My Cocker Spaniel Won't Leave My Cat Alone!
My Cocker Spaniel Is Annoying My Cat!
We have just adopted a 3 month old cocker who is very smart but we have a 7 year old cat that she just keeps on going after.
Do you have any ideas as to how we can stop her from tormenting the cat and just leave it alone? Any advice would be very helpful.
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
Sorry to hear you're having problems with your puppy and your cat.
In the first instance, I recommend that you keep them separated when you're not around to supervise them, just until you've resolved this issue.
In the meanwhile, put your cat into a cage or carrier and place it another room. Put your Cocker Spaniel on a leash, get her attention by showing her some treats in your hand, and then lead her into the room.
Allow her to sniff the cat if she wants to; she can't harm it while it's in the cage - equally, your cat can't harm your dog. If your dog is calm, reward her with a couple of tasty treats. (Don't forget to give a couple to the cat too!)
If your puppy gets too excited, spray her with water from a water pistol or plant spray and then lead her away from your cat. She won't like this, and it will help to teach her that her behavior towards the cat is unacceptable.
If your Cocker settles down, lead her back to the cage. If she remains quiet, praise her and give her another tasty morsel.
If she misbehaves, spray her and lead her away from the crate again.
Try walking her past the crate and if she behaves, or ignores the cat, reward her.
It shouldn't take long for her to realize that unacceptable behavior results in a nasty spray of water, but that when she's quiet around your cat, nice things happen to her (she gets some treats).
I'm not sure how accurate this is, but I've heard that if you also swap the dog and the cat's blankets it should introduce your puppy's scent to the cat and vice-versa, which may help them to get used to each other. I guess it's worth a try!
You might also like to teach your puppy the 'Leave It' command and once he's mastered it you should be able to use this command when he approaches the cat with 'suspicious' intentions.
Give your puppy lots of games to play (NOT with the cat!), toys to chew, etc. and reward him for playing quietly (ie not pestering the cat).
Eventually, you should be able to let the cat out of the crate, although I recommend you keep your puppy on her leash for a while, just until you're certain that they can both be safe around each other.