Many of our Salt Lake City dog training clients have cats and dogs that live together. A current client of mine owns a wonderful dog named, Frankie. She originally contact me because Frankie was chasing her two cats in the house. The cats no longer feel comfortable coming into the house and now live outside because they feel threatened by Frankie. The owners have a deep desire to have the cats in the house again!
We had talked to one of the owners, Amanda Moore, about some training before we began private sessions. Amanda attempted to get Frankie to listen to some commands with the cat nearby. Frankie was significantly stressed and unable to respond to those commands around the cat. As a result, the owners felt lost and contacted our Salt Lake City dog training company to assist them with private training.
We decided to do 4-5 private sessions. Because Frankie is significantly stressed around the cat we did what is called systematic desensitization and counter conditioning. Here is the process we followed to create a huge shift in Frankie’s behavior.
One of the cats, Steve or Joe, were placed in a crate. We made sure that the cat was as calm as possible. With Frankie on leash, we placed Frankie at a comfortable distance away from the cat so that he was not flooded but instead was a distance where he was below threshold and was calm enough to learn new information. Once Frankie was at this distance we began giving him continuous treats when he within sight of the cat. When he was out of sight the treats were stopped. As a result, Frankie began to learn that when Jo or Steve were within sight he would receive yummy treats and again when the cats were not insight he no longer received these yummy treats. In time, Frankie’s behavior became more and more relaxed.
We began repeated the above process as we gradually decreased the distance between Frankie and the cat in the crate. After about 1.5 months of training, we saw a miracle. Frankie began relaxing. We were 20 feet away from the cat in the crate and Frankie was responding! Obedience commands are becoming easy for Frankie to respond to in the presence of the cat in the crate.
The owners still have quite a bit more training to do in order to reach their goal! However, because they are so committed as owners in Salt Lake City, dog training for them will continually create amazing results.
If you are experiencing issues with training your dog and cat in Salt Lake City, dog training with a professional dog trainer could definitely be life changing. Consider consulting one.
Your Turn! We want to hear from you in a comment below.
Do you own dogs and cats? Do they get along well? If not, what we will you commit toward to create a peaceful household?
Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC Dog Training, Salt Lake City