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New dog, and resident dog attacking resident cat

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  • New dog, and resident dog attacking resident cat

    I am new to the forum and need some help, advice or suggestions. I recently introduced a three year old flat coated retriever to my resident cockapoo (2 years old) and my resident cat (3-4 years old) The two dogs are doing okay together. They are still working out the details of who is in charge. But my resident dog who used to get a long fine with my cat is now trying to attack and harm my cat. He is barking, growling, chasing. The cat is hissing growling running and hiding. The new dog will sometimes try to join in the choas, but will stop when redirected to corrected. The resident dog will not. He continues to go after the cat. I have been trying to work with a leash to get the resident dog under control and keep him from harming the cat. The added difficulty is I have a 6 month old baby who obviously needs attention. I am guessing the dog is stressed out about the new dog in the house and is acting out. He is a rescue and is used to being the only dog. Any ideas besides the leash and trying to distract the dog with food. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
    Mommy to daughter Danika,
    Bunnykins- bunny
    Milo- DSH Kitty
    Lucky- Cockapoo
    Ellie-Flat Coated Retriever

  • #2

    Boy, you've given yourself a handful - having a new baby as well as new dog. I'd suggest also enlisting the help or at least advice of a behavioural trainer to help you train to avoid behaviours before they turn into potential problems, as I know how easily young kids can push the 'wrong' buttons with dogs & also untrain them so well(especially when they start on solids!<G>)

    I suspect you're spot on, that your existing dog is doing this from insecurity. Not only because of the new dog, but the baby would have changed his life too & given him a bit of stress, no matter how carefully you handled it. It's possible cockapoo is feeling possessive of his new friend & that's why he's chasing the cat off, or that he just wants to start a new game now he's got a pal to play with, but I think it sounds a bit more than that.

    I would suggest first & foremost, make sure your cat has plenty of hiding places, so it can be safe. If at all possible, I would also keep the cat & dogs seperated unless you are in a position to pay attention & work on the problem. The more experience your dog gets at this behaviour, whether you're present or not, the more it is strengthened.

    It's great that you're able to control the new recruit, because you don't want the newbie learning the other's tricks, and also 2 dogs are a 'pack' & the mentality can change as they feed off eachother's enthusiasm & hunting drive. I would suggest doing some frequent work with the new dog & your cat, with cockapoo out of the picture too, to reinforce friendly, or at least ignore-the-cat behaviour.

    As I think this behaviour is primarily insecurity, work towards making your dog feel comfortable & confident of his position in the family. Give him as much attention as you can manage & unless he is yielding to the new dog, make sure he takes first place between them in your affections(or as far as he thinks), at least for now.

    Give as much attention and reinforcement(treats or otherwise) as you can when the other animals &/or the baby is present(I know how difficult this might seem, as I have 2 dogs & 2 small kids, the dogs were here first). When the other family members are not present, especially if they've just left, or just about to arrive, give your dog little or no attention & reinforcement. This will create associations with his family as good experiences, so he won't get 'jealous' or resentful of them. It will also get him more tuned to paying attention to you rather than them when they're around.

    I would not try to distract him from the cat with food - this will seem to him like you're reinforcing this behaviour. I'm not a big fan of punishment, but in this instance I'd use that 'tool' to distract & deter. You might want to growl at him, clap, bang something or otherwise startle him from the behaviour. Do whatever it takes & then without any ado, go get him & take him away from the cat. *After* he stops the behaviour, then you can reinforce him with a treat or such. Don't make the mistake of reinforcing the behaviour you don't want.

    Good luck!