Q. My dog likes to tease my cat by lurching and barking at him, almost like he wants to play. How can I get my dog to play nice?
A. Consider that your dog may not be playing; he may be tapping into instincts to attack or "prey drive." It is your job as the alpha to show your dog how to respect the cat. To achieve this, the dog needs to learn basic obedience. This is the cornerstone of all dog training. Basic obedience training shows the dog that you are the alpha, and that the dog needs to follow your directions.
When or before the cat enters the room, put the dog in a down-stay. Keep the dog on a leash so that you can keep him controlled. Practice keeping the dog in a down-stay even when the cat is in the room.
Cats and dogs both have natural instincts. Cats have an instinct to freeze when a predator is close by. They freeze because dogs can't see as well as they can smell; the sudden movement of a cat will be picked up by a dog's nose. Dogs have an instinct to chase the sudden movement of another animal, as the scent of the animal hits the dog's nose.
Through basic obedience you can overcome your pets' instincts to chase and be chased.
Depending on your dog's temperament this may take some time. Choose a regular time each day to practice with your dog on leash. Eventually your dog and cat will learn to respect and trust each other, with your consistent leadership!
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