If we weren't there with him he'd be fine and not even notice the cats. When DH and I are added into the mix he gets extremely aggressive with the kitties and is relentless in trying to eat them. He's the same with birds. I'm just worried he'll hurt himself trying to jump at them or something, but I'm a worrywart (or is it worrywort? whatever, I worry).
The only reason I figured this out is he used to stay with a friend when we lived in FL that had cats and as soon as we left he calmed down and even slept in the same bed with them. She also had a pet bird and he'd circle the cage and work himself into such a state he'd be panting. He's insane.
The same thing happened with me and my dog when I was working on the PROPER way to interact with our cats. I completely forgot about it until I saw this post. Jake eventually got to the point where he could stay in a room with the cats and be perfectly fine. He'd play with a ball or sleep or just wander aimlessly. But if I was in there, all of a sudden, his energy would be amped up and his herding behaviour would come out and he was all over those cats. He wouldn't chase them, unless the energy kept rising and the cats kept trying to send that energy over the tipping point. They might suddenly leap up in the air to their tree, and that'd trigger Jake to leap forward at the same time, then bark and moan and run in a circle because he couldn't get to the cat in time. I don't remember how that got fixed, because he's fine now. Maybe he just needed to get over the initial fascination of the cats (he was mainly an outside dog at that point and the only time he got to see our cats was if he was on leash, and that was just until we could move kitty into a separate room). Eventually we got a third kitty who wasn't afraid of Jake and Jake became her shadow for a year. No kidding, he went EVERYWHERE with her. There was no Molly without Jake, no Jake without Molly. Whatever she'd do (eat, sleep, play), Jake would be hovering over her, staring, occasionally jerking or jolting when she'd make a sudden movement. But eventually he got bored and became just Jake again. And by being "allowed" to touch Molly and hover so close, he was able to learn whatever was needed about cats. When he got bored of Molly, Buffy and Willow felt safe around him. When they'd run, Jake would be compelled to run after them. Anyway, I think the reason his energy would ramp up when I was in the room was because I was the only one who was trying to work on his behaviour around the cats. He saw me in the same room as the cats, and his brain immediately clicked to "Cat Time!!"
Now Jake is interested in Buffy. He doesn't follow her around all day, but when she walks into the room and starts calling for our attention and/or getting in trouble, Jake runs over and does circles, occasionally barking (to vent his frustration and rising energy, I've figured out). He found out Buffy's the "fun" one. Willow's the scary one, Molly's the boring one, and Buffy's the fun one.
Some people are like slinkies... Not really good for anything, but
you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.
We only realized his obsession with cats the first time we stayed with my MIL after getting Calvin (about 11 years ago) and she had two cats. When Calvin finally got too close one cat swiped at him, inserted her claw into his skin and proceeded to get it stuck and try to jerk her paw free. She finally ripped free and what did Calvin do? Went right back in for more! He spent our entire week long visit pacing, panting and stalking the door to the room the cats were in.
I guess it has something to do with being a pack, but I don't even pretend to understand it. We'll just hope that where we're going to visit that the kitties can be put up and that nobody gets inured too bad. One of the cats is a total psycho (I seriously don't like this cat) so that should be fun and the other is super fat so she won't be able to get away too fast. If our dog didn't have back issues I wouldn't be terribly concerned, but I just don't want him hurting himself jumping at them, especially when we're out of town.
Thanks for sharing your story, interesting to know he's not the only weirdo.
Sorry to derail the thread, y'all.
Byron,GA> Charleston, SC> Jacksonville, FL> Guilford, CT> Rohnert Park, CA! A southern drawl in sunny Cali! . The amount of time from slipping on the peel and landing on the pavement is exactly one bananosecond. I do have a secret yen for pink in unexpected places. ~ninja dog
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