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Bit a cat... on leashed walk

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by Jennaissance, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Jennaissance

    Jennaissance Puppy

    Today my dog bit a cat on a leashed walk. I was right there. He should have been under control but I failed him.
    I was talking with a neighbor and she was saying hello to my dog and then she just said, “the cat, the cat, the cat.”
    It had come up from behind me and was suddenly rubbing on my dog. I didn’t know what to do because I don’t know how my dog is around cats. I watched his body language and was thinking he was friendly. He was still, but tail wagging but not high up. No lip licking. It’s hard to tell with his ears because someone cut them... but he really seemed okay. I remember thinking to myself that his tail was about right in that pump position and wagging softly as he and the cat started smelling each other’s faces. And then he bit. Grabbed her by the back of the neck. I did “leave it” and he obeyed perfectly but became highly aroused in a manner I have not seen him be very much after they were separated.
    I’m not sure what he would have done to this cat if I hadn’t been there to intervene and I guess it doesn’t matter because I’m always there to intervene.
    At this point, I’m upset because I worry that the cat could be injured even though no skin was broken and this neighbor happens to be a coworker. My dog does have faults and behavioral imperfections but I thought I could manage them by keeping him in a fenced yard and only doing leashed walks and working with our behaviorist.
    I don’t understand cat behavior because I’m allergic and avoid cats at all costs.
    We are working with an amazing behaviorist. And I plan to discuss this with her.
    But I am feeling it a bit that I let a situation get out of my control when I thought I was doing a favor for my pup only putting him in these controlled situations.
    If you have a dog that is aroused by cats I would like to hear how you handle it.
    Thank you.
  2. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog


    I know what you mean by you failed him. I had a similar experience.basically, I don't let either of my dogs near cats. They act in an unpredictable manner around them.
    ETRaven2 and Jennaissance like this.
  3. Worg

    Worg Big Dog

    This is not a behavioral flaw, it is a behavior that is a result of a natural instinct, and for some a highly desirable instinct. All you should be worried about is YOUR management of the dog, not your dogs tendencies, better handling is all that is needed. Most dogs I and my family have had would go after and even kill cats if and when they had the chance.
    ETRaven2, Nat Ursula and Jennaissance like this.
  4. GK1

    GK1 Little Dog

    I don’t think you failed but learned something about your dog. IMO you cannot behavior train a dog which is genetically cat aggressive to not be. Especially after they get the taste. The dog in my avatar goes crazy at the sight/scent of cats (rodents, birds, insects etc) and will attack instantly. It’s called hunt drive. I can correct her and refocus her on me when she alerts, but the hunter instinct will always be in her mind and heart. I like cats and wouldn’t mind having one, but no way with my dogs. My Belgian and German are no good when it comes to cats and other animals either. Kind of hard to explain the motivations, but the German attacks out of territorial aggression, the Belgian kills and eats whatever he can catch, the pit bull hunts for sport.
    ETRaven2, Nat Ursula and Jennaissance like this.
  5. pitbulldogs

    pitbulldogs OHMUHGERD Staff Member Administrator

    Prey drive is prey drive. Now you know your dog has some but either way, it's nobody's fault, the dog did what dogs do and the cat was a bystander. You can't keep a cat on a leash (you can but most don't) so your only option is being an inside cat, outdoor cats are always susceptible to such things, most are smart enough to stay away from dogs.
    ETRaven2, Nat Ursula and Jennaissance like this.
  6. Jennaissance

    Jennaissance Puppy

    I think that’s where I’m at in my understanding of what happened. What do you when you are on a leashed walk and an overly friendly cat starts approaching to get it to go away?
    I know nothing about cats.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  7. Jennaissance

    Jennaissance Puppy

    If I want to manage this better I think I need to better understand what set off his predator drive. I’m trying to understand what was different in this situation than say when a toddler grabs his muzzle at the park or when we encounter a highly aroused dog on a walk. Because nothing has happened in those situations. I’m thinking back on the situation and his body language was more alert so in the future I can pay more attention to that and look out for it for sure. Are there any other cues I should look for when predator drive kicks in? I’ll ask my behaviorist too. But I think that looking at a situation and predicting an outcome would be helpful so if you have any advice with regard to that I would really appreciate it.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  8. Jennaissance

    Jennaissance Puppy

    I hear you. My behaviorist has a book called our animals can do no wrong. I know that I have to have better handling. Thank you for pointing that out. It will be my focus.
  9. Worg

    Worg Big Dog

    Make a loud PSSHHHHH sound and stomp toward them, usually works
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  10. pitbulldogs

    pitbulldogs OHMUHGERD Staff Member Administrator

    My dogs usually scare cats off from far away lol. They act like nuts when anything with fur starts to move.
  11. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    I never heard of a cat walking up to a dog and rubbing against him! Lol However, I think a cat thought about it with Tonka and her hackles went up and the owner came out and said her Rottweiler is her cat's best friend so she thinks all dogs like cats.
  12. Eden86

    Eden86 Little Dog

    Yeah, that’s a tricky one. I wouldn’t blame yourself too much. The fact that you got your dog to drop it instantly is a big plus i’d take away. Also, you now know what your dog will do around cats.
    Pitbullmom1 and Nat Ursula like this.
  13. Pitbullmom1

    Pitbullmom1 Big Dog

    Yes I agree I’ve seen my dogs kill a bunch of rabbits omg I try to stop them but living in the country it happens. I believe a cat would be no difference at my house. I would be proud that he dropped it on command. And that cat was asking for it by rubbing up against him lol
    pitbulldogs likes this.
  14. Leslie H

    Leslie H Good Dog

    You might benefit from looking at the book Canine Body Language by Brenda Aloff, it has a ton of pictures and explicit explanations. My dog chased my neighbor's cat into their house. I was mortified, and as I ran into their house in hot pursuit, my neighbor offered me a drink. Fortunately my dog stopped to eat the cat's food.

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