How can I stop my puppy chasing my cat?


Trainer Elizabeth Kershaw advises how to ensure your puppy and cat's remain calm around each other...

(Q) I have a 17-week-old German Shepherd X Standard Poodle and two senior cats. One cat will whack the puppy if she chases her, but the other cat is scared and runs away, which makes the puppy chase her more. How can I stop this? My trainer told me to call my puppy and reward her with food treats when she came to me, but that doesn't work as she is so focused on chasing the cat.

(A) Trainer Elizabeth Kershaw says: When cats run they almost inevitably get chased. I would forget about the chasing for the moment and get the two animals together in the same room in a calm atmosphere.

One of them needs to be in a safe situation, such as an indoor kennel or cat basket, and the other should be in a controlled situation, such as on your lap or on a lead. Both animals should be encouraged to settle down. Start them as far apart as possible and only move closer when both parties are calm. You may even need to start in different rooms. 

Reward both animals intermittently when they remain relaxed, both verbally and with food.

As your puppy's training progresses, you will need to introduce a chase recall so that you can protect other less-confident animals from your dog.

Neither of these suggestions is a quick fix and you will need to take time to introduce both elements. Don't be in a hurry to allow them loose together without very careful consideration for the safety of both animals.