Does Your Dog Chase Your Cat?

Does Your Dog Chase Your Cat?

I was asked to write an article on dogs who chase cats, so I popped over to You Tube and watched some videos.

I was actually horrified at what people allow, just see for yourself:


In one video, a lady pushed her hissing cat toward 3 awaiting, over stimulated dogs; all while she snickered.

The cat, literally ran for its life.

People Don’t Realize

I’m hoping the lady isn’t just evil.

I hope that she just doesn’t realize how dangerous this is for her cat.

Dogs are prey animals.

When something runs and moves quickly, it engages a dog’s prey drive.

When a dog catches its prey, it often kills it or wounds it severely.

And, the dog doesn’t really understand that the cat it may love inside the house is the cat it just killed.

Instincts override any rational thought a dog may have.

But, therein lies the difference; dogs are dogs, they are not people.  They don’t think things through on their own, they often just react which leads to bad things.

I watch that video and think if that cat was not fast enough and one dog caught it, the three would have ripped it apart.

Not because they are evil dogs, but because that is what their instincts tell them to do.

And it is clear that these dogs have never been taught to control their impulses.


Cats should have a safe place.

Ironically, I forget that cats can be outside.

I personally believe in keeping cats safe by being indoor pets.  Outdoor cats have a life expectancy of about 3 years due to traffic and other animals killing them.

If your cat is outside, provide it with a box or a place where it can be and dogs and other predators cannot get in to it.

If your cat is indoors provide it with a room or a closet where the dog or dogs cannot go inside.

Cats need a place to chill and space of their own.

I think we all need our own space!

It is unacceptable to let a puppy or a dog pester or terrorize a cat any time it wants.  Which is why we spend a GOOD deal of time showing you how to train your dog Cat Manners, inside this training course.

If the cat wants to engage or play with the dog it can come out.


Puppies or Dogs Need to LEARN Your Expectations

I can’t tell you how many people think that allowing a dog to chase a cat is an acceptable behavior.

I can’t believe how many people make excuses; saying dogs will be dogs!

Or, they mistakenly expect the cat to correct the dog (this might get the cat killed, by the way).

The truth is that the dog needs to learn to control his prey drive and his impulses.

Do you want your dog to rip your arm out of its socket when he sees a squirrel, another dog, or a cat on a walk?

Of course not!

But if you don’t actually teach your dog how to act; how do you expect your dog to react appropriately?

Dogs don’t make the best decisions on their own.

They tend to stick with relying on their instinct and doing what feels good; which usually isn’t a good thing.

I Teach My Dog

I put my dogs on a leash while the cat is around (actually they spend a large amount of time on leash learning this and other basic manners).

He is never allowed to start.

If he shows an inappropriate behavior he loses a privilege and is taught that this is not acceptable.

I tell my dog “No” or whatever your no word is, and I make him do a down stay or go outside or go to his crate for a time out.

You see, chasing a cat is probably like an addiction.

I am certain that is it “super fun” for the dog and probably feeds the brain dopamine, serotonin or other endorphins.

As you can imagine this is hard to counter act if the dog is allowed to learn how much fun this is to accomplish.

I Control Prey Drive

I control my dog’s prey drive by playing with him.

Toys are his prey.

And, I control his toys.

Eventually I make him do some obedience in order to play with his toys.

This teaches him to control his impulses.

Recently I was able to call my dog off of an opossum in the field.

I didn’t want her to kill it.

I didn’t want it to bite her!

And, because she had been taught to respect her cats and control her impulse to chase; she trotted back to me with no issue!

It is simply something that has to be taught and something that you control.

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  1. Anette says:

    Some great advice. My 5 year old dog was born into a house of cats and she gets on well with them. She grooms them and adores young kittens. Some of my cats seek out her affection. She has now on at least 3 very separate occasions chased different cats with my other (equally cat-friendly) dog. I suspect the other dog can get excited at times which fuels her excitement. She has seriously hurt a cat and now I am concerned that I cannot trust her. The pack mentality to chase kicks in! I keep her on a long lead now when my cats are in the garden so that they can get away if needed. Am I right in understanding that I can never trust her not to chase a cat. She is super obedient and very responsive at all other times and clearly understands when she has done the wrong thing (which is very rare anyway).


    Minette Reply:

    It depends on the dog. I can call one dog off of anything, bunny, opossum, cat, etc. and the other has a crazy prey drive and difficulty listening in those instances. Until I can call him off, I can’t really trust him.


  2. Sheri Saffle says:

    How can I teach my dog independence when it’s time to go out to potty. He is five months old and now thinks he can’t be allowed be to play, explore or potty with seeing me on the porch. What can I do??


  3. Diana Bunyan says:

    This is very needed & the reason I purchased the house manners course. My son & I plan to raise some large, very highly prey driven dogs and this is pure gold for us. Many of us are “dog people” & do not also have cats. It’s easy to forget what is outside when you take the dog out. In our city environment in So. Cal we still have raccoons, coyotes, ground squirrels & oh yes…lots of cats on our apartment grounds. Thanks Chet. We will use these lessons well.
    Diana B


  4. valarie grant says:

    our 80# golden doodle – 1 year old…and our 2 year old cat are a daily challenge…the cat teases the dog…and if I do not catch this in time…the cat runs through the house and jumps on the dining room table and the dog is running crazy after the cat and has jumped on the table in pursuit…it is like a bull running through our house and I have his leash on him but often cannot grab it – he is that fast! What to do?


    Minette Reply:

    perhaps keep him on leash with you doing obedience.


  5. Maryann Adams says:

    I have had cats and dogs together for about 20 years. My first pair were best friends and actually put on a show for visitors, of their own volition, where the cat stood on its back feet and batted the dog. My second dog also had a kitty friend but killed the neighbor cat when it came into our yard. My current family is one dog and two cats. Everyone chases each other but my dog really likes to chase Scarlet, my spayed female cat. Both Scarlet and Phoenix know when I am in the room that Phoenix is not to chase Scarlet and Scarlet really rubs it in when Phoenix can’t chase her. It seems to be their game. Phoenix and Buster, my spayed male cat, play like best friends but sometimes gets a little rough and Buster takes off. Sometimes Buster gets a little rough, claws extended and it is Phoenix who comes running to mom.
    I have “cat proofed” my yard with fencing that curves into the yard so my kitties can’t get out. All three run and play in the yard with Phoenix and Buster harassing the squirrels. When I have to leave, Phoenix helps me find the kitties and they are corralled in the main house and Phoenix has the run of the yard and sunroom. On rare occasions, the three get to run in the house when I am away. Somehow this seems to make Phoenix more calm than when she has to be by herself.


  6. Faye says:

    I have a Standard Schnauzer (14 months) and an 11 yr old German Shepherd. I have a cat that I adopted when we moved back into our house after renting it and they left the cat. Each dog is fine with the cat when they are by themselves but when they both see the cat, its like a race to see who can be the most aggravating. Also, when we walk to the neighbors’ who has a really cool cat and a dog, my dogs are curious about the cat but basically just ignore him. Whats up? I hate when they chsse “their” cat.


    Minette Reply:

    Don’t allow it! There should be repercussions to chasing the cat


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