Grumpy Dog vs. Cats

David & Lisa PeabodyDavid & Lisa Peabody Sunny West Coast, FloridaMember Posts: 13
edited 22 August, 2008 in Behavior & Training
Our dog Amber has started to growl and even though we haven’t seen it yet, we have heard what sounds like sniping at our two cats. Here is a little history: We adopted Amber at around 1-2 years old from the Humane Society and she has been with us for over 14 years. She shared our home for 13 years with our now deceased Siamese “Kittty-Kittty” with no signs what so ever of aggression. We waited approx. 6 months before adopting (2) Siamese kittens, which at first she seemed to get along with just fine. Now after a year of them being together, she has started to make us nervous with growling towards the cats. The male cat Samson likes to try and rub faces with Ambers, but Amber wants no part of it, and will start to growl and show her teeth. Both cats leave her alone 99.9% of the time, so it’s not like she’s being provoked. We have talked to our vet, and they say this is common with older dogs. They can get grumpier with age, and may even hurt one of the cats. The vet suggests possible medications for depression, which is a hit or miss approach at best. My wife doesn’t want to take a chance, and is scared that one of the cats will get hurt. She wants to return Amber back to the Humane Society, something I have mixed feeling over. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Dave


  • Benji ThompsonBenji Thompson Member Posts: 7,380
    edited 20 August, 2008
    Please, for the love of dog, don't return her. She's too old to go through something stressful like that. She would never find a new home because of her age and she would probably die there. She's been with you what- 13 years, right? Why would anyone even think of dumping a dog that's been with them that long? :(( I know your wife probably isn't a bad person- but, she needs to understand that dogs are not disposable. This is VERY common in older dogs. She's stressed. Just like older men and women can get "aggressive" so can older animals. Some get gentle and some will snap at almost anything and anyone. It's something you just have to accept. You can try to train it out of her, but it will take a lot of work as she's older. If you're really worried about the cats, I'd say give the pills a try. I'm usually not one to recommend pills for animals, but, in this case- that might be the best route. Better than an old dog going through the stressful situation of being left at a shelter after all those years. Since she's about what? 14, 15? She probably doesn't have much time left. In the meantime, I say keep them seperated. Maybe rotate between leaving them in a room. Maybe crate her from time to time if she's crate trained. Whatever works.
  • Amber SimmonAmber Simmon Member Posts: 2,703
    edited 21 August, 2008
    Cats have a spray called feliway, I imagine there's something similar for dogs. You may ave to just supervise them from now on, is Amber kenneled when you leave?
  • Amber SimmonAmber Simmon Member Posts: 2,703
    edited 21 August, 2008
    Ah, I came back. Felt I hada more to share lol When we had our terrier, Duke, he had actually attacked my two boys (the cats, I dont have real hildren lol) twice. Of course I got nervous, what if he hurt them? He was a problem dog though, came with a lot of issues. Anyway, what I did was just not allow them to be alone together. When I went to work, either my boyfriend was watching him, or he was in his kennel. Which he loved btw,. Don't let people fool you into thinking kenneling a dog is horrible. Duke would hid toys and treats in his, he'd lay in it even if not told to, etc. He adored his kennel. Please keep us updated. I'm not much of a dog person, but if Amber hasnt actually snapped, she maybe just growling to let the cats know to back off. When Duke attacked, he didn't growl, he showed other silent signs, but no vocal ones.
  • janice lancasterjanice lancaster temple gaMember Posts: 2,505
    edited 22 August, 2008
    At her age Amber probably won't be around much longer. Please, if you have to, just discourage the kitties from approaching her. I actually doubt Amber would hurt them anyway, if she hasn't ever hurt anything else. Sounds to me like she just doesn't want to be messed with. We are sad for Amber, because I was 7 or 8 years old and Boo Boo was 11 when Meowma saved us, and we had waited for the longest for a new home; no one else was interested in either of us due to our ages. Luckily our person knows we have years of love left to give. Amber probably wouldn't be so lucky-- anyway, Amber is about at the end of the life span for most dogs her size. Please be kind and work around this!
  • Cassandra NoneCassandra None Member Posts: 406
    edited 22 August, 2008
    I totally agree with the lovely people who responded above me. This is NOT Amber's fault, it's just an old age thing. My gosh, Amber is not grumpy, she is just elderly. Convert her age to human years and your jaw will drop hard enough on the floor to break! Crate/Kennel Amber when no human is around. I dunno about Amber bu our Ruby sees her crate as HER room and hers alone. When she is there she is safe and secure from all other intrusions be it our inquisitive cats or a cranky husband (of mine :)). Hey, I have a mate bought a crate large enough for the dog and a small TV which he turned on every time she was alone. :D The cats obviously mean no harm to Amber but they are young, curious and the last thing an elderly dog wants to feel a cold nose on theirs/up their fur or playful paws replete with tiny sharp claws on their head or tail. Our Thai, a Keeshond, was 16 when he passed away (cancer). Despite his having been raised with cats and his life with us among many cats, in the end, it was the new cats (the cats he came into the house with died of old age) would drive him crazy. They were so curious about this big furry rug that they had to inspect it head to tail and even despite his warnings of growls and snips, they had would get toooo close. There was no blame but age. I ask that you wife respect Amber's age and keep the young ones at bay by perhaps keeping Amber in her own special "mine only" space such as a closed crate or bedroom.
  • David & Lisa PeabodyDavid & Lisa Peabody Sunny West Coast, FloridaMember Posts: 13
    edited 22 August, 2008
    Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement. Other than her age, we are just miffed why all of sudden she has started to behave this way. She never showed any aggression before towards our other cats. In fact, we kept a friends kitten for a few weeks, and Amber would just lie on her back, wagging her tail while this kitten would clean her face & ears. I was standing in the hall yesterday with Amber when Samson came up and tried to rub his face against hers. Even with me standing there, Amber showed her teeth with a slight growl. I immediately reached down and held her, telling her she was being bad, by which if you could see her eyes; she definitely knows what the “bad” word means. I agree with everyone that returning her to the Humane Society is not the answer and plan on talking to our vet further. Thanks Dave
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