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I have a 14 week old GSD mix puppy. I also have a 6 year old tabby cat who is very 'live and let live' with other animals in the house whenever we pet sit. Luka, the puppy, is currently confined to the kitchen unless under strict supervision. Whenever the cat comes by the baby gate keeping Luka in the kitchen he barks and lunges at her. He cannot get to her right now and usually she just watches him make an idiot out of himself until she gets bored. The couple times they've been together, with Luka on the leash, he will not back away from her and continues to get in her face unless I am physically reeling him in or until she leaves. I want to one day feel moderately safe with the two of them being together. How do I help introduce him to her (without scarring the cat for life). I don't expect them to be best friends but I expect him to act respectful around her, especially since he's growing so rapidly.

The situation is made especially difficult because my cat in non-confrontational and will leave whenever possible. I can't get her in the kitchen long enough to tell Luka to "leave it". When the cat is across the baby gate he responds usually to me telling him to leave it, but occasionally he decides not to listen at all and just barks at her.

I've had him for 5 weeks.
 

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I find that it is really about teaching the pup to respect the cat. That means not allowing the pup to chase the cat and showing the pup that the cat belongs to you. To do this, it is best to keep your pup on the leash. When he goes after the cat, stop him, then pick the cat up (even if you have to go and find her) - hold her close to you and say "mine" in a firm voice. Then put the cat up on a counter above the pup. And give the pup a toy - make it squeak and say in a happy tone "this is yours". Praise the pup for accepting the toy. The bottom line is to protect the cat from getting hurt. As the cat can see that you will protect her, she will relax. Make time to work with your pup, play with him, and provide him with his own soft chew toys. I know it is a lot of work but is worth it for all of you. Be sure you don't leave the pup and cat alone in the house unless the pup is in his crate.
 

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I have found that the cats are going to set the tone. If you have a calm cat, then that is going to eventually lead to a calmer dog around the cat with lots of supervision. With my female, I let her explore with the cats and she never did more then nose them and talk to them. Every now and then she will chase them now(I have no fear at all that she will hurt them), but more often then not they are sleeping together. My male was a different story. He did bark and lunge and he is a big boy that was never around cats before. His reaction scared me. My cats do not back down and will not take anything from anyone, especially the new kid on the block. We worked on really strong leave its with him. Him having a toy in his mouth also helps if the cat is running past, it has lots to do with the movement to. It took about a month or so for him to take the swats without responding. Now that he doesn't respond they are less likely to swat and they haven't hissed at him in a long time. They are now able to drink water together and the cats can walk by without a problem. Most of the time he runs right past them. It was CONSTANT work, but it did work.
 
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