Cat Fixation!

Posted By: Codmaster

Cat Fixation! - 09/25/17 03:45 PM

We have a new rescue (3yo female) that we have had a little over a month now and all is really going well.

One reason the owner gave her up we were told by GS rescue was that the dog had a fixation and would stare and stare at the womans 2 cats (1 7yo and 1 kitten) and she never could let them together. Think the older cat was afraidof the dog according to her.

Anyway my question is - does anyone have a good method to breaking the fixation as we have noticed the same with her at our house. We don't have cats but there are a couple that are left outside most of time by a couple of neighbors in our cul-de-sac. And Lola (our girl) is really crazy about them and staring at them even if they are just laying in the neighbors driveway or yard even a 100 or more feet away. locks eyes on them and very very hard to get her attention back. I think we are making a little progress with her but am wondering if anyone has had this problem and has any suggestions.

BTW - not just cats - birds on the ground also same reaction and we had a possum show up one night in back yard with same reaction. Even a couple days later she was still looking intently where the possum was.

Seems to me like an extreme case of Prey Drive but I do need to address and "cure" it if we can.

BTW2 - she doesn't show the same intensity with other dogs - big or small. Normal interest in meeting them but very different.

Lola doesn't show any aggression at all just an intense interest and fascination - no barking or anything. So far anyway.

Thoughts and/or suggestions?
Posted By: Woodreb

Re: Cat Fixation! - 09/25/17 05:12 PM

From what you know of her history - did she actually go after the cats at the previous owner or just stare? Mine, especially Ciara, do the same thing with my grandson's cat (cat is living with us at the moment). But they don't do anything to hurt the cat. And if she does try to play with the cat and gets too mouthy I can usually call her off.

I take it you want to get her to stop staring when you give her a command? I don't think you can really "cure" the fascination.

I think I'd try really intense work on "watch me" as a start.
Posted By: Codmaster

Re: Cat Fixation! - 09/26/17 04:06 AM

I don't think she ever really tried to attack the cats at previous owner - just made owner really nervous and she had had the cats a lot longer than the dog (less than 6 months total) so rescue time!

With us, no aggression even when the cat is only 20' or so away lying under a pickup looking at us.

yea, i think that will work (will take a while!) to do lots of work with "Leave It" or "Watch Me" or "Look" when or just before we come across the cat! I think (wishful thinking?) that she is getting a little better as we are working on it. I think that as she gets more into our family and also gets better trained in OB in general; that will help her listen.

My goal is for her to "Obey" even under the extreme distraction of a cat withing easy sight! Regular obedience work and "proofing" under extreme distraction.

Will be an interesting challenge!

Posted By: jlstudent1970

Re: Cat Fixation! - 09/29/17 12:47 AM

hi I just wanted to say my dog is fixated on the stray cat that hangs across the street in my neighbors yard. When he goes out he sits at the fence staring over there waiting for it to make an appearance. Maybe when your dog does that how about calling her and giving her a tasty treat to get her attention back on you.
Posted By: Codmaster

Re: Cat Fixation! - 09/29/17 06:27 PM

Hi, thanks.

Lola gets so "locked in" to the cat that she actually refuses any treat, including raw little pieces of steak!

I have to get her attention back to me before this lock in, which is what we are working on. hopefully some progress! we will see.

She is responding to a recall and/or leave it (she knows both commands) usually.

Our last dog had a similar, but a little different obsession that we worked on a lot - his was mostly with another GSD that he knew and was in our social group of GSD owners. Unfortunately they "hated" each other and always wanted to fight. we did finally get both to realize they had to at least tolerate each other from a distance (never too close so there is hope for Lola!
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