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Sharon C. of Maine, asks: How can I teach my puppy not to latch onto my highly dog-friendly cat? He latches on and won’t let go unless I pick him up by his collar.

Dogs and cats living together can be complicated. Even if your feline doesn’t seem to mind your puppy’s behavior, it is very important that your canine companion never chase the cat. They should not be left together unsupervised. Use baby gates to keep your dog from entering certain spaces. If the puppy is over-stimulated and won’t give up, put him in a time-out in his crate, but with a treat, so that he does not have a negative association with the crate.

Managing the situation at this point is the best thing you can do. Puppies don’t know when enough is enough, so you will have to supervise him to prevent chasing, biting, or latching. Eventually, he is likely to grow out of this obnoxious behavior.

Picking a puppy up by the scruff or collar isn’t safe or effective, and may even make him try harder to go after the cat. He needs to learn what you want him to do instead. Redirect him with a toy or high-value treat, and when he looks away from the cat, reward and praise him. It’s also a good idea to teach your puppy the “leave it” command early on.


Our dogs are cherished members of the family, sharing our lives and providing unconditional love. But all dog owners know that our canine partners have different perspectives on life than we do.

If you have ever asked, “Why does my dog do that?” then this feature is for you. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline training team will answer your questions on dogs’ behavior and offer training advice to help you and your pup have the best relationship possible. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline is a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by professional dog trainers. For more information on the service and how to enroll, go to www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.

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