Help me decypher body language, so that I can proceed please

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Help me decypher body language, so that I can proceed please

This is a discussion on Help me decypher body language, so that I can proceed please within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; With winter here, and less time outside, Shamas is getting restless and wants to play witht he cats. Matt's OK with this, but Helen came ...

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Old 12-16-2017, 09:14 AM
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Help me decypher body language, so that I can proceed please

With winter here, and less time outside, Shamas is getting restless and wants to play witht he cats. Matt's OK with this, but Helen came froma hoarding situation,and ever knew dogs before coming to our house. SHe does not welcome him, and remains in her safe room when he's around. So we're walking him at Petsmart, playing fetch in the house, and putting him in the back yard to get exercise.

For Helen, we're using a dog gate in her safe room, and giving her plenty of atention and treats.

Now, the issue the last couple of days...Shamas is trying to engage the cats in play. Matt's fine- he's used to dogs. He doesn't appreciate having toys dropped on him, but he tells Shamas if he's too close and he sleeps in Shamas's bed, and greets him when he comes near.

The body language I'm trying to decypher is the Shamas VS Helen behavior.

If I go into the safe room and don't shut the door behind me(putting laundry away, talking to my daughter, who lives there), Shamas comes running over. He makes whiny growls, low barks. His weight is born on his back legs, ears back. Helen drops to her fronts, puffs and hisses. She's usually on the Cat tower, giving her high ground. To me it looks like frustration/fear.

I generally call shamas off by either saying his name or snapping my fingers(depending on level of aggression shown) and I snap at Helen too because she's the main aggressor.


Now Shamas is generally good with the cats, even Midnight, who's born Feral, and has a healthy respect for dogs. midnight is reaching a point where he can sit and allow Shamas to creep up to arms length from him, because he's learned to approach slowly, quietly, and can take my cue to sit when he's moving withing the cat's trigger zone. I try to give the cat and dog treats at the same time, to reinforce positive behavior, but with Helen there's no such thing. She's a spitfire, and I don't know that she'll ever get along with him. it's possible...it took her months to acclimate into our home, so i expect her to take months to get used to the dog....but not if they're yelling at each other every time they see each other
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:08 PM
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Hard to say without seeing.

I hate dealing with dog vs cat issues because, in my experience, the dog is never entirely to blame, but has to bear all of the responsibility because cats are ... well ... cats.
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Old 12-16-2017, 05:26 PM
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Red face I'd leave the dog outside - Kitty's not a happy camper, when he invades.

.

the cat, up on the cat tree, hissing at the dog, is upset by the k9 intruder -
cats are 'WAY-more turfy than 99% of dogs, plus she's scared.

I'd avoid letting the dog into her "safe zone" anymore, just make a habit of shut--the--gate--behind as U enter, or put a hefty spring-hinge on it, so it slaps shut behind U automatically, as U walk in.
[U can put a strip of felt on the receiving-side of the gate to muffle the impact, or use a strip of closed-cell foam.]

Scared or angry cats are also even-more likely to redirect than most dogs - be sure to let yer dotter know that she should be careful of Kitty if she gets REALLY scared, or very angry; any terrified or furious cat can do more damage in less time than most dogs ever will, in their lifetimes.
They have 20 claws that are razor-sharp & teeth like needles, which are far-longer in respect to their skull size than a comparable dog.

Cat-bites, scratches, or punctures are notorious for infections, as their teeth & claws literally inject many highly-pathological microbes, deep into tissue. IV-antibiotics are a common sequel to a cat-bite, a claw puncture, or deeper-than-superficial scratches. Watch out if Puss gets really scared, or goes on the warpath - cats can STAY angry or frightened for 12 to 24-hrs, & remain dangerous during that time. It's best to put them in a quiet room, alone, with food, water, & litter, & leave them to recover their minds, in peace.

- terry

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Old 12-16-2017, 10:12 PM
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Thanks, that was my take too

Shamas calls off easily, and seems upset by her reaction to him. I generally keep the gate up, so that even if I don't shut the door behind me there's a barrier. This seems to help. I might have to close up the cat door, in the other side of the room..if she continues to burst through it as he passes by the door. But I'd prefer them to have that quick entrance to the room vs having to stop and brace to jump the gate.

Midnight tends to hang around the basement doorway, as he can simply dart down the stairs, and doesn't like being isolated. He seems to want to see the dog, but doesnt want him to get too close. Helen definitely NEEDS her space, so we try to keep it as much as possible- though she gets lonely with the door closed, so we'll prop it open and leave the gate up so she can see us.

Shamas gets upset if I go into the safe room...that's usually the catalist for trouble. Mom, where'd you go???? Hiss, growl, woof....snap fingers...dog whines and goes to fetch a toy and drop it at my feet as I lave the room.


The room is split in half by bookshelves, and Helen sometimes perches on them and hisses at him if he enters the other side. I might need a second gate to halt that. The side that she resides in is shared with a teenager, but the other side is often left open by the younger inhabitant
I guess he doesn't like to lose sight of me

Last edited by sassymomma; 12-16-2017 at 10:15 PM.
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