Dear Labby

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Looking to Dear Labby for advice.

We are introducing a new regular feature on SlimDoggy.com. It’s called “Dear Labby” and is a dog-oriented version of the famous advice column with a similar name.

Why  are we doing this column?

We have become the de facto ‘dog experts’ for friends and family, and now, to many of our readers. I guess that is what happens when you have had dogs your whole life, experienced  all sorts of health and behavior issues and have a business that revolves around dogs. We get asked a lot of questions about dog behavior, health, nutrition and exercise.

We are certainly not veterinarians, but we do have lots of experience and good research skills – meaning we know how to sort the reliable information from the junk in Google.  We also have this great Blogger community to tap into to provide additional  expert advice and insight to our readers relative to their questions.

All these factors lead us to the idea of sharing some of the questions we get, providing our thoughts and opening up our comments section for others to provide their thoughts and ideas to the community. This will be an ongoing feature and we are happy to entertain questions from our readers as well as their insights & advice, so please join in with your suggestions to the reader questions (in the comments) and  please feel free to submit your question here or use the form at the bottom of the page.

Now on to Dear Labby:

Labby

Labby

Dear Labby, We have a wonderful dog named Kylie. She is a six year old Akita/Shepherd mix. She’s a sweet dog, friendly and well-behaved. So why am I writing? Kylie chases all of the rodents in our yard, squirrels, rabbits, etc. Sometimes she catches them and kills them. The other night, she cornered our neighbors cat and there was quite a battle. The cat ended up with a hefty vet bill and Kylie was pretty scratched up. I’m wondering what, if anything I should be doing about this. We haven’t done anything about her chasing the rodents, and to her the cat is probably just another thing to chase, but I really don’t want her chasing and potentially harming a cat. What should I do?

Dear DogCatSpat,

We’ve never had an issue with one of our dogs going for a cat, at least not that I know of. Tino was notorious for stalking

Kylie, waiting patiently for the squirrel to come down.

Kylie, waiting patiently for the squirrel to come down.

most anything that came into the yard – rabbits, squirrels, possums, raccoons and his favorite, lizards. The prey drive in some dogs is instinctual and difficult, if not impossible for them to overcome. Akitas are BEAR hunters, so I’m sure Kylie’s prey drive is pretty advanced. What I’m not sure of is what it will take to change that behavior. You should start by slowly weaning her away from the behavior you don’t want  through desensitization – harder to do if you don’t HAVE a cat and have to try and work with a friends cat, but an important step.  You should also work with her on the “leave it” command. This is a useful command to get your dog to leave behind something that they really want. We just started working with Jack on it in the hopes of getting him away from the coyote poop he craves.

Here’s a few interesting articles and videos that might also help:

  • http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/catchasing.html
  • http://www.clickertraining.com/node/1687
  • http://bestpaw.com/documents/students-cat-chasing.pdf
  • http://on.aol.com/video/they-dont-have-to-fight-like-cats-and-dogs–from-victoria-stilwell-517367080?icid=video_related_7

We open your question to our readers for their advice on this. Do you have a dog who chases cats? What have you done about it? Please provide your advice to DogCatSpat in our comments:

To submit a question to Dear Labby, simply use our contact us page.

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3 Comments

  1. Our dogs are very prey driven – one is a trained bird hunting dog, and she too has cornered and killed many rodents etc. The prey instinct is just that – instinct – and in the middle of the skirmish – you just want to be able to break up the fight / encounter – no different than trying to break up a dog fight – throw water on them, make a loud noise, pull your dog away if you are able to do so safely. Going forward, I might work on obedience training – treat training, electric collar – whatever it takes to be able to break your dogs intensity and obey you. The goal being that the dog will come to you no matter the temptation or activity its involved in. Easier said than doing …. Takes lots of practice and patience.

  2. What a cool feature for your blog! I have a question – is there any natural remedy you recommend for keeping fleas away?
    Flea recently posted…Of Corgis and Fleas and FriendsMy Profile

    • We don’t have a lot of fleas out here in SoCal – only in the spring – it’s usually just not a problem. I will however do a little research and provide and answer or some advice through Dear Labby soon.

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