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Thread: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    Spike is a Jack Russell Terrier mix, and is actually quite calm for the most part. He does have moments of phsyco energy.

    Problem #1: He chases our cats. To make matters worse, nearly every time he sees them he'll try and sniff or play with them and they run because they're scared of him. Then he takes off after them. He has bit Rocky's tail before and the cats have made his nose bleed twice. They are NEVER alone without supervision.
    How can I stop this behavior? Putting him on a leash and letting him sniff the cats doesn't work AT ALL. He gets all worked up and excited and the cats freak and run.

    Problem #2:
    He has been trained previously. He does know commands. However, getting him to actually OBEY you is quite another thing. It's hit and miss as to whether he will sit when you tell him to (though he will sit on command every time before his meal and will wait for the command to eat before he eats). Even with a treat in hand. It's worse on walks. He does not and will not pay attention on walks. He gets very easily distracted and won't or can't concentrate.

    Problem #3:
    Food. We always have to add canned food or peanut butter to his food. And it's still a struggle to get him to eat. He eats it grudgingly. He is always scrounging for food scraps or begging for food (none of us feed him scraps, that has been made absolutely clear to everyone). I think his previous owners gave him food scraps.
    How can we get him to eat properly?


    I preferably would like to train him WITHOUT treats.

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    Cavy Slave animallover2424's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    I don't know how to train him, but my dogs have some of the same problems. Especially food scraps!

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    Problem #4:
    He doesn't get enough exercise (could this maybe be the reason he chases the cats so much?). NOT our fault. We would gladly give him half a day outside running and playing if he'd stay outside. But he won't. He'll stay outside maybe half an hour, most of the time not even that. Then he wants to go back inside. I THINK he may get enough exercise if we had another dog (and we can't get another dog right now, especially not until we solve his problems). He LOVES other dogs. If he sees another dog during the walk he goes nuts. We take him on a walk with a neighbors lab sometimes and they are best buds. He doesn't do well with dogs his size or smaller (he'll try and dominate them).

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    1. I had the same problem when we brought Finnegan home. It was a nightmare. He'd constantly chase the cat and I tried everything to get him to stop. For me, I had to just wait it out and as he learned that the cat is always going to be there, he's gradually learning to leave him alone. I know it sounds like a major hassle, but I'd recommend not trying to separate them on your own or keep him from getting to the cats because that's only going to intensify his curiosity about them.

    2. Have you considered obedience training with him? They might be able to offer you some techniques that will work with his specific personality and drive.

    3. Getting him to eat is simple, just don't offer him table scraps. He'll be hungry enough to eat his food and will eventually learn that begging and badgering you for food isn't going to pay off. He will probably always beg a bit but if you want to break him of that habit, at least somewhat, everyone in the family has to be committed to not giving him table scraps.

    4. If you're just putting him outside on his own, he's not going to get enough exercise. Dogs are family oriented animals and they want to be where you are. He's not going to run laps outside while the whole family is inside. I'd suggest having one (or more) members of the family outside to play with him for at least an hour. Perhaps even consider some agility training or something that will force him to focus his attention and energy and get the exercise he needs. Can you maybe arrange play times for him and the neighbor dog? It might really help him to expend all that excess energy.

  5. "Thank you, Paula, for this useful post," says:


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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    1. I had the same problem when we brought Finnegan home. It was a nightmare. He'd constantly chase the cat and I tried everything to get him to stop. For me, I had to just wait it out and as he learned that the cat is always going to be there, he's gradually learning to leave him alone. I know it sounds like a major hassle, but I'd recommend not trying to separate them on your own or keep him from getting to the cats because that's only going to intensify his curiosity about them.

    2. Have you considered obedience training with him? They might be able to offer you some techniques that will work with his specific personality and drive.

    3. Getting him to eat is simple, just don't offer him table scraps. He'll be hungry enough to eat his food and will eventually learn that begging and badgering you for food isn't going to pay off. He will probably always beg a bit but if you want to break him of that habit, at least somewhat, everyone in the family has to be committed to not giving him table scraps.

    4. If you're just putting him outside on his own, he's not going to get enough exercise. Dogs are family oriented animals and they want to be where you are. He's not going to run laps outside while the whole family is inside. I'd suggest having one (or more) members of the family outside to play with him for at least an hour. Perhaps even consider some agility training or something that will force him to focus his attention and energy and get the exercise he needs. Can you maybe arrange play times for him and the neighbor dog? It might really help him to expend all that excess energy.

    1. I'll definitely try it. I think that is the only thing that will work. Everything else I have read and tried hasn't worked. I still need to separate if things get too intense, correct?

    2. I haven't, because I thought we could train him ourselves (we have trained past dogs ourselves). With him it clearly isn't working. I think obedience class is going to have to happen.

    3. We don't offer him table scraps. My little brother was giving him some table scraps, unknown to us, but we made it perfectly clear to him that that wasn't acceptable and he hasn't given him any for the past 4 months.
    There is sometimes food on the floor from my three year old brother, and he'll eat that if it's not cleaned up right away.

    4. He isn't going outside all on his own. He's always outside with at least one person (often times four people) and we play with him. But he'll just run up the deck steps and wait for us to let him in.
    I've thought about agility. I think he'd be good at it.
    Good idea. We'll have to see about arranging a play date.

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    Cavy Slave louie_joey's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    If he is good on a leash take him with you for a bike ride or roller blade, that is a good way to burn energy. Only do this if he is really good on a leash and you are sure that he won't cross over in front of you or behind you, causing you trouble. You wouldn't believe it but my dog (20 pounds) pulled me off my bike cause he saw a squirrel. Not a fun experiance.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    I have a Border Collie with phenomenal focus but I think Russells are seriously ADD, so they will take more effort on the owner's part. I took Dawson through obedience and agility and it was the best thing that I could have done. Not only did we (I) have a blast but the bonding was terrific. It really helped in future situations, especially the "no bark-no chase" command (which would help with the cat situation). We have wildlife aplenty and chasing some of them can be very painful or even deadly, so to teach him to break off a chase was critical. It took time, effort and consistency, like daily sessions for a while. The pay off is a very obedient animal. I used treats as a reward, which is not a bad thing. You just take that into consideration and count it into the total daily calorie intake. There is also clicker training, which uses a clicker as reward. I'm not real familiar with it but I know some trainers that swear by it. The reluctance to eat may stem from a tooth problem or a food sensitivity. Peanut butter isn't always the best thing for dogs and should, if used, be used in small amounts. One of Dawson's favorite toys is a Star Ball. It's a tough, rubber ball that's lumpy and when it hits the ground, there's no telling which way it will bounce. He really "worked up a sweat" when we played Star Ball and we all know that a tired puppy is a good puppy.

  9. "Thank you, Toadies, for this useful post," says:


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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    Quote Originally Posted by Toadies View Post
    I have a Border Collie with phenomenal focus but I think Russells are seriously ADD, so they will take more effort on the owner's part. I took Dawson through obedience and agility and it was the best thing that I could have done. Not only did we (I) have a blast but the bonding was terrific. It really helped in future situations, especially the "no bark-no chase" command (which would help with the cat situation). We have wildlife aplenty and chasing some of them can be very painful or even deadly, so to teach him to break off a chase was critical. It took time, effort and consistency, like daily sessions for a while. The pay off is a very obedient animal. I used treats as a reward, which is not a bad thing. You just take that into consideration and count it into the total daily calorie intake. There is also clicker training, which uses a clicker as reward. I'm not real familiar with it but I know some trainers that swear by it. The reluctance to eat may stem from a tooth problem or a food sensitivity. Peanut butter isn't always the best thing for dogs and should, if used, be used in small amounts. One of Dawson's favorite toys is a Star Ball. It's a tough, rubber ball that's lumpy and when it hits the ground, there's no telling which way it will bounce. He really "worked up a sweat" when we played Star Ball and we all know that a tired puppy is a good puppy.

    I know treats aren't a bad thing, but I would rather not use them. No one ever tells you how to wean them off of treats. And I want him to obey without treats. I did try clicker training and it didn't really work.
    We've taken him to the vet and he doesn't have any tooth or food sensitivity problems. He's just not that food motivated.
    I found an in home trainer that has extremely good reviews. Right now we're just saving up to pay the fee which is between $500 and $600, but this lasts the dogs lifetime. You can call and get extra sessions, advice etc. for the rest of the dogs life with no extra cost.
    I want to put him through agility classes after he's been trained.
    I also found that he loves being outside and will stay outside if nearly everyone is outside. So we've been having most everyone outside for a good hour a day to play. He'll just sit and lay outside in the sunshine for a while with me when I'm reading in the hammock. He's been getting two 30 minute walks/jogs a day.
    I found that he's eating better now with more exercise. When I call him in the kitchen to watch the process of preparing his food, he's more interested in it. I haven't been using peanut butter at all for a little while. I think maybe he'd been previously trained to do this, but he always sits and waits, even after you put the food down, until you give him the command to eat.

    As far as chasing cats. Just letting him chase them isn't working. In fact, it's getting worse. He chased a cat up a bookcase and was there barking again and again and again and jumping again and again for FIFTEEN minutes. I devised a plan and so far it's been working. I blow a shrill whistle, stand in his way and firmly tell him "no." That normally works, but if it doesn't a good mist of cold water in his face does.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I was suggesting that you let your dog chase your cats. I don't let my dog chase the wildlife. He was taught not to, the command being "no bark, no chase". If he started to chase, he was brought up short by the command. He has gotten so that he doesn't try to chase now. It sounds like you have an effective course of action in force. I know some trainers suggest an empty soda can with some beans or such inside, taped shut of course, that you toss in the direction of the offending pet to distract them from their course of crime. That way you're not the bad guy with the discipline. A trainer is a great idea. He will also train you to deal with that particular dog's personality. The fact that your dog waits for you to give him permission to eat is excellent. As for treats, police or drug dog training uses a few minutes of play with a favorite toy as a reward for a successful search. Some dogs will turn themselves inside out for a good scratch and "well done" from their owner. Whatever the solution is for you, I hope that you find it soon and I wish you the best in your efforts.

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    Quote Originally Posted by Toadies View Post
    I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I was suggesting that you let your dog chase your cats. I don't let my dog chase the wildlife. He was taught not to, the command being "no bark, no chase". If he started to chase, he was brought up short by the command. He has gotten so that he doesn't try to chase now. It sounds like you have an effective course of action in force. I know some trainers suggest an empty soda can with some beans or such inside, taped shut of course, that you toss in the direction of the offending pet to distract them from their course of crime. That way you're not the bad guy with the discipline. A trainer is a great idea. He will also train you to deal with that particular dog's personality. The fact that your dog waits for you to give him permission to eat is excellent. As for treats, police or drug dog training uses a few minutes of play with a favorite toy as a reward for a successful search. Some dogs will turn themselves inside out for a good scratch and "well done" from their owner. Whatever the solution is for you, I hope that you find it soon and I wish you the best in your efforts.

    Oh no no no, I'm sorry! I forgot to put that part about the cats before your quote! I meant to address Paula, as she suggested just letting him chase the cats.

    The favorite toy method sounds like a good idea. He has a toy rubber pig that squeeks and he is in love with it. If he can't find it he goes nuts, running around frantically trying to find it. It's hands down his favorite toy.
    I notice that when I vary where I walk in the neighborhood, he pays more attention to ME. I never take the same course anymore.
    Also I noticed during his walk this evening that he didn't pull at all and was very obedient. I made him go potty before we went for the walk (he normally wants to go during the walk). I didn't allow him to mark any mailboxes or trees. I took the whistle along and if he got too excited at the sight of another dog I blew the whistle very shortly and told him "no." Worked like a charm.
    I haven't had any problems such as him seeing me as the bad guy. I actually think he respects me more than some others (though he respects everyone and listens to everyone). I give him his bath, feed him lunch and dinner, take him on his evening walk. My sis feeds him breakfast and does his morning walk.

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    Okay...ugh! Apparently when he went to the vet my mom did not ask about food allergies, just tooth problems. I looked it up and I think he has food allergies or sensitivities. He's always biting and licking his paws, itches all the time and has some anal itching (no worms and doesn't need his glands expressed). As well as not really interested in his food.
    I think another vet visit is in order.
    I'm starting an elimination diet soon, probably tomorrow as we need to go get food today. So.... I'm not sure if I want to get the limited ingredient food or do homemade. I'm leaning towards homemade. I can limit the ingredients better that way. Just need to call the vet to get a rec on vitamin supplement.

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    Spike's been on an elimination diet this whole week. All I can say is wow! His itching and paw licking has drastically improved, he's not having so many bowel movements every day and the way he's eating his food! It's like he's never had food before! Needless to say, I think we found the problem. Now to eventually find out what it is he's allergic to.

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    Cavy Slave blackarrow's Avatar
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    Re: Stopping dog from chasing cats and training

    That's great news that you're on the right track. He and you both must feel so much better!

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