Behavior Mod.

Dog Chasing Cats? How to Modify the Natural Instinct to Chase

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This is not news to you. It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that dogs are hard wired to chase things that are fleeing. Although it’s a natural thing for your dog to do, when it’s the cat, the mailman or a neighbor jogging, it can be a dangerous thing.

Teaching your dog not to chase objects in motion is important and needs to be put in place as soon as possible. Now some dogs are easier to teach things to then other breeds. For example, hunting dogs, farm dogs are wired to chase versus other dogs. It’s important to remember not to allow your dog off the leash until the chasing is under some control.

  1. Teach your dog the “Bah” correction. The “bah” correction is a sound that your dog will understand perfectly. The sound needs to be guttural just like a growl. The word “bah” will help you replicate that sound.
  2.  Start with a tasty treat in each hand. Present one hand to the dog.  As he tries to get the treat say “Bah” in a guttural tone. Repeat if your dog does not move away until he does. ( don’t ever let the dog get the treat after saying “Bah”
  3. As soon as he stops trying to get it, give him the treat from the other hand.
  4. Keep practicing until the dog stops going for the treat the first time you say “Bah”

Have your dog sit at one end of a space and you at the other. Then go over to your dog with a ball in hand, the dog must not touch the ball. Roll or bounce the ball and practice having the dog staying put. Now if dog starts to chase correct with the verbal sound ‘Bah” as many times as is needed while providing a firm tug on the leash.

In this process never allow the dog to touch the item you are using.  You will reward a job well done once he /she understands that they cannot touch the ball and does not. (Favorite high valued treat). No ordinary stuff, like dry cookies this is tuff stuff for the dog.

Once it looks like you have accomplished success, it’s time to move the training into another space in the house and begin again. Take your dog to another room in the house and begin again. Do this in all areas of the house. When reliable with the items, you can start practicing with hot items like the CAT.

Then; Take your dog into the room with the cat. Make sure he’s on leash, and make sure the cat has an escape route in case the dog does get away from you. This will provide the best situation for your pet to only concentrate on you and what you want him to learn.

  • Repetition is the key and you need to establish this in the controlled space you are using.
  • Once the dog tries to run after the cat, give him a tug with the leash and shout “Bah”.
  • You will need to repeat this more than once for the dog to learn to curb his chase instinct.
  • It’s best to teach your dog the “Bah” sound in different situations; you want your “Bah” to be established, just as your leadership needs to be established.
  • You don’t need to raise your voice when saying “Bah” but be calm, use a growly firm tone whenever the dog is eyeing the cat as though he plans to attack.

Tips; you can also try muzzling the dog in the presence of the cat until you’re sure he can control himself.

  • Provide your cat with a tall cat tree or other refuge.
  • Ensure each animal has toys, as well as own food, bowls to reduce territorial aggression.
  • Place the cat’s food bowls in an area where he can escape easily if ambushed.
  • Practice obedience work with your dog, five minutes of sit, down, come.
  • Practice some impulse control exercises with your dog
  • Put some mental stimulation work in to tire the brain.  That’s what the games are for.
  • Play different chase games with your dog to satisfy that chasing instinct. Fetch, Frisbee, recall games.

For even more training and behavior tips, visit The Pee Press!

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