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I have a 6month old healthy male GSD pup and two cats. Both cats are fully armed and used to dogs. My GSD pup loves to run after the cats and try to play. He can't seem to figure out why these little fuzzy 'dogs' won't play with him and gets upset then starts barking. I have started disciplining him when he goes after the cats by putting him in time out. Unfortunately I am using his crate for time out and am afraid this is going to create a bad association with his crate. SO far he loves his crate and knows that most of the time when he goes in there he gets a super yummy treat.

Is time out bad? Using his crate? I understand that he is young and I cannot expect too much of him at this age, but I have to start letting him know that his current behavior around the cats is not appropriate.

The cats do have their own room that the dog cannot get to.

Ideas? Repercussions?
 

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How about keeping him on a leash in the house? You can control his movements and distract him with another game when he gets too into the kitties. If you're afraid of making a bad association with the crate, feed your pup in the crate, stuff a Kong with cheese or canned food, freeze it, and give that treat in the crate, and try not to use it for discipline. If anything, don't act like you are punishing him, just crate him as you normally would with something fun (like a frozen goodie) and take a break.
 

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That can be rough, I dont think I would use the crate for time out, but I also had a puppy with two (fully armed) cats. I know how stressful this is. She figured it out eventually and now they co-exist just fine. (however one of the cats was raised by a shepherd) I suggest sitting with him and giving him tons of praise for nice behavior. I kept a leash on Ava in the house for a while so I could give corrections and redirect immediately. Ava's kennel is her refuge and I was always worried that she would get a negative association when she was put up for bad behaviour, the funny thing is that now, when she gets in trouble, that is the first place she goes.
 

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I have a lot of experience with dogs and a cat who does not want to play with them. I don't think the crate as time out space will work to change this behavior. You actually have to work on the behavior itself. I agree that a leash is a valuable tool until you have a dog that knows commands.

I'd recommend to start working (on leash) with redirecting your dog whenever he chases the cats. Call him back to you and give him his favorite toy, a yummy treat or whatever. Do that every single time he goes after the cats. Once he's reliably turning back to you I would start giving the, "Leave It" command and then continue with the redirection. It may take a while but it will eventually work.

Another technique is to give the dog the same command (like "Down") every time he sees the cats. Pretty soon he will associate the cats with the command and will down automatically when he sees them.
 

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I had the same thing with Zeus, he would want to play and the cat just wants to hang out. The most important thing that worked for us was that the cats had their own space where the dog couldn't go. (we used baby gates to gate off some rooms) Zeus has a high prey drive so I used the ball to redirect him. We would play fetch with the cat sitting there and he would kind of forget about him. Then I would sit the two down together and feed them treats (chicken works great) Now they coexist great and actually will hang out around each other. The female cat doesn't like the dog or the male cat she just minds her own buisness. Just introduce slowly, oh and when I would feed them the cats got fed first in their own spot, then Zeus after (pack status) When I would work on obedience with Zeus the cat would be sitting there watching and Zeus wouldn't even care about him. He still does at time want to chase when they go running but he just wants to herd them.



 
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