Updated: May 22, 2019
Pets interpret the world very differently from humans. Pets do not understand any words that you speak, regardless of volume. With time and patience from you pets can learn to connect actions with words that you speak.
The amount of time depends on many factors, including breed and the age of your pet.
However, the most important part is you.
How you present your words and commands
How clear you are when presenting spoken words and actions
and PRAISE ... lots and lots of praise
Cats are Instigators
In any situation, there is always an instigator; usually, it's a cat. Cats run, taunt and act like prey. Even when a dog leaves a cat alone cats commonly come back to bother dogs. On the flip side, when there is duress or injury, generally a dog is to blame.
No matter the circumstances humans are always responsible for pets.
Dogs need patient training to be able to control their natural instincts and time to convert cat scent into "family member.” This process may speed up with puppies, however they still need to learn the same boundaries so their instinct to chase does not extend to cats as they grow.
Dogs Chase Prey
Dogs will instinctively chase prey and prey can be almost anything; a squirrel, bird ball or even a cat.
Dogs have a fantastic sense of smell which helps them distinguish a specific target from many different objects and animals. However, dogs can be easily distracted by first seeing their fast moving prey. The key with dogs is to slow them down long enough for them to smell that the fast moving object is a cat, not a toy or food source.
Dogs do not want to hurt family members. Teaching dogs a common command like "leave it" to ignore objects will give dogs time to engage their noses. Once engaged they will be able to co-mingle scents to help them identify a cat a part of the family.
Fearful humans provoke responses
Cats may act like prey, yet other humans can be worse. Teaching your dog not to chase or react to a fearful human is crucial. Personally, I have trained the same response to the “leave it” command for cats as well as fearful humans. The good news is that this will not affect your dogs ability to project you, it only heightens your ability to control your dog.
When dogs are not fearful they are confident and happy in their surroundings. Your dog's comfort is measured not only from the food and shelter provided, the time you take to reassure and teach them. Bored, untrained dogs will ruin your home and your sanity. The earlier you can start training, puppy is best, the easier training will be for you both.
If you still have some questions check back soon for my next article on training pets and integrating pets into a multi-breed household or sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on the latest articles.