Dog Training: How to Ignore Cats

First of all, for more on dog training and on general dog-related things, I would go to my Sister’s blog HERE because with me in university, she has quite a bit more contact with our pooch now.

Gwynn is an Aussie-doodle (australian shepherd and poodle mix) with a good temperament, plays well with dogs, and has an unfortunate habit of going batshit crazy over cats.

When visiting relatives/ family friends who have cats, he will go absolutely bonkers to get to them t play.

Cats are a new species to him, a strange and mysterious one that he ha never had the chance to play with before.

To him, they are like leprechauns. Ones that you (and it seems like only you) see every once in a while. It is very confusing for him when he sees a cat on the porch of some house, or walking down the street, because he wants to play with that cat so badly, an it doesn’t seem as though Lexy or I have caught sight of the Leprecat, even though it’s RIGHT THERE.

This is a bit of a bother to my sister and I, and to the rest of the family, because it’s very hard to have a nice family visit with the Dog there acting like a cat addict going through withdrawal symptoms while we wave cats in front of his face.

We aren’t, by the way, waving cats in front of his face.

BUT to hep stop him from going through this act of apeshit crazyness, we have worked on training him out of it when we can.

I managed to take a video of it a while back, when we were going for a walk and happened to see a cat hanging out on the porch of one house.

Here is what happened.

To explain the training a bit better, we are trying to train Gwynn to get into the habit of thinking that when he sees a cat, he should sit down and look to Lexy (or, later, whoever is holding the leash).

Since the cat was there, we had him sit down next to Lexy and he would get a treat every time he looked up at my sister.

We didn’t have a clicker on hand with us, so when he looked up at my sister she said “yes” to indicate what she was giving him a treat for. He looks up, “yes”, Treat.

That way, if he looked away before my sister managed to get the treat for him, he wouldn’t get confused and think he was getting the treat for looking at the cat.

This is working somewhat, but since it’s rare that we find a cat willing to stick around for us to stand there and play this training game, it is slow going.

To give you an idea of why, exactly, we would like him to at least calm down a little in regards to cats, it isn’t just for social reasons.

When walking, if we don’t see the cat before Gwynn does, he will lunge towards the cat with the probable hope taht if he can just get to it fast enough, they could be friends.

This usually results in my sisters arm to get jerked (painfully, as it has happened to me as well), and risk loosing grip of his leash.

This is not good.

If anyone has any other suggestions on how to teach your dog to be calm around cats, please feel free to mention, and please check out my sisters blog for more 😀

I believe she has a section describing the training classes that she (and I, earlier) have gone to, and other training tricks of hers.

Also feel free to share any funny walking stories. I think that this kind of training can be done for squirrels as well 😉

Thanks!

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