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Question
Posted by: Rossi | 2006/04/21

Scottie killed kitten

Dear Doc,
We have 2 Scottish Terriers which we love dearly and they are part of our family. We also love cats and we have "saved" a kitten that was next to the road. The cat lived with us for 2 months and last night she went out side the back door while we were there. The next moment the male Scottie has chased her in a corner and killed her (I don't know exactly how). Needless to say it was very heart breaking for the whole family. We did not give the Scottie a hiding we just locked him up in the back yard (with the female). He also killed a rabit once in our garden. Can we change this behaviour or do something so that we don't live with a killer?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Rossi

This is a very difficult thing to solve. If they have done it once, they will do it again. Short of using an electric shock collar (which is a bit cruel), there is not much you could do. If left unattended, he might turn on the cats again. They have a natural hunting instinct and terriers were bred for this.
I would suggest you get an accredited animal behaivourist to do a complete assessment on your dogs and give you detailed advise. Goto www.animal-behaviour.org.za and find someone in your area that could assist.
You could do some positive reinforcement training and hope it helps you.
Regards
CDV
Animal behaviourist

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Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2006/04/22

Dogs are predators, and nobody must ever forget that. Consider yourselves lucky that he's a small breed, and that his 'victim' wasn't a child.

I know this is hard to deal with, but of course to him this is something quite insignificant - he isn't evil or a 'killer' in the sense that his morals are corrupt. If it was a mole he killed you'd probably have gotten him a big bone as a reward - to him, it's the same thing.

Having said that: you'll have to come to terms with the fact that you won't be able to leave smaller or defenseless creatures in his company. If he's done this twice, he'll almost certainly do it again if he has the chance. Training him out of it isn't really much of an option, unless of course you have a good supply of bunnies for him to practice on!

He certainly shouldn't be punished - you'll just need to make sure he's not put in the way of temptation again.

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