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Old 12-29-2013, 12:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC84 View Post
Yes, long story behind the dogs but we are working on re-training them. Brian actually suggested a bark collar of some sort. I found some that use bitter spray instead of little zaps...I'm not wholly comfortable with that idea though, I need to see if theres any kind of alternative (I have ZERO experience with dog training )

Yes, I agree Punx needs to stand up for herself. She's gotten soft in her old age. I think she feels outnumbered. I wish I could give her some confidence, she is larger than Trixie, by a lot
The danger of using punishment and aversives in this case is that the dogs might come to associate the negative experience of being shocked / sprayed with the cat, and this could cause aggression toward the cat. In other words, the cat becomes a predictor of negative experiences (being shocked, sprayed, etc.) therefore the dogs begin to hate the cat.

Right now you are simply dealing with an inappropriate display of curiosity. You don't want to turn this into an aggression case.

I understand about Punkin feeling outnumbered. This is why working with her and one dog at a time to start with would be helpful.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Wandering in the Dothraki sea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k9coach View Post
The danger of using punishment and aversives in this case is that the dogs might come to associate the negative experience of being shocked / sprayed with the cat, and this could cause aggression toward the cat. In other words, the cat becomes a predictor of negative experiences (being shocked, sprayed, etc.) therefore the dogs begin to hate the cat.

Right now you are simply dealing with an inappropriate display of curiosity. You don't want to turn this into an aggression case.

Good point. What would you suggest as far as getting the barking to a minimum inside the house? I know the barking is part of what's freaking out Punkin
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC84 View Post
Good point. What would you suggest as far as getting the barking to a minimum inside the house? I know the barking is part of what's freaking out Punkin
Give the dogs long lasting chew items like bully sticks or kongs stuffed with frozen peanut butter. They will not be barking while they're working on those.

I also recommend increasing the dogs exercise. Tire them out each day. They need more mental and physical stimulation so that they will nap more. A sleeping dog is not chasing cats and barking.

Use body blocking / herding to create a barrier between the dogs and whatever they are barking at. Then once you've backed them off give them something better to do. Any time you tell a dog no you must then tell him yes - what I mean by that is whenever you tell a dog "you can't do that" you must follow up by showing what he should be doing instead. Teach the behavior you do want, don't get stuck always focused on the behavior you don't want. "No" does not provide a dog with much information. Giving them something better to do trains them to behave in a more appropriate way.

Here is some more in-depth reading on barking. It is important to identify the cause of the barking so that you can customize your training approach to fit the specific issue. Barking | ASPCA
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC84 View Post
Yes, I agree Punx needs to stand up for herself. She's gotten soft in her old age. I think she feels outnumbered. I wish I could give her some confidence, she is larger than Trixie, by a lot
She will eventually. She needs exposure. If you keep her isolated and constantly intervene on her behalf, she has no opportunities or reason to stand up for herself. Even without being protected, I didn't think the Basset would ever do it. After we got over being concerned about Bobbles hiding forever and she finally became more bold, I was very concerned for the Basset's safety and happiness. He was such a wimp. We had to literally encourage him to stand up for himself by saying, "Get her." He wouldn't. He has only growled at her twice in all of these months but that was enough of a message for Bobbles.

Although cats are different, let me explain something to you about dogs since you admit you know nothing about dogs. When a new dog is introduced to a household that already has a dog, owners are supposed to let them work it out themselves without interfering---only if absolute danger is eminent. They get into some scary sounding fights. That's what they do to determine who is boss. When your cat finally claws that bigger dog, it will leave her alone. That can't happen if you're intervening.

Work with them one at a time. Sure, use leashes and keep them apart, but eventually you're going to have to let those dogs free and allow them to stick their faces in your cat's space. If she's cornered, she'll scare the **** out of the dog.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:32 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
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So far you've gotten excellent advice - from both K9coach and Hopes. Here's my alternate story of introducing dogs into a cat environment.

My kitties were here first and they still enjoy the run of the house, within rules - no on food surfaces is the #1. We first introduced foster #1, a puppy who came into the house a very sick girl with parvo. It required almost 24/7 attention from us as we administered meds and fluids. The cats routine was unchanged. Healthy puppy spent another month before she was deemed fit for travel. During this time, the younger kitty showed curiosity but gave her wide berth. Puppy never tried to chase but did interact with sniffing. Then foster #2 was a much larger dog, but just shy of being called medium size. She initiated some contact early on but older cat hissed, so dog mostly just waited for cats to come to her. 3 months later, she was adopted out without having made friends with kitties.

Now we moved on to foster #3. She's been here for 8 months - and will now remain her furever. First rule was never ever chase my kitties. She learned it fast - "leave it" is a wonderful command and one that was used most in those first weeks. She will walk after the kitties, and that is allowed, but she never chases them. She doesn't understand cat language and believes that being hissed at is a form of play invitation. In our living room is a cat tree my husband built - it's 5' tall and a source of both play and safety for the kitties. It is right next to the one sofa the dog is allowed on. It is only within the last 2 months that the kitties have developed enough trust in the dog to walk down the steps of the tree, sometimes inches from the dog's nose. The dog opens her eyes but has learned that if she lifts her head, the kitties run in fear.

Within the last month, we have had some very friendly sniffing activities between dog and smaller kitty - until the dog flaps her ears - the sound makes the kitties run in fear. BTW, this dog is a medium, 50# beagle/boxer/shepherd/??. She has been referred to as a big mush, loving, sweet, and KUJO! depending on her "job" at the time. She doesn't like other dogs and will snap at the smallest provocation but would welcome the kitties jumping on her!

Our set-up is a small house, 1 floor and there is a bedroom that belongs to the kitties. The door is never shut but there is a child gate always in place. Cats can get under or over but the dog doesn't even try. The kitchen is where the dog bed is and there is an openable child gate across the entrance. The dog never tries to even push this gate open even when it's only partially closed. The cats can go in, but this is the dog's room - it's also her time-out space.

It takes time.

You've heard it before and now again. Patience. In the meantime, do not confine your kitty. But do get a move on with dog training. And, find a "time-out" space for the dogs - might just be their crates. I'm not a fan of Cesar's leader of the pack, I'm not a dog, I'm a dog owner, so therefore not the pack leader. I am the boss - and the dog(s) know this. But he does have some good ideas for training. However, if you can find them, get books by Nikki Ivey. Even after owning and training dogs for most of 50 years, I learned some new ideas. And they work!

Train those dogs and be kind to your kitty. Patience.

And never ever let the dogs chase the kitty.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
And never ever let the dogs chase the kitty.
That's how Bobbles and the Basset play. Since they speak a different language, they came up with their own way of playing. She instigates and he runs after her. She'll stand up on her hind legs and start boxing at his face with her front paws. Or she stalks him and pounces on him when he's not expecting it. He chases her and she laughs at him. They truly are playing. The Basset isn't chasing after her mad. He's engaging in the game they've created.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:20 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,179 posts, read 14,276,689 times
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That can work....after friendship is formed. But during integration and learning to be friends, chasing can be a sign to the dogs that the cat is prey and right now that would ruin chances of them becoming friends. If it worked for you, that's great. It also helps that you have a basset - not exactly a chasing dog - lol. But for the OP, I strongly recommend against allowing any kind of chasing until after they become friends and only when supervised until it's known how the kitty - and dogs - will react to the game of chase.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:39 PM
 
Location: LA (US)
8 posts, read 6,288 times
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I had an almost identical situation several years ago. Its only been a month for you, which is not long enough. Animals can't reason like us. Be patient, the cats and dogs will eventually acclimate to each other, and the barking will subside. Keep them apart physically but allow them to hear and see each other occasionally. It took me a little more than three months in my situation, and it was difficult on occasion, but I was happy how it all turned out.
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