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Hello! I'm a new BC owner, but not a new dog owner. I rescued Archie from a shelter in NJ about 6 weeks ago, and for the most part, he's been a wonderful pet. I've been researching and reading about border collies for years, and felt now was the right time to adopt one.

 

In consulting with the rescue, I was told that Archie tolerated cats and would ignore them after a couple of weeks. Well, it's been almost two months now and I'm not sure things have gotten better. He's still very fixated on the cats when he's at home. Now, he took some time learning his name, and now he both knows his name and knows "no!" so he'll leave them alone if I'm in the room. I can snap my fingers or take a step toward him and he'll back off whichever cat he's stalking and return to his safe spot near the couch. But he's nowhere near "ignoring" the cats. In fact, he's gotten to the point where he's even nipping and grabbing them with his mouth if I'm not watching closely. Both times he's grabbed a cat by the leg hit's been a cacophony of screeching and fur. I don't think he's actually attacking them - if he had been, they'd be hurt - he's just trying to grab them, and he's doing it relatively gently as they're legs are nothing more than moist afterward. But the behavior obviously needs correcting. It seems to be the worst if he sees me pick up a cat - then he goes nuts and no amount of correcting seems to calm him. I can put him in his crate but he goes into an almost manic state.

 

Archie gets at least two, usually three long walks a day, and at least 45-60 minutes of good running as well. He likes to fetch even if he doesn't always bring the ball all the way back, but we're working on that. He also gets 30-40 minutes of training time at home where we work on everything from basic sit/lie down/stay to some more engaging things like hide and seek with hid "bird" (a stuffed pheasant) or location training where he goes to different parts of the house on command.

 

I'd appreciate any advice this wonderful community has to offer for how I can get Archie to leave the cats mostly alone. While I'd like to think it's possible that he could herd them without the biting/nipping, I'm not experienced enough to know if that's the case. Is herding just herding, and if I allow one I have to allow the other? If that's so, I'll just work to keep Archie separated from the cats enough that they'll always be safe, I'd just prefer a more elegant solution. Right now I have Archie in a separate room when I feed the cats, for instance, and if he hears me interact with them in any way (it's uncanny, he can always tell), he starts barking madly. This isn't the end of the world, but I'd like suggestions for how to make things a bit more harmonious.

 

Thanks for any help, and here are a few pictures of Archibald so you know who we're dealing with:

 

archie1.jpg

 

archie2.jpg

 

archie3.jpg

 

archie4.jpg

 

archie5.jpg

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I had this very same concern a year ago. Here's the link to that thread.

 

http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.p...mp;#entry301384

 

The situation has resolved adequately. Ruger still absolutely focuses on the cats whenever they are at large, but they ignore him completely. They've whacked him on the nose several times and he knows if they hiss he'd better back off. We've trained the "enough" command, which works but not by remote control; meaning I have to get up and send him to his spot and put him in a stay. How this goes for you probably depends more on how tolerant your cats are. If they still have claws, that will speed up Archie's training.

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Thanks for the link to the thread!

 

One of my cats still has her claws, and she's the one I'm the least worried about. She'll chase Archie across the house if he gets too close, and for the most part he respects that and doesn't fight back. He gives her a wide berth and basically shes in control. He's tried to pick her up once the other day, but things are back to "normal" now. I'm pretty confident she can handle herself, and I'll even leave them unsupervised for short periods and at night. Often though, there will be some scuffling at 4 am and I have to separate them and close the door, but nothing I can't handle.

 

It's the other cat I'm most worried about. He doesn't have claws, so he can't back him off, and Archie seems way more intersted in picking him up, which he's tried to do five or six times now. Trip is old and has a failing heart, so sadly he won't be with us too much longer, but I'd love to find a way to get them to live in peace.

 

Thanks for the thread and there's some good food for thought in there. Archie can be distracted, and will ignore the cats for short periods. He's asleep right now in the same room as a cat, so I guess that's a good sign :rolleyes:

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Archie is adorable, and looks to have a certain amount of mischief in his nature. Thanks for taking him in.

 

As far as the cats go, I'd start now by training him to lay down in a certain spot whenever there is a cat in the room. This will take some time, you may need to tether him, but he's showing way too much interest in a defenseless cat to be allowed to continue on in this way.

 

Keep them separated at night, as well. Having only been with you for 6 weeks, Archie is getting more and more confidence as he learns the ropes at your house. He's already learned that one cat doesn't have those nasty, pointy things, and he'll keep pushing the envelope. Reel him back in now. Your Trip kitty doesn't need the aggravation, especially at his age and with his heart condition.

 

My Shoshone never liked our cats, and we had to work out the rules for everybody's well being. The rules turned out to be, when the cat is in the room, Shonie is on her mat. We made sure she got treats on her mat, and praise for going there, and either DH or myself would sometimes get down on the floor with her while the other human was on the couch with a cat. It made things much easier, once we understood that this was the safest thing. Both cats lived good long lives, with no border collie harassment to irritate them.

 

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

 

Ruth

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It's the other cat I'm most worried about. He doesn't have claws, so he can't back him off, and Archie seems way more intersted in picking him up, which he's tried to do five or six times now. Trip is old and has a failing heart, so sadly he won't be with us too much longer, but I'd love to find a way to get them to live in peace.

 

 

Archie is a beautiful dog -- you surely picked a winner.

 

He sure can tell that Trip is the weaker of the two, and has no claws and as such is an easier "target." I also believe you can teach him to respect Trip in the usual ways described here. When Archie realizes that the other cats are important to you and that you mean business in reinforcing your "leave it" commands, he'll fall in line. Six weeks is very early into the adjustment period for a new adoption. He's just starting to test you. :rolleyes:.

 

 

It isn't always the dog's fault either. When Tiger Lily came to us as a kitten, we had Ladybug who'd been trained to ignore cats and Scotty who would give way to her, or let curl up and knead his fur (she was an orphan) so when we got the pups last year it was absolute mayhem as she expected respect and they expected to chase. We're still working on control because she continues to torment them, trying to put them in their place. For some reason, she likes Robin so there's a certain peace between them, but she's always trying to start something with Brodie and he's more than happy to chase...

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Brian,

I may have said this in the thread Joni linked to, but when another animal's life is at stake I am perfectly willing to come down on the dog like a ton of bricks. Seriously, there's absolutely *NO EXCUSE* for Archie to EVER put is teeth/mouth on one of the cats. Not only is it extremely risky to them, but it's also extremely unfair to put them through that kind of harrassment, especially the older kitty with a heart condition. They don't deserve to have their peace ruined by the dog.

 

I've said this on other threads like this, and I'll say it again: Cats are NOT livestock, and it is never appropriate for a dog to "herd" them ("herd" is in quotes, because pestering the other pets in the household is not herding, it's being obnoxious). By allowing such behavior you are putting your cats at risk for injury. This is a situation where I don't hesitate to snatch the dog up by the cheek hairs or the scruff and give him a good shake while getting in his face and letting him know in no uncertain terms (in a very harsh godess-of-doom voice) that the human is very unhappy with his behavior. This is not beating the dog or anything like that. But you have to make it very clear to him that his behavior is unacceptable to you and will not be tolerated.

 

Redirecting can be a useful tool and I know someone will suggest it, but my lifestyle involves my dogs having the share the house with cats and the yard with chickens of all size, including little fluttering, chirping chicks. I want to be able to turn my back on my dogs--leaving them alone with small animals--and know that they wouldn't dream of messing with any of them. I have 10 border collies, some who started here as pups and some who came as adult rescues, and I haven't had a problem teaching them to leave the small animals alone.

 

Imagine how the cat feels being grabbed, even if all it ends up with is slobber on its leg. You need to stop this now before it becomes ingrained. If he's manic in his crate, his crate would be put somewhere where his noise isn't too disturbing and he would be left there until he's quiet.

 

I also would provide safe, dog-free areas for the cats. But please remember it's not the cats' duty to protect themselves or teach the dog to leave them alone. That's your duty.

 

J.

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Thanks for all the responses.

 

I'm not sure I made it clear in my initial post, but I am absolutely 100% concerned with the safety of the cats and will not tolerate Archie physically touching them, or even getting close enough to. The times he has, it has been a mistake on my part and he has been scolded severely. Just because it's not his fault doesn't mean it's acceptable.

 

The cats do have safe areas of the house, and right now I'm being super careful about when they're roaming free with Archie around. Trip especially is usually given him own room to himself, and only comes out when I am absolutely sure I can make sure it's safe. He has so little ability to back the dog off that it's not fair to ask him to, so I won't.

 

Seven, on the other hand, is a bit territorial and will actually go find Archie just so she can chase him out of a room. He respects her claws even though he's always fixated on her.

 

It sounds like most of what i thought has been confirmed. There's an adjustment period and it's going to be longer than I'd thought. With Trip, I'm just going to have to keep them mostly apart so that he's comfortable. He has good days and bad days, and I don't want to introduce any unneeded stress.

 

As for the crate - it's in a quiet area, and when there's noise, it's only coming from the crate :rolleyes: Archie just hates being in there once he gets riled up over a cat being picked up, but that's still better than having him out. For the most part, he's just fine in his crate, though, even with the cats roaming. I work from home so he doesn't have to spend a lot of time in it, but on the occasions when I need to leave him there, he's fine. He's never left alone in the house with the cats while outside his crate.

 

What I've done now is come up with a routine that lets me keep Archie separated while I feed each cat (they need to be fed separately too because of Trip's medicine). Archie can hear that I'm interacting with them and he barks, but it's not too bad and is much better than triggering chaos with me trying to do it with them all out.

 

Thanks again for all the help. This seems like a great community and I'm happy to be a part of it.

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Archie just hates being in there once he gets riled up over a cat being picked up, but that's still better than having him out.

 

All the more incentive for him to learn to control himself around the cats!

 

Also, you should be treating him every time he is able to sit quietly in a room without bothering the cats. Make sure that every interaction with the cats has a response from you, either positive or negative. If he can calmly ignore them, he gets praise and a reward. If he shows any interest in them, he should be crated immediately. Eventually he'll figure out that tolerating the cats = good things happening to him, and bothering the cats = time out.

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He absolutely does need to learn more control, but what I meant was, once he's riled up, I need him crated since it's too much of a risk to the cats otherwise. This is a situation that's only happened a couple of times, though.

 

He gets regular treats when he's good and calm, which is most of the day now. Whenever he moves toward a cat (usually Seven, who sleeps on a nearby chair), he's corrected. 90% of the time he turns around and comes back to me.

 

The hard part is that if I'm not in the room, or if my back is turned, he will move towards the cat. If I say "no!" or take a step, he'll turn around and go back to his safe spot, near a couch.

 

My plan is to just keep correcting and treating when he's good. There are just times when it seems his drive overpowers anything I do, and I'm wondering if there's more I can and should be doing. He's not my first dog, but he is my first dog with anywhere near this level of focus and drive.

 

On another note, while he responds splendidly well at home and even with the cats (mostly), we do have trouble if he's outside with other dogs that he's playing or roughhousing with. He doesn't really respond if he's playing with another dog, which is problematic. Any suggestions for making sure he always comes when called, no matter what? I've been told that saving his absolute super favorite treat (hot dogs, in Archie's case) for just these occasions is a good idea, and it's something I'm going to try while at the dog park next.

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He absolutely does need to learn more control, but what I meant was, once he's riled up, I need him crated since it's too much of a risk to the cats otherwise. This is a situation that's only happened a couple of times, though.

 

He gets regular treats when he's good and calm, which is most of the day now. Whenever he moves toward a cat (usually Seven, who sleeps on a nearby chair), he's corrected. 90% of the time he turns around and comes back to me.

 

The hard part is that if I'm not in the room, or if my back is turned, he will move towards the cat. If I say "no!" or take a step, he'll turn around and go back to his safe spot, near a couch.

 

My plan is to just keep correcting and treating when he's good. There are just times when it seems his drive overpowers anything I do, and I'm wondering if there's more I can and should be doing. He's not my first dog, but he is my first dog with anywhere near this level of focus and drive.

 

On another note, while he responds splendidly well at home and even with the cats (mostly), we do have trouble if he's outside with other dogs that he's playing or roughhousing with. He doesn't really respond if he's playing with another dog, which is problematic. Any suggestions for making sure he always comes when called, no matter what? I've been told that saving his absolute super favorite treat (hot dogs, in Archie's case) for just these occasions is a good idea, and it's something I'm going to try while at the dog park next.

 

 

Super yummmy stuff....steak trimmings in my case. Try some place where there are absolutely no distractions and work from a very long line and then work your way up from there.

 

 

I would add that there's been times when it has been Tiger Lily the cat that has ended up in the crate because she wouldn't leave the dog alone. We've managed to achieve a monitored peace -- with some corrections still necessary -- as the cat is naturally gregarious and wants to be near the dogs and she's figured out that she has to behave too.

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Super yummmy stuff....steak trimmings in my case. Try some place where there are absolutely no distractions and work from a very long line and then work your way up from there.

 

 

I would add that there's been times when it has been Tiger Lily the cat that has ended up in the crate because she wouldn't leave the dog alone. We've managed to achieve a monitored peace -- with some corrections still necessary -- as the cat is naturally gregarious and wants to be near the dogs and she's figured out that she has to behave too.

 

Agree with this. I have a BC with a very strong prey drive, who initially wanted VERY BADLY to help me teach the cats not to get up on the counters. I worked with her a great deal, and used a combo of methods, so that now we can all lie around calmly together on the bed. Had to have a few "Come to Jesus" moments, as well as crating my one very dog-savvy cat who likes to taunt Vala. I also used the one thing my BC is deathly afraid of (the clicker--I KNOW--but what can you do--when I tried to load it she got scared of the treats) to teach her not to focus on them (I'd click when she went after one and she'd turn tail and slink to time out). And I used some positive reinforcement, having both cats and the dog come and sit for treats and petting and attention together (everyone in my house, cats included, will sit for rewards now), to show them to treat each other nicely as well.

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Agree with this. I have a BC with a very strong prey drive, who initially wanted VERY BADLY to help me teach the cats not to get up on the counters. I worked with her a great deal, and used a combo of methods, so that now we can all lie around calmly together on the bed. Had to have a few "Come to Jesus" moments, as well as crating my one very dog-savvy cat who likes to taunt Vala. I also used the one thing my BC is deathly afraid of (the clicker--I KNOW--but what can you do--when I tried to load it she got scared of the treats) to teach her not to focus on them (I'd click when she went after one and she'd turn tail and slink to time out). And I used some positive reinforcement, having both cats and the dog come and sit for treats and petting and attention together (everyone in my house, cats included, will sit for rewards now), to show them to treat each other nicely as well.

 

Can you talk a little more about the "come to Jesus" moments? One of the things that's been frustrating for me is that I feel like I see daily progress with how Archie's responding to me and letting the cats be - but then seems to have a really awful moment that feels like two steps back for every step forward. For instance, the other day he sat (relatively) calmly next to me while Seven hopped up on my lap. Now, he was absolutely fixated on her, but he held steady and didn't move. When she jumped down, he started to go, but then held and laid down flat, in a kind of, "well...fine, I won't go after her for that, but I'm not happy about it." This felt like progress to me!

 

But then he'll go and have a manic episode or a teeth-bearing lunge and I feel like it's two steps back again. My strategy has been to just be patient and keep working and realize that it probably won't be a hallelujah moment where everyone's happy.

 

Really appreciate it, everyone.

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I adopted Whisper several years ago from a rescue. She was an older dog with issues that I knew nothing about until I got her home. Chewing (solved that one), fear of men (solved that one) and cats. Luckily for me, someone did a heck of a job training her at one point-her basic commands were so easy to teach that she must have known them before. And her fear of displeasing me outweighs almost everything else. She went after that cat just once-and a bellow from me stopped her in her tracks to the point where she cowered, dropped her ears and gave me that "please don't hate me, I'm sorry" look. Nowadays, that cat has been known get a wild hair: fly up to the dog, swat her on the nose a few times (the cat is declawed, so no damage) all the while puffed out to ten times her normal size. The dog will look at me with her long-suffering look as if to ask if hse can please put the cat in her place. At that point, I shut the cat in another room until the wild hair is gone and give Whisper a good girl pat. She's come a long way.

 

If you can get your dog to bond with you (if he hasn't already), that can go a long ways. A dog that bonds will do anything for you, once he unerstands what you want (and as long as he doesn't think it's too stupid--Whisper will not chase balls as she sees this as a pointless exercise. However, she will chase a squirrel or chipmunk or skunk or porcupine all day long). FWIW: Be consistant and be firm.

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I adopted Whisper several years ago from a rescue. She was an older dog with issues that I knew nothing about until I got her home. Chewing (solved that one), fear of men (solved that one) and cats. Luckily for me, someone did a heck of a job training her at one point-her basic commands were so easy to teach that she must have known them before. And her fear of displeasing me outweighs almost everything else. She went after that cat just once-and a bellow from me stopped her in her tracks to the point where she cowered, dropped her ears and gave me that "please don't hate me, I'm sorry" look. Nowadays, that cat has been known get a wild hair: fly up to the dog, swat her on the nose a few times (the cat is declawed, so no damage) all the while puffed out to ten times her normal size. The dog will look at me with her long-suffering look as if to ask if hse can please put the cat in her place. At that point, I shut the cat in another room until the wild hair is gone and give Whisper a good girl pat. She's come a long way.

 

If you can get your dog to bond with you (if he hasn't already), that can go a long ways. A dog that bonds will do anything for you, once he unerstands what you want (and as long as he doesn't think it's too stupid--Whisper will not chase balls as she sees this as a pointless exercise. However, she will chase a squirrel or chipmunk or skunk or porcupine all day long). FWIW: Be consistant and be firm.

 

This is something that's definitely been apparent. Archie has taken a little longer to really bond with me than other dogs I've owned. As the bond has gotten stronger, so too has his ability to hold back.

 

Aside from everything else I'm doing, working on strengthening that bond has always been at the top of the list.

 

Your cat story almost exactly mirrors the process for my last dog, Riley, who looked like a BC but was really a spaniel/retriever mix of some sort. He lunged after the cats exactly once, and with one correction never bothered them again. Riley boned with us almost immediately, and that certainly played a big part. Archie's jsut a little more willful, and I think he's had a rough life up to this point. A stable, safe, and happy home is hopefully helping :rolleyes:

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Can you talk a little more about the "come to Jesus" moments? One of the things that's been frustrating for me is that I feel like I see daily progress with how Archie's responding to me and letting the cats be - but then seems to have a really awful moment that feels like two steps back for every step forward.

Really appreciate it, everyone.

 

Well, that's how training is. I had thought I was making wonderful progress with our Brodie's reactivity -- we've stopped his brother's picking at him, got him positive experiences with several different species of dogs (unfortunately none of them long haired and BIG, which were the two that really shocked him - an Aussie that bowled him over and a Newfie that appeared out of nowhere and scared the feathers off of him), and had a plan in place for focusing his attention.... ready for the big time right? Well, almost....

 

I took him to a trial this week end, intending to expose him to the event gently as we do intend to have him work sheep and if my some miracle I do get to any form of competency... I had hoped that a friend who is an animal behaviorist and the breeder of his "pop" would be at a certain booth and and would have the time to walk around with us a bit so I was my way slowly around the backside of the trial field in that direction, letting him take his time, get comfortable, sniff around, see that there were other dogs, sheep in the distance, all the friendly people....doing it right.

 

We were doing okay until I was distracted by a display at a booth, and didn't see another dog coming at him. Brodie lunged, growled and barked and I came down on him with a pretty harsh correction. I immediately felt like a heel because now he's doubly scared and all the time I took introducing him too the place just gurgled down the drain.

 

Thankfully a really nice lady (who is a member of these boards) stepped out of this tent, and rescued both of us...she took us in hand, walked us around slowly -- took us back to the beginning with the "touch" to get Brodie's attention and we went around the field together. She calmed us both down. I really appreciate her help and she will always have my gratitude for taking that time out of her own day to reassure us. Afterward, I put Brodie away for a bit so that he could settle a bit,and I could calm my own mind and regroup. Then took him out for another turn and we both did much better, having our mutual game plan in mind.

 

It really does pay to keep a training journal and now I know that when I am switching dogs I really have to concentrate on how I am going to act because my dogs are so different in personality. I really do think that it will pay (at least for me) to at least scribble a few good intentions about how I intend to work each dog (if that's the right phrase), act and react to their behavior and their needs before starting to interact with them.

 

In other words, what worked best for Brodie the other day was to be able to look at the things that were new or upsetting then to "touch" base with me to be reassured that I would protect him. Robin, on the other hand, on his day out, was very easy going with both dogs and people and needed only close watching for signs of stress when watching the activity on the trial field.

 

Another animal behaviorist also told me that where you leave off a training session with a dog is where you will pick up when you begin the next time. We got around our walk the second time with no growls, barks, or scares. People petted him, admired him, he saw some dogs fairly close up walking by, he was able to observe dogs working sheep, (that was really great!) he got a burger -- so he had a pretty good day out, even after my mistake, thanks to someone who was kind enough to help us quickly get back on the right path.

 

Liz

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Can you talk a little more about the "come to Jesus" moments? One of the things that's been frustrating for me is that I feel like I see daily progress with how Archie's responding to me and letting the cats be - but then seems to have a really awful moment that feels like two steps back for every step forward. For instance, the other day he sat (relatively) calmly next to me while Seven hopped up on my lap. Now, he was absolutely fixated on her, but he held steady and didn't move. When she jumped down, he started to go, but then held and laid down flat, in a kind of, "well...fine, I won't go after her for that, but I'm not happy about it." This felt like progress to me!

 

But then he'll go and have a manic episode or a teeth-bearing lunge and I feel like it's two steps back again. My strategy has been to just be patient and keep working and realize that it probably won't be a hallelujah moment where everyone's happy.

 

Really appreciate it, everyone.

 

 

I think your strategy is the right one. He's still testing you to make sure that you're really truly serious about this "no bothering the cats" nonsense. I predict that this ocassional episodes will probably continue for awhile, but get fewer and farther between. If you're consistent with your corrections, eventually he'll catch on that it's just never worth it.

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Can you talk a little more about the "come to Jesus" moments?

 

This:

This is a situation where I don't hesitate to snatch the dog up by the cheek hairs or the scruff and give him a good shake while getting in his face and letting him know in no uncertain terms (in a very harsh godess-of-doom voice) that the human is very unhappy with his behavior. This is not beating the dog or anything like that. But you have to make it very clear to him that his behavior is unacceptable to you and will not be tolerated.

 

Note that you don't even have to touch the dog. Most border collies are sensitive to their human's emotions and desires. If you can manage to convey how unhappy you are when he makes any threatening or controlling move toward the cat, then you will have accomplished your task.

 

I was at the vet today, where the receptionist just loves my dogs because they love to look at the clinic cat. She says "Where's the kitty?" and they all run to where Cotton is, usually on top of the fax machine, and stare at him. She gets the biggest kick out of that. The cat just ignores them, though sometimes he will parade around past them just for fun. They know not to ever do anything more than look. Same when I took them to an animal health food store, where the resident cat had a good look at them, and they at her.

 

All training is one step forward and two steps back, and numerous methods are available to get your point across to the dog. I train stockdogs, and I simply find the no-nonsense "don't do that because it makes me very unhappy" approach works for me. Of course my dogs are trained from day 1 (no matter what the age) to understand what a correction is (generally verbal) and so if they get a verbal correction for thinking about chasing the cat or another small critter, they know *exactly* what it means. I've never really had to use a "come to Jesus meeting" approach with them, but I have had visitor dogs and dogs in for training whom I needed to acclimate quickly to the fact that they must share a yard peacably with cats and poultry, because nothing makes me feel worse than having one of my animals injured or killed by a dog that should have known better.

 

Many people will choose to manage the situation; I prefer to have the dogs bombproof on certain things (the difference being that I want to be able to trust the dog not to even think about chasing or harrassing or whatever *even when I am nowhere in sight* and the dog is surrounded by temptation), and as I said in my first post to this thread, one of those things is when another life is at risk.

 

J.

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I know it probably doesn't help a whole lot, but Harlow loves my cat. She will pick him up by the back of his neck like a mom, carry him to the same corner in the house, and clean him. Probably 5 nights a week. At the same time my cat, Tom will 'need' her. They are great together, the first time I saw Harlow with Tom in her mouth I panicked, but they do it almost every night. The cat loves being 'cleaned' Harlow may have been a good mom, since she did a similar thing with a baby bunny in the yard.

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I know it probably doesn't help a whole lot, but Harlow loves my cat. She will pick him up by the back of his neck like a mom, carry him to the same corner in the house, and clean him. Probably 5 nights a week. At the same time my cat, Tom will 'need' her. They are great together, the first time I saw Harlow with Tom in her mouth I panicked, but they do it almost every night. The cat loves being 'cleaned' Harlow may have been a good mom, since she did a similar thing with a baby bunny in the yard.

 

My mom used to have a German Shepherd that carried around her Ragdoll cat from when he was a little kitten until he was about half grown. She totally raised that kitten as a puppy, and the cat grew up kind of acting like a dog. Like he never once tried to use his claws, but he would bite if he was pissed off. We totally thought the dog would have tried to eat the kitten, since she basically wanted to kill all dogs and anybody not in the family. But she saw the kitten and had a "ooo...puppy moment." She also used to carry a giant pink stuffed bunny on walks. Nothing more hilarious than a 95lb dog growling at somebody with a giant pink stuffed bunny in her mouth. It kind of made her less scary looking.

 

And right now, my pit bull, Sinead, is nursing three kittens. My cousin's Border Collie lets her one cat nurse off her. It happens.

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  • 1 month later...

I want to thank everyone again for all the help and advice I got.

 

It's been about 6 weeks since my last post and I thought I'd give an update and ask for some more advice :rolleyes: Trip, the very ill cat, has sadly passed away. I basically sequestered him from Archie for the last couple of weeks of his life, so he didn't have much stress to deal with. Eventually his heart gave out, though.

 

Archie and Seven are getting along passably well. Seven doesn't put up with him getting close, and she'll chase him across the house, hissing and clawing. I keep her claws trimmed so she can't really hurt him, and he respects her and always backs off and has never fought back. He also won't try to cross to close to her in a hallway, for example, so I'm pretty comfortable with him leaving her alone.

 

He's still intensely focused on her, though. Always needs to know where she is, and he's only happy if she's on one particular chair. She, on the other hand, has learned she can torment him and he wont' fight back. Now, she has a history of this kind of thing with new animals, even doing this with Trip (who she'd known her whole live) after we moved and she got very territorial out of the blue. It took about 6 months for her to relax, so I'm content to let her adjust as long as Archie's not making any moves to touch her, which he hasn't.

 

It is a little frstrating at night when she's on my bed (which Archie hates), and he's spending the whole night running around looking at her and she's jumping and hissing if she gets too close. But it's getting slowly better (I'm actually sleeping through the night now).

 

Now, on to Archie himself. I'd like some advice on training him. He's very eager to learn, and while I've been able to get some things down well enough, and he's mostly well behaved, there are a few pain points. the most notable one is that when we're at a park with other dogs, it's very, very difficult to get him to listen to me. He's either playing or herding the other dogs, and simply ignores me most of the time. Lately I've been able to get his attention by distracting him with a ball (which he loves to fetch if we're alone), so there is progress, but any tips would be great.

 

Also, with the ball. Some times it's great - he races after it, gets it, and brings it back. But often he doesn't bring it all the way back, or even more annoyingly brings it some place completely different than where I am. He'll often then only bring it to that place for a while. Any suggestions on getting him to always bring it back all the way to me?

 

One great way for me to tire him out is to play hide and seek with his stuffed bird inside. Any other suggestions for similarly stimulating indoor games would be great.

 

Thanks again for everyone's help!

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One of the things that's been frustrating for me is that I feel like I see daily progress with how Archie's responding to me and letting the cats be - but then seems to have a really awful moment that feels like two steps back for every step forward. For instance, the other day he sat (relatively) calmly next to me while Seven hopped up on my lap. Now, he was absolutely fixated on her, but he held steady and didn't move. When she jumped down, he started to go, but then held and laid down flat, in a kind of, "well...fine, I won't go after her for that, but I'm not happy about it." This felt like progress to me!

 

But then he'll go and have a manic episode or a teeth-bearing lunge and I feel like it's two steps back again. My strategy has been to just be patient and keep working and realize that it probably won't be a hallelujah moment where everyone's happy.

 

Really appreciate it, everyone.

 

 

Hi there!

 

You're getting lots of good advise, so I'll just say that I think I'm on the same page as Julie Poudrier. There's no such thing as "herding" cats, and your "No" has to be absolute and firm. In fact, I would forbid even staring when a cat is on your lap. That motionless stare was not calmness: it was a trigger waiting to trip, as you found out. That's what happens when BCs are allowed to stare fixedly at other critters. They aren't moving, but they are building drive with each passing moment.

 

If he is kind of testing your resolve (not unusual for a rescue dog) then you just might need to step it up a notch. Maybe all it will take is a huge, great bark of, "NO!" Or maybe it would take a "NO" and something like a simultaneous whack of a newspaper. (Just smacking your own leg or hand may work, simply because it shocks a dog out of its fixation.) A point to remember is that, even though he's your rescue boy and CUTE as can possibly be, you cannot feel bad if he looks like his feelings are hurt, just because you've ruined his fun. Of course you don't want to traumatize him! But you do need to find the level of NO that gets his attention.

 

Then you can just carry on in a normal, ordinary way. Call him and walk off as if nothing happened, or ask him to do something ordinary, like come and sit for a treat. Whatever. You want him to think the wrath of doG is coming down on him if he bothers the cats, but you follow that with an instant release of stress. He has complied, the moment is over.

 

But you might need to be a little sharper or more startling in your corrections, if he's not taking your present corrections seriously. Not to be mean - just to make sure he knows you mean it. Then if he responds readily, you can work towards softening your correction.

 

Good luck! He sure is a cutie. :rolleyes:

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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My experience is a bit different as I brought a kitten into a situation with a well-trained dog. But here is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Jean Donaldson relating how I accustomed my dog and kitten to each other. The picture below sums up their relationship. It took 2 weeks for me to feel completely safe - YMMV.

 

"I've been planning a kitten for some time and have been waiting until I completed a move to a bigger apt, and settled a couple of other things. I needed to be able to focus completely on integrating the kitten into my household as I have a 5 year old Lurcher bitch who has never been exposed to a cat up close. Faith has a very strong chase reflex, and lots of prey drive - as you might expect from a dog who was the product of a mating between a Greyhound & a Border Collie.

 

So anyway - bottom line - I began the introduction last evening, and using the concept you outlined in your book - operant conditioning - I began by giving Grace a steady stream of little pencil-eraser sized bits of cheese for being in the same room with said kitten. If the kitten came closer she got more cheese bits and lots of happy patter. This worked fabulously because every time she started to get that "gotta chase" look, complete with bug eyes and trembling, I would redirect her with a "sit" or a "down" for which she was lavishly praised and "cheesed." It's been almost 24 hours and she is now very enthusiastic about the kitten - no more shaking, no more trying to spook the kitten into fleeing, no more bug-eyes. She spends most of her time either waiting for the kitten (his name is Mugen) to approach, at which she licks her chops (at me, not the kitten) or alternately walking to wherever Mugen is and returning to me with more chop-licking. I don't have a clicker, but her "marker" word has always been "Oji," and as soon as I see her make close and gentle contact with Mugen, I say "Oji" and she comes to me for a treat. When she is too boisterous in her approach I say "Too bad." And she gets no cheese. She very quickly learned that anything she does which causes Mugen to put up his back or startle, rates a "too bad." For instance, play bows are ok if they aren't too abrupt, nuzzling is ok as long as Mugen is tails-up and purring. Here I have to say that I chose my kitty carefully - outgoing, friendly, and not at all spooky.

 

Of course it will be a long time before I feel it will be safe to leave them alone together, but Faith is an assistance dog - I am agoraphobic - so when I go out she almost always goes with me. And for the times I can't take her, I have a deal with a neighbor where Faith can go for a play-date with a canine friend.

 

Thanks so much for the tools to accomplish this task! Mugen, Faith & I will be forever grateful!"

 

post-10533-1281760520_thumb.jpg

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