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My nine-month-old terrier is lovely, but he always tries to chase my cat whenever he gets a chance. This is upsetting my cat, as she spends more and more time upstairs so that the dog can’t bother her. Please help!

Nick Jones advises…

The key thing here is to create short periods where you can place additional control measures on your dog and to encourage both the cat and dog to spend time closer to each other and that all calm behaviour is being rewarded each time.

Place a six-foot lead on the dog and hold this while bringing the cat into the room, allowing her to move about freely. I usually find that a bowl of small chicken pieces allows you to create a hub about you where you can lure the cat into your space, as well as being able to feed the same food to the dog for calm behaviour that is shown. You can use the lead to stop the dog from making inappropriate lunges or trying to chase. Aim for a 10-minute session each evening and then stop by letting the cat out of the room and give the dog a break also.

After a week or so of this pattern, you can evolve the situation a little by extending the duration of each session and allowing the dog to drag his lead in the room that the cat is in. It will also be helpful to change the various rooms you carry this method out in, so that the calm behaviour is learned throughout the house.

Finally, only remove the lead from your dog when you are confident that he is not showing any inclination to chase or bother the cat. Try to find activities that you can indulge your dog in (nothing overly excitable) when in the room with your cat, to keep him distracted and content in her company.

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