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10 Expert Tips on How to Stop a Dog From Chasing Cats

Last updated on January 24th, 2024 at 05:11 pm

Do you have a dog that constantly chases your cat? It can be stressful for everyone involved, but there are ways to solve this issue and create a peaceful multi-pet household. This blog post will give you 10 expert tips on how to stop a dog from chasing cats.

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Why do dogs chase cats?

1. Instinctual predatory drive

Dogs have a natural instinct to chase and hunt smaller animals. This “prey drive” is particularly strong in breeds like Terriers, Hounds, and herding canines bred for specific tasks. When a cat triggers this instinct with quick movements and small size, the chase becomes almost irresistible for some dogs.

2. Playfulness and excitement

Even pups without a strong prey drive can get caught up in the thrill of the chase. The erratic movement of a cat can be like a moving toy for some dogs, triggering their playful nature and leading them to chase out pure excitement and fun.

3. Territoriality and protection

Some dogs see their home turf as their territory and may view a cat as an intruder. Chasing the cat might be their way of asserting dominance and protecting their space, especially if they haven’t been properly socialized with felines.

4. Frustration and boredom

Under-exercised or bored dogs can develop undesirable behaviors like chasing cats. If they don’t have enough physical and mental stimulation, they might turn to chasing the cat as a way to entertain themselves.

5. Lack of training and socialization

Early socialization with cats and proper training are crucial in preventing chasing behavior. If your dog hasn’t been exposed to cats in a positive way or hasn’t learned basic commands like “leave it” and “come,” they might not understand that chasing the cat is unacceptable.

10 tips on how to stop a dog from chasing cats

1. Tire your dog out

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Taking your pup for a walk, playing some fun games, and doing interactive activities are not just for exhausting their energy. By providing enough physical and mental stimulation, you give your dog something better to do with their extra energy, and your cat can chill without any worries. Remember, a happy dog is a tired dog, and a tired dog wouldn’t go chasing your cat all over the house.

2. Create a safe space for your pets

If you have both cats and dogs at your place, you should create separate areas for them to feel safe and comfortable. Cats love to climb, so getting a tall cat tree with different levels and cozy spots will make them feel in control and safe. You can also add some shelves high up on the walls to help the feline walk around and explore without feeling threatened by your dog. Don’t forget to give them a few hiding spots where they can rest undisturbed. 

For your dog, a cozy bed in a quiet corner can do wonders. Providing each pet with their own separate area will make them feel more secure and less likely to get into conflicts. 

3. Leash your dog

Making your furry friends live in harmony requires some smart planning of their living spaces. You can imagine your home as a map with specific zones for each critter. Using leashes as invisible boundaries lets them interact while staying within their comfort zones.

4. Basic obedience training

Teaching your dog basic obedience isn’t just about showing off cool tricks. It’s actually about helping them behave better and stay safe. When they are trained to “come,” “sit,” and “stay,” you have a powerful way to redirect their attention. For example, if your dog sees the cat and starts to focus on the animal, a quick “sit” can get them to calm down and stop chasing.

The more you practice, the faster your dog will learn to listen to you and not get distracted. Remember to practice often and give your dog treats when they do well. 

Recommend online obedience lesson: Basic Obedience Course

5. Use redirection techniques

When your dog locks eyes with a cat, it’s time to take action before the chase starts. Get ready with a toy or your whistle. Bring out the toy and shout, “Let’s play fetch!” or “Let’s play tug!” to get them excited and take their focus away from the cat. You can also try calling them back to you by shouting, “Come!” in a firm yet loving tone. The trick is to act fast!

6. Socialization with cats

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When puppies are still young, they’re learning all about the world around them. So, if you get your pup to meet cats in a positive way during this time, they’ll be more likely to see them as friends instead of toys or prey. 

Start off by introducing them in a neutral place, like a friend’s house or a trainer’s facility. Keep both pets on leashes or in separate enclosures so they can get used to each other from a safe distance. Give your pup treats and praise when calm and focused on the cat. If they’re good, you can start moving them closer together. If they’re not, redirect their attention with a toy or a command.

Remember, safety and comfort are the most important things. If either pet seems upset or nervous, just take a break and try again later. 

7. Use visual barriers

Sometimes, the best defense is a good wall (or gate, in this case). We don’t want to separate them completely, but visual barriers like dog gates or furniture can help keep your pup from chasing your cat. They still see each other, but without all the excitement that could lead to a full-on chase.

As your dog gets calmer and less interested in chasing, you can decrease the distance between them. Over time, these visual barriers become stepping stones to a peaceful coexistence, where your dog and cat can live together without any chasing.

8. Use repellents

You know what? A little bit of a good smell can go a long way. Some scents can be a subtle, dog-safe deterrent and keep your furry friend away from certain areas. 

Just remember, use these deterrents sparingly and in specific zones like the cat’s favorite spot or the doorway to their litter box. This invisible fence creates a fragrant barrier that discourages your dog from entering cat-only zones. 

However, make sure you pick natural and pet-safe options only and avoid anything with harsh chemicals or potentially toxic oils. Lastly, keep an eye on your dog’s reactions to ensure the scent isn’t causing any discomfort.

9. Vet check

Things like hormonal imbalances or vision problems might trigger your dog’s prey drive and anxiety, leading them to chase cats. Therefore, it is vital to ensure your dog’s health isn’t causing their chasing behavior. 

Your vet will help rule out any medical conditions that could be contributing to this. Then, you can tailor your training approach accordingly. Also, a healthy and happy dog is more receptive to learning and adapting to new situations, which can lead to a better relationship with their feline housemate.

10. Seek professional assistance

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the chase between feline and canine continues. If your dog remains undeterred by your actions and supervision, it’s time to consider professional help. A qualified dog trainer or behaviorist can offer invaluable guidance and strategies customized to your unique situation. It doesn’t signify failure on your part; it’s a proactive step towards a happier, more peaceful home for your pets.

If you want the most comprehensive approach

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For an all-in-one solution for most behavior problems your dog has now or may have in the future, check out this free online dog training workshop that improves dog-owner relationships and prevents poor behavior like: 

    • Barking
    • Accidents
    • Leash pulling
    • Not coming when called
    • Jumping on people
    • Running out the door
    • Chasing cars or animals
    • Chewing
    • Nipping or biting
    • Begging
    • Getting too excited
    • Ignoring commands

The workshop is conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz, Ph.D., one of the most respected service dog trainers in the United States, and Eric Presnall, host of the Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out.” It has made life easier for many dog owners. Click here to get it.

About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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