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Amba1027 04-15-2010 10:20 PM

Dogs chasing cats.
One of my dogs has a real cat chasing problem that is getting worse. It used to be that she would run after the cat, but once she caught up to it and it ran away, it was like she would realize we where calling for her to stop. So she would stop and leave the cat alone. Now, once she catches the cat she continues to go after it. We are worried she is going to do some serious damage to one of the cats if this continues.

I am hoping to find some way to train her to not do this anymore. I watch "It's Me Or The Dog" sometimes and I was thinking maybe something like the "leave it" command would work, so when she sees the cats we tell her to "leave it" and hope she will. I can't remember the exact steps for teaching though so if anyone could tell me that would be good.

Also, I am worried this might not work because once she sees a cat it's hard to get her focus off the cat and back on you. And if she's not paying attention to us, not command is going to get her to stop. So does anyone have any other training ideas to help with this?

ETA: I don't know if this makes any difference but she is a cattle dog mix. At first we thought the chasing was some sort of herding instinct but now I don't know if that makes sense since she attacks the cats and that wouldn't really be a herding thing...

wild_spot 04-15-2010 10:41 PM

The joys of owning a herding breed :]

My Kelpie is the same - She fixates on cats. If she finds one she chases it until she loses it, or if it goes up a tree she won't leave unless I physically take her away.

With her it isn't a big issue as there's only one cat on the farm and I just keep her away.

I ahve taught our home dogs the 'leave it' command. It starts with food - Put a treat in your closed fist and hold it out to the dog. Let them sniff, lick etc and try to get it - The second they pause to think or stop trying, say 'Good!' or a different marker word, and give the treat. When they get the hang of it, start usign the command, 'Leave it' in an authoritative voice, and holding the treat on an open palm. If they try to take it close the hand, until the stand and watch it without taking it, then marker word and reward.

From there move onto putting the dog into a drop or sit (I prefer drop) and placing the food on the ground in front of them and saying 'Leave it!' - My command to allow them is 'Take it" - So they leave it until I say take it, which is the reward.

You can then move up to taking them for walks with 'obstacles' - I.e. shopping bags, soccer ball, etc, and walking past and saying 'Leave it' and keeping their attention so they don't sniff. Mark and reward. Eventually, hopefully, if you catch her quick enough you will be able to get her attention with 'leave it' and then occupy her with something else until the cat is gone.

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