Jump to content
BC Boards

Recommended Posts

Hi All, I'm looking for some advice. My almost four month old BC pup is really obsessed with my poor cats. Now I know that's nothing strange, two of the other four are also cat obsessed, but at respectively five years and two years they have developed some "ears". Although the two year old is being influenced by baby sister to not listen. My cats are indoor cats, despite us living on a farm - too many farm cats to fight with and catch ilnesses from. But they do get what we call "catwatch" once a day. Supervised outsde playtime for between half hour and hour. And that's when things go south BIG time. The herding of the cats on the ground I can control to a big extent now with just a pvc pipe or some form of stock stick pushed between her and cat, but hte moment it comes to going inside and I decide to pick the cat up for some reason e.g to take cat inside she will jump up against me and try to bite the cat. Now carrying a cat in your arms while trying to herd away a good sized puppy who's trying to get at the cat, who is at the same time trying to swat the puppy is not much fun. Putting the cat down on the grass results in cat promptly getting chased. And one of the cats - persian x siamese is not really a tree dweller so she especially is the victim.

I'm starting the two year old on goats, and she's quite grippy with them, and today for the first time she chased and nipped at the cat, which obviously I can't allow. So I need to top this ASAP before cat gets hurt.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Or use the cats, treats or other reward and a longline to install some ears

 

Ok so my old eyes read this as use the cat as treats! That would of worked for Mick that's for sure!

LOL

Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds to me like the puppy isn't the only one who should be left inside, crated, or otherwise controlled or managed when the cats have *their* time. Perhaps making sure you only have the animals (and number of animals) that you can manage outside at one time would be a first step.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm moving this to General Border Collie Discussion, because it's not really about training for livestock work.

 

The quickest, most minimal approach -- not the best, in terms of long-term training of the puppy, but the one that would require the least effort and the least change in your routine -- would be to clip a leash on the pup and clip him to some immovable object when you decide you're ready to pick up the cat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, if you persist in viewing the behavior as "herding" (which it is NOT), then you will be less likely to see it for what it really is, which is bad behavior (and also more tolerant on it). Cats are not livestock; they are small animals that can be killed or maimed by a dog. Your youngster (and the older dog too) need to understand in no uncertain terms that chasing and nipping the cats is not acceptable to the human. One of the herding behaviors intentionally developed in border collies was a desire to work with the human (shepherd). This means that the dogs can learn that there are things the human doesn't like and the dogs must not do those things. You would teach your young dog not to chase or nip the children, right? This is one of the few (pretty much only) behaviors where I will set up a dog for a "come to Jesus" meeting with me. I let any of my dogs (no matter what age they were when they arrived here) know that pestering the cats (or other small animals) is absolutely verboten. You don't have to lay a hand on the dog to get that point across, but by golly, if a dog goes after a cat, it's going to know in no uncertain terms that the human is NOT HAPPY with that behavior. You can tower over the dog, raise your voice to the rafters, and variously raise the wrath of God (in the dog's mind) over such behavior. I know that goes against the grain for positive trainers, but when it comes to life or death for the smaller animals, I come down on a dog like a ton of bricks. It really doesn't take a bunch of repetition to make an impression. Presumably both of your dogs already understand a correction, so you correcting more firmly should be able to make a good impression on both of them. Generally dogs want to please their humans, so if they understand that messing with the cats is DISpleasing to the human, they will stop the behavior pretty quickly.

 

If I put the cat down to correct the dog and the dog gives chase, you can bet I am going to be right behind the dog running it down until it realizes that the small amount of fun it had in the chase isn't worth the angry human bearing down on it. And although I noted that you don't have to touch the dog, I am not above giving a scruff shake at such times. Again, I take this approach because it's another animals life or well-being at stake, and I am not going to be responsible for letting the dog hurt the cat.

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can tower over the dog, raise your voice to the rafters, and variously raise the wrath of God (in the dog's mind) over such behavior. I know that goes against the grain for positive trainers

 

I don't know a single otherwise positive trainer who doesn't keep the voice of doom in reserve for appropriate occasions.

 

The fact that it's almost never used makes it all the more effective.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a million guys. I think this pup will be literally on a short leash for a while, and the voice of doom and even maybe even the dreaded scruff shake will have to come back out of the closet it's been in for too long. The Jack Russells used to know botth of thos every well, but for some reason I seem to have lost it along the way. I guess one tends to forget that even tlhe pup can hurt the cat badly. She is really quite a hard case for a young puppy. Normally a few good swats fro. The cats see most dogs back off, not this little booger. Now if I can just teach the cat not to run ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know a single otherwise positive trainer who doesn't keep the voice of doom in reserve for appropriate occasions.

 

The fact that it's almost never used makes it all the more effective.

 

You may be right, Pam, at least for your circle of acquaintances. But many years of discussions on this forum has made it clear that there are many trainers who prefer to not even use the word "no," let alone intimidate a dog, so your experience isn't universal.

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You may be right, Pam, at least for your circle of acquaintances. But many years of discussions on this forum has made it clear that there are many trainers who prefer to not even use the word "no," let alone intimidate a dog, so your experience isn't universal.

 

J.

 

What people say and what they do when nobody else is there to see aren't always the same thing.

 

I prefer to avoid "No" in principle and I try to steer people away from its use simply because it is over used and often leads to a negative attitude towards the dog. It's a semantic/psychological objection I have. There is nothing wrong with encouraging people to focus on what the dog does right rather than just preventing unwanted behaviour.

 

Most average dog owners find hard and fast rules easy to understand and stick to - if and buts just muddy the water. And when giving advice I am conscious of my responsibility not to promote an approach that could have adverse consequences, especially if misapplied.

 

But I know one very well respected "positive" (but not permissive) trainer who had a new client's dog jump out of the training area to go and attack a sheep in a nearby field. (The client had omitted to mention that the dog had been rehomed more than once for sheep worrying and took it for training on a farm!) She ran after the dog and really laid into it to get it to stop. She told me a few days later that it just wasn't her to do that but she saw the farmer coming with his gun and knew that if she didn't show that she had control of the situation the dog would be shot. In a situation like that I find it hard to believe that anyone would stand by and refuse to act because their usual approach wasn't going to work in that situation, but most wouldn't want to advertise the fact that sometimes it's a case of "Do as I say, not as I do".

 

I'm sceptical when people say they always do something and it has always worked. It may be true at the time they say it for the dogs that they have met so far, but one day they will meet the exception.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh good grief, I should have known we'd have to get into all sorts of what ifs and people don't always do what they say they do and pet owners don't need to be told there are shades of grey. The OP, IIRC, wants to work her dogs on stock. Corrections are part and parcel of that training. I don't see the point in arguing that my comment regarding people not wanting to correct isn't somehow valid because in your experience people don't do as they say to do, but will in fact escalate corrections if they are needed. I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make. I simply said that some people don't like to use corrections, but this is a case where such folks might want to reconsider that stance. From your post it sounds as if you agree with that (given your examples) so Im not even sure what the hell you're trying to argue against. I'm just going to drop it after this response because I just don't have the energy to go round and round with you about something that is only tnagentially related to the main intent of my post. It boggles my mind why anyone would even choose to argue about whether or not positive trainers really, truly use correctiosn when the argument is not relevant to the point at hand, which is two dogs chasing and nipping at cats.

 

My point was, and is, that if another animals' life or health is in danger, then it's perfectly acceptable to ramp up the correction to a point that really makes an impression on a dog, even if one wouldn't be comfortable doing that under normal circumstances. You seem to be agreeing with that.

 

The OP in this case is someone who wants to use her dogs to work livestock. She's presumably NOT just an average pet owner, and corrections are part and parcel of stockdog training, so I don't think she has a philosophical aversion to using corrections. I contend that a situation in which a dog is chasing and nipping at a smaller animal with which it must coexist is completely unacceptable and is just the sort of situation where ramping up corrections (or initiating corrections if one doesn't generally use them in every day life) is perfectly acceptable. I made very clear that such corrections do not need to involve any sort of physical pain to the dog. I'm really not even sure what your argument is in regard to that, since you gave an example that seems to support my point: when the dog's life (in your example) or another animal's life (my example) is at stake, then it's acceptable to go where you might not otherwise go. Period. If you have an argument against that, I'm all ears. If you want to argue that even positive trainers use corrections (don't do as I do), I think that's completely irrelevant to the OP's question (and not even borne out by past discussions on this forum, though you seem to be saying all those folks are just liars) and is better placed in a thread of its own, which you are welcome to start.

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Julie,

Over the weekend I learned that the foster family for an otherwise lovely dog I had pulled was having issues with her and their cat. Seems that she was incessantly pestering the cat and "obsessing" over it, but they didn't think it was such a big deal since she wasn't trying to hurt it. They even referred to it as "herding". I pointed out to them that if she is adopted to a home with a cat, this might well be problematic, and that in any case it should not be permitted, and should be addressed with correction/redirections.

 

Then yesterday, I saw your post here and forwarded it to them. They wrote back that their dinner conversation consisted of a discussion on an approach to address the behavior. And then, last night, they wrote me again that after a few firm and well timed vocal corrections, they were already seeing much improvement and thought it would be a non-issue in short order. They even commented that for some reason, it never occurred to them to raise their voice to a foster dog (I presume because of the notion that they've been abused/neglected).

 

So I just wanted to thank you, and let you know that your input and advice really does make an impact. (Just a bit of positive reinforcement coming your way from me ;)/> )

Link to post
Share on other sites
So I just wanted to thank you, and let you know that your input and advice really does make an impact. (Just a bit of positive reinforcement coming your way from me /> )

 

I find that Julie's input is always valuable, and I read her posts with care because even if she's not addressing an issue I am experiencing, she is giving good and sound advice. I personally think she is the single best resource on these boards. She takes the time and uses her patience to address many issues, and I hope others appreciate her as much as I do.

 

I don't mean to imply that anyone else does not contribute because many people do, with good and meaningful advice, but I think Julie's take on most issues, her explanations, and her advice, are generally outstanding.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Then yesterday, I saw your post here and forwarded it to them. They wrote back that their dinner conversation consisted of a discussion on an approach to address the behavior. And then, last night, they wrote me again that after a few firm and well timed vocal corrections, they were already seeing much improvement and thought it would be a non-issue in short order.

 

Any additional insight on the timing/correction used? We're still having "kitty issues" and redirecting with "Leave it!"/name recognition is only working for the one cat (clawless) which could care less about the dog. I'm still worried Murray will get a claw to the nose/eye from the other cat through the gate seperating the two portions of the house. I have high hopes for a comingle relationship between my four-legged children. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have raised dogs and cats together for years without major issues. Nothing that some normal calling and redirecting didn't fix. Until last year when I brought home a pup that totally "loves" cats. It was not even close to being ok until we started putting him on stock. Where, yes, quite predictably, blew me off as well. His breeding and my rather unconcerned attitude while raising him should have been a warning. Now, that he has gotten a bit more control on stock, he will still bother cats when he can but calls off a lot better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did NOT read Mum25 as arguing with Julie. Maybe Julie should go back and reread what was written. To me it sounded like she was agreeing with Julie, until Julie replied with criticism to her.

 

 

I agree Julie usually gives good advise, but that is not a reason to attack another poster. If you don't like what someone wrote, ignore it.

 

 

This is my last visit to the boards!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...