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I wasn't sure if I should have continued on the other thread I posted a few days ago... I hope posting a new one isn't inappropriate.

So I adopted Winston, a 5 year old former rescue GSD yesterday. When we got here last night, he seemed ok with cats. However, I thought that he was paying too much attention to them. He would just stare at them. But that was all he had been doing. He and I left the house this afternoon to get his nails trimmed then off to a dog park.
He doesn't bother other dogs much and only sniffed on one or two and that was about it. In fact, he didn't even seem interested in playing with them.

This evening after a meal and the last walk of the day, as we were settling in he snapped at my male cat. My female cat completely stays away and keep a distance from Winston. Rescue group said that he was cat safe and respects them. The lady who had him before me said the same thing.

But now, I am not so sure after seeing him woofed and snatched out on him. I am now thinking I may have to give him up and return to the formal owner if he wasn't ok with cats at my home. He hasn't chased cats. Maybe it was a warning to let cats know that he doesn't want them to get too close to him. Winston has smelled on cat's face and did nothing else so far other than what he did this evening. I don't want any of my animals to get hurt.

How should I interpret this behavior? Any suggestion from experienced GSD owners would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
Tam
 

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One of the first things I would do is teach him leave it and watch me(which us watch you). It's important to not let him ever focus on the cats. You have to teach him that you don't allow it. This would be him testing you if everyone else never had issues.
 

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One of the first things I would do is teach him leave it and watch me(which us watch you). It's important to not let him ever focus on the cats. You have to teach him that you don't allow it. This would be him testing you if everyone else never had issues.
Thank you for your advice, llombardo. I know for the fact that his previous family who had him for a year didn't own any other pets. Winston is ok with any size of dogs, and said that their neighbor's cat comes around between his legs and he is ok with that too. However, while he was with them, he never lived with other animals.
As you pointed out, I've started re-focusing his attention to cats. I need to really reinforce that with full speed. Earlier today and Yesterday, I didn't really reinforce that, but how do you get your dog focus on you other than a few stern voice commands? Are there any other effective ways to do it?
 

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Thank you for your advice, llombardo. I know for the fact that his previous family who had him for a year didn't own any other pets. Winston is ok with any size of dogs, and said that their neighbor's cat comes around between his legs and he is ok with that too. However, while he was with them, he never lived with other animals.
As you pointed out, I've started re-focusing his attention to cats. I need to really reinforce that with full speed. Earlier today and Yesterday, I didn't really reinforce that, but how do you get your dog focus on you other than a few stern voice commands? Are there any other effective ways to do it?
Is he toy or food motivated?
 

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Is he toy or food motivated?
I wouldn't say he is toy motivated... I got bunch of toys and he just sometimes may pick one up if it is near him but releases it so quickly and doesn't get fixed on it at all. I think that he is more food focused than toys. Winston already knows his basic commands (thank Heavens) such as sit, down, stay and etc. Even when we are in the house or out and walking about, I use a clicker and training treat to reinforce "sit" commands.

I've just started, "hey, Oi, No, Leave it, watch me, watch me and watch me" session when kitties are on the floor doing their daily things to re-focus Winston's attention to me. Every time he has eye contact with me - away from cats, I say GOOD, Good, and more Goods.

I don't know exactly what prompted him to snap at my male cat. The cat is 9 years old, and he is dog-friendly, he has no means bone in him (I know Winston doesn't know that) and he loves everybody and everything in life. I was sitting by Winston by his beds, and Tiggy came around. He got close to his new toy which Winston doesn't play with at all, and he was only a foot away from Winston - that was when Winston snapped. Winston woofed and took me by a complete surprise.

I don't want to have to give Winston back nor I don't want my two cats to suffer...at all.
 

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I posted the Leerburgh link in post 32 here:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/132410-introducing-shepherd-cats-4.html

Only one rule in cat dog world, the dog "NEVER" chases the cat! I pretty much told the dog to stay, the cats were free to come and go as they pleased.If the dog dared to move he would have gotten a swift certain and hard correction!

You just got this dog sooo... that is not an approach I would recommend but there is an end around to accomplish the same thing!

The Place Command:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIGq_5r0DeE

If you just got the dog you should also consider the article "I just got a rescue" found here post 8:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/431289-new-dog-very-challenging.html
 

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You are getting good suggestions. In all things, you must give him time to adjust. Sounds like he is a very good boy who's been passed around a bit. Dog parks with a brand new (to you), dog??? Might be not such a good idea so soon, truthfully I don't like dog parks at all. Too much opportunity for other out-of-control dogs. If he is not chasing the cats outright, I'd say there is great hope for peaceful coexistence. You'll have to be on watch for a good bit of time tho, and I think the suggestions for no fixating are great ones. But give it time, he has an entirely new life to adjust to. I really hope this works out for you and Winston.
 

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You are getting good suggestions. In all things, you must give him time to adjust. Sounds like he is a very good boy who's been passed around a bit. Dog parks with a brand new (to you), dog??? Might be not such a good idea so soon, truthfully I don't like dog parks at all. Too much opportunity for other out-of-control dogs. If he is not chasing the cats outright, I'd say there is great hope for peaceful coexistence. You'll have to be on watch for a good bit of time tho, and I think the suggestions for no fixating are great ones. But give it time, he has an entirely new life to adjust to. I really hope this works out for you and Winston.
Right there with you I covered Dog Parks in post 8. :)
 

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i would leash that dog and definitely do not give him the run of the house at all until he respects the pack of which your cats are members
While I tend to agree with you, that has been my approach. New dog for her.

"I just got a rescue" will help to teach the dog who the pack leader is and the Place Command "could" very well do the same thing??

Emergency back up plan while training:
A Great Small And Lightweight Nylon Mesh Muzzle

The cat link I posted has a long drawn out procedure advocated by Jackson Galaxy, Not the way I roll myself but it could work for some. :)
 

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Thank you all for great tips and advice. I am working on "watch me" training with him and he does respond well, although I can tell that he is really itching to check out on kitties and keeping his eyes on them. It is just my 9 year old super friendly cat who keeps trying to snuggle up to him. He doesn't understand that he needs to stay away. In this cat's mind, "keeping distance" doesn't click at all. He wants to be a friend with everyone. . .
 

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you'll have to watch Winston for signs that he'd like to tell your super friendly kitty that he's not ready to snuggle yet, which could be understandable. it will take time and quite alot of vigilance to protect everyone during the settling-in period.

one of my four dogs is way too interested in my cat. she has a place she can go where he can't and that's how i've solved the problem.
 

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You don't sound like you have a horrible problem. My other dogs loved the cats, Rocky is not so crazy about them but he knows they are pack members. And that's the end of it, he is not crazy about them walking pass his food dish, he'll growl. I'll shout 'Cat" they stroll away and he goes back to eating!

Been that way for years, I'm not "crazy" about it but sometimes you have to strike a balance!

I really believe the 'Place Command" can give you what you want without conflict over the cats. He would get a correction for breaking the "Place Command" after awhile he will get the idea that the cats are to be left alone!

I actually thing it's a better approach then my preferred method. Tell the dog to stay, let the cats move about, if he 'dares to move" snatch his butt, back down in and stay and say "STAY!!!" That works to. :)
 

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Thank you all for great tips and advice. I am working on "watch me" training with him and he does respond well, although I can tell that he is really itching to check out on kitties and keeping his eyes on them. It is just my 9 year old super friendly cat who keeps trying to snuggle up to him. He doesn't understand that he needs to stay away. In this cat's mind, "keeping distance" doesn't click at all. He wants to be a friend with everyone. . .
My female GSD used to bother the cats until she got a little older. Now she sneaks upstairs and sleeps with them. The funny part is that she almost looks ashamed when I catch her snugging with them. If she could talk I can imagine her saying, please don't tell anyone I sleep with the kitties..
 

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How is Winston doing? Please post when you have a moment!
 

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Feels like maybe Winston didn't do well with the cat?
 
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