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New rescue dog attacking cat

(28 Posts)
RufusTheReindeer Fri 12-Jun-15 18:55:31

I wonder if I could pick your brains on behalf of a friend of mine

She has had a rescue dog for 6 weeks now. He has settled in really well, lovely animal

She was advised by the RSPCA that it would probably take him 6 weeks or so to settle in and be confident enough to show his true personality

He was fine for 5 weeks or so and now he has taken to attacking the 2/3 year old cat that they have had since it was a kitten

The last time was quite vicious, one of the children managed to grab his coller but the dog managed to pull a patch of hair out of the cats head...which suggests that the dog intended to get his head

She will probably try a behaviourist but I wondered if anyone had any advice

Not sure what other info to give...the dog doesn't appear aggressive to people or other dogs (although it got quite cheesed off with another dog who was being very playful the other day)

Should point out that the cat is blind and deaf

gamerchick Fri 12-Jun-15 18:58:29

I would send him back. It's not fair on a cat that disabled who probably can't be rehomed.

Mitzi50 Fri 12-Jun-15 19:03:26

I would ring the Rescue for advice.

lougle Fri 12-Jun-15 19:03:49

Was the dog cat tested before your friend took him on? What did the RSPCA say as to its suitability to be homed with a cat?

RufusTheReindeer Fri 12-Jun-15 20:12:06


I think that's the way my firiend is leaning, she just feels guilty even though obviously it's not her fault


She rang the RSPCA and they just said bring the dog back. She is going to try again as she thinks they misunderstood what she was saying and though she wanted to return it


I don't know, when she was searching for a dog she dismissed anything that said " not suitable for homes with cat". Maybe this one slipped through or maybe the dog is usually fine with cats...but just hates this one confused

RufusTheReindeer Fri 12-Jun-15 20:12:46

Sorry grin

Thank you for your comments

BagelwithButter Fri 12-Jun-15 20:30:51

can she put up child gates so that the cat and dog can be segregated?

This is often suggested as a way of introducing pets to each other. They can see and smell but they can't get to each other.

pigsDOfly Fri 12-Jun-15 20:38:51

I don't understand this whole 'good with cats' thing with rescue dogs.

My two cats were 17 years old when I got my dog as a 8 week old puppy. They were completely unfazed by her; the female pretty much ignoring her, the male immediately falling in love with her.

Puppy and male cat developed a loving relationship and would curl up together to fall asleep. This continued for the rest of the cats life.

My dog is now 4 years old and during her life both cats have had to be pts.

Now whenever my dog sees a cat she get completely freaked out by it, will growl in a fearful way and is clearly terrified of them.

I would certainly never get another cat, I know she wouldn't be ok with it.

Agree with gamerchick I would send him back. It's clearly not going to work. Poor cat.

brunette123 Fri 12-Jun-15 20:39:05

Take it back - poor cat and defenceless too - some dogs like cats and some don't and there are plenty at RSPCA that will be fine with cats and there will be people able to offer a home to this dog - those without cats. Same as some dogs are suitable for homes with children, some not. It's not fair on the dog either and if I were your friend I wouldn't be able to relax - what if the dog kills the cat? If at 6 weeks the dog shows its true personality then probably it does not like cats and maybe it only didn't do anything previously as it was settling in before asserting itself (I am a dog owner and a cat lover)

RufusTheReindeer Fri 12-Jun-15 21:17:03


I might suggest that to her

pigs and brunette thanks, I think I agree

At the moment she is trying to keep them separate but that's not going to work long term

lougle Fri 12-Jun-15 21:18:18

What don't you understand about it, Pigs?

Our rescue dog is absolutely fine with cats. He knows how to behave and isn't unhappy with a cat being present.

StarsInTheNightSky Fri 12-Jun-15 21:22:08

It is possible to train a dog to ignore a family cat. Even a dog with a very high prey drive. I know because I've done it with rescue dogs, several times in fact. It takes a lot of work and absolute vigilance, but it can be done. The dogs I've worked with were at the end of the line, if I couldn't keep them they would be pts, and this was pre-DS. Rebooking my cat was never an option, she was number one priority.
I kept the dogs on the lead at all times in the house, and used baby gates to separate areas. The dog would earn time off the lead for good behaviour. I taught them to completely blank the cat, so much that if the cat came into the room the dogs would walk away and lie with their backs to the cat, not looking at them at any point. I never left them alone when I was out, they were always separated securely then, but it worked. It's not the nicest or easiest job, and I hated having to keep a dog on the lead in the house (we had a huge fenced in garden which they could tear around in), but as I said, it was that or pts for the dogs.
It will only work if you can teach your dog that your word is law though, and you cannot let anything slide, until they are fully trained to ignore you have to demand instant and complete obedience. For what it's worth the dogs were all different breeds. If your friend wants to try this route I would recommend that she speaks to a very experienced trainer, its not something I would have wanted to undertake when new to dog owning.

StarsInTheNightSky Fri 12-Jun-15 21:23:33

Rufus which breed is he, do you know?

pigsDOfly Fri 12-Jun-15 21:44:04

Sorry, Lougle I wasn't implying that rescue dogs aren't fine with cats.

What I mean't was, I don't understand how rescues can state that a dog is, or isn't fine with cats.

As I said in my post, my dog was great with my cats, they had a lovely relationship, but she isn't okay with cats now, they frighten her.

I think every animal relationship is unique and just because a dog is fine with one cat it doesn't necessarily mean it will be fine with all cats.

I imagine this particular dog was tested with cats and seemed to be ok. It clearly isn't ok with the cat it's living with now.

basildonbond Fri 12-Jun-15 21:53:28

My dog adores one of our cats, is terrified of the other and would love to chase my dad's cat ... Different cats, different reactions, different relationships

RufusTheReindeer Fri 12-Jun-15 22:31:13


Not sure, I know he is a collie cross and when I just googled the image they did look like him. Not sure what he is crossed with though

He does have a very strong herding instinct, did that sheepdog herding thing they do with sheep..that makes no sense!!

StarsInTheNightSky Fri 12-Jun-15 22:45:01

Rufus the dogs I trained were and ex racing greyhound, a siberian husky and terrier cross. I now have two Caucasian Ovcharkas, who supposedly can't ever be trained out of "nonsense barking". Mine were trained out of it in less than a week (I adore my dogs, they're amazing).
That's not a stealth biggest, just a genuine belief that any dog can be trained out of anything given the right factors (it respects the owner, has been shown plenty of love and affection but also strict training etc). You do sometimes have to adjust your expectations, so while it is reasonable to train a dog out of aggressing against the family cat, is unreasonable to expect them to be best friends.
It's a really tough situation that your friend is in, I wouldn't blame her for a second if she took the dog back, ignore training is a long road and would test the patience of a saint! Also, its stressful and upsetting, and her cat should come first. Hope that your friend is OK.

StarsInTheNightSky Fri 12-Jun-15 22:46:08

Also meant to say, if he has a strong herding instinct, something to occupy his mind and tire him out such as ability training might help a lot.

RufusTheReindeer Fri 12-Jun-15 23:05:49

That's great star

I've told her I've put this on here so she can look at it later if she wants

villainousbroodmare Fri 12-Jun-15 23:11:19

I think that if the cat were in the whole of its health I would try quite hard to make it work. But since the poor cat is utterly unable to perceive when it's in immediate danger of having its scalp pulled off, I'd say send the dog back.

StarsInTheNightSky Fri 12-Jun-15 23:38:36

You're very welcome Rufus I hope it helps your friend a bit. It's a really horrible situation to be in, and she's got to do what she feels is best for her family.

StarsInTheNightSky Fri 12-Jun-15 23:48:05

Sorry, meant to suggest she works with a dog trainer, not a behaviourist. For this issue I think she'll have far more success, but get local recommemdations. Also I have never used treat/food training on dogs, I've never needed to (I don't think you should have to) and more to the point I've owned a lot of breeds who are not at all food motivated. My dogs have always been extremely obedient and adored family pets. Again, not stealth boasting, just trying to provide some reassurance that there are many effective ways to train a dog, not just one, and more often than not its trial and error to see which one works with your particular dog.

fullsuspension Fri 12-Jun-15 23:56:26

This is terribly reckless. Moggs get away from dogs by being quicker and wilier than them. If it can't see the dog...... I'm sorry but the poor cat is in grave danger. Pls get your friend to re home the dog

Oxfordblue Sat 13-Jun-15 00:04:27

I have a very gentle rescue dog that although never lived with cats & 'would chase them in the back garden' was said to be fine.

We have a very precious (aren't they all ?) cat who is confident.

Before rescue dog arrived I bought a lunge lead which she would around the house, with the idea that if a chase went on, we could grab it.

Dog of course was very interested in cat, who would & still does give the dog a whack every now & then.

We had one or two occasions when dog was overly interested in cat, a sort of pouncing forward & I have to say I screamed at dog & shouted something like NEVER. Dog cowed & retreated. That was the moment dog knew cat was out of bounds.
After that, cat would rub her face around dogs face & I would say, good girl, good girl, because dog wasn't doing anything.

Anyway, it's all been fine for 3 years & I hope that's the way it will stay. Dog is the sweetest thing & knows that cat gets priority in lap, but she can be close.

Also chose our dog very carefully, having decided against any kind of terrier breed.

In your friends case I would be inclined to immediately muzzle & set about training...I may have roared at my girl but never hit & always make a fuss of good behaviour.

Oxfordblue Sat 13-Jun-15 00:09:03

Ps my previous cat was deaf & when I got another rescue cat, he absolutely tormented my dead girl.
She was terribly distressed with the runs, so we re-homed the new cat. Such a shame as he was beautiful but I couldn't have that.
What was interesting is the morning after he'd gone, she came into our room literally singing. smile

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