Tonight while I was patting Becca the cat walked up. Becca snapped at her. My hand was in the line of fire, and I slapped Becca on the top of the head. I then sent her to her crate. I feel bad about the slap. This is the third incident this month.
Incident number one changed the way I feed them both. Becca runs back and forth to her crate while I am fixing their meals. (She eats in her crate.) The cat got too close to her crate and she snapped and made contact. Now Becca gets shut in the crate while I fix the food.
Incident number two: The cat walked up to rawhide and Becca went to it and snapped at her. All rawhide and or bones have now been picked up.
The cat does not fight back. I have high areas and gates available for her. Becca is also crated overnight to give the cat free reign. I praise Becca for proper cat behavior, and tell her to "leave it " if I see something starting. The cat will initiate play and does not seem constantly afraid. I don't think Becca will hurt or kill Mokey, but I don't like the new behavior. What suggestions do you have?
Since no one else has responded i thought i would give my very basic opinion on your issue.
It sounds to me like she is jealous of your cat and views him/her as direction competitor for your attention, and food/toys. A long time ago i used to have a dog that acted the same way towards the cats if she was on my bed, she viewed the bed as her territory and the cats were invaders. As she aged and got older she started to not care about the cats anymore but i think that may have just been the way she was.
As for how to fix your dogs issue, i wouldn't really know, however you might try calling a local dog trainer and ask them. In some cases I'm sure they would be willing to at least give you an idea or two with out having you pay for lessons of some kind.
The other thing you could try is using google or which ever your preferred search engine is, and narrowing down what your dog is doing into a few simple terms. Then just sifting through the results until you find one that fits, however that can be a pain to do and i kind of think getting a hold of a trainer or vet might be easier.
In the little searching i did, most of the results gave good symptoms of jealousy or possessiveness but not much on how to correct the issue. I did however find that in most cases the dog either feels left out of the pack because all the attention is going to a newcomer (cat, new dog or baby.) Or if there isn't a new animal or baby in the house then the dog alot of times starts to feel their owner is their property and needs to be set back into their rightful place in the pack. (with the owner at the top)
But again i would say giving a local trainer a call would probably be the fastest way to get answers and ideas. If nothing else maybe they could recommend a book or website that could help you.
Anyway i just figured i would throw that out there, hope you find some answers.
Thanks. I emailed two trainers I have worked with last night right after I posted this. They are fine 95% of the time, but I would rather not have aggression issues at all. I think the cat is not reading all of Becca's signals. Mokey was best friends with my last dog, they slept together, bathed each other etc. Becca never met a cat until I got her at 8 months. Mokey is still trying to be best buds with a dog who wants none of it.
We have dogs that are the opposite of that, they will only act aggressively towards the cats that act skittish or that try to slink by. But if the cat doesn't act scared or acts like its supposed to be there the dogs don't even care. Which is kind of annoying because they will let the more brave wild cats inside but chase out the ones that are normally allowed in.
Hopefully you get some good answers from the trainers, I'm sure there is a way to take care of the problem. I would also be curious to hear what they have to say.
Try googling Nothing In Life Is Free for suggestions on how to help your dog know you are in charge. I would not be overly worried about her wanting to keep the cat from her food but you are right to be concerned about her protecting you from that cat. That shows she thinks she owns you not you own her. I would use a stern no and immediately put her down if she growls or snaps at the cat when on your lap. Don't slap or hit her, that will just cause her to associate the cat with something bad. If she isn't on your lap, turn your back on her if she growls at the cat. I have used a leash or short rope in the house to stop chasing. The cat and dog should be able to share your lap (I konw it's a little crowded) without problems as soon as Becca learns that you are in charge.
We are a NILF house. The cat even knows what sit means. They can share my lap if the cat is there first on all occasions. If Becca is on my lap and objects to the cat joining, then Becca gets down. As I told Byran I think the cat is also at fault for not reading Becca's signals. Mokey was the boss with my last dog from kittenhood. Becca did not meet a cat until she was 8 months old. I'm hoping miscommunication is part of the problem.
Any chasing that I observe is cat initiated. They play, but their boundaries need to be better established in some instances. Their relationship is an odd one. Mokey can be right there when we are training. She has been known to come take a treat while we are working on "leave it" or a stay with food distractions. Becca doesn't even blink when it happens.
I will look forward to hearing what the trainers say. I have never had cats, but this same issue can happen with other dogs, babies, etc. NILIF was the first thing I thought o.f too. Maybe ramp it up for a while? I also wonder if conditioning Becca to think of the cat being around as a good thing would help. For instance: if you sat by Becca and called Mokey over to you, saying good girl and shoving treats in Becca's face as long as she doesn't snarl or growl. Good luck.
Well tonight was the third night of cat specific training and it went well. I sat on the floor with the Mokey and fed her dried lamb lung. If Becca's behavior was acceptable she received some as well. Becca barely looked at the cat once she figured out what I was after.
I have upped the NILF. It is hard to remember to have her do something before I pat her.
I heard back from one trainer. She recommended a book called Mine. It is for resource guarding against people, I read part of it online and am not sure enough to order it. I haven't heard from the other trainer yet, she knows Becca better. She also has a dog with some resource guarding issues herself. I may ask the trainer we have for rally as well.