Does new dog want to play with or eat cat?

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Does new dog want to play with or eat cat?

This is a discussion on Does new dog want to play with or eat cat? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I just adopted a 6 year old American Bulldog that is an absolute marshmallow with humans, but I am worried about his interactions with my ...

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Old 06-30-2018, 11:59 PM
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Does new dog want to play with or eat cat?

I just adopted a 6 year old American Bulldog that is an absolute marshmallow with humans, but I am worried about his interactions with my cats. The humane society said he was only interested in sniffing the crated cats and only hyper focused on one after it tried swatting him, but I'd rather be careful and not have my cats become chew toys. It's only been a day, but I would like some tips on what behaviors to keep an eye on.
We are keeping them in separate rooms so far - cats stay in the bedroom during the day then get free range of the rest of the house at night for now. We plan on eventually letting them loose in the house while the dog is crated when we aren't home.
While transferring the cats while the dog was crated, one of them puffed up a bit and approached the crate. I let it happen this once to see what the dog's reaction to cats would be as a baseline for his behavior. He stayed about 2 or 3 feet away and was trying to figure out the newcomer. The new dog watched and was very calm, had his ears perked forward and tail was neutral. Then he did a fake lunge while in the crate and his tail was wagging away. I think this was playful?
He became somewhat fixated again when a muskrat ran through our yard and under a shed. He stared and pulled at the leash (but not hard enough to drag me, which he probably could do even though he still needs to puton a bit of weight) and really wanted to check out where the muskrat went, even a couple hours after it happened. I had to drag him away to finally get his attention off of it. Does this seem predatory, or just extremely curious?
Sorry for the small novel, but I've never had a dog that was actually predatory to cats before and want to make sure I'm not mistaking predatory behavior for something I'm used to seeing when a dog is being playful (like my mom's pitbull that likes to play "boop the kitty"). Obedience classes start in 3 weeks, but obviously correction should start right away if possible. Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:05 AM
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My dog fixates on animals like that too but he's afraid of my cats and accepts that they're in charge of the house. My cats are very assertive and set the rules from day one with both him and my last dog. He tried to lunge at my little cat that I found on the street as a kitten and got a scratched cornea. That cat spent six months attacking and torturing him and I had to start training the cat to behave. Now they're all buddies and I get home and they're all cuddled up in a pile on my bed. The cats always have places to escape to that he can't get to if they should ever need it however.
He can't fit under the bed and there's a baby gate keeping him out of the kitchen and the cat food which the cats can easily jump.
I kept him on a leash the first week or two at all times and firmly and harshly said no whenever he tried to chase a cat. That combined with my cats clawing hissing and growling and literally not letting him go from one room to another without their permission taught him quickly that they were in charge. And I made it clear that he couldn't even think about fighting back. Sounds cruel but my cats are eight and twelve pounds and he's ninety. At the time I adopted him I had a senior cat with diabetes, sight and hearing and some mobility issues who was fierce but not fast if he needed to be and another fierce cat who has since died of cancer. They had no chance on a real attack against a large dog.
Keep him on a leash at all times and never leave them one together. Watch his reactions to your cats. You can train him and reinforce what reactions you want. He can also learn these particular cats are part of his family or pack and not to be messed with. He might still have some pretty drive for random street cats or random small animals outside.

The shelter said my dog has a high prey drive and tried to not let me adopt him because they thought he'd eat my cats. However his history said he'd lived with cats and was fine in both his previous homes from being a young puppy his whole life. He chasss rabbits, squirrels, rats, outside but has never caught one despite being incredibly fast when he runs. Someone tolde he may have a high curiosity drive as opposed to a true prey drive. Seems true he loves to meet and sniff everything and everyone as opposed to wanting to kill animals. He's chased my horses in the past but never didore than lightly nip one. Ran when she kicked him. He's sniffed the barn cat but never bothered him.

So just be cautious. Fixating isn't necessarily a killing instinct. My last dog was an Akita pitbull and Akitas are supposed to be aggressive to smaller pets. He was fine his while life and I had up to seven cats. He was also fine with little dogs.
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