While it may be amusing to watch your puppy chase your cat, it certainly isn’t fun for your feline friend, and is not behaviour that should be encouraged. However, some dogs feel compelled to chase cats, and if you’re puppy is from a herding or terrier breed, then they may find it irresistible since it’s their inborn predatory instinct to pursue.
However, the following two methods can help teach your puppy to hold back from chasing your cat, helping to keep your feline safe from harm and distress:
The carrier technique:
This method is intended to keep your kitty safe while your puppy is being trained on the leash, but if you have a cat with a nervous disposition, then this method should be avoided. Here’s how it works:
- Put your cat into a protective carrier in one room, while your puppy is in another. You can give your cat a toy or catnip to help calm them.
- Then, bring your puppy into the room on a leash and reward them with treats if they remain focused on you, and not the cat in the room.
- Begin ‘sit’, ‘following’, ‘heel’ and ‘stay on command’ obedience training and continue to reward them as appropriate.
- The tastiest treats should be rewarded only for moving or looking away from the cat. Gradually, your puppy will learn that they get better treats and praise for ignoring the cat rather than pestering it.
The ‘cookie cat’ technique:
This method often has a much quicker success rate, but it’s vital that you ensure your cat is safe by keeping your dog on a controlled leash so that they can’t chase your moggy. Chasing a cat is vastly more rewarding for most puppies than a treat, so try not to allow them to get a taste for it. Here’s how this technique works:
- Make sure you have lots of your puppy’s favourite treats to hand.
- Allow your cat to move freely around the room while you continue to tempt your leashed pup with tasty treats.
- Then, every time your cat draws your puppy’s attention in any way, quickly give pup a small taste of a treat accompanied with a click if you use clicker training.
- It’s important that you’re consistent with this and give your puppy a treat even if they are behaving in an excitable way or are barking at the cat. You want your puppy to understand that whenever there is a cat in the vicinity, treats will be in abundance.
- Ideally, you want your puppy to make the choice to look at you even when there is a hugely tempting cat chasing scenario playing out in his little mind! Gradually – the time it takes may vary from pup to pup – your little canine will figure out that when it sees a cat, it needs to look to you for a treat, instead of being tempted to terrorise the feline.
It is certainly possible for your puppy and your cat to have a harmonious relationship, even if they’re not the best of friends, it may just require a little patience on your part.