Testing a dog with cats

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
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Red
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Testing a dog with cats

Postby Red » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:52 am

I wrote this for someone on another forum.It might be a little help to those wonderful new folks who are pulling and fostering.



While testing for with a cat I prefer not to use a crate, if possible.
Mostly for the cat, who feels cornered.Some dogs also get agitated over a crated animal.My own cat is crate trained and understands that when he is crated no dog will harm it.Other cats, especially those who have never been crated might not like the idea of not having a way to escape.It is better a solid leash and collar a cat in a room or outside.Or the cat can be leashed, if used to it, so it can't go that far but has the option to put some distance between the dog and itself.

Once the leash is on it takes a few moments to realize what type of dog we are dealing with.If it is high prey drive it shows the very same moment the dog sees the cat.Intense stare (the dog might "freeze" for a moment), lunging, pulling on lead, ducking down staring ( as to stalk the cat ) and so on.There might be some whining or screeching as well, out of frustration for not being able to reach the cat.
Some dogs seems unsure, untill the cat starts moving.Then they try to chase it.
I am going to use my own dogs to give an idea of what to look for,when it comes to body language.The cat wears a harness and lead, so he can't get out of my yard.

This dogs' behavior is not promising, going by what you see in this picture:

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The dog does not aknowledge anything happening around her, she only focuses on the cat.Attempts to take the attention away are not succesful.Sounds, a tap on the shoulders or back, a firm tone of voice.
The dog won't take treats, toys or anything.She has to be dragged away.The level of prey drive showed cleary does not make this dog a good candidate for a home with cats or small critters.
To avoid problems the dog should go to a home without cats and probably other animals.


This dog approaches the cat with some interest, pulling on the lead.Although there is pulling and interest it is not an excessive behavior as of yet.Might be simple curiosity.

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The dog respond to voice redirection and is able to take his eyes away from the cat.He still knows the cat is there but doesn't loose his mind over it.

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The dog sits and relaxes a little.He also take treats, which is a good indicator of a dog not being overly stressed.Prey drive is a moment of stress and stressed dogs tend to not eat.He watches the cat but remains neutral.

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The dog finds something more interesting than the cat.A tiny tree branch I threw.He stops looking at the cat to favor the stick.

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Judging from what is in the pictures the dog might very well live in a home with cats, granted it is someone experienced, who will provide rules, redirection and constant supervision.The dog wasn't totally neutral to the cat but not obsessed either.Definately something to work with.

This other dog starts approaching the cat with interest, tail up, trying to get closer:

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The dog is more willing to pay attention to my treats then the the cat, which is a good sign.

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Not all dogs pulling on a lead when they see a cat necessarly want to eat it.Sometime it is curiosity for something "new" or moving, or simply another animal.
The overall body language has to be taken in consideration.
At the end this dog who seemed excited over the cat turned out to be scared of it.The cat moved and the dog walked awaym with a specific body language.He is a big sissy.
Actually that dog has tried to be friendly before but the cat hates him, for some odd reason.So he minds his own business and leave the cat alone.

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These are only some simple obvious tips as what to think when we see a dog displaying these behaviors.Training and time can change a lot of things but in between there is a long way to go.Some behaviors you take a chance with and some you don't.

The first dog pictured has high prey drive and got to the point to live with my cat peacefully.It took me a year or so of work.Not the kid of dog I would hand out to a first time owner with small critters or cats or someone who is not experienced enough to deal with a normal dog behavior and keep everyone safe at the same time.


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DogNerd
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Postby DogNerd » Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:05 am

What a great post and the photos are perfect! This, however, is my favorite part of it:

Actually that dog has tried to be friendly before but the cat hates him, for some odd reason.So he minds his own business and leave the cat alone


That made me laugh!

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Postby bullylady » Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:07 am

I love this posting. Awesome!! I love the unexpected turn of events of the first dog - that rocked!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Postby MyPetTherapyDogs » Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:53 pm

Wonderful post! The pictures are very informative!
I hope they make this post a sticky!
Happy New Year to all!
Sue :headbang: :peace: :headbang: :peace: :headbang: :peace:

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Postby Leslie H » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:06 pm

Really well written, excellent photos. I vote for a sticky, too.

EmyJ

Postby EmyJ » Sat Mar 03, 2007 9:55 pm

what kind of training did you do with the first dog?

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Red
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Postby Red » Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:13 am

what kind of training did you do with the first dog?


http://www.pitbullforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=34479&start=0
Let me know if it is confusing.

EmyJ

Postby EmyJ » Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:32 am

that is awesome advice. thanks for directing me to that!

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Postby mydogsarethepits » Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:02 pm

roflmao I can't stop laughing at the poor cat.........Covered in stuff from rolling around and having a great time while these dogs are coming at it lol

I have a Ginger Cat that is at ease around the dogs during testing.....she reckons she could easily whip their butts (LOL)

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Red
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Postby Red » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:31 pm

I can't stop laughing at the poor cat.........Covered in stuff from rolling around and having a great time while these dogs are coming at it lol


I think he knows that I am not going to let the dogs hurt him.It might be different if I am not out there.
The only dogs he does not have a great time with is the black one.He hates it.I mean, he truly hates him.And the poor dog is so scared of him he has never tried to do anything!

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Postby mydogsarethepits » Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:27 pm

I think he knows that I am not going to let the dogs hurt him.It might be different if I am not out there.


My cats are the same way......... while I am there they are OK and brave,...but it would be different if they were on their own.

My 3 deliberately roll around looking like dinner while I am trying to test with dogs ............I can almost hear "nah nah nee nah nah" coming from the cats during the test with dogs lol

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Postby creeping death » Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:20 pm

I'm so proud of my girl. It took her a while but she finally learned that cats are not toys...but she would still love to play with one!! she stopped being so fixated and listen to my commands when i say leave it...woohoo...

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Postby ZiggysMom » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:47 pm

hee hee... what would you say about my dog's response to our cat? We let the cat get comfortable with him across a baby-gate until the cat got over his fear. Ziggy was always very focused on the cat, but he would play-bow too.

The first time, we took the dog into the living room on-leash to meet the cat without a gate, it was hilarious! The first thing he did was bound towards the cat, all energy. Cat slapped him on the face. Then he backed up, got down on his belly, and started dragging himself around the cat in a semicircle, flat on the floor! Like he was groveling for the cat to love him!

I think it's a good thing that his first reaction to the cat was to engage him in a social manner, rather than seeing him as a "chase-able" item. Of course, as he grew up and started to challenge Kitty's dominance, I had to yell at him for trying to mount the cat a few times. Since the cat doesn't understand the concept of dominance, poor Ziggy always gets mixed signals.

Do you have any suggestions for introducing him to new cats? He tends to get very excited over cats he doesn't know, and try to run up to them. On the occasions when he has been able to meet them, he only sniffs them over, but he's very rude about it and does not respect their personal space at all.

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Postby ZiggysMom » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:05 pm

Here, I posted the video of that first meeting on YouTube! I started filming after the face-slap. The little gagging episode is because he'd been given a treat recently and inhaled it too fast because he was really more interested in the cat.

Here's the link- I hope it works...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cQl2sXApKI

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Postby Red » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:20 pm

Ziggysmom your dog was absolutely lovely in the video.His body laguage showed no aggression whatsoever.He was actually trying to engage with the cat without getting into its space.Most likely cause your cat already slapped him in the face for being pushy and he learnt the lesson.Your cat also seemed comforable with the dog, enough to stay where it was while Ziggy put up his show.The dog seemed very young there.


Do you have any suggestions for introducing him to new cats? He tends to get very excited over cats he doesn't know, and try to run up to them. On the occasions when he has been able to meet them, he only sniffs them over, but he's very rude about it and does not respect their personal space at all.


Those spazzy movements can scare most cats even before the dog gets closer.He is obviously very excited and although he did not show aggression so far I would keep an eye on what happens as he matures.What is play time can quickly turn into prey drive in the right situation.Young pups mostly want to play with cats but things can change with the age.How old is Ziggy now?Even my dogs who are fine with the cat needs to be reminded about their behaviors here and there.If they get too excited or rough and don't respect the cat's space and signals then they need to be stopped.
You can teach proper greetings while the dog is leashed.He can move close to the cat as long as it is in a calm manner.If he gets inappropriate you let him know and take some steps back.

When you say new cats what do you mean? Cats he sees outside?


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