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Can I train cats away from dogs?

 
Posts: 1762
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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We really need some barn cats. We've tried before and it ended horribly. We have cat killing dogs. These dogs are fenced into a yard. They can't escape it. The cats, however, had no problem getting into the yard. Anything that goes in, never comes out. So how do I train cats NOT to go there? Is that even possible? I have no idea why they even wanted to go into the yard.
 
master steward
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I treat these kinds of things as a numbers game. Keep bringing cats into the barn, and eventually some of them will learn to stay away from the dogs. If you can start with barn cats instead of house cats, then you are ahead of the game.
 
pollinator
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Train the dogs or do not have cats.

Or copy the big cat enclosures in zoos and have an overhang on the outside of your fence.
 
elle sagenev
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Skandi Rogers wrote:Train the dogs or do not have cats.

Or copy the big cat enclosures in zoos and have an overhang on the outside of your fence.



I do have an overhang. It's a foot. I tried to see if I had a good pic of it. You can see the fence in this. It's like a prison fence.

My pyr is 9. I was never able to train him off poultry so I don't know that I have a chance of training him off cats.
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pollinator
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I can think of three choices.  1.  Darwinism as Joseph suggested 2. Pavlovian training with something like an electric wire or 3. No cats.

You could train your dogs but it's tough if they are older.  I have a couple of search-and-destroy dogs.  They kill everything but our cats but they were raised with them.  

Just last week I watched a tug o war with a bunny.
 
gardener
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I do not understand why cats have been climbing the fence.



Because that's just how cats are. They do what they want when they want. They especially enjoy climbing things. It might help to hire a dog trainer.
 
gardener
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elle: In that picture, is the dog area to the right or left? I'm wondering if the prison slope part goes in toward the dogs, or out toward the cats. Needs to be out toward the cats. How high is that fence? Are they climbing or jumping it? Putting an electric wire up on the slope would break them of wanting to go up it quickly. I don't like shocking animals, but it looks like the lesser of two evils. Cats do learn fast. Any way to put a safe space a cat can access but not a dog, tree takes too long, but a cat tree type thing? A cat that gets treed and barked at for a few hours before being rescued by you will learn that's not a good area.

I wonder why they go in the fenced area, seems like the dogs would be keeping down any mice or anything that might be there. Cats have food, shade, water, hideyholes etc? They aren't looking for something they require?  Do the dogs get something fantastic like raw meat that leaves smells? Seems like an odd place for cats to want to go. I have had cats all my life, and never met one that doesn't respect dogs, and stay out of their fenced area.

My last house was on a busy road, I got tired of losing cats to it, I took kittens, got my dad to drive his big noisy diesel truck in front of the house on the road while I held them there, and he'd rev the engine, make a ton of noise, and I wouldn't let them run till I was ready to. Any kitten we did that to never died on the road, they stayed well away from it, even when the traffic was quiet at night.  
 
master pollinator
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There are barn cats and then there are barn cats.  To me, barn cats are semi(mostly?)-feral and they will only come near the property owners after a year or more of earning their trust and feeding them.  These cats never get killed by dogs as they never go near them.  Many of my friends had at least one dog that would kill any cat they could catch, yet they still all had barn cats.  

I don't know if that's what you've had but, because they go in the dog enclosure, I kind of doubt it.  If you can find a few real barn cats, or feral cats, I'd give them a try.  I would think that a cat's movement, especially if it's stalking, would set off most LGDs.  There's also something about the way chickens move that is irresistible to some dogs.  I once watched a coyote creep out of the woods, totally focused on my chickens.  It stalked right between a pair of wild turkeys, a hen and tom, each about 10 feet on either side.  It didn't acknowledge them at all and they didn't even notice it.  It stayed trained on the chickens and then bolted in and killed one.  

I've got a poodle that snuggles up to baby bunnies and just loves them, but all she wants to do with quail is eat them.  She's the nicest dog (except to squirrels) and has never hurt any other animal, but when I started raising quail, her prey drive just came right out and she wanted to kill them.  She knew she shouldn't, so she just quivered when around them, but we had to get her away from them as she looked ready to snap.  I think some dogs just can't have that trained out of them.
 
pollinator
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I have cats but no dog. Coyotes however frequently wander through the yard. They kill cats whenever they can catch them. I have found that as long as cats have something nearby they can climb quickly, they can get to safety very quickly. I recommend having escape routes in the dog area. This can be trees, or posts, or whatever a cat can climb, and enough of them that there is always something close by. If the cats see a dog tunning at them, they should be close enough to something to scoot up to safety. The dogs barking should be enough to train them to stay out of the area, especially if they are up a post in the dog area.
 
gardener
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I have a dog that attacked every fuzzy and even some non- fuzzy things in her territory. We got a cat because U felt we needed a barn cat. Sound familiar? I saw online that dogs and cats can be trained to tolerate eachother, you just have to introduce them and help them get used to eachother over time. We ended up with a month old kitten and as soon as I brought the baby home I took it into the house and introduced it to the dog, letting the dog sniff the nose, the butt, and then a friend said rub the cat on the dog.  Sounds stupid, but couldn't and didn't hurt anything. This is all while holding the cat and telling the dog how good she was being. They get along just fine. The dog understood this thing was not an intruder, but part of the family. Since then that same dog dispatched atleast one ground hog and nearly got 2 baby bunnies and a squirrel, so it's not for lack of hunting instinct. It's been about 2 weeks.

Good luck!
 
gardener
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Maybe a rat terrier instead of cats?
Of course your dog might kill them as well, but it seems less likely.
 
elle sagenev
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So last time we had cats we got them as kittens. They were abandoned by their Mom, or the Mom was killed, and were in the middle of the road when we found them. We raised them until they could go outside and then it was just a huge issue of them going into the yard. It baffles me because we have 3 doors to the house and only 1 of them is in the yard so...why?

We have buried a lot of stray cats though. I'm not going to lie. I think they were coming into the yard for water. We do not feed the dogs anything in the yard but they always have water available to them.

Of course so do all the animals in the barn so why the yard? Why? I don't know.

We'll try to get some truly feral cats and hopefully they'll avoid the dogs. We would provide shelter and water and food in the winter in the barn so they should have no reason to come to the yard I hope.
 
elle sagenev
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Pearl Sutton wrote:elle: In that picture, is the dog area to the right or left? I'm wondering if the prison slope part goes in toward the dogs, or out toward the cats. Needs to be out toward the cats. How high is that fence? Are they climbing or jumping it? Putting an electric wire up on the slope would break them of wanting to go up it quickly. I don't like shocking animals, but it looks like the lesser of two evils. Cats do learn fast. Any way to put a safe space a cat can access but not a dog, tree takes too long, but a cat tree type thing? A cat that gets treed and barked at for a few hours before being rescued by you will learn that's not a good area.  



The entire yard is designed to keep our jumping great pyr in. It is sloped inward toward the dogs and we do have a line of electric horse fence going right beneath it. It is 6 feet tall.

There are trees in the yard and we have 2 different sections of the yard fenced off from the dogs. The "kids yard" and my orchard/garden space.
 
elle sagenev
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So we adopted 3 feral cats from the pound. I asked for the least friendly ones they have. They were free, as they are preparing to kill them all. So we saved them! You know how they tell if they are mean at our pound? They poke them with sticks.

Anyway, took them home. Put them in the barn. Thought they'd be find there for a week. They managed to escape the pen the first night. So, not sure if we still have cats on our property, but hoping!
 
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