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We have a rescued GSD, Klaus, who is a wonderful dog... he won't hurt our 2 cats, and they are friendly with him, but he tends to jump up and chase them occasionally. Is there any way we can stop this behavior without making Klaus think he can't be friends with the cats? Any help would be great! 122 pounds of dog chasing a 10 pound cat is a bit worrisome!
 

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We have a very similar situation as yours. Our dogs are aware of the cats and usually ignore them, or do a little sniffing and then walk away bored, but if the cat runs across the floor some of the dogs will run after them chasing them until the cat is out of reach, followed by some whining of the dogs, then they give up and find something else to do. If i see them chasing the cat, i try to redirect them without punishing them because i dont want them to think the kitty = punishment. i know they're not going to hurt the cat if by some chance they actually caught her, but it does get annoying sometimes. I would try to redirect him first, when he starts to chase the cat, just call him to you, and praise him when he comes, this way he has to forget the cat, come to you and get praise.
 

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Yes! Klaus will only chase the cats when they decide (as cats will!) that they must be in the next room immediately.... if the cats could teleport, they would! If only Klaus would listen to us when the cats take off! We've tried calling him to us, but he gets hyper-focused on the cats. He's a rescue... dumped on the side of the highway at 6 months, in a no-kill GSD rescue shelter until we adopted him at 13 months. He's now 2 years old, and we love him! He had not seen cats prior to us adopting him, and our larger cat will even curl up for naps with him, but our other cat has realised that Klaus isn't the german shep that he grew up with, and is still a bit skittish around him. Any ideas on how to get Klaus to re-focus on us when the cats go zooming about? So far, we have to grab his collar or hug him (and hang on!) when the cats race around.
 

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I would just like to give a friendly warning. We also have a rescue GSD, and she did fine with our cats for nearly 6 months - no issues whatsoever. Then one day my husband left for less than 15 minutes and came home to a dead cat. We had not allowed chasing the cats at all, yet this still happened.

Definitely keep working with your pup with the cats, and don't allow the chasing. As for ideas, my dog(s) wear drag leashes until they no longer feel the need to get excited about the cat(s).

Please ALWAYS seperate your dogs and cats when you are not there to supervise (not sure if you do or not - your post didn't say), especially when the dog was not raised around the cats.
 

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Originally Posted By: ShepdogPlease ALWAYS seperate your dogs and cats when you are not there to supervise (not sure if you do or not - your post didn't say), especially when the dog was not raised around the cats.
Definitely. I'm almost 100% certain my dogs would not hurt the cats, even unintentionally. But I still don't leave them alone together when I'm not home.
 

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I will never trust any dog 100% with a cat. Even if they are "just playing", that can hurt a cat! Coke tries to play by jumping around and pawing. If the cat got underfoot he'd get crushed. We are working on him chasing. Kenya has never paid the cats any mind and never chased them, in fact she is submissive to them. Coke just wants to play. If he gets too worked up, he has a little time out in his crate. If he's too nosy in the cat door and won't let them up/down, I use a squirt bottle. I'd almost rather have him associate cats with water than always associate them with fun and play, which scares them. My three cats are indoor-only and they have several safe spots that are not dog-accessible: there's a cat door to the basement, they can hide under the bed, there's a baby-gate blocking dog access to the front dining room but the cats can fit under and over, there's ledges in our living room, and they can easily jump up on any desk or counter.
 

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I allow calm sniffing of the cats or laying down along side them...but NO playing with the cats and I have had GSDs for over 15 years. The ones raised with the cats are the best with them. I had to rehome a rescue because I felt that for the rest of his life I could never trust him with the cats. I didn't think it fair to this wonderful dog to crate him when I was out of the house. So he is in a home with no cats now.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZooeyAny ideas on how to get Klaus to re-focus on us when the cats go zooming about? So far, we have to grab his collar or hug him (and hang on!) when the cats race around.
One suggestion would be to keep his leash on him so you can get his attention quickly. We did that with Sean when we introduced our present cat, Neely. As other members have reiterated Klaus and the cat(s) should never be left together unsupervised or when you are not at home. Always be sure the cat(s) have an escape route as well. Neely is not one bit intimidated by Sean but our former cat Neeko was and they never really became best buds, merely co-existed. Best of luck, it takes time and work but I'm sure with perseverance it will work out.
 

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Originally Posted By: LUV_GSDsI had to rehome a rescue because I felt that for the rest of his life I could never trust him with the cats. I didn't think it fair to this wonderful dog to crate him when I was out of the house. So he is in a home with no cats now.
I'm glad there is a thread about cats. I have been going through this trouble with Lexi. She is VERY focused on the cats, I have 2 and the older one will be 17 in April. The cats have the upstairs with a gate across the top of the stairs. If Lexi sees or hears the cats she will sit at the bottom of the stairs or go to the gate looking for them. Her initial interactions when the cats have been downstairs are NOT good. She has tried to grab them, I have had hold of her collar and I've corrected her for this behavior but I don't think it is sinking in. I think her prey drive is too much. The other night we were outside for a walk and a cat that has been hanging around did not get out of the way. Lexi & Lily were on leash & I was telling them to be easy, but Lexi still got close enough to pinch the cat's fur. The cat ran off & I haven't seen him since (a good thing). I corrected Lexi for his behavior, but I don't know if it's made a difference. My cats usually stay upstairs when Lexi is out & about, but I do worry. I brought her home at the age of 10 months (Dec 2007), so I have had her almost 3 months. She was not around cats previously. I hate the thought of possibly needing to find her a cat-free home. I welcome suggestions as to whether this is trainable or if it would be better to find her another home. I wouldn't know what to do if she killed one of my cats.

Kristina
 

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Originally Posted By: BetsyCheck out Lou Castles web site on crittering. It may help http://www.loucastle.com/critter.htm

I'm not sure what the OP objection was to crating when she left the house......I always do this with my dogs and not because of cats (I do have them) but it is just safer for my dogs as well as less stressful for them.
Thanks, I'll check it out. I also crate the dogs when I can't be home. I just feel better knowing they won't get into trouble when I'm gone. I just worry that one day an accident may occur.

Kristina
 

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Quote: I will never trust any dog 100% with a cat. Even if they are "just playing", that can hurt a cat!
That's so true. Had a cat's tail docked once.
 

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I nearly rehomed Dynamo way back when for the sake of my cats. Then, we just got old-fashioned about it. Prong collar, leash, firm correction for ANY display of prey-drive toward the cats. This includes staring, especially includes staring, in fact, it's imperative that the chase behaviour is caught and stopped before it begins physically. You need to learn how to read your dog so you can distinguish between looking and staring. Eyeball tracking (eyes following the cat) is also prey behaviour. Any of these behaviours were stopped the instant they started. Using punishment (or redirection if you want to call it that) did not teach Dynamo to hate cats, or be afraid of cats. She sleeps with cats now, or leaves them in peace in the beanbag chair. At the beginning, it requires vigilance, but you must be clear and, in the beginning, never leave your dog loose in the room with a cat without a leash or at least your intense supervision. When you want to relax, use a leash, a crate or physical separation of dog and cat (another room). If you correct the prey drive at the beginning (staring or eyeball tracking) the corrections need not be harsh. For some dogs, a simple NO! will do. Whatever it is, it must be enough to end the behaviour, then follow up with plenty of positive attention (games, tugs, treats, back scratches). I am not recommending correction as a general training method, but specifically to keep your cats safe and dog happy in your home (as opposed to someone elses cat free home).
I personally prefer clicker style training for many things but the safety of my cats was a BIG exception.
Ask more if you need help, I've been through the entire process, and yep, once left a cat locked up with the dogs for a day by accident not a hair was out of place.
Once you've established 'no chase' rules, you may find your dog learns to interact with the cats in a calm and friendly manner.
That's when you need to practice judgement as to what behaviours to allow and disallow.
 

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Thank you Ingrid. That's very good advice and I have been doing quite a bit of that. I have not yet gone to the prong collar, but I do have one. I even call her back from just looking up the stairs. I feel like I can manage her, but my Mom will be watching my animals for me in a couple of weeks when I go out of town. I want to make sure that she will be able to stop Lexi if that cats accidentally come downstairs at the wrong time. Mom lives in WV, so I'll have to give her a crash course on Lexi.
Also, my Mom does well being the alpha, she & Dad's Sibes respect her more than Dad!

Thanks again. I will continue the training & add in the new suggestions.
Kristina
 

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I agree completely with Ingrid.


My BrightStar boy, Trace is a hard, stubborn, high drive boy (just the way I like 'em..) and I brought him home to my cats. My God, he wanted to kill my cats when he came in the house. Failure is not an option in my house, so he was tethered to me by a 6ft leash and a prong for the first 2 weeks in the house. When I could devote my undivided attention to him, he was on his prong & leash. If I had to shower, vacuum, or do something around the house, he was in his kennel.

The minute he looked at my cats funny (you know that look), he got a very firm correction. If he dared to go after the cat(s), he was met with a very, very hard correction. This went on for 2 weeks, to the point where he settled down a bit. I then let him drag his leash around the house for another couple weeks, but only after I knew how to read his body language towards my cats. With the leash & prong still on him, I could quickly grab it should one of the cats come strolling in and correct him if need be.

Today, he is fine with my cats. My one cat even curls up with him every chance he gets. He learned early that my cats are off limits. Of course I would never trust him, or any dog for that matter, being home alone with the cats. He is kenneled when I am not home.

This method is for a high drive, stubborn dog. You may need to adjust depending on your dog. I do recommend having the on a leash and some type of correction collar - for just that, correcting the dog. If a cat makes a sudden move and your dog goes after the cat, you are absolutely powerless unless you have some kind of collar and leash on him/her. Sometimes voice commands do work, but also remember sometimes the dogs drive overcomes that and then you have an injured or possibly dead cat. With a leash & correction collar you are doing 2 things - taking away the possibility that your dog may injure your cat, and also teaching the dog by correction that they are off limits. It's not easy & takes alot of time & patience, but having that piece of mind in the end is all worth it.

I have a high drive female foster coming soon, and I'm looking forward to teaching her to co-exist with my cats!

Good luck!
 

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Don't have much experience with cats but an old tomcat showed up at the house one day and we kinda hit it off, he didn't ask much from me and I didn't ask much from him. When he'd had a bad day hunting he'd come meowing up to the house and I'd give him a can of food.
I had a young fellow about 8 months old I guess and he came sniffing up to Tom and promptly got a bloody nose for his troubles. After that he averted his eyes whenever a cat was around. But then he wasn't the high octane type GSD. I reckon most of the indoor cats are declawed so that wouldn't likely happen.
When I was training my K9 dog after we got well into obedience we began introducing distractions and one was a cat on a leash. We pretty much operated on the "Voice of God" theory and any reaction to the cat immediately brought down the thunder. By that time they knew what NO!! meant and heavy physical correction was unnecessary.
We've all seen the pictures of cats and dogs napping together but I'm usually reminded of the Bible phrase to wit, "...and the lion will lay down with the lamb." and I always think "but the lamb won't get much sleep."
 
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