How do I teach my dog how to not chase cats?
Barbara from Yacolt, WA
Tons and tons of exercise to start. A well exercised dog is a happy and calm dog. They also need lots of interactive play with you daily. Dogs easily get bored; especially if you have any working breed strains in the mix. Good basic training is also essential for mental stimulation and pet safety. Stay or similar commands are essential on and off lead for your pet's safety and everyone else's.
You also need to train your dog to return to you 100% by using their name, a command or whistle...whatever works for you. if you already use your dog's name too much, that won't work because they already know to ignore that word. Remember to train by positive reinforcement and praise always. Yelling at your dog is negative attention but from the dog's point of view it's better than no attention at all so they will only increase the frequency of the bad behavior if that's how you try to train them.
Practice as you do your 2 minimum half-hour+ walking/jogging sessions a day. Build up both your skills by increasing the number of dogs and cats you're likely to encounter on your walks and seeing how you progress and gain confidence. When the dog encounters another pet; try distracting him by giving him treats and lavish praise and placing your body physically between the dog and the "target" so they have to focus on you. The key is to be calm but alert so you catch the dog BEFORE they have a chance to really focus on the cat or other animal. It takes time but they begin to associate cats with praise and treats.
Like any other training this takes persistence and daily work/training and LOADS of exercise but it will work if you're willing to keep at it and adjust your training as need be. (10/16/2008)
By Shelter Worker
My cat trained my mom's dog not to chase her by not running! Whenever the dog took after the cat, the cat immediately stopped dead and started to wash. Worked well for her. Of course, this was entirely the cat's idea. We had nothing to do with it, LOL. Of course, many cats are not so gutsy. (10/19/2008)
Here is what we have been doing; Our American Bulldog loves to chase the kitties. So when in the house we keep him on his leash. He follows us around and anytime he starts after a cat we correct him "sit and stay", then give him a treat after 3 seconds of positive action. We then immediately redirect his attention to something else. This has worked to a point. The cats can now walk into the room and he looks to us for his treat rather than trying to go after the cat. But if the cat takes off running he is going to try to chase it. We are still working but we are making progress. (02/26/2009)
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