If the canine member of your household is harassing the feline family member, here are some tips that can help. These will help for harassment in the form of inappropriate play behavior. If your dog is exhibiting dangerous, aggressive behavior towards the cat, please contact me for more in-depth help.
Make sure Kitty has plenty of Fido-free zones. Climbing trees, cat shelves, baby gates either raised up so Kitty can slip under or with a kitty-sized hold cut in it. Many baby gates come with pre-installed cat doors.
Teach Fido that “Kitty = Good Stuff for Me”. When the cat saunters into the room, immediately start dropping high value treats at your dog’s feet. Continue to drop treats until Kitty has either left or settled.
If your dog is clicker savvy, you can click when Kitty enters the room. Your dog should recognize that click-treat and turn around in anticipation. Be sure to give him a treat! After time and repetition, you can even start to ask your dog to Look at you when Kitty is around. Then you can click when he’s looking at you instead of the cat. In both scenarios, your dog is turning away from the cat and looking at you – a behavior that is incompatible with cat chasing.
Make sure your dog can stay on a mat. Teach this behavior when Kitty is not present as an independent training lesson. Bring the mat out when you need your dog to settle in the presence of the cat, for example during family movie time.
Teach Leave It. The phrase Leave it should cue your dog to back away from something and stay away from it, eventually, even the cat!
Catch your dog being good! Be sure to praise or reinforce your dog with a treat if you notice that he’s being calm around Kitty. Too often we only react to unwanted behavior. It’s better if we can catch our dogs being good.
With these few easy tips, your four-legged family members can have the purr-fect relationship.
If you have the opposite problem and it’s your cat that is terrorizing your dog, I can refer you to a great Cat Behaviorist: www.goodkitty.us