Dixie killed our cat.... :(

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plummerpits
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Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby plummerpits » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:44 am

So last night was a bit traumatic for me. I was at our house (well, our parents but it's where we live right now) and no one was home, so I locked up their dog so that I could let Dixie and Tank run free for a bit. Things were going fine until apparently their cat snuck in the doggie door downstairs without me seeing. He ran upstairs and I heard Tank barking, so I grabbed Dixie to take her into our room, but she got out of her collar and beelined for the cat. Tank had no idea what was going on because his typical interaction with Bruce the cat is to bark and get swatted and bark and get swatted. Dixie got a hold of the cat and would not let go no matter what I did. She cornered him and when I finally got her out of the corner, Bruce was dead. I tried covering his body with mine to keep Dixie off of him, but she just kept going after him and wound up biting my fingers at some point. Thank God my mother in law showed up at that point, and was able to finally drag Dixie away into our room along with Tank. Both were kenneled and I had to carry poor Bruce's body downstairs.

So now my husband and I don't know what to do. He started working days like me and they are both kenneled for at least 9 hours each day because of it. And now she has killed another animal so it scares me that if she were to get a hold of someone else's cat in the backyard or something...I am completely heartbroken-1 because I feel so awful about the cat...Bruce was always so chill and just so cool and 2 because now we have to figure out how to handle the after effects with Dixie. She is our baby and we've had her for over 4 years with no real problems so we don't want to lose her or give her up...but we want to do what's right by her no matter what. So if anyone could offer up suggestions. We are 100% willing to do ANYTHING to keep her in our lives.

Thanks
Heartbroken pitty mommy

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AllisonPitbullLvr
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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:52 am

First off, I'm sorry. How traumatic. Poor Bruce.

She's killed animals before? Are there any other cats in the house?

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby Nichole » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:59 am

I understand how upsetting this is. In the world of dogs, cats are prey. Not all dogs have this small animal prey drive, but many do and it is a perfectly natural instinct for them to have. That doesn't mean we have to like it, and it doesn't mean we can't take steps to try to control that drive with impulse control - but still, it is natural. So don't feel like you have a "bad dog" - this was an unfortunate situation that Dixie was put in where she was guaranteed to fail.

In regards to the yard, if another cat strays into your yard there isn't much you can do, particularly if the yard is fenced. If another cat decides to climb your fence and hop into your yard, it is opening itself up to being eaten, plain and simple. That is one of the risks every cat owner takes when they allow it to meander around outside and one of the many reasons why outside cats have shorter life expectancies than inside cats. You would not be held accountable for that, the cat owners would. Obviously you still wouldn't like it - what pet owner would? But you only have so much control of the outside world. All we can do is manage it the best we can by securing our yard and be outside when our pets are outside.

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby Nichole » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:00 am

I got an error msg again, so I cut my response in half and it went through (weird). Here is the other half.


Training wise, you could try instilling an emergency recall where when you say the MAGIC word the dog drops whatever it is doing and comes to you. This takes some serious time though, practicing it around "enticing things" to help strengthen the power of the recall word. The harder you make it for the dog (the harder the distractions) while still succeeding, the more likely the ER is to work in situations like the one you found yourself in.

I hope you guys are feeling a little better today. Hopefully your parents understand the dog/cat prey dynamics.

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plummerpits
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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby plummerpits » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:18 am

She has killed a baby bunny and a tried going after a bird, but never a cat cuz the cat would always be faster and had places to run where she couldn't get at him.

Nichole, thanks for the advice - I know she was just being a dog and saw the cat as prey and his parents get that. They weren't angry, they were just more worried about me. We are definitely going to try working on the ER starting this weekend. Do you have any advice on how to start her out?

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby pblove » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:28 am

instead of typing it all out I will suggest this link for an em ergency recall
http://www.ideamarketers.com/?Emergency ... eid=956888

I am so very sorry about Bruce
RIP Bruce

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby Nichole » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:37 am

The basics of ER is you have to pick a word you won't use in every day life, so the word has special meaning. With Sadie her word is peanut. You also have to pick a SPECIAL treat that is super yummy and only for ER. With Sadie it is cheeze wiz, but baby food works great (you let them lick the lid as their reward). Whatever you pick, it is for ER only.

Start off easy. Hubby holds Dixie on one end of the yard, you stand on the other. You yell DIXIE once. Then clap your hands, slap the ground, etc to entice her to come to you. Once she does, grab her collar to hold her (makes it part of the game - to get caught) and you give her that special reward. Then turn her around, point her towards hubby, and repeat the game. Once she is doing that consistently you can add in your special word. You'll yell "DIXIE WORD!" and do the claps and other exciting things to get her to come. I personally weaned out the name part so when I yell PEANUT!! in that crazy ER tone I use, she comes. You don't have to, though.

Then you make it harder. You have toys lying on the ground. Food. Maybe you move into a distracting area, like a park. Basically you need to work on two of the three D's of training: Distance (the distance between you and Dixie) and Distraction (balls, parks, people, dogs, food). You make it easy, then slowly add the distractions in. Keep the distances short, then slowly add more distance. Keep the distractions easy, then slowly make them harder. Use a long lead in public places to ensure she doesn't wander off and get hurt.

I have my own little happy ending story with ER. I was walking Sadie near my work, which is a very busy and populated part of Seattle. I was nearing a busy intersection when my ankle rolled and I hit the ground hard, dropping the leash. Sadie booked it, spooked because of my tumble. She was running straight for the intersection. I yelled SADIE! and got no response. I yelled SADIE! PEANUT!! and she turned right around, about 10 inches from the end of the sidewalk, basically 10 inches from death by car. She turned around and came back to me. I had never been so grateful to have learned ER as I was in that exact moment.

*edit* or you could just check out the above link ;)

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plummerpits
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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby plummerpits » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:59 am

Awesome! We are definitely going to work on this with her. We are both totally willing to put in the work...I just want her to be a happy and healthy dog.

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby mtlu » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:08 am

I'm sorry to hear about Bruce, RIP kitty :hug:

Nichole and pblove gave great advice on the emergency recall - as you notice in the advice they gave, there are no corrections given if your dogs blows you off – if she doesn't respond to her recall word, it simply means you need to go back a step or two in training.

Also, be realistic with your expectations. My dog has pretty good recall but it is not a "rock solid" recall (i.e. coming back regardless of circumstances) and that is something that takes time to work up to. My dog also has really high prey drive – to the extent that she goes bonkers if she sees a cat or squirrel or bunny from more than 30ft away. I check the backyard before letting her outside and I always go outside with her. We also do not allow her off leash in areas where she might see a critter and try to bolt for the critter – even if she had a rock solid recall, expecting her to be able to overcome her level of prey drive is asking a lot so I do everything I can to make sure she cannot harm another animal. She has never been able to kill another animal and checking the yard, keeping her leashed and using long lines are simple things that we have done.

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby HappyPuppy » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:51 am

error message << my first post didn't post - seems longer posts get eaten...

trying again
Why are you worried about not being able to keep her??? (the parents?)

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby HappyPuppy » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:52 am

I'm at the point that I don't worry about outside cats in my yard - nothing you can do. If I were out there, I'd try to scare it off but otherwise, it's the cat's fault. I do not have any hope of ever being able to train/call Ruby off of a critter she's chasing in the back yard - prey drive is so strong... esp after a few opossums and rats.

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby HappyPuppy » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:53 am

Our ER word is 'chicken (jerkey)' or 'wanna chicken?' but chasing squirrels/cats/crows and bolting to freedom trump that still, unfortunately, and response to it is intermittent. R

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mtlu
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Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby mtlu » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:52 pm

Side note: animal ordinances vary a lot by location so in some places a dog may deemed "dangerous" for killing a domestic animal/pet, wildlife, or livestock - and subject to that locality's "dangerous dog" ordinances so everyone should do a little homework and know the laws where they live and areas they frequent that might be in another city/county jurisdiction.

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby TheBowie » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:28 pm

mtlu wrote:Side note: animal ordinances vary a lot by location so in some places a dog may deemed "dangerous" for killing a domestic animal/pet, wildlife, or livestock - and subject to that locality's "dangerous dog" ordinances so everyone should do a little homework and know the laws where they live and areas they frequent that might be in another city/county jurisdiction.


^^^
This

In my county, cats are considered "free roaming" and can pretty much do whatever and go wherever the hell they please. My state also has a "dangerous dog" law and I've seen it applied for a host of really stupid reasons.

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Re: Dixie killed our cat.... :(

Postby Sarah » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:00 pm

When my dogs killed a cat in my backyard, I *cough* ran out with it in the dead of night, and set it next to a curb a block or 2 away. There wasn't a mark on it to show what killed it, and I figured that gave the owners (if there were any) as reasonable odds to find out what happened to it as they would have if it had been killed in any of the other possible ways for a free roaming cat to die. And it made dang sure that my dogs wouldn't be declared dangerous for acting like dogs.


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