The Weekly Q&A: Ask Way of Life™ Dog Training
Dog Attacking Cat

Dog Attacking Cat

Q: Can you train our dog to stop attacking one of our cats?

A: I can help you with that but I may not interpret the situation and deal with it in a way that you expect. I rarely see the problem brought to my attention as the true problem. Rather, I view it as a symptom of a deeper issue. Setting aside all jokes about the love-hate relationship between cats and dogs, a soundly reared and bonded dog doesn’t care to get into fights, much less hurt or damage anything it knows we value. That includes people, animals, and things.

Our dogs don’t need to be crazy about everyone else in the house, they really don’t. And it’s helpful to get over the expectation that they should. But what I know for sure is that this kind of behavior against another animal or person in the home suggests something is off in that dog’s sense of safety and bond. The conflict it has with its human(s) is unfortunately being redirected in this case on the cat. Of course there are situations where we have cats taunting and instigating dogs. But again, this also speaks to whether the cat’s needs are being met, whether its space is protected from canine intrusion, and whether it lives a stimulating enough life that it doesn’t have frustrations to take out on the dog! 

Bottom line, if the dog-human relationship becomes sound and there still happens to be poor chemistry between that dog and that cat, what we can expect is a dog that goes out of its way to dodge said cat, to avoid disappointing the human(s) it truly respects and cherishes.

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