Labrador Chases the Cat
Q: I have a 5-month old chocolate Labrador. My problem of Labrador Chases the cat is when she starts playing with my cat. She chase’s the cat around the living room and kitchen then takes a flying leap down the family room stairs then jumps on the couch at full force no matter who is sitting on the couch. I am scared she will hurt herself or anyone sitting on the couch. I would like to stop this behavior before she gets older. Do you have any suggestions? This is the only problem I am currently having with her at this time. J S., Cyberspace
A: I am more concerned about your cat than the sofa. It may be that cat is taunting the pup and loves this game of catch me if you can. It may also be that this chase game is a nightmare come to life for your cat, even if your pup means no harm. If that’s the case, this a really stressful way for your cat to live.
The pup sounds like a proverbial bull in a China shop – I can envision glassware flying off tables and innocent bystanders body slammed as your dog grows. I do agree that this behavior isn’t a good habit.
For starters, be sure your pup has lots of opportunities to play chase outdoors, where the object is a toy or tennis ball (not the cat). Young Labradors can have a ton of energy, which is not likely to be news to you. Labrador chases the cat should – at this point- be unacceptable.
Indoors, no chase games allowed, period. Often dogs will get that look in their eye, or maybe your dog will begin to stalk the kitty before the wild chase ensues. Ideally, you step in before the chase starts and offer your pup an alternative behavior. You can take the dog outside for a game of fetch, or even just a walk. Or provide something more interesting, such as stuffing low fat and low salt peanut butter into a Kong or another dog toy. There are a myriad of dog toys and food puzzles on the market made to stuff kibble or treat inside. Just make sure that whatever toy you choose can’t be swallowed by your young dog. You might even have the toy ready to go in the fridge, so as your pup begins the chase call her to you and take her to the fridge.
If Labrador chases the cat can’t be interrupted, and respond when you call, that’s a lesson to teach and the topic of another column all together.
As a side note some sugar free peanut butters contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol which is toxic to dogs; check the label.