German Shepherd On Cat Aggression
Some dogs are great around other dogs and cats, whilst others may get aggressive immediately.
Check out these guides for potential reasons and signs of aggression in your GSD:
Things like prey drive, territoriality, dominance, and a drive to herd and/or protect may be reasons a GSD may get aggressive towards a cat.
Possessiveness or fear might also be other reasons.
Can All German Shepherds Coexist With Cats
Probably not. German Shepherds are very big and powerful dogs with a high prey drive. You need to take careful steps to ensure your cats are safe when introducing them to a German Shepherd. I will talk about these steps later.
That being said, German Shepherds are very loyal to their family. If you can get your dog to see your cat as part of their family, they can be very gentle and loving toward the cat. The dream is to have your German Shepherd and cat snuggling, but the first goal is to train your German Shepherd to ignore your cat, then respect your cat, and lastly hopefully adore your cat. And vice versa. I got this idea from AnythingGermanShepherd.
I think this partly depends on the temperament and history of your animals. Pay attention to your current pet. Are they particularly aggressive or frightened by other animals? Perhaps they are not a two-animal home kind of pet. Or perhaps your current pet may feel less intimidated by an older dog instead of a new puppy or a kitten or a female instead of a male?
On the flip side some cats and dogs become friends almost immediately with no help from you. We started with 2 very timid cats and a highly excitable 8 weeks old German Shepherd puppy.. so weve had to take things very slowly. That might not be the case for your puppy.
Does My German Shepherd Like Cats
The short answer is I doubt it. I dont have a cat because I dont think my girl would live well with one.
How do I know my Allie doesnt like cats?
At her very first vet appointment a couple of days after I brought her home at 8 weeks old, we came out of the examining room and there was a lady sitting in the waiting room with a small crate on the floor.
My dog went up and sniffed at the crate then jumped back and growled. The lady said, well I guess she doesnt like cats. That was my first clue.
Allie also has a very strong prey drive and whenever she sees a cat she wants to pounce and chase and sometimes she growls.
All this adds up to I dont think my German Shepherd would care to have a cat in the house.
However, I know many other German Shepherd owners, whose dogs have a different temperament than my girl, and their dogs do wonderful with cats. I know one person who has 3 German Shepherds and 2 cats and they have no problems.
The temperament of the German Shepherd and the temperament of the cat is key to their ability to get along or simply co-exist. This varies on a case by case basis.
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Top Tips To Help Your German Shepherd Dog And Cat Get Along
Do German Shepherds Have A Strong Prey Drive
German Shepherds have a very strong prey drive. That means that theyre naturally inclined to pursue whatever moves. When it comes to hunting down an unsuspecting feline, they arent afraid to go after it.
They might try to playfully nip at the cats tail or legs, but they still have no qualms about chasing it away.
They also tend to bark loudly whenever they see something move. If the cat runs off, then the German Shepherd follows it until it stops running. At which point, he tries to grab hold of it again.
If the cat gets scared enough, it might even attempt to fight back. And since German Shepherds are very powerful creatures, they could easily win out in these situations.;
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Dogs And Cats Can They Get Along
Well, this is a cliché and the cat-dog rivalry has existed since times immemorial. However, while a German Shepherd is big, he is quite intelligent and can be quite gentle and can extend this gentle behavior towards cats too.
However, to make sure that this happens and your German Shepherd does not bolt and chase your cat whenever he sees one, the key is to properly introduce and socialize your German Shepherd to behave around a cat can so that your pooch and kitty can get along well.
And, if you socialize your German Shepherd from when he is a puppy, he can get along very well not only with cats, but other dogs, animals and even strangers. But before you go on to getting your German Shepherd and cat together, it is very important to understand the various factors that can determine the time and training needed for both your pets to get along. The important factors are the personalities of both animals, how old the German Shepherd is when introduced to the cat and the dynamics of both animals.
Things To Consider About German Shepherds And Cats
Below are some things to consider about German Shepherds and cats.
They can be quite stubborn
When youâre getting your German Shepherd to get along with your cat youâll likely find that they can be quite stubborn. This means that it will be very important for you to train it regularly, consistently and over the course of months so that you can really change its habits around your cat.
It helps to start training it as a puppy
The earlier you train your German Shepherd to get along with your cat the easier it will be for you. As your German Shepherd gets older its habits of being aggressive towards cats will be more pronounced and harder to change so itâs better to start when itâs still young.
Other breeds that are known for being better behaved around cats
If you have a cat and you want a dog, there are dog breeds that are known for being better behaved around cats than German Shepherds.
Below is a list of dog breeds that are known for being well behaved around cats:
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Age Of The German Shepherd And The Cat
A puppy and a kitten have greater chances of getting along well with each other than their grown-up counterparts. Even in situations that they dont get along quite well, its relatively easier to help them get along while they are still young. On the other hand, mature dogs and cats are less likely to get along when introduced to each other. It is not an impossibility, but it is just less likely. Several American homes have reported adopting mature cats and dogs that have gotten along incredibly well with each other. However, dont always expect this result.
Helpful Training Tips For German Shepherds
- If adopting, ask a shelter worker if the dog was raised around cats. If so, he is much more likely to behave around yours.
- Spay or neuter your German shepherd before they reach puberty at around 6 months. This will greatly decrease the dominant behavior they show your kitten.
- German shepherds love to run around and go crazy. Make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise and he will be less likely to pester your cat.
- German shepherds respond well to positive reinforcement with lots of dog treats. Dont be afraid to lavish praise on them when they behave well, or withhold rewards when they do something wrong.
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Try These Tips To Prevent Kitty Conflicts
Your end goal is to be able to leave your cat and German Shepherd at home while you go out for the day. Even if you trust the two of them, you should still take steps to keep the environment peaceful and safe.
Make sure that your pets have avenues to get away from each other. Cats need access to high areas and safe rooms where the dog cant get to. Dogs need backyards, crates, and other areas that are distinctly theirs.
Both pets should always be able to leave a stressful situation at a moments notice. Leave bedroom and bathroom doors open if you wont be at home. You can also isolate one pet while youre gone.
Use plenty of treats to help both animals relax. Good food creates positive associations. If necessary, feed your pets on opposite sides of the same room.
Some cats do not relax inside carriers. Try using a baby gate to separate the two animals. Remember to keep the German Shepherd on a leash until they both calm down.
Supervise all interactions between the dog and the cat for the first few months. Monitor stress levels, and casually end playtime if it gets too rough.
Be careful about how you translate your pets emotions. Always assume that your dog is afraid instead of aggressive; if he acts jumpy or upset, take steps to calm him down.
How To Get A German Shepherd To Get Along With Cats
While German Shepherds do have a strong prey drive which can make it difficult to have them around cats, there are still some things you can do to get them to be better behaved around cats.
Give it positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see from your GSD by rewarding it when it shows signs of displaying them.
To train your German Shepherd to get along with your cat youâll do it in three stages. First, youâll teach it to stay, then to stay when itâs being distracted then to stay when the cat is around.
I have written about how to teach a German Shepherd to stay and how to do it when being distracted in the past here.
After you have taught it to stay when being distracted it will be time to slowly introduce the cat.
Youâll do this by telling your German Shepherd to stay and then start by just putting the cat in the same room.
Then after your German Shepherd maintains its attention on you youâll reward it for doing so. Youâll repeat this process where you get your German Shepherd to stay with the cat in the same room until youâre able to get it to keep its attention on you easily.
Once itâs good at doing that youâll continue to tell it to stay but youâll reduce the amount of distance between your German Shepherd and your cat until youâre able to get your German Shepherd to keep its focus on you even when the cat is nearby.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Neuter or spay it
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Why Do Cats Not Get Along With German Shepherds
Imagine the average cat personality compared to a dog. Generally, cats are a lot more grumpy and have a lot less time for things that annoy them.
On the other hand, german shepherds and other dogs are normally friendly. In fact, theyre always happy to see new people and new things.
And they can get extremely overexcited when this happens.
So when you think about it like this, its no wonder cats are going to not like german shepherds.
When your german shepherd gets excited to see the cat, the cat is going to get annoyed at the amount of energy.
When youre teaching your german shepherd how to act around the cat, its important to take into account the way the cat is acting as well.
Why Is My German Shepherd Obsessed With My Cat
German Shepherds are a breed that is known to have a strong prey drive. This means that they have it in their nature to chase after small things like cats, rabbits and even small dogs. This is likely to be why your German Shepherd has been obsessed with your cat. They have actually been known to kill small animals.
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Should You Get A German Shepherd If You Have A Cat
The Daily Shep recommends that you consider the temperament of your existing pet before you bring another dog or cat into your home. You know your pets better than anyone; only you can decide whether a new animal is a good idea.
Some pets have open, friendly demeanors. If your cat is normally relaxed around humans and dogs, they are more likely to give a German Shepherd puppy a chance. On the other hand, a cat who is usually skittish and aloof will probably not do well with a new family friend.
A pets level of socialization is also important. German shepherds who spend their time alone wont react as well as dogs who spend all of their time around humans and other animals.
Consider whether your current pet shows territorial instincts, an aggressive prey drive, or dominant behaviors. Pets who like to be in charge of their environment have a tough time adjusting to new family members.
Even if your pet shows these behaviors, you still might be able to adopt another cat or dog. Be aware of your pets personality before you make your decision; if you want to adopt another animal anyway, be prepared to mitigate your original pets response.
According to Michele Welton, dog trainer and behavioral consultant, there are two main types of German Shepherds: show dogs and working dogs.
German shepherds bred for the show can be skittish, but they have a more gentle temperament overall. German shepherds bred to be working dogs have energetic but obedient temperaments.
How To Train Your German Shepherd To Love Cats
Ideally, you should start training your German Shepherd to get along with cats at a young age. The lessons you teach your German Shepherd while he is still a puppy will always be a part of them as they mature into adulthood.
Youll find it easy to train your GSD if you already have a cat that gets along well with dogs. Your pup will learn how to calm down when excited, but this will be more difficult if the cat is stressed out.
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Why Do German Shepherds Hate Cats
One reason is that German Shepherds have a strong prey drive that triggers their instincts to chase small things. Cats also like to run which can cause German Shepherds to want to chase. Another possible reason is that your German Shepherd is jealous of the attention your cat is getting and it wants it for itself.
What If The Introduction Turns Bad
When you are in the process of introducing your pets to each other, you need to watch for the signs that indicate the introduction has taken a downward spiral that needs to be stopped immediately.Some of the key indicators that you need to intervene are:
- The cat appears to be frightened even after the initial introduction. Some signs of this may be hair standing up, growling, or hissing with widened eyes.
- The dog appears overly excited. Sometimes when the prey drive sequence begins, it can be mistaken for overzealous behavior. If you notice this, you need to remove the dog immediately.
- The dog lunges at the cat.
- The cat begins to paw at the dog.
If you notice any of these behaviors, you need to slow down the introduction process and revisit the initial scent-swapping until the two can comfortably be in the same room together. You may need to go through this process several times before the two can be comfortable together.
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Precautionary Measure When Introducing German Shepherds To Cats
There are some precautions that you might want to consider to keep your cat safe. The most likely method of attack would be your dog chasing and biting the cat, so you could try to prevent this by keeping them separated when theyre both at full strength.
A second precaution would be to keep your German Shepherd on a leash when its outside of the house or in a large outdoor area, just in case your cat disappears. This will make it much easier to keep them separated. When youre bringing them together for introductions inside the home, there should be no need to use a leash.
Finally, make a safe space for your cat. When bringing home your dog, you could create a space where your cat can hide until its comfortable enough to adjust to its new companion.
This will make your cats and dogs feel like they have their territory to avoid skirmishes or confrontations. But dont let the dog have complete access to this space because youll still need to keep it and your cat separated for a while.