Champ is a wonderful seven year old cocker spaniel that we have been boarding for just over a week now. In a previous home he has got along well with one cat, even sleeping with him. Our home has three cats. Zen and YoYo may run from dogs and Zen will even growl at a dog if she is threatened or chased, so we found Champ needed some help and training so that he could adjust and live peacefully with our cats. He never had an obvious desire to kill our cats, but he did think it was OK to chase them at top speed, which started some trouble with our cat Zen who was not amused at all. Also he would stare at the cats nonstop while panting, and this was pretty unnerving for the cats. Initially we thought the staring was love at first sight, but we quickly realized it was a dominance & vigilance play to keep staring at them for minutes on end.
To begin his gentle training, we needed to keep him on a loose harness and leash and gave him treats of boiled chicken when he displayed calm behavior and gave us his attention near one of our cats. Bambi was the easiest cat for us to work with, since she is able to walk slowly and calmly near him as long as he does not charge her. In the beginning he would have chased even Bambi. The first photo is from this morning proving just how far he has come with his dog-cat diplomacy training in just one week. Bambi is doing her classic calm walk by him, and he remains relaxed and lying down. They have been doing fine for days now, which is why he is off of any restraint near her.
In the second photo we see them totally ignoring each other, which is a sign of their growing trust and acceptance of each other. We still are working with and supervising Champ when he sees YoYo on the ground or Zen on the ground. We have another few days with Champ for this visit, so we’ll see how far we can get with his dog-cat diplomacy training. He’s such a good boy and thanks to the treats he does learn. Also he loves massages around his ears and on his whole body, so that’s another method of persuading him. :-)
I finally put categories for each blog post, so to read old posts about our dog boarding, see the Categories section on the right and look for Dogs. For more info on our home dog boarding, see our website at www.BarneysHomeDogBoarding.com.