How to Tell If A Dog Is Aggressive Towards Cats?

Written by Kelvin | Updated May 6, 2021

How to Tell If A Dog Is Aggressive Towards Cats?

Adopting a cat when you already have a dog might be complicated, and you may encounter some changes in his behaviour. Perhaps this applies to you without even being an owner of any cat. For instance, your dog might have been chasing them on the street.

And now you may want a clarification on telling if a dog is aggressive towards cats.

In this post, we’ll help you on:

  1. Clarifying the meaning of aggression in dogs.
  2. How to tell if a dog is aggressive towards cats.
  3. Why your dog has been experiencing sudden aggression towards cats.
  4. Training your dog to stop chasing cats.
  5. How to get your dog to stop attacking cats. 

What Exactly Is Aggression in Dogs?

Contrary to what is generally believed, aggression doesn't have to be correlated with anger issues or rage syndrome. Thus, you need to distinguish these 3 terms first:

  • Aggression – It is the most common problem that these pets possess. Yet, it is more dangerous than anger. Moreover, this trait can also be fragmented into categories, such as territorial, fear, and prey aggression.
  • Anger – This kind of emotion differs from the one we, humans, have. It isn’t regular to happen. However, it is more predictable and easier to stop.
  • Rage Syndrome – It is a rare and severe condition that doesn't have a cure. Besides, it can be categorized into stages, which lead to eventual death. Nonetheless, this can be easily prevented with a vaccine.

How to Tell If A Dog Is Aggressive Towards Cats?

Before jumping to conclusions, you must be sure that your dog truly has an aggressive behaviour towards cats in general.

Here are 5 of the most frequent signs that your pet is aggressive over cats:

  1. Attempting to bite the cat.
  2. Chasing a cat when he sees one.
  3. Growling and showing its teeth.
  4. Stares.
  5. Stiff position

If these signs happen regularly, you can train your pet to stop chasing or attacking cats. Check how to do that further down in this post.

Have in mind that although your dog is aggressive towards a specific cat, it doesn’t mean that he is to all cats in general. If that’s the case, it can be much easier to train him.

It’s normal for a dog to change his behaviour if you’ve recently adopted a cat. It happens due to him being used to having all the attention for himself. In such cases, the aggressivity typically fades away little by little until it is no longer there.

Just give it time and ensure that the dog doesn’t hurt your cat, especially when you’re not around.

Why Your Dog Has Been Experiencing Suddenly Aggression Towards Cats?

As we just mentioned, dogs can initially be aggressive if you’ve recently adopted a cat, which in most cases fades away in a matter of time.

However, if that’s not the case, there could exist many reasons behind that behaviour. Even though there’s not a scientific explanation, it’s believed that the causes for this may include:

  • Environmental changes
  • Exhibit authority
  • Monotony
  • Possible sickness and/or pain
  • Vulnerability

If you can’t relate to any of these possible reasons, it’s a good idea to take a trip to the vet. The underlying cause for this is the possibility that your dog can be suffering, especially if you’ve been noticing drastic changes in its comportment, such as:

  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Apathy
  • Respiratory issues
  • Evacuating issues
  • Fever
  • Disorientation

How to Train Your Dog to Stop Chasing Cats?

There’s a high chance that your dog may chase other cats due to thinking it is a toy and fun to catch.

You can put an end to this by training him. However, you need to bear in mind that this isn’t a process that makes a difference overnight. Therefore, it requires a lot of persistence and patience.

This website provides you some techniques on how you can do it, including:

I. “Cookie Cat” Method

This procedure involves a hand full of treats and letting a cat rambling through your house. 

  1. Each time your dog tries to chase the cat, you must capture his attention right away with the treats.

If this alone doesn’t work, a click-trainer may come in handy – this is any object that emits the sound of a click (e.g.: you can use a click pen) that you use when rewarding your dog.

  • Initially, the dog won’t respond to you or your treats, but give him a treat anyway while you use the click-trainer.
  • Eventually, he will associate the sound with the treat. Therefore, you must gradually stop giving him the treats and only use the click-trainer so that you can capture his attention.

II. Carrier Technique

*Only use this method if you have a bold cat. Otherwise, you can traumatize him.

  • Put your cat inside a carrier while your dog remains in another room.
  • Start to gradually trace the path from your dog to close to the carrier.
  • Employ obedience command that he is used to.

How to get your dog to stop attacking cats?

If you think that your dog is capable of harm or potentially kill a cat, you got a more severe problem. However, it’s not a hopeless case.

Here are some possible solutions:

  • Spay your dog – males are known to be more aggressive than females. Spaying your dog makes him much more peaceful.
  • Put both in separate rooms and gradually introduce them (with a leash) until he becomes more friendly.
  • If you’re not able to train the dog yourself, try reaching for a professional dog trainer.

Final Thoughts

After all, dogs are similar to humans in what concerns emotions. Just like humans, dogs can have strong personalities.

For this reason, you should seek a vet in order to check if he is 100% healthy before assuming that you have an aggressive dog. In addition, you may want to consider that he is getting as much attention as he previously was, given that they perceive you as their best friend. Try putting yourself into their shoes (*paws):

How would you feel if your best friend didn’t give you much attention?

With dogs, it’s the same feeling. 

Take care of your furry buddies and try to conciliate them to become a happy family.

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