Jackie Murphy G.Dip ABM / A.Dip CBM / MISAP (beh) / MEST (QTLS) / TCBTS, Ambassador of Great Britain for International Society of Animal Professional talks about the cat family and her tips in how to handle them around puppies
Today many families have multi-pet households and the most common are dogs/puppies and cats/kittens. Puppies and cats are very different species and therefore a cat will often display very quick movements which the puppy finds fun to chase.
Careful management of both is essential to long term harmony within a household of both puppies and cats. Using very tasty treats for both can help the puppy learn that when the cat is around, good things happen and vice versa. Using a houseline and placing some dog gates up at doorways will help control the puppy’s behaviour and prevent chasing. Also, dog gates can be helpful for short interactions between them allowing your cats to have an exit to move out of the room or allowing the puppy and cat to interact between the gate. It is also useful to take the puppy away using the houseline before he decides to chase the cat.
Another point to consider is taking your puppy for a walk, with some off-lead fun before interactions with the cats, as a walk will help to tire him, before any interactions. Teaching some basic training commands, such as sit/down/come away using lures with food to lure him back to you. It might be useful to keep them a safe distance apart to start with and gradually allow them to be closer over a period of time (however, this may take some time to carry this out). Short training sessions/interactions between the puppy and the cat(s).
Why not stuff a kong and allow the puppy this when the cats are in the room so that this is more exciting than focusing on the cat(s).
Never punish your puppy for chasing the cat and never force interactions between the two. If the cat(s) wish to leave the room, allow them to do so and distract the puppy so that the puppy does not end up chasing the cat(s).
If there still are problems with the puppy chasing the cats, then it is important to get a professional evaluation and plan by contacting your local member of the Canine Behaviour & Training Society. The Society has Accredited Animal Behaviourists and Animal Behaviour Technicians registered with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council. This provides reassurance that you will get knowledgeable and professional help.
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