If your dog has been nibbling on your cat you probably want to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog nibbles on your cat and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my dog nibble on my cat? Possible reasons why your dog nibbles on your cat are that it’s a breed with a strong prey drive, it hasn’t learned to control its bite, it is just playing, it is being dominating or jealousy.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your dog does it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do to stop it.
Why your dog nibbles on your cat
Each of the different reasons why your dog nibbles on your cat will likely come with some clues.
Below, I will mention why your dog might be doing it and what would make each of the reasons more likely.
It has a strong prey drive
The reason that it nibbles on your cat could be that it has a strong prey drive. This would be more likely if it is a breed that is known for having a strong prey drive such as a Husky or a German Shepherd.
These breeds have been known to go as far as to kill cats and other small animals. So, if your dog does seem to have a strong prey drive, it would help to keep it separated from your cat whenever possible.
Related: Why does my dog bite my feet?
It hasn’t learned to control its bite
When dogs are young they will learn to control their bite since the other puppies will yelp and stop playing with them when they bite too hard. If your dog was not around other puppies much then it could be that it didn’t learn not to bite other animals which could be why it nibbles on your cat.
In this case, it would help to train your dog to leave your cat alone using the tips that will be mentioned below.
Related: why is my dog so calm?
It is just playing
It might be the case that your dog is just trying to play when it seems to be nibbling on your cat. This would be more likely if it does not seem to be doing it aggressively.
Even if it does seem to be playing, it would still be important to train it to leave your cat alone using the tips mentioned below.
It is being dominating
The reason that it nibbles on your cat could be that it is being dominating. This would be more likely if it does it when it is eating or when your cat does things such as to sit in a higher place than your dog.
In this case, it would help to avoid letting them be together when it is likely to become more dominating. So, this means that it would help to feed them both separately.
It could also be the case that your dog is jealous of your cat. This would be more likely if your dog tends to nibble it when you have given your cat more attention or when you are actually giving your cat attention.
In this case, it would help to give your dog attention throughout the day. But, it would also help to give it a lot of training so that it learns to listen to your command and to behave the way that you want it to. You can follow the tips below to see how you can train it in this case.
Things to consider
Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog has been nibbling on your cat. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will become much easier to get it to stop.
How old your dog is
If your dog is still a puppy then it would be more likely that it has not learned to leave your cat alone yet or that it has not learned to control its bite. In this case, it would help to train it to leave your cat alone.
If your dog is older and it is still doing it then it would be more likely to be due to dominating behavior, jealousy or having a strong prey drive. In this case, it would help to keep them both separated whenever possible.
When your dog started to nibble on your cat
If your dog didn’t always nibble on your cat then it would help to consider what happened at around the time that it started.
If it started doing it suddenly then it would make it more likely to be due to things such as becoming jealous.
When your dog does nibbles on your cat
The timing of when it seems to do it the most would also be helpful to consider.
If it only seems to do it when being fed then it would be much more likely that it is doing it due to dominance. Whereas, if it seems to do it at random times then it would be more likely to be due to a strong prey drive, wanting to play or jealousy.
How to get your dog to stop nibbling on your cat
There are a number of things that you can do about your dog nibbling on your cat. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do to get it to stop.
The fastest way to get your dog to stop nibbling on your cat would be to simply separate them. By doing so you will be able to avoid letting them get into situations where your dog might harm your cat. This would be especially important when feeding them and if it seems to also get aggressive with your cat.
Train it not to
The next thing that you can do is to train your dog to get along with cats. If your dog is still a puppy it would be very important that you take the time to do this now. It’s also important that you train it regularly and that you continue to do so over a long time period. Otherwise, your dog might fall back into bad habits.
To train your dog to get along with your cat you’ll do it in three stages. First, you’ll train it to stay, then to stay when there are distractions
I have written about how to train your dog to stay and how to do it when being distracted in the past here.
After you have taught it to stay when being distracted it will be time to slowly introduce the cat.
You’ll do this by telling your dog to stay and then start by just putting the cat in the same room but at a distance.
Then after your dog maintains its attention on you you’ll reward it for doing so. You’ll repeat this process where you get your dog to stay with the cat in the same room until you’re able to get it to keep its attention on you easily.
Once it’s good at doing that you’ll continue to tell it to stay but you’ll reduce the amount of distance between your dog and your cat until you’re able to get your dog to keep
Watch the video below to see how it is done.
Feed them separately
It is common for dogs to become much more aggressive when they are eating. If you tend to feed your cat at the same time that you feed your dog it would help to avoid feeding them in the same room to avoid having your dog become aggressive towards your cat.
When training your dog to get along with your cat it would help to be consistent with the training. It is unlikely that you will be able to get it to completely leave it alone with just one training session. But if you train it consistently, you will be able to get much better progress over the course of weeks or months.
Train it early
If your dog is still a puppy then it is important to start training it now not only to leave your cat alone but in general as well. By doing so you will be able to get it to be much better behaved as an adult and avoid having it have bad encounters with your cat.
If it is not a puppy any more then it would still help to train it since you will still able to get it to be better behaved in general with consistent training.