GSD puppy and cats? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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GSD puppy and cats?

I'm new to this site and I know there are probably plenty of posts on here about this, but I wanted to give my specific details. My husband and I recently got a 10 week old GSD puppy. He's very sweet and loves us already and is slowly getting his routine. Before we got him we did a lot of research on the breed including how GSDs do with cats. Nearly everything I read said that they are gentle wonderful dogs and are fine with children and cats, especially if they are brought into a home that already has them when they are a puppy. Once we brought him home we had people telling us they were not good with either, especially cats and so now I'm very concerned. I absolutely understand they are prey driven- but I thought if we got a dog as a puppy he would be fine with them - but now I am really concerned and fear I'll never attach completely to him because I'll always be worried about my two resident cats. (The cats were both rescues and are very sweet, one is more outgoing than the other but neither are aggressive enough to teach him to back off. My male cat has swatted him a few times, but the dog isn't getting it - he will still chase him sometimes - which I understand as he is a puppy - it just seems like he wants to play - FOR NOW... Most of the time he does ignore them and when he chases them he sometimes lightly nips at them but never bites (not even sure the nips make contact, he's just excited it seems), etc. I think he thinks they are puppies like he is because they all look alike (all black with pointy ears), lol. I'm sure this is normal, but then you read stories and I just feel guilty for possibly endangering htem in any way. I'm a huge animal lover and they've already had tough lives, I just want to be sure all will live harmoniously.

SO, all that to say - any advice - should I be looking for certain signs he will be aggressive with them? Any tips on how to be sure he knows they are part of our "pack"? I let them check eachother out when the puppy is on a leash so I have control, they are never alone together, etc., but I want to be sure I'm doing all I can to protect each of them.

Thank you so much. I've read other posts relating to other issues and you all have been so helpful. I look forward to your feedback.

Last edited by JWM1022; 07-24-2012 at 08:44 AM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 09:57 AM
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I have the same questions. Our GSD turned 7 months yesterday, and we have a resident cat as well. Our dog seems like she just wants to play and is very curious. However, when her prey drive instinct kicks in there is no way we can stop her from chasing the cat. Our dog is always supervised or in her crate, but even with supervision, she can take off after the cat very quickly. (Sometimes the cat seems to tease her by walking by intentionally, although it's clear the cat has no interest in the dog) I know we are supposed to get her to stop and "focus" on us but at 7 months old I'm afraid she'll hurt the cat before we can get her fully trained.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 10:07 AM
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I would like to hear the answers to this as well, although my story is a bit different. Angel is almost 9 months old now, and it is looking like we may be rescueing a kitten - I would guess around 10 to 12 weeks old. What is the best way to introduce them? Angel is gated to one room during the day while we are at work, and I am thinking of letting the kitten have free roam of the house, or possibly gating her in a different room till we see how they are doing together??
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 10:27 AM
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With my personal dogs I dont have experience with dogs and cats but a friend of mines has both dogs and cats. I think (and i guess people can correct me if I am wrong) since they are being brought in as a puppy it would be easier for the dog to get and be able to live with with the cat. It is about setting up the boundaries for both the cat and dog, as to what is acceptable and allowing if need be seperation from each other. Like a designated cat room the dogs not allowed in and a dog room so if the dog wants it it can be away from the cat.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 11:01 AM
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For us it just takes time. We had cats before we had dogs. With our previous dog, when we brought her home at 3 months, our cat swatted at her and she left him alone. Over time they could walk together hang on the bed together. Then we found a litter of abandoned kittens. Their eyes were closed and they were covered in fleas. My dog licked them clean all day long. They thought dog was mom. That dog died and when we brought home Molly at 8 weeks, our black cat swatted her the first 5 seconds she was in the house. It took some time for the cat to trust her, you can see them together in my avatar. We did not do much training with the dog and cats inside the house, only to say 'no" if chasing and "be nice". She still does some playful chasing still for about 3 seconds. Mostly she wanted to smell the cats' bottoms, sometimes I would hold the cat and let her get close. Once our dog knew the cats were part of our family she became protective of them. She will not allow "stranger" cats on our back patio and chases them off. We've only had female dogs, so I don't know they may act more maternal to cats.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 11:19 AM
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This topic reminded me of this video of my puppy, son and cat! My son and puppy both ganging up on the poor old cat.

The first thing I taught my dogs is the leave it command, however my dog Koda has super prey drive, he will chase anything that moves. So at 11 months old, I got an e collar for him. He still chases the cat here and then but he knows not to bite him, even play bite isn't allowed.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 11:22 AM
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We have alot of cats..Tazor is 9 months now and he completely ignores some and will try and chase others. The ones that put him in his place immediately are left completely alone..I have one who is playful and makes himself avail. to act as a chew toy. Its the scared ones who dart away he will chase.

I had a german shep previously who was alone all day with kittens and cats. It takes a while but its def. possible for them to live peacfully. Don't be anxious or anticipitary of a chase..your dog def feeds off your energy. If you are tense when a cat enters the room uou could be sending more of a 'protect me..Ahhh, a cat' message.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 11:58 AM
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Your puppy will drive your cats crazy for awhile but being raised together they will be fine. Just monitor and teach him to leave them alone. Ours is perfect in the house and ignores them when walking through the garage to come inside. If the cats do not run he does not mess with them. THe cats do not go in the back yard with him much because he wants to play and torment them. He will even pick them up and lick them but has never hurt them. He is just over 2 years and has been with them since he was 7-weeks old. We just introduced a kitten. It is going good I just can't let them be alone yet because the kitten is so small. THe kitten got a total slober bath the other day when she wandered into the back yard. WIth that said I know he would go after the stray cats that torment him through the fence in a flash but he knows what cats belong to us
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 04:12 PM
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Our dog has a pretty high prey drive (he is now 1.5) and initially liked to bother our 2 cats. We let him know from day one that the cats were completely off limits to chase, nip, etc. We taught him leave it. This was as much for his protection as the cats. Puppies can get eyes damaged easily by a well placed swat. He is now very good with our cats.

We were also initially worried about a gsd and cats but our experience has shown us that they can do great together as long as you teach him what is acceptable behavior around a cat.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 07:02 PM
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(Here is what I posted in a similar thread on this forum) I'd like to add that keeping them separated is best, even when you KNOW they get along well. I don't allow my cats to provoke the dogs at all. They get a gentle swat on the nose or a spray with water when I catch them doing it, and the dogs get a swat on the muzzle if they chase or taunt the cats. I also redirect with treats. It gets their attention very quickly when I get in the middle of them with treats and say "treats!!" pretty loud. They know the word. I did it when they weren't chasing down the cat, but when they are calmly checking them out. That way I was only having to talk to them. Now I have to raise my voice if they are distracted with the cats but "Treat!!" works well now.

I have 2 fixed male cats, brothers, that are ~2 years old. We rescued them from a family who had too many pets. They were less than 14 weeks old when we got them. They had several dogs, but the dogs were "outdoor only" dogs. They went almost a year without ever seeing or being around a dog again. When my boyfriend and I had to move when we hit some rough times, we stayed with his parents for a few months. They had a Scottish Terrier, only 2-3 times the size of our cats, and another cat also lived in the house. Their cat was indoor/outdoor, and they had a few scuffles. Out cats HATED that dog. She had several health problems, including major food allergies and hot spots everywhere. They would pick on her every chance they got, peeing in her bed, stealing her bed, etc (yes, the cats won every time). Lady, the dog, would not defend herself. She wouldn't bark, nibble, growl, bite or anything else. If she did, it was a quiet growl and we almost never heard it. Less than a year later we own our own house with 1/2 acre in Southern California. We made the conscious decision to purchase not 1 but 2 puppies from a local breeder. They'd never seen a cat before. We didn't know if our cats would be ok with it or not. They, generally, get along just fine. Sure, the cat will run and the dogs will give chase sometimes. If they do, I tell them "leave it" very firmly. Most of the time they do, but if they don't I use their names and that gets their attention. However, we have two rooms that have "pocket" doors, the kind that slides into the wall so they are almost impossible to open by humans much less by dogs. We leave one of those doors (leads to the master bathroom which contains the litter box) open the width of my fist (which is pretty small), and the cats can just squeeze through without hurting them. I treat the dogs every time they give chase but leave it when told, so they learn that NOT chasing the cats gets them a treat, but chasing the cat means a "time out" where they sit on their bed for 10 minutes without crying. Both of my puppies are male, unfixed and ~13 weeks old now. I'm losing track, lol. I feed the cats on a large high table where the dogs can't reach the cats food bowls. They seem to have learned very quickly that it's not their food because I'll gently flick them on the muzzle. They mouth the cats, snuggle the cats, lick the cats. Some times the cats tolerate it, sometimes the cats lick, nuzzle or mouth/bite back, and sometimes they could care less. I just make sure that the dogs have a cat free zone (outside, with us) and the cats have a dog free zone (the bathroom in the master, and the master closet too). The cats keep the dogs in line when they don't like something, and the dogs have learned really quickly. I only interfere in their "play" when it looks like one or the other may start to get too rough. I punish neither if they are being "gentle" in their play, though sometimes it's hard to tell if the cats are playing or genuinely irked off. The other thing I do, every time I see my dogs with the cats is "gentle gentle gentle". I tell them this when they take treats, and they will take the treat with lips only or barely get their teeth on it using almost no pressure. They learned to use the same idea with the cats too. Most of the time. I've even caught a dog and cat napping together once. We've had the dogs for less than a month. Give it time, set clear boundaries, give them both their OWN personal space away from the other. No cats allowed to torment dogs while in their crates, etc. When Blitz and/or Degen are being extra calm, I'll grab a cat and sit him about 3 feet away from the dogs, then hold the dogs in my lap so the cats can sniff and check them out with a "safety net". You can also use a leash. Just don't allow them to hide all the time from each other, they need to spend time together too, even if it's just walking around. I gave the cats one of the outgrown dog collars to play with (for the scent) and the dogs a blanket the cats use to sleep on (for the scent) as well, and that seemed to help a lot. I've done the same thing with family that the dogs were afraid or leery of, giving them a ratty old sock that they wore for an hour or two, or a rag of a tshirt, etc. I can't say that your dogs and cats will be good together, but don't panic yet. There seems to be no reason. I think in due time they will at the least learn to ignore each other. Hyperactivity in the pup around the cat isn't surprising, mine were both that way with our cats at first too.
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