Until around Christmas, my wife and I had a 8 year old cat (male) and a 4 year standard poodle (male) and life was fine. My wife bought the poodle as a baby and so it grew up with the cat already dominant in the house, so the dog seemed to learn that the cat was there and no big deal. They pretty much ignored each other and life was grand.
Around Christmas, we bought a 15 month old poodle girl. My wife has always wanted a poodle girl and she wanted to get one that was older than a puppy because she thought it would already be 1) house trained and 2) socialized with other animals so it would be used to having other animals, such as our cat, around.
Dead wrong on both counts. We bought the poodle from a breeder who, although the breeder didn't have a lot of dogs, didn't pay attention to them either. From what we can gather the dog was pretty much ignored from birth until we got her. So instead of being used to cats, she's obsessed with smaller animals - namely, our cat. Sometimes when the cat isn't around or is sleeping she'll forget about the cat and act like a normal dog, but the slightest hint of a sound that could be the cat and it's a mad dash to find the kitty. She seems to like to find and either corner the cat or actually lick it, and since my wife had the cat declawed, the cat swiping at the dog only encourages her. Sometimes she'll nip at the cat, I don't think she means to hurt him but the cat probably doesn't know that. Especially when the cat jumps on something, she'll try to nip him mid-air. When the cat disappears she'll go back to being kind of normal, but the second she sees him or hears him (we even took his collar off to make him more stealthy but she still hears him rustling), the obsession takes firm hold and she'll break her leg trying to track down the kitty and play/lick/nip/corner him.
Needless to say the cat is pretty unhappy and has now taken to marking (spraying with pee) our furniture inside, and we think he does it even when the terror poodle beast is crated (which she is during the day). Even if we broke the obsession tomorrow I don't know how long we'd have to live with the marking, it may never end. The living room smells awful.
Anyway, I feel if we can figure out how to tone down the cat obsession things would get better. If nothing gets better, we will have to give the poodle girl away because it's not fair for the cat to live in fear the rest of its life, and giving her away would break our hearts because she is so sweet outside of the fixation.
We've tried correcting the dog by making a loud noise whenever she tries to make a move for the cat, and while it stops the immediate incident, it doesn't seem to do anything to break her of the obsession.
Any thoughts would be highly appreciated. We've had her three months and can't tell if it has gotten better or worse, it's just a mad obsession.
Thanks in advance for your time.