We all are familiar with the famous rivalry between the cats and the dogs. So, the question often arises, Why do dogs chase cats?
The answer to the specific question lies in the DNA of the dog. Chasing the cats is known to be instinctual for any dog. There are different breeds of dogs which are fond of chasing cats.
The instinct to the chasing of cats is born within the working and hunting breeds. Dogs which fit in the hunting dog category are inclusive of beagles, golden retriever, labrador, dachshunds, bloodhounds, terriers. On the other hand, the working breed of dogs is inclusive of Dobermans, Great Pyrenees, Caucasian Shepherds, and Akitas.
The Root Cause of Why Dogs Chase Cats
Dogs are considered to be an integral part of domestic life like the hunters. They start to lead their lives with the herding and hunting activities of men.
Dogs feel it right to hunt for animals of small size owing to their natural drive for the hunt of preying. As the dogs tend to hunt alone, they tend to chase after animals which are of small size than them since they are aware of the fact that they will be able to chase as well as catch the prey successfully. At times, the furry and small animals trigger the prey nature of the dog naturally.
Dogs tend to hunt the small and furry cats as they have a resemblance to the natural hunting environment. Thus, it allows them to chase in the great outdoors.
Dogs are known to possess a keen sense of motions whereas cats are found to be a bit nervous around the dogs. Cats tend to fluff the tails, hiss as well as growl around the dogs. Dogs and cats are known to give different messages off as they meet. Hence, it is recommended to look out for specific signs in the dog around smaller animals like cats.
Keep in mind not all dogs and cats have this natural drive for hunting, it can depend on both the breed of the dogs and the cat, for example there are plenty of dog breeds that get along with cats such as golden retreivers, and there are cat breeds that get alopng with dogs, like Maine Coons, or Ragdolls.
The Playful Nature of the Dogs
Detection of the chase behaviour before it begins can play a vital role in the prevention of dog chase cat action. There are few dogs which are more prone to chasing the cats, as compared to others.
Bred to hunt, the hound group and the chase is considered to be a group which has a higher tendency to chase the cats. Hounds such as Greyhound are known for agility and speed.
With their better sense to smell, they can catch the cat in no time. At times, the dogs display their playful nature and view the cat as another mate for playing.
Prey Drive Nature
The prey drive contributes to being the instinct which is inherited by the domestic dogs from their wolf ancestors. The innate drive used to be the must-have trait in the wild wolf for survival. The wild mother wolf used to hunt for feeding the pups and the pack used to hunt to survive.
The hunting instinct of the dog ensures the longevity of the pack. It is considered to be the prey drive which allows the lone wolf in driving and hunting any animal of a smaller size than it is. Apart from the movement, the smell is recognized to be another crucial factor which happens to be an integral part of the prey drive of the dog.
For instance, the herding dogs tend to chase the flocks, they are meant to protect. The prey drive instinct controls the dogs chase cats scenario. In case a dog is brought up among cats, they will be displaying their playful nature towards them instead of the aggressive trait.
Encouraging the Behavior
Understanding whether the dog wants the cat as prey or it is willing to play with the cat is certainly not an easy task. Licking of lips in the first stage, as well as play bowling, might be the indication of playful gestures.
Licking of lips and salivation, on the other hand, confer different signals. Cats do not want to be chased. Hence, in favour of the cat, the dog should learn the tips of ignoring the cat, instead of chasing them until the game is initiated by the cat. It is possible for dogs and cats to live together peacefully. However, it takes careful planning and time for introducing the cat to the household.
You can consider setting a meeting via the safe bars of the crate in a manner that the dog can view the cat. It is possible for the cat and dog to adapt, provided the dog has to be on a leash initially. Try walking with the dog at proximity to the cat every time and reward and praise the good behavior of the dog. Make sure to arrange an escape exit for the cat. These smaller steps will help you in achieving the goal.
It takes a bit of patience and time but it is possible for the dogs to get along with the cats. You can try it indoors to seek more control of the situation as there are chances that the dog may chase the cats seriously. Obedience training happens to be another effective option for the installation of good manners and offering a positive response to the cats from the dog.
If it is possible to intercept the chase mode in a manner that the dog obeys as well as respond to your sit command, you can be in control and pause the chase, before it even begins. Chasing the cats triggers the natural response of chase. The prey drive is known to be immensely strong in a few dogs. However, it is possible to overcome the same.
Though the dogs and the cats are regarded as the predatory animals, it is not mandatory that they have to be prey towards each other. The tactics are certainly different. The cat happens to be the pounce and stalk hunter whereas the dog is known to be the chase operator.
If you think that the dog is conferring reaction to the chase and prey drive, it is possible to mark the behaviour at ease and end it successfully. Proper relaxation techniques need to be adapted and it is possible for both the animals to live in harmony, and leaving the dog chasing cat nature behind.
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