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problem with cat

 
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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/02/04, 10:18 am    Post subject: problem with cat Reply with quote

Well, Homer has come a long way in the 5 or 6 weeks we've had him: he isn't jumping the fence anymore--I think our German shepherd is keeping him from doing this(finally, he has a job!). He's settling down nicely.

Our most serious issue is with our cat. I was under the impression, when adopting Homer, that he got on swimmingly with cats. However, that is not the case with our 8 month old stray cat. She confonted and subdued our shepherd long ago: she doesn't even flinch if the shepherd comes near. But Homer scares her silly. She hides in any tight spot she can find, all day long until evening when we get her out and put her in the utility room. Homer can find her just about anywhere. He is very tenacious and focused and will not leave her alone. If we are holding the cat, he does not do anything, but other than that, eek!

As a result we have a very spooked cat who is a shadow of her former self, and I don't think she is at all happy. Does anyone know of anything I can do to deter his interest in the cat? Would it improve things by getting another cat?
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 02/02/04, 4:16 pm    Post subject: Could be Clicker Time Reply with quote

Ashley the following URL may help solve your problem.

http://www.clickertrain.com/

Click to the Clicker Journal and check out the "Article of the Month", scroll down to the second article "Dogs & Cats. I do not agree with using the head halter but feel that the article may hold the answer to your problem. Just remember that as the article notes, early success does not mean that you are finished. You will have to spend a lot of time with both the cat and the dog if you are going to have any hopes of success.
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Illona
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PostPosted: 02/02/04, 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashley,

I have a 2-yr-old GWP that I got out of rescue a year and a half ago.
I also have a cat that was raised by my last dog, has NO fear of dogs, and in fact, has proven to me that she has absolutely NO clue how to defend herself, as she truly believes she's a dog. (If my GWP is pissing her off, the cat will literally go over and bite her...no claws.)

When I brought this crazy beast home I thought she was going to kill the cat. I have never experienced more intensity in an animal. It was brutal. I knew I either had to find the cat a new home or figure something out fast. The dog wasn't even connecting with us....it was as though her world was only 'get-the-cat'.

I honestly didn't think it was going to be possible to get the two of them together, but now they're buddies. Still a fair bit of chasing, but this seems to be on the cat's part as much as the dog's. It's all fun and teasing.

What we had to do was basically separate the two for a long time. The cat lived in the spare bedroom (and luckily did not seem too put out by it) for seven months. Yes, seven! She had run of the house at nights when Matea, the GWP, was crated.

During this time, I focused on several things:
(1) getting solid control over this dog through obedience and getting to know her,
(2) teaching a very strong 'leave it' command,
(3) arranging 'visitations' between the cat and dog on a regular basis, and finally,
(4) after 6 months, with a very tired GWP sleeping in the livingroom in the evening, one of us would sneak upstairs and let the cat out. This allowed the cat (cocky beast that she is) to get many sniffs in while Matea still slept, AND -- with supervision of Matea -- it gradually introduced the cat into the entire environment. By 7 months we still did need to say 'leave it' once in a while, but Matea got the jist of things, and they're together safely now.

I'd say that if the cat and dog can't sort it out themselves very soon, and if this is too stressful for the cat, you might consider something similar. Giving the cat peace during the day in a room, and freedom at night...slowly introducing them, but at the same time really working with your dog to gain control.

It can be done. Trust me, I didn't believe it was possible, but like most things about dogs and training....it just takes time and patience.

Illona
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 02/03/04, 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both my GWP have been rescued and therefore did not come to share my life as pups. They also had problems with cats and I had taken for granted that Cat hunting was part of the natural temperament of all GWP.

Cheerio eventually adapted to our cats but any other cats were just fair game. She did however learn to ignore them while working.
Comtesse has not been with us very long as of yet and there is no way I would ever trust her alone in one room with our cat. Even when we are there, the intence look in her eyes leave very little doubt as to her thought of the moment...
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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/03/04, 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, everyone! The clicker article was very helpful, esp. since my sister in law is very keen on the method with her own dogs. I did a bit of casual testing with Homer yesterday. He already likes the clicker and knows what it is about. So this time I took him into the room where the cat was hunkered down. We clicked and treated for various things. I just wanted to see what motivated him more, and I think the clicker is better to him than the cat. Then last night when my husband and children were unwinding with the cat, I brought homer in again to gauge his distraction. But when my husband has the cat she might as well be the ultimate alpha-- he won't even make eye contact with either the cat or my husband then, but I still clicked and treated for him walking away and paying no atttention to her. Used to be, in the very beginning, he would jump entirely on top of my husband to get the cat, so we've come a ways! The clicker article, I think it was, pointed out that it is really up to the cat to decide when things will be all right. It is harder to convince them that it is okay to be around the dog. Thanks again!
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 02/03/04, 5:24 pm    Post subject: No Quick Fixes Reply with quote

Ashley let me add a few words of caution. I did not suggestion the Clicker method as an instant cure all. But rather, to give you a place to start. The Clicker method stressed the need for the pup to satisfy all of its curiosity about the cat in a safe setting thus the cage and the leash. It was noted that the instructor was holding his breath while everyone else was ecstatic about the results. I recommend that you approach this whole effort with caution and hold your breath because I would not expect it to be a quick fix.
The Clicker method teaches the pup to respond to the clicker to get a treat. The transfer of this behavior to "Don't eat the Cat" is a much bigger step.
Illona provided some very good advice and I think you can incorporate the two concepts into a positive approach to solving your problem.
One other suggestion: Find a word that you only use for this situation, (it's meaning is "Don't even think about it"). It is your WORD and the only time you use is when you see the pup posturing toward the cat. Depending on the pup a simple yank on the leash can make the point. With a tougher dog you may have to reach down and grab the dog by the scuff of the neck and yank it clear off of the ground to get its attention. You ain't got its attention until it drops its eyes, if that pup stares you down the pup wins. This is not a little deal, you want a CAT in your house you have to be willing to convince both the cat and the dog that they have no option. Dogs are a lot easier to teach, so put your effort where you have some hope of success. Good Luck
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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/03/04, 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave:
Thanks; yes I know the clicker is not an instant cure, and I took a bit of a risk yesterday. I just know my other dog could care less about clicker things, but I feel like after yesterday Homer responds really well to it and it is a good long term approach to the cat problem. We'll be working on this for a while, I know! Thanks again.
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