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.

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