Teaching pup to not harass cats - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching pup to not harass cats

Whoo boy here we go again! Lost my beloved first GSD this January, just got a GSD pup 3 weeks ago: I've got the hyper-vigilance stress woes, tired/foggy brain from lack of sleep, bite marks all over my hands and ankles and a rapidly-diminishing checking account. Sound familiar?

Luckily, I knew GSD puppies are basically little nightmares and to buckle in for the ride -- and that puppy hood passes and then you have a great dog. Could use a little advice teaching him to play nice with my 3 cats, however -- my first GSD eventually just *sort of* left them alone most of the time, though he would chase them at any given time when they least expected it. My male cat let him groom him and that took a lot of the curious factor out of it for my first GSD.

So -- forgetting how the heck I worked it mostly out with the cats and my first dog and still blessed with my patient male cat and two not-so-patient female cats, looking for tips to teach my new boy to leave them alone. Little background: he's 11 weeks old and I do keep him gated in living room and kitchen so he can't get to the cats -- but one cat insists on jumping the baby gate and doing her thing, dog or no dog. When this happens, he barks and growls at her, tries to bite her -- all that puppy stuff. She's given him a few mild swats but I have no desire for a punctured eye on pup or a hurt kitty so I am NOT relying on the "Don't worry, the cat will set him straight" crap. My male cat will come right up the baby gate and just sit there -- does the same thing when pup is in the crate -- so pup can smell and check him out but not touch. Honestly not sure if this is good or just more frustrating to him but that's what the cat does.

Sorry so long. Advice please and thank you!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:53 PM
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Interested in the responses. Ours gets along fine with our boy cat. Likely because he doesn't run or make a big deal about the dog. The female cat is scared to death, runs, and therefore gets chased, then swats, gets barked at, then chased more.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 09:25 PM
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Baby gates. Unfortunately, I don't think my dog and cat will ever coexist quietly and without "drama". I've had several dogs and cats before and it all worked out okay. My cat was fine with dogs and then she was attacked by one (not mine). My GSD was a puppy when she came into our family and the cat was here already. A year and a half later, everyone is happier separated. The cat doesn't like the dog. I can't change that. I can keep my cat safe and do my best to train the dog to not whine and fuss about the cat. My GSD would be okay with the cat, I think?, but the cat is not interested in having anything to do with her.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 10:46 PM
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I've got two cats - both siamese... one rules the roost and what she says goes! The other is a real scaredy cat. Bossy cat always hisses and swats (but claws are in as puppy has never yelped nor has she ever drawn blood) at Kaiser. He mostly gives her a wide berth. Sometimes when he is in the mood he will keep teasing her, jumps towards her and then jumps back again out of her way. He does know "leave it" which is used often when he is near the cats.

Scaredy cat runs away from him, which isn't always the best idea because despite my best efforts sometimes he manages to get a chase in before she leaps over the baby gate. It also doesn't help that she has the loudest siamese meow I've ever heard and she isn't one to go any where quietly... life would be much easier for her if she stopped opening her mouth and stopped running.

"Leave it" is the best tool... he will look at the cat, I say Leave It, and he will turn around and go away or just lie down where he is.

When he was little I would hold his collar and not let him get near the cat and say Leave it.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 01:24 AM
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We just got two 6 week old rescue kittens yesterday, and the male is very bold and has been eating out of the GSD's food bowl with her! I am so proud of my shepherd girl! I kept her on a short drag leash and scolded her if she acted too interested in the kittens. So far so good. My previous shepherd NEVER got used to my cats, and went ballistic any time she saw them. We had to have tbe first floor for dogs, the upstairs for cats, which was not fun for anyone. It must be dependent on prey drive and genetics. I am dubious if training will, work for certain dogs.
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Last edited by maxtmill; 04-26-2017 at 01:27 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 11:38 AM
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A combination of:

1. Commands to sit/lay down while the cat is in motion, and commands to leave the cat alone after an initial sniff.
2. Corrections for getting up to follow the cat (because this causes the cat to run, which causes Jack to chase) or interacting with the cat beyond a quick sniff (and ignoring the leave it).
3. Praise for leaving the cat alone, sniffing the cat and walking away, or choosing to come to us for attention instead.
4. But the coup de grace is sharing raw hamburger together about a foot away from each other (the trick is reminding Jack not to steal the cat's meat since the cat eats slower).

After practicing the above over the last couple of months, he's comfortable laying next to the cat and ignoring it, and the cat is comfortable with the dog being close to him.

Keep in mind this is working best with our very social and confident male cat who truly doesn't care about strangers and is hardly intimidated by the dog. Our other cat is skittish and doesn't really want anything to do with the dog. We'll have to try working with her when Jack is older, calmer, and extremely obedient.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:39 PM
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It's self-rewarding behavior to get to chase the cat, so you should NEVER let the puppy chase your cat. Your cat should never be considered prey by your dog. Keep a leash on your pup until it has learned impulse control (practice impulse control games with your pup). Baby gate the house so your cat can get away quickly without the pup being able to follow.

Xan Varik von Fernheim (born 4/3/13)
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 06:45 PM
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We started with engaging the puppy with treats when the cats were around. Our cats are the same way, TDGAF and walk 2 inches from the puppy . Makes it hard to keep them separated since the CATS are the ones jumping the gates. Then we taught leave it with the "its your choice game" . Now at 15 weeks he gets a leave it and a leash correction if he doesn't, and lots of praise and a treat when he does ( even if its directly after a correction). Hes always on the leash and we are hyper aware where the cats are.
When he is worked up or tired he is more likely to give chase , so we are much more careful then.
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