Okay, Who's got CATS? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Question Okay, Who's got CATS?

Giada is 8 1/2 weeks and came home 4 days ago, and as previous posts have mentioned she's doing great with crate and house training.

Next hurdle: We have three Maine Coon cats. So I'm just looking for tips on socializing her with them.

So far everyone is in look-but-don't-touch mode. She REALLY wants to touch though, and since the cats run from her, she barks and tries to chase but we stop her. This is Particularly worrying bc she's also in full-on land shark mode so i'm sure the cats won't enjoy a playdate just yet.

H anyone run this gauntlet before? How'd you do it? Looking for tips from the dog AND cat point of view, training techniques etc. We're likely going to bring in a pro to address this issue as it's critical in our household.

Thanks in advance, as always!

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Old 11-27-2018, 02:26 PM
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I started a thread VERY similiar to this months ago when I brought my pup home at 8 weeks. Some of the tips I got are, always have your dog on a leash while inside anywhere near the cats. This way when the pup gets excited and starts to chase, you can quickly snag it. You've probably already realized this, but you need to keep an eye on her AT ALL TIMES while roaming the house. Something else people recommended but I never did was get these cat calming plug in scent things. I went to look for them and they were pretty pricy so I never got them.

The best advice I got and what I recommend is to not force anything. Do not try and pick up your cat and put it in front of the dogs face or vice versa. The cats are going to be in hide mode, at least mine were, until they finally accepted the fact the dog wasn't going. Let it run its course. One thing my puppy always did and still does to show the cats she's not threatening is she would slowly get close. Once she was about a foot away, she laid down giving the cat her paws (if that makes any sense). Basically lays down to try and lower herself to the cats.

My cats have free roam of the house and hopefully this doesn't happen to your puppy lol. Mine STILL gets frustrated that the cats are allowed on the counters lol. She hasn't done it in a long time, but she has jumped all the way up onto the kitchen table and sat down lol. As funny as it was, we had to quickly get her down so she didn't think its ok.

Basically let it run its course and don't force anything. ALWAYS be ready to intervene when you see them getting closer to eachother. This is basically how it went for us. Brought dog home, cats were PISSED! The cats went into hide mode for about four weeks then started coming out again. We let it run its course and I wanna say four months later one of the cats doesn't seem annoyed by the dog anymore and allows her to lick him. They can be by eachother without any problem. I still have one, the boss of house, that still hates the dog. He will even sneak up behind Mei and then get some quick swats in on her and Mei freaks lol. Mei still tries with this cat to become friends.

They will eventually. Just give it time!
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:30 PM
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I'm currently going through it now. Steel REALLY wants to play with the cats. He gets super excited and barks at them. Occasionally, he'll "catch" my male cat and mouth him a bit, then stand there like "why isn't he playing back?" I haven't had a puppy this focused on the kitties before and Katsu supposedly has a higher prey drive than Steel. It's definitely more of a "these are weird looking playmates" focus rather than "I'm going to kill that furry thing" focus. I had a cat killer growing up.

I was told to "make myself more interesting than the cats" but, imo, easier said than done, lol. I use "no kitty!" as a leave it for the cats and we're actively working on this command. It is a work in progress for us, probably 80% of the time right now. I'm doing my best to keep him from chasing the cats as well.

Depends on your puppy. Katsu got over it after a few weeks. The cats are indifferent to her. Steel, it's been 1.5 months and he is getting better, he's just taking more time in this aspect of training. If your cats haven't dealt with a puppy before, more likely than not, they won't be super lovey to her.

I have barriers (baby gates) up for the cats to have "dog free" places to go. During the day, they have free reign of the house. When I'm home, there's the laundry room, a bathroom, and a spare bedroom gated off for them if they want to be alone (typically they don't but will go there if the puppy is being too annoying).

I think a trainer isn't a bad idea! Congrats on the cute puppy, btw!

+ Kalbi CGC 6/21/2015
+ Blackthorn's Out of the Frying Pan NW1 ORT SEN SCN BCAT SIN RATN TKN (Katsu) 9/12/2017
+ Blackthorn's Skofnung CGC TKN RATI RATO (Steel) 07/23/2018
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:33 PM
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I give my cat a safe place in his crate. And I just keep dragging her off of him. 4 weeks in...just this morning saw improvement.

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Old 11-27-2018, 02:33 PM
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I haven't dealt with this as a 24/7 issue but I've been socializing my dog to my girlfriends cats in the anticipation that we are moving in together soon. I would bring the pup over.

What worked for me was to distract the pup when she would start to bark. And reinforce the positive behavior of being in the same room with the cats and no barking. Basically my policy with barking has been, go to them, acknowledge what they are barking at, and then stop them if they continue to bark. This way they know they can bark to get my attention, but constant barking will eventually lead to consequence, whether verbal or being put on time out behind the kitchen gate.

I think it's pretty crucial to allow the pup and the cats to have some contact, even if its negative. The cats are likely going to have to establish their personal space bubble before the dog gets too big. In my experience, my girlfriends 3 cats were each able to warn off my pup before she got too close. We only had one instance where one of the cats finally went after the pup and it was because they got startled by something falling off the bed and went into defense mode. The pup steers clear of the cats now and her barking is kept to a minimum. Basically, you have to let them sort it out themselves while remaining under constant watch to referee if you need to.
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:47 PM
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Safety and escape routes are key. I used a kid gate about 8 inches off the floor with my adult dogs and made sure the cats had raised areas as well.
Don't force anything, just let it happen. Fair warning though, some dogs learn to really love their cat friends and some will never do better then ignore them. Know your dog is vital for safety.
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:29 PM
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If I could go back in time, I would do somethings differently. If they would have helped at the time, I do not know.
I would have done a crate and rotate, cat and dog getting used to the scents, no visual contact. Then after sometime I think I would have pup crated and cat crated same room during mellow quite times for short periods, while still practicing the former.
Then when house was calm and quite, hopefully a relaxed tired puppy who is hungry, I would work on the down in place with the high rate of reinforcement open the doors and wait for the cats to make appearances. Pup would be leashed, short sessions. Then once we are good at that, I would have once person with puppy on place giving treats at a rate necessary and one person play in a mellow with the cat. Overtime getting closer and more active as the puppy and cats succeed. Then I would allow cats freedom with all the advice above me with pup tethered to me rewarding all good behavior.

I have 4 cats who are not dog savvy runners. It has been exhausting. My dog is good with 2/4, still working on the younger 2 cats who prefer to be outside. It is better, but I think if I had done better at the start these things would be much easier.
My dog loves the cats, it is just the chasing, he means no harm he just gets triggered, once they stop running he stops. Sucks
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
Safety and escape routes are key. I used a kid gate about 8 inches off the floor with my adult dogs and made sure the cats had raised areas as well.
Don't force anything, just let it happen. Fair warning though, some dogs learn to really love their cat friends and some will never do better then ignore them. Know your dog is vital for safety.
I am totally fine with "really love" AND with "ignore". But I'm really trying to get ahead of this so that we can nip any bad behaviors in the bud so that we don't wind up with "chase, kill and eat"!!

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Old 11-27-2018, 04:10 PM
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Good luck if the cats don't stand their ground and teach the puppy to be respectful. I had to divide the house in 2 with gates as my old cat was a scaredy cat. What I would've done differently is kept my puppy crated more and on a drag line when she was out of her crate.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:14 PM
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My current dog hates cats, so no cats here for awhile. I had another GSD who had very high prey drive but did not view cats as prey. She moved in with me and my two young male cats when she was 1-1.5 yrs, and from day one deferred to my big tom cat. They got along like siblings - sometimes they squabbled, sometimes they snuggled, sometimes they cooperated in creating mischief, sometimes she tattled on them when they were up to no good. She lived with 3 other cats in her life and did fine with all of them.

My only advice is to keep a very close eye on them until you know how it’s working out, and make sure the cats have a space to retreat to, safely out of the dog’s reach.
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