How do I force my dog and cat to respect each other?

I have had a Jack Russell Terrier for 10 years and a cat for 7 years. Both of them have hated each other since they met. The cat lives in the basement and the dog lives upstairs. I am sick of the dog freaking out every time I go in the basement and I will not deal with it anymore. If I even brush by the door to the basement he goes crazy. I am at the point where I don’t care what I have to do in order to fix this issue.

Cheap solution: decide which pet you like more and find a new home for the other one.

Expensive possible solution not guaranteed to work: find a qualified actual pet therapist/trainer (recommended by a vet) and follow the complex and multi-week directives they issue and hope your pets like you enough to modify their behaviors to make you happy/get yummy treats.

it is impossible to force animals into behaving in unnatural ways to suit your desire.

Good luck.

Let the cat upstairs. The cat can get up to places the dog can’t get to. WTF kind of life can a cat have in a freakin’ basement?

If they’ve been living together for 7 years and still don’t get along, then it’s not going to happen.

Since the OP is looking for advice, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Jack Russels are cat killers but once they accept them as a family memeber they will be great friends. You may have to play referee and get pretty tough n the dog for a few days but I believe it is not too late to make them get along.

Another option I am willing to consider is getting the dog to avoid the cat and run away in fear from her instead of trying to attack.

This, a thousand times over. Of course the dog doesn’t consider the cat part of the family, since it has to live in the basement, like some kind of intrusive rodent. Let the cat upstairs like everyone else, and the dog will have to accept it.

And even without the dog, the cat should be part of the family.

Have you considered getting them a common enemy so they’re forced to overcome their differences and work together? I suggest a bear.

Unfortunately, you didn’t get them both when they were in the puppy/kitten stage so they have no reason to get along. And by keeping the cat in the basement, you didn’t force the terrier to grow used it. At this point, giving one animal away would be the most humane solution with the cat being most likely candidate as it has a longer lifespan.

Next time, get a puppy and a kitten and let them grow up together. That way, they’ll learn to share your home , rather than become rivals for territory.

NO No NO! Not unless you want a destroyed house, bloodshed, and/or a terrified cat who resorts to peeing everywhere! JRTs are hunters and are tough minded, determined little SOBs, but they can be trained. Cats can be trained too, just with different approaches.

You really need a good behavioral trainer. This might be able to be fixed, but after 7 years it’s going to be work. It’s a damned shame you let it go this long, so unfair to both animals.

Taking internet advice as to how to go about this is dangerous - too much depends on the individual personalities of each animal. Please find some professional hands-on help.

Here’s a place to start:

Think of the peaceful life you would have if you got rid of both of them.

This is a really depressing thread. Even just the title…

Please find new homes for both of them.

Yeah, Jacks are little terrors. Behavior mod can be a long road when dealing with primal drives (Jacks are all about primal drives). If it was me (actually it was me, for awhile), I would try to create better safe zones for the cat. Build her an outdoor cattery connected to some out-of-dog-reach walkways inside, so she can, essentially, live in the tree tops. And/or segregate the dog into his own set of rooms, with dog gates. In this way they can coexist while you aren’t there.

When you are there, practice obedience with your dog. Take a class, read a book. What you want is a dog who will come to you when called no matter what the distraction, and who will ‘go to your bed’ and stay there when told. With a Jack, this is uphill work, they are not one of the naturally obedient breeds. But they CAN learn, even old dogs can learn. Use a reward-based method if you can make it work, they are much more efficient than the old punishment methods. You add the cat when you have built a lot of training into your dog, not before.

A genius animal trainer might be able to make them friends. But if you were one of those, you wouldn’t have posted.

First off, OP didn’t say he locks the cat in the basement so everyone should fucking chillax.

I am not sure how well it would go down in th pro animal training circles but we have had good luck in the forced familiarisation style. Get them comfortable and then hold on to them while they get a chance to smell each other. Take turns with them getting a tiny bit of leeway and immediately correct any aggressive behaviour. Might take a couple of sessions.

  1. Penfeather - Kudos on the Bear :wink:

  2. Boffking - I think it’s fixable (I say this from years of experience with everything from Akitas to Boston Terriers) but others are right, don’t try and do it off the thread. Get a trainer and get some advice from someone who has evaluated your animals - especially your dog. If you need help finding a good trainer, I’m sure we’d all love to chime on how to do that. :slight_smile:

First off, train the dog so he doesn’t spin into orbit when he thinks it’s kitty killing time when you go near the basement door. He knows the cat is in the basement, right? Wants to go down there and go look for him? So they can be buddies? When you have that level of obedience and control around the basement door, then you can move on to going into the basement and still having control. Then you can introduce control around the cat. Step by step.

I think you’re fighting an uphill battle here, though, and suggest you rehome one of them or just get used to the situation you have created. The dog has had seven years of practicing his ‘get the cat’ behaviours and that’s a lot of reconditioning to help him understand that he’s not allowed to get into that headspace and do that anymore. Tough job, and like others, I suggest you enlist the aid of a respected and qualified dog trainer because there is no simple solution.

The cat, on the other hand, may never get used to or trust the dog and may always be afraid of him as long as he is in the house.

Indeed. Or perhaps you could stick them in shuttles and crash them into a distant planet.

Yeah thinking it over, I have a hard time imagining a cat that’s been living in the basement for 7 years getting over it. That’s what he thinks of as “home” now.