How to Stop Your Dog from Chasing Cats
1 April, 2014

Some dogs get along really well with cats and it is a harmonious peaceful living.  And sometimes a dog will chase a cat for fun and both the cat and dog know it’s just fun and games.  It’s natural for dogs to chase cats because they want to play with the cat or cats.  Or sometimes a dog will think of a cat as prey (as a cat would a mouse) and want to chase after it.  This could all be good natured, but it can also lead to some serious injuries.

And then there are some dogs that are OK with their family resident cats but if they find a cat roaming outside, they will go after the cat. This could be harmful to the cat or could cause an unforeseen accident for either animal.

Below are some tips to help:

Try reintroducing your pets if they aren’t getting along at home.

If your dog chases your cat at home, the best strategy is to reintroduce your two pets as though one or both are new to your household. During your pets’ reintroduction, make sure there are plenty of hiding places that your cat can scurry into or under if he or she feels nervous.

Start slowly and if you think your dog might chase your cat, keep your dog on a loose leash.   Place them both in a neutral area, let them sniff around and reward each pet for good behavior. Give your dog verbal praise and treats for behaving well.   You might have to separate them for a few days, but try doing this every day until both pets cooperate.

If your dog chases cats outdoors, try using your trained commands.

If you walk your dog off leash, do so in places and at times when cats aren’t likely to be present. Cats are mostly nocturnal, but they’re also very active at dawn and dusk. It’s best to avoid these times and walk your dog during daylight hours. Only when your dog is extremely reliable at coming when called should you test your dog when there is a cat nearby. It’s very difficult to call a dog off once he has seen a cat.  It’s even more challenging to call a dog off once he’s chasing a cat!

Start training your dog away from cats

You need to start training your dog away from cats so that your pup can focus on learning and not get overly aroused and distracted. Only when your dog is extremely reliable at coming when called (and know his basic commands) should you try to see if he or she won’t chase a cat. It can take time and energy to stop your dog from chasing a cat.  You can even start with the basic ‘stay’ command and see if your dog will stay resilient. Bring treats and reward your dog for good behavior.

The simpler the command, the better

You need to keep reinforcing the command and slowly test it out with a cat present.  Maybe you can walk by a neighbor who has an outdoor cat inside a gate and try your commands.  Keep practicing and your dog will eventually understand that by staying put and not chasing a cat is equal to rewards.

Positive reinforcement works in training

As always, only use positive reinforcement and don’t punish your dog for misbehaving.   Your dog might slip and chase a cat occasionally, but just reign him in and go back to your commands.  If you physically punish your dog, it will ruin his or her trust and could cause further behavioral issues.

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