Reducing excitement around cats
The essence of this technique is that when a cat is present, good things (treats) come from you. At that moment, you are more interesting than the cat. At first, you will need to be quite far away from the cat for this to be the case, but with practice your pup will learn to look at you when they see a cat, and they will be able to do this even when a cat is close.
When you see a cat, keep a distance from the cat that does not make your pup bark, lunge, pull or stare intently at the cat in such a way that they cannot look at you when you say their name. Allow your pup to look at the cat, then say their name and when they look at you, say “Good!” and give them a treat. If, when you say their name, your pup is not able to look back at you, then step further away from the cat until your pup is able to respond to you. For the whole time that the cat is around, every time that your pup looks at the cat, say their name and when they look at you, say “Good!” and give them a treat. When your pup begins to offer eye contact voluntarily when they see a cat, say “Good” and give them a treat when they do. With practice, slowly reduce the distance between your pup and the cat, always making sure that your dog can still look at you when you say their name.
- Your dog sees the cat
- Let them watch the cat for 1-2 seconds
- You say their name
- They look at you
- You give them a treat