Ask the Trainer

Ask the Trainer: Teaching the Dog to Be Nice to the Family Cat (with Video!)

Dear Kevin,
We just adopted Scully, a 10 month old Goldendoodle. He wants to eat our cats. What can we do?
-Shawn

 

Hey Shawn,

Well, you are going to have to get rid of the cats.

Just kidding.

It is possible to get two different kinds of animals to live together in harmony. One thing you can do is teach your dog to “leave” the cats. If you are able to cue Scully to “leave” them, than that alone could solve your problem.

Another option is to do basic training with your dog while a cat is in the room. This can be accomplished by having someone hold the cat, or just have the cat perched somewhere. I would keep Scully on leash for this. Every time he looks at the cat and does not react, tell him “good boy” and reward him. By doing this, you are reinforcing the behavior of him looking at the cat and not trying to eat it. Also, by doing basic obedience, you can have them in the same room without him entirely focused on eating cat.

Giving him some good exercise before doing this training could help as well.

Here is my how to video on teaching your dog the “leave it” command:

I am doing this using two types of treats. I would recommend you start off doing it the same way.

When this is going smoothly you can start to incorporate the “leave it” for the cats.

Thanks for your question!

Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org)  and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V,  follow him on Facebook by clicking here.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. j. frankland

    Feb 1, 2014 at 1:34 am

    Oh okay I just watched your video and I cannot see thst working as my grand doggie is very food aggressive….Help!

  2. j. frankland

    Feb 1, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Give the cat what? A treat? And how do you deal with more than one cat? My grand doggie has essentially forced my cats into my bed from as they are afraid of her. I do not think she would harm the cats but I’ve put a gate up in case – kind of like a huge crate for cats lol (yes my bedroom). And we are dealing with a lab / chow mix – chow muscular body with short fur golden lab colouring.

  3. Shawn

    Jan 31, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you Kevin, we will be working on this more this weekend. He totally focuses on the cats. My cats at this point are terrified of him. My husband thought they “would work it out and I should leave them alone.” Well that hasn’t worked out for us. He is actually afraid of them if he is facing them, but as soon as they turn he’s all over them, or if they come out of what has become their room. Our other dogs are fine with the cats, but they were raised with cats, we got Scully at 10 months old. We have hired a trainer and she is coming to our house Tuesday.
    Shawn

    • Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA

      Jan 31, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Hey Shawn,

      You will have to do some counter conditioning with your cat. The idea is to give the cat something it loves whenever it looks at the dog. This takes lots of repetition but if done properly it can get your cat to start enjoying the presence of your dog.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

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