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Canine Behavior/Family old cat and youbg puppy


We have had our American Shorthorn cat (neutered female) Po for 11 years. We recently ( a month ago) adopted a male Aussie Shepherd/Golden lab mix who is now a little over 4 months old.  They seemed to get along well..playing with each other,rubbing noses, etc. The last few days however, they are having a hard time: Darby the dog has grown and so place Po used to hang out are now in reach, the chase games of earlier have become anxiety-producing for the cat as the dog is getting larger and his play feels aggressive toward her...she is now hissing and batting at him with claws out. We try to keep them separated somewhat but in a small home with three adults this is being quite a challenge. Any suggestions???? We are fond of and attached to both of them,but need a peaceful household...   Thanks

It sounds like you just need to implement redirection and distraction approaches with your dog to give him something positive and time consuming instead of bothering the cat. It sounds like he is so used to playing with the cat, he doesn't realize when enough is enough.

Have you thought about training classes for the aussie? I would recommend that to help give him something else to do and help you find ways to alleviate the stress at home. If this is your first time dealing with a puppy and this mix of breeds, they basically need something to do and are eager to find things to do.

If you haven't started yet, definitely get a routine going for you as well for him. Incorporate playtime with training to both teach him new things and wear him out at the same time. The hard part may be finding the right things that will keep his attention. In this instance the loudest and most aroma-smelling things tend to do the trick.  

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Melissa Burg, RVT/Behavior Consultant


I have experience with multiple obedience issues, including anxiety, different types of aggression, introductions to a new pet and basic obedience situations, such as housebreaking, excessive leash pulling and excessive barking. There are several approaches to each behavior issue, depending on the animal's environment, as well as the breed, sex and age. I can also help you decide whether the problem sounds medical or behavioral.


I recently graduated with a Veterinary Technician degree with an emphasis in behavior and obedience training. I spent 5 years working in animal shelters where I trained shelter dogs in basic obedience and corrected behavior issues and educated adopting owners how to continue the training at home.

"Pawfect Pets;" a weekly column on canine and feline health and behavior tips.

Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.

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