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Old 01-08-2013, 08:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ideas teaching puppy to leave cats alone

I have three Senior cats that will be 16 years old next month. Jazzy is 4 1/2 months old. The cats have absolutely no problem with her being near them ( they don't hiss or fluff up) as long as she leaves them alone. Of course her leaving them alone is the problem. Any ideas on how to get her to leave them alone? Jazzy will jump, pounce, sit on them etc. I redirect her with toys etc., but she would rather play with them. I think part of the problem is when Jazzy is crated when I am at work. Jazzy goes straight into her crate without being told when I go to work. I come home mid-shift about 4 1/2 hours later and let her out for an hour before going back to work. We most always go for a short walk when I come home unless it is raining. She goes back into her crate with no problem when I go back to work. She doesn't whine or bark. The problem starts as soon as I come home again. When she is let out for good, that is when she goes crazy. I know she has a lot of pent up energy after being crated and I play and walk her when I get home. While trying to fix my dinner, I am constantly having to rescue the cats. I have put her in another room when it has gotten too bad, but I don't want her to be separated from the household after being crated all day. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give you guys our routine so that you can tell me what I'm doing wrong. Ideas?
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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teach her "leave it"

make a room cat-only - put a baby gate in front of the door. i assure you, the cats will appreciate it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Try delaying your dinner till you can let Jazzy burn off some of her energy outside. Try giving her at least a half an hour of play before taking her back into the house. Use some of that time to teach her the command "leave it".
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Bruce knows "off", and unless it involves my cats he responds immediately to it. He goes deaf when the cats are involved. He doesn't want to hurt them just play, but his version of play is rough and they hiss which in turn winds him up more. We have the house in 2 sections, using a babygate in the hallway to divide the house. The cats have access to the bedrooms, bathroom and laundry room (which is where their litterbox and food is). Bruce has access to the living room/family room/kitchen and front entrance (when he's with us that is, otherwise he is crated if we're not around).

The cats appreciate this, but do like to tease Bruce. They will stand on their side of the gate and stare at him, but I am just consistent in my "off" command, and treat/praise A LOT when he obeys. Usually when Bruce is asleep the cats will get brave and come over for attention, he will often wake up and nose them a bit but that's about it. He's really just fascinated with them, and combine that with puppy crazyness and well, you know.

One thing I find is helping is redirecting him BEFORE he gets wound up trying to play with them. I have taught Bruce "look", so if I see one of the cats coming I give him the look command, and he sits and focuses completely on me. I find he is less likely to go for them if engaged with me. Of course cats are sneaky and I don't always notice them before he does, but we are working on it.

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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We got our pup when our 2 cats were 4 years old. We kept up a gate to the room where we spent most of our time, so the dog could be in there with us, but the cats could come and goes if they pleased (the gate has a cat door at the bottom). This allowed us to watch our dog for housebreaking, etc, but also let the cats have their space as well.

Also, when Red would get too focused on one of the cats - either in the room or seeing them through the gate - I would redirect him with something very high value. Our dog is very food drive, so it usually involved treat games. Some dogs are more toy driven.

Cardinal sin #1 in our house is chasing the cats. Do not allow it ever. For us, a very serious tone of voice was enough to let Red know that he had done something unforgivable, but if your dog doesn't respond to that, try keep a leash on him. He can just drag it around most times, but it gives you something to easily grab and physically prevent him from being able to chase one of the cats.

Preventing it before it begins is the ideal situation though, so I highly recommend the gate. Also, your cats will start to learn to stay "outta dodge", so to speak. My cats would perch up on the couch, desks or chairs to watch what was going on without being in direct contact range of Red (who has never been allowed on the furniture).
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We kept up a gate to the room where we spent most of our time, so the dog could be in there with us, but the cats could come and goes if they pleased (the gate has a cat door at the bottom).
Where did you find the gate with a cat door? I can put one up in the guest bedroom and the cats can go there if they will. They usually like to stay in the living room.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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One thing I find is helping is redirecting him BEFORE he gets wound up trying to play with them. I have taught Bruce "look", so if I see one of the cats coming I give him the look command, and he sits and focuses completely on me. I find he is less likely to go for them if engaged with me. Of course cats are sneaky and I don't always notice them before he does, but we are working on it.
What is the best way to teach your dog to focus? She literally is so crazy when I get home that she doesn't listen. I think it would be better for me to work on "focus" on my days off when she is not wound up.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You're going to have to give her lots and lots of exercise before trying to train. And even when she learns to focus, she will still ignore you if she has so much pent up energy that needs to be burnt off.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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What is the best way to teach your dog to focus? She literally is so crazy when I get home that she doesn't listen. I think it would be better for me to work on "focus" on my days off when she is not wound up.
It was pretty easy with Bruce, he is very toy driven and food driven depending on the treat (he will do anything for a tiny piece of chicken deli meat I discovered). So basically what I started doing was putting him in a sit, then saying "look" while holding up my finger (by my face), when he looked up at me he got a treat. I did that until he clued in that "look" meant look right at me. Now I can say "look" while he is mid play and he will sit and fixate on me until he gets his treat (I even tried it tonight from the other room, and he came running, sat in front of me, and looked right at me). As he gets better at it I make him look at me for longer. He is also starting to learn that if I just hold up my finger (like when you shush someone) he is to look at me, since I do the two together (I have a corresponding hand command for every verbal command I give my dogs). I find it works great if something very tempting (like the cats inside, or squirrels outside) is about to distract him. Once he is REALLY focused on the cats "off" means nothing to him (even though he is amazing with it in any other circumstance).

Other people may have different techniques for teaching this command, it's just what worked well with Bruce. He loves to train though which works well for me. I hope this made sense, I am awful at describing techniques sometimes.

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Old 01-08-2013, 07:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Where did you find the gate with a cat door? I can put one up in the guest bedroom and the cats can go there if they will. They usually like to stay in the living room.
Drs Fosters & Smith website:

Pet Gates: Easy Step High-Guard Pet Wall Mounted Gate at Drs. Foster & Smith

Great quality. Very sturdy, even without anchoring it into the wall. The pressure mounting doesn't damage the walls.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for starting this thread! I will be bringing a puppy home next month, and was worried about helping my cats make that transition easily. Both of them grew up with big dogs, but have never been around a puppy. Please keep us updated with how these suggestions work!!


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Old 01-08-2013, 09:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Other people may have different techniques for teaching this command, it's just what worked well with Bruce. He loves to train though which works well for me. I hope this made sense, I am awful at describing techniques sometimes.
You described it perfectly! Thanks so much for your response. I will definitely work on this with her.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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"leave it" and a squirt bottle...
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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"leave it" and a squirt bottle...
Oh how I wish that worked with Bruce...he LOVES the squirt bottle, on the other hand it does get him to leave the cats alone (because he's busy trying to play with it instead) lol.

I tried a penny can too, and all I got was a confused (brief) look like "hey mom, be quiet, I'm busy mauling the cat". When people say Dobes can be tough to train I'm pretty sure they were talking about puppies like Bruce lol.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Mongo is 14 weeks now and is obsessed with trying to play with our two cats. If he is calm that cats will approach him, but once he gets into play mode it usually ends with some hissing and an air swat. One cat did decide to land a swat a couple of times, once without claws and once with claws out. I think that has taught Mongo not to get too close to the cats when trying to "play".
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Envy is about the same age. Vizsla puppy. her chasing has gotten better. It is not perfect. We haven't taught leave it yet. BUT she's the first dog I taught NO meant stop what you are doing and if you do, you get a reward. So I can call her off the cats. I try to redirect her first. It took a LOT of consistency and at first making it easy. Being right by her (next to her), no treat. no treat. no treat. She also gets very little time to make bad decisions. Hubby or I try to either crate her or completely supervise/play with her or cuddle, etc. I find when she gets bored is when she starts chasing the cats.

Have you had any puppy classes?
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Drs Fosters & Smith website:

Pet Gates: Easy Step High-Guard Pet Wall Mounted Gate at Drs. Foster & Smith

Great quality. Very sturdy, even without anchoring it into the wall. The pressure mounting doesn't damage the walls.
I don't know if it's the same gate, but I bought one very similar from PetSmart. Not at all impressed.

By the time there was enough pressure in the gate to properly hold it against the walls, the door couldn't be opened because of a weld bump the door caught on. If it was loose enough the door could be opened, it wouldn't stay upright.

The latch on the small cat door broke within a week. I had it at the top of the basement steps at one point. Because the door latch was broken it was always ajar. Ivan went charging up the steps, slammed his head through the cat door, dislodged the gate, and came crashing backwards down the steps with it around his neck until it got caught on railing.

When I initially setup the gate, I used it on a wooden doorway. I subsequently set it up in the hallway. I used the "bumpers" that weren't smooth - had little circles in them - and they did completely ruin my walls. Put swirls in the paint, etc. Yes, I should have used the smooth "bumpers," but I doubt the gate would have stayed in place.

And best of all, Ivan could get through the "small" pet door. I believe his long and lean self was 60 lbs. at the time!

There are other similar reviews on PetSmart.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This is our cat room. Note the gate. This particular gate is tall and has a small door at the bottom. The cats are in their room most of the day, and when the dogs go to bed, I open up the small door and they come and go as they please. This seems to suit everyone just fine.

ETA: This is the same gate Burns linked. We've got two in our house and love them.



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Old 01-09-2013, 05:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Rouleaux and my DSH Tai get along great. Tai just lets Rou grab him and roll him around the floor. He is not declawed. The years of toting him everywhere must have something to do with it.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lestat1978 View Post
I don't know if it's the same gate, but I bought one very similar from PetSmart. Not at all impressed.
I don't think its the same one since I've only ever seen this exact one on Drs Foster & Smith website. I had looked around initially before we bought it because I thought $70+ was a lot to pay for a gate, but I never found the same one for any cheaper, so I bought it from Dr F&S site and it was definitely worth every penny!

I have recommended this gate to so many people, and will continue to recommend it because of how well it worked, and how easy it was to put up and take down if needed. Its available in 3 different colors: black, white and silver - at least those were the options when I bought mine almost 6 years ago.

If I had a need for another one, I wouldn't hesitate to buy the same one again.

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Originally Posted by BenVera View Post
This is our cat room. Note the gate. This particular gate is tall and has a small door at the bottom. The cats are in their room most of the day, and when the dogs go to bed, I open up the small door and they come and go as they please. This seems to suit everyone just fine.

ETA: This is the same gate Burns linked. We've got two in our house and love them.
OMG I am in LOVE with your cat room!!

And thanks for commenting about the gate - I can tell by the pics that it is the same one. We got ours in black, but I like the white as well.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:42 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Mine is Top Paw brand.

Extra Tall Pet Gate Extra-tall Metal Gate w/Small Pet Door | PetSmart
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:01 PM   #22 (permalink)
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We put up shelves above the couch in the tv room that the cat can escape too and the room with his food has a baby gate with a cat door so at least the cat has some places he can go to get away. Impulse control games to teach leave it (for all things not just the cat) have helped ...a little . Our cat really likes to play with the dog, unfortunately the dog plays pretty rough and can get overwhelming quickly- so since the cat doesn't remove himself from the situation, we monitor them pretty closely. It's gotten progressively better as the dog gets older and I hope that continues.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:48 PM   #23 (permalink)
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You might try Doggie Day Care a few days a week. It really tires them out and Lola loves it!
I'm betting when she got home from day care she wouldn't give the cats a second glance.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:02 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Sadly, that was not the case with my dobes. Their prey drive far outweighed their fatigue after daycare and they still found the energy to chase the cats.

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I'm betting when she got home from day care she wouldn't give the cats a second glance.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:10 PM   #25 (permalink)
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[quote=BenVera;1234161]This is our cat room.

I love your cat room. My cats have their own room too but I do not have as much stuff in it. You could be a designer of cat rooms. I love the little purple tube- where did you get it?

Back to the question by op. I allow the cats as much access as they want to Judah. They are in control of the interaction. If she gets too playful, they get the option of leaving and they do after giving her a few good swats to the snout. She loves them dearly. I think more than they love her. lol.
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