Puppy and older cats - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy and older cats

I have tried to do some searching for "cats", but I get several pages of results that don't seem related, so sorry for something that may have been answered to death.

We have an 13 week old GSD who we have had since he was 8 weeks. He is well behaved for the most part, at least compared to some of the more extreme behavior I have seen here, but he seems to have some issues with our cats and I wanted to see what I could do.

We have two cats, one four years old, the other around 11-12. The younger one sniffed him when he was younger and sleeping, and generally comes around still when he is out of his crate, but still less often. He never really attacked her or anything, but when he would get close she would hiss and swipe at him. Now she sometimes hides on the stairs going to the basement and jumps out at him when he walks by. So whenever he sees her now, even if she is just eating or whatever, he kind starts barking at her (about the only time he does bark) and tries to get closer to her. All the time he is wagging his tail, so I don't think he is aggressive.

She then gets all puffed up and hisses and so on. So now I feel even when she is playing, he thinks she is attacking. And his playing to her us just annoying I guess.

The older one largely sticks to the upstairs for now, as she is the same color and the younger and he starts barking at her anytime she comes around at all even though she doesn't react to him.

The little guy isn't getting any smaller, and I am afraid this may one day lead to a more aggressive altercation. Is there anything I can do to improve their relationship? I tried bringing him close to her, like holding him and showing his back, which she will usually sniff and then jump away. If I hold him and go face first, its like holding his face to a weed whacker (No I have not let her hit him, but she definitely swipes). She is normally a very affectionate cat, they both are, its just with him.

Thanks for any tips! I hope that as he grows and mellows they will eventually warm up to him.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 03:48 PM
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Well first I would not allow him to annoy the cats. You could put a leash/line on him so you can easily get him away. Obviously he's only a baby so he doesn't know basic commands. I never let my pups chase the cat. If someone can hold pup and someone else can hold kitty you could try a controlled introduction as long as the cat doesn't want to scratch your eyes out. My cats have all been raised with dogs but only some of them really love to play with the dogs. I always try to be careful my puppy doesn't get scratched you can usually tell the difference between play and "I really want to hurt you".
My youngest dog Lakota is infatuated with cats. When she was a pup she used to play with my cat with one eye closed. We now have a 6 month old kitten that thinks he's a dog and they play all the time. I never leave them unsupervised because the kitten bites hard and Lakota gets mad so I break them up before the get too wild.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 03:48 PM
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I would not force the meetings. When he barks what do you do?

My 6 month GSD will run after my 19 year old cat. We discourage this with leave it. For the most part they get along fine though. We have been working on it since he was 3 months old (when we got him). Sometimes they even share a dog bed and he nuzzles into her.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 04:16 PM
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Do all the pets have their own space? We found it helps to have a few tall cat condos around the house so they can be high above things (their favorite place) and have the condo be a no dog zone. When your cats are out, you can walk around your house with your pup leased, if he reacts passing the cats, just continue to walk and do a calm but firm "no" or leave it". Treat training did not work with my dog when she was that young, so I don't know if you want to try that route. It just takes time.

Two of my cats were raised by our previous dog, and they loved Molly almost right away. It took 2-3 years for our two feral siamese to warm up to her, one still avoids Molly.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 04:26 PM
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As puppies, I kept the cat separate for the day, either in another room or let outside where cat would find their own hidey hole. In the evenings, I would bring the cat inside when we were sitting relaxing/watching tv and allow the cat to sit on the lounge chairs, I put puppy on lead and puppy sat on floor. After a while when both were relaxed I would bring cat to my lap and allow the puppy to sit next to me on the lounge chair so that he could smell and sit next to cat. Puppy learned to sit quietly around cat and that sudden and bouncy movements would result in a swipe. All my puppies have experienced a scratch on the face, fortunately not in the eyes and they know to this day to sit quietly.

However, I should point out, the cat is clearly the boss in my household and Harry and Lola are very focused on our cat to the point where they just stare at him from a distance.

if your GSD is eating and eating and eating and losing weight - please consider testing for EPI.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 07:55 PM
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This video is helpful: http://youtu.be/1ZkR6fEpSF0

Our GSD Shikha is 15 weeks & we have 2 twelve year old indoor cats. One cat sleeps on our bed all the time and isn't interested in Shikha. The other cat is interested, sniffs her through the baby gate, watches her in the kennel, and even goes over the baby gate and drinks Shikha's water. Shikha does not have the run of the house. Indoors, she is either in her kennel, or in the mud room and kitchen behind a baby gate. The cats decide when they are interested. When the cats go around Shikha, we get her attention. Whenever she looks at us, we give her a treat. Overtime, we wait until she is looking at us for a few seconds before giving the treat. We started this early on, and it is making a difference. Now if a cat comes near the baby gate, Shikha will look at me first. Hooray! That's what we are going for! Essentially we are teaching Shikha to ignore the cats.

She has barked a couple of times: when the cat runs away. If she were not enclosed, she would want to chase them,and we are trying to prevent that. Sadly, she could kill them accidentally because she doesn't know that she is so much stronger than them. She just thinks : "furry creature running, I should go play!"

I hope that helps. And if you find anything helpful, come back and post it for us!

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 08:38 PM
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I am in the same situation...two adult (older) cats and a rambunctious big puppy. I was hoping after a few weeks or months they would all settle in and tolerate each other at least, but my girl Dani (1 year yesterday) is not getting the hint that cats don't like to be chased and barked at. It's been 10 months now and one cat will sleep on the bed next to my head while on the other side of me is the dog (king size bed so it works). The other cat is to the point he will now stay and sleep atop the cat tree in my bedroom. But come sunrise, Dani is back to chasing and barking! They all have their own space, cats upstairs with a baby gate so Dani has the downstairs during the day while I'm at work. I even have a "cat door" to the spare room so they can run in there too when she's upstairs. I see SMALL improvements - baby steps, but I didn't realize it would take this long! When I first brought Dani home my older cat would sit in the cat tree and glare at Dani in the crate with "angry eyes" like "get this f'cker out of my house!!" Anyone have experiences with older cats coming around after a while....will she stop chasing them?...admittedly I haven't put in enough work to try to train her around them.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-16-2013, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the responses, sorry for my late reply. This weekend just got away from me.

For the earlier questions, the pets kind of have their own space. We had a nice tall cat condo when we were in our apartment, but it was pretty much wrecked by the time we moved out and we trashed it. I have been watching them on Amazon to get them another in the future. But, we are in a large two story home with a basement. The dog seem scared of the basement, for whatever reason, so the cat litter is down there and the cats frequently hang out there.

They also spend a ton of time upstairs and we moved their food there so they aren't like Marines making their way through a war zone every time they come down to eat to avoid the dog.

When he barks, I usually verbally try to correct him. I say his name and then "No". I don't hit my dog or try to yank him back. I have also not tried to hold the cat as part of an introduction as I was told this can be harmful to the cat due to stress, and likely harmful to us because I think my cat would destroy us.

I think overall things would improve if his response to seeing the cat wasn't to bark his head off. His tail is wagging, he wants to play, but he has a commanding bark for his age and it has to be either intimidating or frustrating to the cats.

I think things will improve as he matures, I just wish the cats didn't have to feel pushed away from us. I think some baby gates are due to keep him near us but give the cats some safer zones. They have not been able to spend time with us in the living room since we brought him home.
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