Barking at Family Cats

By Sally Bradbury

You need to make sure that your cats have safe areas that the dog cannot access, preferably with an ‘air lock’ in between. So, two doors or stair gates in doorways between them at all times.

Cats don’t tend to cooperate, so you’ll need another person to help, along with lots of yummy treats for the dog and the cats. Sit with your dog on a lead at the farthest point you can get away from a cat, where he will be able to still see the cat. Have someone bring the cat into view, if the cat is willing. The cat gets fed salmon, and the dog is rapid fire fed sausage, or liver, or whatever, in tiny pieces.

The cat then goes from the dog’s view, and feeding stops. You will need to repeat this many times. You are aiming for the cat to see the dog and think ‘Salmon! Yummy!’ and for the dog to see the cat and turn to you expecting a treat.

Eventually the rewards can be toys, fuss, praise, or just a smile from you as long as you continue to reinforce the behaviour of ‘see a cat, do this instead’.

It is imperative that your dog gets no opportunity to chase, or even just look and want to chase, because there is no higher reward for some dogs than the chase.

See also Guide 10