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Cat Training Your Greyhound

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Depending on how keen your greyhound is to chase, training him to happily and safely coexist with a cat can take a couple of days or a few weeks.  Until you have completed the entire training process, you will need to keep your greyhound and cat separated. 
There are two distinct processes involved in cat training: teaching the “NO” command and the “Introduction”   Make sure you have fully achieved each step in the process before moving on to the next, otherwise you can easily make your dog more keen to chase your cat!

The NO Command

The goal of “NO” command training it that your greyhound will stop whatever it may be doing (or even thinking of doing) and look at you. 

  1. In a room away from the greyhound, place a favorite treat on the floor leaving enough space to walk to the treat and around it.  
  2. Leash your greyhound and casually walk him into the room with the treat.  Keep the greyhound close to your side on a short leash so he can see the treat but cannot reach it.
  3. As soon as he looks at the dog biscuit, firmly say "NO".  If after your command he stops looking at the treat and looks at you, praise him.  Repeat this several times until you are confident he understands.   If the firm command itself is not enough to make him look away from the walk him past the treat again and this time say "NO" while checking his collar by quickly tugging with the lead.  As he feels the tug on his collar he will turn to see where it came from.  As soon as he looks at you, praise him.  He will briefly enjoy the praise and then return to the more interesting sight of the food again! As soon as his gaze starts to go back to the food repeat the NO command and the praise when he looks at you again.
  4. It is imperative that your doglooks away from the food and at you as soon as you say NO and check him.  As in all training situations, you must be assertive so that your greyhound does not gain control and understands that you really mean business!  It is also essential that praise is given when your dog looks away from the food – this is an important first step in learning the difference between right and wrong in his new ‘no chase’ world.
  5. Once you feel confident that your greyhound understands the NO command, substitute other distractions for the treat.  Balls, toys, open garbage cans all make greyt training tools in teaching that NO means “stop whatever you are doing and look at me.” 
  6. Your greyhound will learn to anticipate what is going to happen when he sees a distraction and will start to look to you for praise even before the NO command is used. 

This command is usually learned in a matter of minutes BUT it is repetitive reinforcement over a few days that will enable the greyhound to remember the command.  Before moving on to the Introduction, it is essential that the greyhound is remembering the NO command.

The Introduction

Now, once your greyhound has learned, and remembers the NO command you can start the Introduction to the cat.  You will need a helper who knows the cat and can hold it safely. 

  1. Leash and muzzle your greyhound then settle with him in your living room.
  2. Once the greyhound is settled, have your helper come in without the cat, greet the dog, get sniffed and then sit down somewhere.  Repeat this without the greeting until your dog loses interest in your helper coming into the room.
  3. Then have the helper go out and come back in holding the cat.  Make sure the cat is held firmly enough so that she doesn't bother struggling to escape.  
  4. As soon as the greyhound looks at the cat, say "No" so that he stops looking at it and looks at you.  Praise him as usual, but only while he's looking at you. Do NOT praise him while he's looking at your cat, or he'll take that as encouragement.  If necessary use a quick tug on the leash to make him stop looking at the cat. 
  5. At this point you have a choice of technique, depending on the situation and how your cat is coping.

            Either...

Repeat the entry until your Greyhound has learned not to look at your cat and the cat has got used to the dog enough so that when your helper lets go of her, she won't immediately run. Depending on your dog's nature and how thoroughly you did the "No" training, this stage may take an hour, a few days, or even longer.
OR
Keep your Greyhound and cat in the room until your Greyhound loses interest in your cat. You have to prevent your dog looking at your cat throughout the session, so end each session while you're winning.

  1. Once the situation is calm you can let your cat free, and then train your dog to ignore the moving cat.
  2. Once you have both animals relaxed in the same room and ignoring each other, you can take the lead off your dog, but leave the muzzle on.

Now the dog and the cat tend to go through a period of ignoring each other, to the extent of passing each other in a narrow passage as if the other was not there! The next stage is touching noses and becoming friends, although sometimes they just continue to ignore each other.
Some dogs may need additional training reinforcements.  If your greyhound does not respond to the training then fill a water spray bottle, and as you issue the command NO spray his rump with water. Usually the unpleasant wet sensation of the water is enough to distract him from the cat and switch his gaze to you.

The Early Days

Don't take chances in the early days. 

  • Never leave your dog and cat together unsupervised. 
  • Don’t force them to be together, if your cat is struggling to get out of a tight hold this will make your dog more anxious.
  • A hiss or swipe from your cat is acceptable, but never allow your cat to attack your dog.
  • Never feed the two together, and don't let your greyhound eat your cat’s food
  • Make sure that your cat has a place to escape. If necessary, put a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs or in the doorway of a room, so that your cat can get through but your greyhound can't.

Even when you have a greyhound trained to coexist with your housecat, to greyhounds outdoor cats are a whole different species.  Take the time to ensure that your cat is inside and there are no stray cats in your yard before turning your greyhound out.  Also bear in mind that your dog and your own cat may become great friends, but he may need more supervision with other people's cats.

  • September. 21

    Shades of Grey

    The Shades of Grey 2018 Calendar is now available for purchase.  This beautiful, full color gloss 9 x 13 calendar features over 120 greyhounds, lurchers and other sighthounds from the NSGA family.  

    he cost of the calendar is $20.00. Calendars can be paid for by e-transfer, paypal/credit card.  If using either of these two methods please specify the number of calendars and include your contact information. You can also pay by cheque/cash if picking up your calendars from Judy Sleith in Calgary, Deb and John in Edmonton, and Susan Lohse in Winnipeg.  If none of these options are convenient for you, we can mail the calendar out to you for an additional cost of 3.50/calendar.   All mail orders must be prepaid and ordered through Deb Ward at northernskygreyhounds@gmail.com.  
     
    Once again, we have printed a limited number of calendars.  Don't be disappointed - order your Shades of Grey today! 
  • October. 21

    Cabela Regina

    Regina folks - head out to Cabela's (4901 Gordon Rd) Saturday, October 21 from 11:00-2:00 and spend some time with our amazing hounds.  Our volunteers will be happy to answer any questions you have on adopting a retired racer.  

     

  • July. 10

    MEET AND GREETS

    UPDATED OCTOBER 18

    Meet and greets are a greyt chance to meet and spend time with greyhounds, get your questions answered, and learn more about our adoption program.  Meet and greets are held at various locations in Red Deer, Edmonton, St. Albert, Airdrie, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg each month. Click below to see our schedule and locations for the fall months.

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