Cat Chasing

Posted by chanda-prince
Jun 19, 2012
I have a 1 year old MN german shepherd (Raider) that we have just finished behavior modification training. It has helped some, but not enough- which is why I'm here. He was originally in training for barking in his crate and chasing/pinning our cats (we have 4). He still barks in his crate-but not near as bad. My issue is still the chasing cats. He has tremendous prey drive! We have done the whole "treat when a cat is around and not paying attention to it" to "throwing a party" when he doesn't chase them. He is a little better, but is still pretty bad. You can see in his face that he knows not to, but he just can't help it. He is especially bad with one of them, Peaches. She was a rescue from about 8 months old and is a very timid girl. Mostly, she doesn't go downstairs because he won't leave her be. He even gets to the point where he scratches at the couch she's under, runs back and forth, and whines. I don't know what to do! I want to be able to enjoy my cats and my dogs together. FYI he was the last addition to our family, coming to us at ~12 weeks old.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jun 21, 2012
Hi queenkitten,

I think male dogs have stronger prey drive by looking at my 2 own female and 1 male dog, also Raider's breed contributes to it.

First off, if he is not neutered, I recommend you neuter him.

This might sounds ridiculous but I would have him on a leash inside the house. Tie the leash to yourself so that whenever he is about to go after the cats you will know right at the moment to correct his behavior. Tug him and say "Leave it!". If he does leave it, praise and reward him. You will need to repeat over and over again until he responds to your "Leave it" without actual tug (force).

Dogs are naturally hunters so they have strong instinct to stalk/chase/cut/kill small animals. You are trying to curve this instinct so I am afraid it will take time. If Raider is basically obedient, he will learn not to chase or scare your kittens. My dogs are all so cool with my cats and they can leave "Squirrels" and "Bunnies" across the street without being leashed
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 25, 2012
Hi there,

I think MHN's advice is great, even if you dont always tie the leash to you - it provides a long thing to grab easier when your dog starts off.

It may also help to startle your dog when he goes for the cats. This means you'll have to carry something with you or have it always within grasp, because you'll need to be quick on the draw. A can full of stones or marbles, a horn, a kazoo, or even a water pistol are all great options - I'm sure you can come up with something from around the house. Make a noise or squirt him when he starts getting riled up - its just about shocking him so that his attention is diverted, even for a second long enough for you to call him back.

I hope you can get a grip on his behaviour - poor kitties!