What are some tips on how to stop dog aggression towards cats?
Original Question: Is it possible to train an 8-year-old dog not to hate cats and go after them? - Anonymous
Isn’t it natural that dogs are supposed to hate cats and vice-versa? Actually, there are lots of dogs and cats that get along just fine and there are a couple things that I think about when I read this question. Getting cats and dogs to get along is not impossible and the first thing that you want to do is to give them their own space to run round in and then have them switch spaces so that they get to smell each other before you visually and physically introduce them. You can also use anti-anxiety supplements and things that can calm them down before that introduction is done.
Now in your situation, the introduction has already happened and your dog and cat obviously hate each other so the first thing I would say is it’s very important to give the cat a place to get away. For example, climbing trees stuff and things like that where they can get up and away from the dog would be a good idea. It probably would cut down on some of that animosity and again, you could also look at using anti-anxiety supplements and I also think a little more has to happen with the training of the dog. Dogs are very treat motivated so what we would do is use a behavioral strategy called counter conditioning and desensitization. What you do is with the counter conditioning, whenever the dog sees the cat it may want to get excited and chase the cat so you’ve got to change that emotion and so when the dog gets exposed to the cat, you want to give the dog a treat so that every time the dog gets a treat it’s happy and happy to see the cat rather than excited and want to kill it. The other thing is desensitization and what you do is separate them for some time and then try to reintroduce them slowly by giving them small amounts of time together so they can get used to each other while using those anti-anxiety supplements at the same time.
If this is a recent behavior change, keep in mind, that as pets get older there are medical issues that can cause them to be stressed and not have as harmonious of a life with another pet in the house as they otherwise would be so it’s always good to see your veterinarian about that as well.
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