Jealous of cat

Posted by Nicobuddy
Feb 2, 2012
I have a 2.5 year old Spanish Water dog that I have had for 9 months. I already had a cat who is 7 years old. From day 1 the dog has chased the cat. He was vicious about it at first but it has gotten better because the cat has learned not to run and we have reprimanded the dog. And actually the cat will now chase the dog when they are outside. It is quite amusing. Occasionally, however, the dog will still tree the cat. Inside, if the cat gets too close or when I am preparing the cat's food, the dog goes crazy and will whine and carry on. No amount of reprimanding gets him to stop. If the cat puts his face up against the sliding glass door from the outside and the dog is inside, he'll go crazy. I have scolded, I have put the dog in time out immediately after it happens but he still can't help himself, it seems. Will he ever get used to the cat and not feel the need to attack?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Feb 3, 2012
Hi Nicobuddy,

Does your dog know a command "Leave it"?
It is a very handy command and it works very well.

My dogs used to chase squirrels on walks but they can now leave them alone with a command of "Leave it". When I accidently drop something from the kitchen counter, say a pill or a piece of onion, they don't eat it when I say "Leave it".

Cat foods (both kibbles and canned food) taste better than dog foods so I understand your dog gets so excited when you are preparing a meal for your cat. I would train him to "Leave it" and make him wait until the cat finishes his meal. My dogs have learn not to take our cats' foods until I let them taste the leftover. The cats don't need to worry about our dogs since they know that the dogs will never steal their foods while they are still eating. When the cats walk away, I always praise my dogs for waiting patiently and give them the tiny leftover canned food with my fingers. They LOVE it

To train your dog to leave cat foods, start with putting a little bit of cat food on a dish when your cat is not around. Tell your dog to "Leave it" as you place the dish in front of him. When he tries to get to it, shut him off using your hand as you say "Leave it!". As soon as he looks away from the food, praise him and give him a treat (but don't give the cat food on the dish yet, until he totally masters the "Leave it" command). He will learn that he gets a treat when he leaves the cat food untouched. As you get more comfortable, you can leave the cat food on the floor and let your cat eat it as you tell your dog to leave it (him). You might have to practice like a week or more before you feel comfortable though.

In the mean time, practice "Leave it (the cat)" as you hold the cat in your arms and bring the cat closer to your dog as saying "Leave it". If the dog jumps up to get to the cat, say "Ahhhh" or "Ehhhh" to startle him and tell him again "Leave it". When he can be calm around the cat, praise him a lot and give him a lot of attention. When the dog starts to chase the cat, shout at him "Leave it!" and call him over. If he comes to you leaving the cat, praise and treat him. You will need to be very patient and consistent.

I hope this will work for him Let us know how it goes.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Feb 5, 2012
Hey there,

I agree with most of what MHN said - a command to train your dog on to leave things alone when told to is a very important and useful tool to have. I'd say her advice on the food is excellent, and would give that a go.

The only thing Im a bit worried about is the scenario of you holding the cat and bringing it closer to your dog - if the cat freaks out you could get scratched up, and the dog would undoubtedly get more excited over a spazzing out cat! Maybe try holding your dog (on a lead works well) and walking over to the cat while its doing whatever its doing. If your dog starts up, tug the lead and give your command. You can pull your dog away if need be, wait for her to calm down, and try again. This better allows the cat to get away if she wants, and lets you control your dog, who seems to have the behaviour issue

Hope that makes sense - please keep us updated!
Posted by Nicobuddy
Feb 9, 2012
Nico DOES know the "leave it " command and will not touch the cat food if the cat is not around and I say "leave it". I believe it is a jealousy thing with the cat and I have resorted to feeding the cat when the dog is outside or even putting the dog in another room so he doesn't go crazy over the cat. He wants to attack the cat when they are inside together, if the cat walks by, etc. Outside, the cat can get away or stand his ground and bat at the dog and I am not in the middle. Also, Nico will listen to me when I say to "stop" or "leave it" outside but it is bad when I am there with them inside. He watches the cat like a hawk and will pounce if he gets the opportunity.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Feb 9, 2012
I know you said you've tried it, but maybe try perservering with time outs. In my experience, they work really well for consistent behavioural problems.

Just be sure to catch your IMMEDIATELY when he gets excited over the cat, and do it every single time. Just 10 minutes or so in a quiet, small room to calm down. And if he comes out and starts in on the cat - right back to time out he goes! Most dogs get pretty sick of being shut up on their own, so hopefully with increased effort at it he'll understand.

Otherwise, keep on with the "leave it" and "no" commands. It may just be that you need time for training on this. Overall, most dogs and cats, no matter their initial interactions, will learn to live in the same house perfectly fine, though they may not ever be "friends"
Posted by Nicobuddy
Feb 17, 2012
OK, thanks, I will try the time out thing every time. Sounds like good advice.