have all my fosters … he just sneezed and walked off !!) at the local animal wholesalers BUT he only does for sight / smell of cat as he dont move off his bed alot !  So then we progressed to the corner where mr ginger cat lives and practiced leaveits on the opposite side of the road and then same side of the road but with me cat side – then bonnie cat side and early cues get a leaveit.  I then practiced offlead (as i now take bonnie up the road and if i feel cues are good let her off and do heelwork) and she leaves any sniffs and other evening russtling ! 

    Now, yesterday pm the dogs came with me to a friends house, when we got back I was thinking about not alot really and didnt do my usual “cat check” so i let them out of the boot onto driveway and bonnie’s nose immediately turned and i just responded ‘leaveit’ really firmly and she turned back and went inside (woo me!!).

    So that is how I trained my little hunter to not poke her dog snout into business that doesnt concern her lol !!  It has taken about 15mths to get to C5 with major distractions like this but I do have another dog, a baby, a OH, a uni course and a life !!!! anyone a bit more committed could probably do it much sooner with a keen dog.  William learned his leaveit after trying to poke his sticky beak at a hedgehog haha!!!  he cried when i pulled spikies out !!!

    Claire x

    #79200
    kk_xing
    Member

    my girlie has had too many extinctsion bursts.. and cats are a major focuse… she stares and stares at the cats squeeling on like an idiot… i get no response to anything.. leave it or anything.. not even a static cat or a static rabbit.. so gonna try starting from the beginning… xings problem is though food just isnt enough neither is toys or attention.. so when i do get a leave it before we get to cats reward just isnt enough!..but will perservere!!!

    #79201
    Anonymous
    Guest

    hi,

    if you are not confident in the cue or she breaks it use “ah-ah” and turn her round re-settle (you can use other cues for this – i use my heelwork) and try again 🙂  try with you cat side first tho 🙂

    claire x

    #79202
    kk_xing
    Member

    yeh.. the funny thing is though… i have 2 rats and she can go into my room and not bother they are there but next doors 2 rabbits that are in their run around in the garden ::) thats another story!! it can be 11pm and she’ll spot them for 2minutes and start squeeling/whinging and i say leave it then and she generally does.. when she doesnt the ah ah comes in!

    im still gonna keep at it though the cheeky girl.. this is a fight she aint gonna win!! lmao… thanx claire  :-*

    #79203
    Anonymous
    Guest

    sounds like your leaveit OK at C2 then 🙂

    you can use the cues to distract her – like wait / turn / heel / sit / stand / turn / ….. and settle her then try again but dont use cues till ur sure she will obey 😉  also use them strongest 1st

    e.g. “leaveit” (if thats strongest) or you should achieve the same thing with “heel-close”

    dont take any nonsense 🙂

    claire x

    #79204
    kk_xing
    Member

    if she squeels she goes home full stop lol i get you about using whats strongest 1st!

    i think her leave it is fine to criteria 4… but obv not if theres a cat around lol

    im deffinatly a no nonsense mum now!!!  😉

    thanx again claire  :-*

    #79205
    Anonymous
    Guest

    got any wild rabbits near you ?

    if so you could “borrow” them to practice on at C5, also people walking, dogs, anything really just make sure she isnt just ignoring them – make sure her attention is right on you and she cueing well 🙂

    Claire x

    p.s. who forgets to cue leaveit before recalls sometimes – i get alot better success if I remember tis a case of knowing ur dog 🙂

    p.p.s. got any stooge cats ?  (any in local petstores….) or maybe a friend who has a cat that sits in the window?

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