We rescued a 5 month old puppy a week and a half ago. She looks like a flat coated retriever mix. She's a sweetheart except for her behavior around our cats. She is completely obsessed with them and basically charges them every chance she gets. We have a 1-bedroom home so the first few days I kept the cats in the bedroom, and then felt guilty and started attaching her leash to the couch and letting the cats roam the house freely. She will just repeatedly jump at them even when attached. I have had her on the leash and let her approach them a few times, and it's hit or miss how she acts. She's had a couple of good moments when she calmly went over and sniffed noses and was able to control herself and walk back out of the room, and then she's had many, many more instances of charging them while barking at them and nipping at whatever is in the way of her and the cat--the bedspread, me, etc.
Anyone have any advice as to whether she is trainable to leave them alone? I just don't even know if she would hurt them or not, or what's normal and what's not. The cats are all terrified and I'm feeling like we made a huge mistake bringing her into the family. Thanks for any help you can offer.
Do the cats take off and get panicked when she does this? Because if they do, they could be just feeding her prey instinct :( I have a dog who did this with cats for years and unfortunately even killed one. But we (very carefully) took a litter of kittens that turned up on our property and raised them basically alongside this dog. We NEVER left them alone together. But they were never afraid of her because they had been around her from a very early age and she never chased them. I know raising another kitten around her is probably not an option for you but I'm thinking if the cats ever stop running from her, she might not want to chase them so badly. It could be as simple as she chases them because they run away.
Sorry I don't have any better advice, but with my experience with a very similar problem, that's all I can think of. Maybe you could figure out a way to socialize the cats with the dog a little more. If you keep them separate or whisk the cats away every time the dog is in danger of coming into contact with them, that could be just enticing her to chase them even more.