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Cat Training


Guest Erytheia3
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Guest Erytheia3

So my husband and I are fostering a beautiful big boy who retired from racing in January. He gets along great with our other greyhound and ignores the rats that we have in a cage. He, however, hates our 2 cats. We have read all the advice on how to introduce him and fully understand that he may never be cat safe. This is heartbreaking because this boy is just so incredible, and sweet. We are on day 3 of introductions. We are introducing them in the bathroom and have our boy muzzled and leashed with the cat in the bathtub, sometimes on my lap while I lovingly pet. Day 3 is different from day 1, we are able to get his attention away for short periods of time but then he snaps back to staring. Water squirts don't faze him. One of our cats has been hissing, which makes him back up and wag his tail and whine. That is my question - whats up with the tail wagging and whimpering? Does he see the cat as a play thing or is this behavior they exhibit when they want to attack and chase, like the lure? I will be happy to answer any questions about his behavior - I am just looking for a good start and some advice.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

The tail wag and whimpering can be a matter of his frustration that he wants to get the prey, or it could be that he is really interested in finding out what the thing is. Either way, as you have stated, it is not safe for the cats right now. One thing I would do is let the hound get close to the cat that is hissing (with muzzle on and leashed). Hold the hound just out of range of the cat and allow the cat to swat the hound. This is the true test of your hound. I have been the cat tester for a few groups for many years when i had my cats and I had one cat that was a runner and one that was a fighter. I would let the cat that ran to entice the hound into a small bathroom where I had my mean cat waiting. Once the hound was in face to face with the mean cat, said cat would swat the muzzle and hiss at the hound. If the hound backed off and wanted to get away, it was a workable hound, if the swat made the hound more exited (puffing, whining, attacking, etc.), then the hound was deemed "not cat safe". I would try this to see what your hound does. Also, here is my "long term" introduction method for a new hound and cats in a house:

 

First week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD.

2) Cats will be put behind closed doors for more than half of the day the hound is awake and I am home.

3) When the cats are around, the hound will have a leash attached (as well as muzzle, see above).

4) to work on desensitization, get some good small bites of food, such as cheese. Have significant other/friend help with the next few steps

5) One person has hound with muzzle and leash on one side of room, second person gets cat and walks into room holding cat. Person with cat sits on floor on opposite side of room and allows the hound to see the cat. Person holding hound calls his/her name, once the hound looks, give treat. REPEAT for 5-10 minutes. DO NOT allow cat to move or otherwise stir and make noise. If the cat gets upset, remove the cat, do not allow the cat to run or make noise as this may excite the hound.

6) do this multiple times during the day. After each session, the cat should be placed in a room, do not allow interaction.

Second week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD.

2) Again, two people. One brings cat into room, one holds the hound with muzzle and leash. Person with cat should sit much closer to hound. The hound can be allowed to approach the cat and sniff. All the while the person holding the hound should call his/her name and treat when the hound looks away from the cat. If the hound does not look away from the cat, the person holding the hound on the leash should move away from the cat and get the hounds attention, if needed show the treat to the hound to break the hounds' attention.

3) REPEAT for 5-10 minutes multiple times during the day.

4) After each session the cat should be placed in a room, do not allow interaction.

Third week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD (see the trend?).

2) Again, two people. The hound still has muzzle and leash. By this time the hound should be nearly 100% reliable in looking away from the cat for a treat. If not, repeat second week until you have 100% reliability.

3) Second person brings cat into room, sets the cat down and allows the cat to move around the room. The person with the hound should be ready for the hound to try to move, do NOT allow the hound to follow or approach the cat when it is moving around. Instead call the hounds name and treat. If during this week the cat takes off or the hound starts to get anxious (barking, panting, drooling, excessive pulling) you need to go back a week.

4) If you can now distract the hound while the cat is moving around the room, good. Keep this training up for a week.

Fourth week:

1) Muzzle does not come off the hound unless the cats are behind closed door, or hound is in crate, PERIOD.

2) Two people, same drill (muzzle and leash).

3) Now you want to get the cat riled up when you have the cat and hound in the room together. If the cat is calm, then push the cat to run out of the room or otherwise get the kitty to make noise. Hold the leash and repeat treating when the hound looks at you. If you cannot get the hounds attention, go back a few weeks in the training.

4) Repeat daily.

Once you can have the cat in the room running around and making noise and be able to get the hound to look at you for treats, THEN you can allow the cat to have free run of the house. At this time, put up the baby gates at strategic places around the home (such as hallways and maybe doorways) about 6" above the ground. This will allow for the cats to move freely, but the hound cannot follow. Also as others have said, pull away the furniture from the walls to allow the cats to slide behind. At this time I may allow the cats and dogs to be able to move around at night, but have to see both how calm the cats are around the hound and vise versa. Before this I do not allow the cats and dogs to be able to be in the same room at night when I sleep, period.

This method of desensitization is much more effective at getting hounds and cats to live together as it reinforces the behavior you want, as opposed to correcting the behavior you don't want. For correction to work, you have to be present.

Do not allow your cats and dogs to co-mingle while you are gone for at least the first 3-6 months, you never know what can happen when you are gone. The muzzle does not guarantee that your cat will not be harmed. A greyhound can still kill small animals with a muzzle on.

The thing you need to realize is that if you cannot break the stare of the hound, if the hound constantly hunts the cats in weeks 2 and 3 after the cat leaves the room, if your hound will not eat a treat when a cat is near, all these things add up to - NO cats for this hound. Good luck and be sure to keep your little one's safe at all times (as you already are doing).

Chad

Edited by Greyt_dog_lover
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Guest Erytheia3

Chad -

Thank you very much for your reply. I have seen your training schedule all over the web!! - and it is the one that we are using/adapting. It is a little different for us based on our cats - our 1 cat Musty is a beast. He is 19 pounds and can only be pet on the head, nowhere else on the body or picked up. He also has no fear of the greyhound when the greyhound strains for him - he just stares and swats his tail. So training with him is a little different as there is no controlling his movements.
I am looking for similar success stories and tips! Would it be helpful to put a citrus sent in the squirt bottle for when he wont break gaze?

Thank you again!

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

Personally i wouldn't do the bottle, i would let the cat swat the hound in the face. That is the best way to tell if the hound can be "workable". Also, if you cant break the gaze, then you need to body-block the hound, if that doesn't work, then remove the hound from the room and allow the hound some time to calm down. Once the hound is in "prey"mode, there isnt much you can do to distract them other than removing from the stimulus.

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This doesn't sound like a great candidate to live with cats, frankly.

 

Chad's advice is excellent, but being on my second cat safe hound, I didn't have ANY of this sort of thing with either dog.

 

I would NOT confine yourself, the dog, and the cat to the bathroom however (unless you're one of those lucky folks with a huge bathroom!). What I would do is confine all cats to a bedroom (with water, litter box, scratching post) for AT LEAST a week. Don't even let them see each other. Let them get used to the smells.

 

Then I would let the cats go about their business while keeping the dog confined/leashed/muzzled.

 

Always, always, always have an escape route for the cats--a baby gate somewhere that is lifted about 6 inches from the floor for them to go under if he starts to chase them.

 

Good luck!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Erytheia3

Thank you for chiming in Greyaholic! You are right - not a good candidate for cats. Almost a month in and there is no improvement. Well, we will just love our foster baby while we have him - which likely wont be long! His personality (other than the cat thing) is amazing. He is smart, funny, rude (when demanding attention), bouncy, energetic, snuggly..... the list goes on. You never know what he is going to do next!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest KK_The_Grey

I realize that this is a little late, as you already got lots of good advice, but I thought I'd share our experience.

 

It took us about two months to get to the point where our cats are safe around our dog unmuzzled. Our girl was cat tested twice. In the beginning, she was very interested in the cats, panting, whimpering, drippy nose. After about two weeks, this has dulled into partial indifference. After couple of hisses and swats in the muzzle she seemed to get the idea that they aren't play things but part of our pack.

 

Now, they can sniff each other, touch noses, cats rub against her legs. She will still growl or snap at them if they get too close when she's eating or if they want to play with a toy, she's currently playing with but she has never hurt them or even made contact. Occasionally, she lets them clean up her dinner crumbs and, recently, she developed an interest in playing with our male. She will bow to him, wag her tail, poke him with her nose...that being said, 3 months is still a very fast progress.

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