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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-20-2005, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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Cats and dogs-need advice

I was reading a message on a group I'm inlisted to, and the poster was asking opinions on getting thier cat declawed to protect it from hurting thier dog. They have a whippet, and the whippet was trying to play with it, and the cat tore the dog open and the dog had to get stitches. Now I blame that on lack of supervision, but what advice can I give them? I have Italian Greyhounds, so I can easily see a cat doing that, many sighthounds are very thin skinned, it doesn't take much to tear them open. I got my Italian Greyhounds as little puppies, so I've taught them from day one to respect my cats, and never have had problems-Hannah loves to sleep with my cat! Has anyone ever had a cat with an adult dog that obviously hasn't been trained? Does anyone have a good method of teaching an adult dog who obviously doesn't know to leave cats alone not to mess with it? I'm concerned for both pets in this case, both animals could do serious harm to each other if things aren't changed! In my home they'd never be allowed together if they where that bad, but I know alot of people like to have thier pets all together. What can I say to the poster?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-20-2005, 03:55 AM
 
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I'd suggest keeping the dog on a leash so they can give it corrections when it trys to go after the cat and using a command with the correction.

We got our dog as a puppy and taught him leave the kitty. However we occasionaly have a problem with him chasing the kitties.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-20-2005, 05:27 AM
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Since declawing is illegal here in the UK, anyone from over here would have to find another way of dealing with the situation. The poor dog, I know how thin skinned Whippets can be! Softclaws could be a short term option?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-20-2005, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
 
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I didn't think of that, that would probably be a helpful suggestion until they can get thier Whippet trained to leave the cat alone.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-20-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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How ironic, one of my co-workers told me he was going to get his 2 male cats declawed because they were "picking" on their newly accquired 10 week old shepherd/lab mix puppy. I could only shake my head at the ignorance of some people. For a dog that will grow up to be probably 90 lbs+, I think protecting the dog from the cats is the last thing they should be worried about. I gave him an article on the pain and behavioral problems that declawing can and usually does cause, and hopefully he took it to heart.

As for your friend, the best method if situation and environment control. I have 3 dogs and 3 cats, and each have different personalities and ways of interacting. But until I had observed them all with each other for for extended periods of time, they were never left alone/unsupervised with each other. I know cat scratches can happen in a blink of an eye, so I would recommend (as Fbongrl did), keeping the dog on a leash and under control. Counter-conditioning works wonderfully for this. An example would be, have the whippet on the leash, and have the cat in the room (if it is comfortable around the dog, which it sounds like it is). whenver the whippet is calm and basically ignoring the cat, its gets lots of yummy treats and praise. when it is hyper and trying to 'play' it gets ignored. Same goes for the cat. when the cat is being calm and not trying to lash out at the dog, it gets treats, a chin scratch, whatever it likes (Feline Greenies are my kitties favorite as of late).

This isn't an overnight solution, but if they take the time, I bet it will greatly reduce the number of incidents. And until the whippet can be trusted to follow the "leave it" command, the cat and the dog must be seperated or leashed (dog). no exceptions. If the cat learns that scratching is the way to get what it wants (the dog to leave it alone), this will become a learned behavior and harder and harder to break. Control and supervision is the key to a happy, multiple pet household!

Sorry for the novel, but I feel very strongly about this subject, and wish more people would realize that not all animals can just "work it out", esp animals of different species. We have to teach them how to act properly, as their guardians. And I hope they don't opt for declawing, the poor kitty (oh and softclaws are an excellent suggestion as well, as cats are much more difficult to train then dogs )!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-20-2005, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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I totally agree with you!!! I have several types of animals-ferrets, cats, dogs, and hamsters. Many people ask how I live with such a variety, and I tell them that it's simple with proper training for ALL of them! The hamsters are where the ferrets can't get to them(instinct is stronger then training can break in most ferrets when it comes to rodents!), and the cats have been taught to leave anything in a cage alone. The dogs know better then to bother the cats or the ferrets, but I still don't trust them alone when I'm not close by. Better safe then sorry!
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