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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Of cats and dogs

I was interested in Sarah Whitehead’s article in your February 2014 edition about names, “no” and nagging. My 14 month old GSD, Max, has always been obsessed with my two cats ever since he joined me as a 10 week old puppy.

The cats will sit provocatively behind railings, and when they are within his reach, Max becomes deaf to my commands and gets into an excited state, whining and trying to reach the cats. For a while I was telling him “no”, “off”, “oi”, “come”, but now the only thing that works is if I blow a whistle or pretend to run away. Food doesn’t work.

I’m wondering what will happen when those strategies fail, and indeed whether I should be saying anything at all. Perhaps I am nagging him, and he’s thinking “blah blah blah”. 

Otherwise Max is calm, obedient, gets normally excited during play and new experiences, when I get him to track scents he goes into a quiet stealthy mode, and he has no separation anxiety while I’m out. I would have thought that Max’s behaviour towards my cats would have become calmer over a year, but it is relentless, and I’m sure it’s because I’m perhaps encouraging this behaviour somehow by trying to stop it.

Here is Max just over a week ago!

Best Wishes

Peter Rafferty, by email

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