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Thread: Dog Chasing Cat and Cat Chasing Dog!

  1. #1

    Default Dog Chasing Cat and Cat Chasing Dog!


    We have a gorgeous almost one year old West Highland White Terrier. We also have 3 cats, a male Tonkinese (6), a female Tonkinese (1) and a male Ragdoll (1)

    The Tonkinese boy was adopted by us at the beginning of the year (my mil's cat) and he is quite aggressive and would go for the dog at any chance he got. We have managed to get him calmed down a bit, but now the dog is going for the cat!

    I'm having to break up their fights at least once a day (if not more) and its getting really annoying now!

    How can I stop the dog from starting fights with the cat? (Its easier to get the dog to stop since he's only little and the cat was slightly neglected in regards to having love).

    So far i've tried:
    1) Saying no to him when he looks at the cat (looks at him like he wants to chase him)
    2) Putting him outside when he goes for the cat and saying no chase

    Don't really have any other ideas! The cats are inside cats and the dog is inside most of the day too.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    It's not an easy one. I currently have a foster kelpie pup who is obsessed with our foster kitten. They don't really get into proper fights, though the dog will try nip him (to move him along, I suspect).

    I use the spray bottle sometimes when I get over her intent focus on the cat or when she actually lunges at him. But this really isn't a method I'd particularly recommend as its effect seems to be pretty temporary. It can be useful when things get really out of hand and you just need to break them up and create an opportunity to praise the dog for shifting his focus though. The other thing you can do is to leave a short lead on the dog, so you can interfere swiftly when things do go pear shaped. I did do this with an obsessive Jack Russel I minded once and in combination with time out, this did seem to make a difference. If you use time outs to punish unwanted behaviour, you have to keep it really short though. 30 seconds in the laundry (I find this better than the yard as more boring) is enough. Then you let them out so they get a chance to show you that they 'get it'. If they don't, rinse and repeat.

    With our kelpie pup now though, I found what is most effective is to do lots of easy 'training' exercises to distract her. So when I see her stalk the cat, I'll just call her to me. And I try to do lots of sits, drops, etc when the cat is nearby. I reward very generously for good responses and it seems to calm the dog down and genuinely take her mind off the cat for quite a while (relative: she's a 6 month old kelpie!).

    Good luck. Squabbles between pets at home drive me bonkers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Melbourne VIC


    Hi Bexboo,

    Firstly, I don't blame your dog for starting fights with the cat considering the cat started it. The dog was not fighting the cat until it
    would go for the dog at any chance he got
    Your dog has made an association to the cat - "I must protect myself from him". While the cat has calmed down, your Westy has learned that he must fight the cat to stay safe. You need to change his way of thinking.

    If the cat has really stopped fighting with the dog then you can enforce a few rules and procedures to show the Westy that he no longer has to protect himself from the cat.

    - If you have not crate trained the dog, I would consider this. It allows you to separate the dog and cat when you can't supervise.
    - Dog on lead inside. This allows you to control his behaviour to prevent him instigating fights.
    - Behaviour Adjustment Training. Have the dog on lead with you and allow the cat in the room but have your partner (?) keep the cat at a distance from the dog where the dog is comfortable, to prevent a reaction. Perhaps have them on the couch and you walk the dog around on lead with you. When the dog looks at the cat, say "good" and immediately give him a tasty treat. You want him to look at the cat and receive a reward for remaining calm. This then builds a positive association between the cat and tasty treats. In the dogs mind, cat = good things. Right now your dogs mind says "cat = gotta get him before he gets me". Make sense? Once he understands and is calm when looking at the cat, you can allow him closer and reward there too. If at any point the dog or cat looks uncomfortable, you should move further away and reward calm from further back again.

    How is your dogs obedience? I would be working on this. Once they can be off lead together in the house calmly, it is a good idea to make sure you are able to recall him while he is engaged with the cat at any point, whether it is looking at him the wrong way, chasing or beginning a fight. Chances are, once they work out each is not a threat, it should be fine. You will just need to work on that to get them to that point.

  4. #4


    Ok thanks,

    Arthur is terrible with his obedience!

    I took him to dog training for a few months, then I had to work on the weekends so I couldn't take him. He used to be really good and we could let him off the lead and he'd come when i call him and he'd sit and drop etc. Now he just looks at me and walks the other way. Such a stubborn dog!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Such a stubborn dog!
    dog training is so much more than obedience classes on the weekend.

    It's more like eating and sleeping. Something you do some of every day. Not just at a fancy hotel on the weekends.

    I do heaps of dog training in front of the telly - when the ads are on, or depending on the program - all through it.

    I have a cup full of kibble because evil hound will work pretty hard for kibble - especially if it's from her dinner ration. She works even harder for good os or vegemite on toast and loses her mind if it's pie or warm yiros.

    So all that stuff the Pawfectionist said - I would be working on with the dog on lead in the lounge room, in front of the telly. Reward for ignoring the cat and paying attention to you. And I second about the crate. You might want to get a crate for him, even if you don't shut the door, it gives him walls and a roof and a floor to defend from surprise cat attacks - they will be much less likely to tease him if they know they can't do sneak attacks.

    Something like this. There's lots of different sorts - some have stronger fabric and roll down side covers and a full roof cover. Or you can put a blanket or towel over to give protection from cats who decide to sit on the roof. I've got one of these but evil hound has dug through the floor of it chasing the bob a lot.
    VEBO Collapsible Fabric Pet Carrier Crate (7 sizes)| Vebo Pets Supplies
    or this - the up market super sturdy version with roll up sides and a full roof cover. Very popular with show dogs and dog sport competitors. I've got two of these (small one for winter and a big one for hot days).
    K9+ Soft Dog Crates : Australia

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    Doesn't sound stubborn. Just more like he figured that this whole responding to your cues thing was just a passing phase. You can always refresh his memory by starting from scratch. Call him lots when he's not interested in anything else (so not even sniffing around) and reward with yummy treats. Very easy to do. I do it at home while I wait for the kettle to boil for example and on walks I call our foster pups every few minutes at least. Just to give them a treat and then let them go again. Then start calling when they're mildly distracted and build up from there.

    Asking for sits is pretty easy to. Sit for any food, sit before being let off the leash, before you open the door, even for pats.

    Anything else, I'm not that disciplined with myself, but even just those two will make a big difference.

    It really helps a lot to always have some treats stuffed in your pockets. You won't need to do this forever, but it will help immensely in getting your dog into the habit of responding to your cues. You will soon notice that your dog pays a lot more attention to you when he knows you have treats at hand.

    One of my favourite exercises at home is also to toss treats at the pup at random intervals when she's just lying down, doing nothing. Because I REALLY enjoy her doing that, especially during the daily dinner preparation rush or when I'm watching my favourite show. How effective this is does somewhat depend on the dog's temperament too, but it definitely does no harm and is worth trying.

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