"I was hoping I could get some advice with a new dog. We already have two cats that are very lovable and sleep with us in bed so we need a dog that will not harm the cats, especially when we leave for 7 hr's a day. The dogs reaction worries me that it's natural prey drive is to high for our home. I'd hate to give the dog back to the shelter but if we can't get her to to be on the same level I'll have no choice.
Is it possible to train any dog to to this level? She's a good dog other than when she sees the cat.
Thanks for any help you can provide!"
Send from us in reply:
"I can't really speak to your specific dog now, as I can't physically see her. All dogs are different, so no, it is probably not possible to train any dog to any level (while improvement is always possible unless extreme like medical). That being said many dogs can be trained to be safe (as in bomb proof eventually or close to), others with more supervision during their lives to stay on top of them (in other words they may not fully accept that a pack member is free from correction or chase), and still others are never a good idea to keep in certain situations (or in other words you might be able to suppress their instinct for a bit, but their perception and instinct about the situation never really changes).
It is not a good idea to leave a dog alone for 7 hours with cats for any new dog. A crate could be your best friend as you are looking into training or some resolution for this problem.
I have had a prey drivey dog that did come to see that my cats were a valued part of the pack. They were separated for three months at first though, and got to see each other when I passed by while training at first or through the crate. If you are willing to put in the work, it might be possible to make it work. If you are not, it might be better for the safety of your cats to re-home the dog.
However, I can't really experience the situation to know first hand what it is. I hope that helps."
Additional notes to this for those seeking to add a canine, while having cats also as family members:
Most people do not want to make a decision to return a dog after purchasing them from a breeder or rescue. As I did mention, many dogs can be trained to accept other animals as pack members although there is a sliding scale as to success. I would not recommend seeking to go about doing this intentionally, unless you are very experienced at dog handling, training, and management. Otherwise, it could turn into a very bloody and tragic situation.
Here are some tips to steer you on a successful purchase of a new dog in a cat household from a rescue or breeder:
- Select either a rescue or breeder that is very knowledgeable about their dogs, their litters, and their breeds (or mixes). You want a rescue, in other words, that does not just churn out dogs but gets to know them as well as possible. Research, research , research, ask, ask, ask.
- Let your needs be known to the breeder or rescue.
- Try to look at general traits of breeds in order to select one that might best meet your lifestyle. Just to get yourself familiar with them. It is helpful to look at the tasks they were historically bred for, activity level, and so on.
- Some rescues allow for a trial period.
- Be sure to have management tools such as crates, leashes, and quality collars around.
- Take introductions slow and controlled.