Advanced search

Can a dog be trained to like cats?

(11 Posts)
serin Sun 11-Sep-11 22:33:33

Got a rescue Jack Russell last month and he has settled in much betterthan we could have imagined. He is wonderful with the children and they with him. He is house trained. I am at home with him all day, but am making a point of leaving him for a few minutes at a time to get him used to being on his own. He plays fetch for hours, comes when called, is not possesive with food......all perfect.

Except he hates cats sad Really hates them. He goes berserk if they stray into the garden and just chases them,teeth gnashing, refusing to come back. Even worse, we have a gorgeous darling little cat ourselves, she is terrified of him and is refusing to come into the house when he is around, although she is still sleeping on our bed as she lets herself in through an upstairs window.

Rescue centre said he had been assessed and was good with cats, think they must have used a toy one in their assessment. He chased a badger (in our garden) last week and it turned on him and gave him two nasty gashes and he hasn't been anywhere near its set since.

What can we do? He is 6. I actually believe he has been encouraged to go after cats in a past life as even if he is asleep in his basket and the word "cat" is mentioned he jumps up and runs around the room angrily.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Sun 11-Sep-11 23:09:37

well, he is a terrier...

I dont think dogs can be trained to like cats, but they can be trained to leave it/ignore them with lots and lots of hard work.

We have a cat and she sleeps upstairs, gets fed upstairs and generally ignores the dogs. The dogs dont bother with her much but when the cat comes downstairs the young pupstar goes to investigate the meowing thing, the cat gets a bit peed off with getting nudged and pawed at. A sharp leave it from me usually works - but my dogs have always been around house cats from born.

serin Sun 11-Sep-11 23:34:14

I am prepared for hard work, just clueless about how to go about it. I would really welcome advice on what to do.

Should I keep him on a long lead?

I think if he met a big enough cat (say cougar!) that had a bit of a go back he would never bother them again.

MotherJack Sun 11-Sep-11 23:35:52

Hmmm... I have had 2 terriers, both Staffords. The first one was brought up with a cat and loved him (and I mean really luuuurved him in that covering in slobber way grin) However, there was no other cat allowed in the garden... ever, but he was frequently schmoozing with cats he found out on walks. He liked them, but territory was territory where he was concerned. He could have been trained to accept a new cat.

OldLady on the other hand was in rescue kennels on a farm. She was tested with ducks, geese and cats and passed with flying colours. I have to say, she was clearly in some sort of daze after having been booted out of whatever loving home she was used to and accepted anything they put in front of her (I have reasons to believe she lived cosily with an old man who died). Possibly a bit like flooding, in a weird way. She has been with me for nearly a year (yesterday was the anniversary of the first one's death) and I have discovered she has a VERY high prey drive, which includes cats and basically anything that isn't a dog. I'm managing it but as Coffee says, I think that is probably what you should be aspiring to.

I have to say it is a new one on me, as OldBoy loved critters of all sorts and had no visible prey drive, but was not so great with other dogs. OldLady is his yin to his yang. I can get her to be in the presence of calm critters for a while now. Never her off lead where cats are concerned or critter out of cage though.

Good luck smile

MotherJack Sun 11-Sep-11 23:45:23

Basically, positive association. Cat in room and the second pay attention to you = lovely treats and then move on to cat in room and not gnashing at it = fab treats. You might want to counter condition the word "cat" as well as you are going to say it from time to time. In my experience, counter condition would be to say the word "cat" in a calm and quiet way and treat upon no negative response, and then build it up to the *CAT* that your dog probably currently reacts to. When he comes to you for a treat instead of running around gnashing, then you have probably counter conditioned that word.

serin Mon 12-Sep-11 00:06:52

Thanks Motherjack, lot of info there which I will read through again tomorrow. Have never heard of counter conditioning, I have such a lot to learn.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Mon 12-Sep-11 09:35:00

We came back from a fireworks display to find the dog and cat curled up on our bed fast asleep together! Last winter our cat came in soaking wet and stood in the hall meowing, Loofa went out and licked her until she was dry and then the cat hopped on his bed.

We have photographic evidence of our GSD snuggled up in the hall with same cat. But no other cat is allowed in our garden and no other dog is allowed near the cat.

Counter Conditioning is a good way forward for you OP, who knows maybe in time they will get used to each other and snuggle up together.

TLD2 Mon 12-Sep-11 16:12:00

Coffeeismyfriend - that's great to hear. Our GSD currently chases our cat up the tree. When cat has had enough he clumps GSD on nose.

Long way to go, I suspect.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Tue 13-Sep-11 07:59:33

dont get me wrong TLD our young pup (1yr old) puts her paw on the cat and snuffles her - doesnt bite her or anything nasty but I have to watch her and 'guide' her, she would chase her but to play, I suppose that is the prey drive...

frostyfingers Tue 13-Sep-11 11:08:05

Our cat loves our dog and vice versa. Every morning when the cat comes in he has a play with the dog - cat stands on the chair and reaches over the back to pat/grab the dog (claws retracted!) and then they wrestle on the floor.

You need to find a cat this is totally unafraid of dogs, one that doesn't run, and if possible doesn't hiss and spit - just ignores them. The dog needs to learn that he won't get a reaction and it isn't worth the bother.

serin Wed 14-Sep-11 22:44:32

Thanks for the encouragement everyone.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: