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Hi everyone I feel I've gotten stuck and thought maybe some outside suggestions would help.
I have a 4 month old cavalier X poodle. He's great, a mostly calm, happy dog. I've been slowly introducing him to my two cats.
first week or so I had pup and cats out of sight in different rooms and then switched them, for scent exchange etc
introduced with puppy in crate. Then placed baby gates to divide house into zones, so they can see each other but not get to each other. Began feeding and treating them initially from far away from the gate, now they will all take treats inches from each other.
-trained puppy in sit, down, wait, leave it. I can put a treat on his paw and he'll leave it. Roll a ball by him he'll leave it. Throw a treat he'll leave it. He'll wait as I open and go out a door. But this doesn't work when he's distracted/excited, he ignores me!
began to have puppy in same soom as cat and gave him treats for looking at me. Do tricks like lie down in front of cats. If he goes for cat I try to block him and distract with toy/treat. But, he only pays attention to me if I have a treat, when I run out or if I don't have on me he's back leaping at them.
And now I'm stuck. He is still obsessed with trying to play with the cats! The cats are mad as they can't go into a room where the dog is. I have to keep locking them out, but they deserve my company too! But if he knows they are out he will be whining scratching . He ignores toys including a filled kong while they are around. I try holding him but he won't settle while a cat is about. The only time he'll ignore them is while I'm holding food, he's eating, or is very sleepy. If he's awake he will chase them. If I'm not supervising constantly he will chase them all over the house. He tears up their toys and eats their food so I have to be mindful which is a cat room which is a dog room and make sure cats are not getting too stressed out. (I'm still switching their 'zones').
'leave it' doesn't work with the cats (unless I have a treat) , He's escaped around me or lunged at them like when coming back in from a walk, he's chased them quite few times over the weeks. I've tried 'no' and 'uhuh' while he's doing the negative behaviour.
If I try to train him while on a short lead I end up yanking and pulling because he is SO desperate to get to them and he just darts around to get to them as I'm trying to block him. The cats freak and run away, he chases more etc.
Ive tried having him tied to a chair or something while cats are on the room but typical they hide or go off to sleep and he just gets frustrated.
in exasperation I tried letting him just be in the room (closely supervised) with my less nervous cat so they can figure it out. She's swatted at him a few times but he doesn't get the message and wants to play more and more and will corner her so I have to remove her. (I've also tried removing the dog.)
I have seen a little progress. He will sometimes lie down and roll on his side next to the cat for a few moments but then will gradually amp up his excitability and desire to play.
At this point I'm questioning if what I'm doing is wrong? Does it just need more time? Should I remove myself and the cat from the room when he does undesirable behaviour? What things should I continue doing, what things should I stop doing? Should I go back to square one? I just feel like all animals are unhappy about the situation (cats moreso than puppy who I think is oblivious). I thought I could make this work and thought I'd done so much research before getting the puppy but I just feel like I'm failing all of them and this will never work out.
Tldr can't get puppy to be calm around cats unless I'm holding a treat. No idea what to do next
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