Do dogs and cats really get along? And more importantly, will your new German shepherd be a problem for your pet cat. Or will your new kitten get along with your German shepherd? Are German Shepherds Good with Cats?
If you’re asking any of these questions, you’re in good company.
German shepherds are loyal and intelligent dogs who are very powerful, protective and have a high prey drive. These personality traits can make German shepherds a poor choice as a companion to pet cats.
However, German shepherds can still get along well with cats if they have been well socialized. Early socialization and training should be done in order for a German shepherd to live cohesively with a cat.
Learning how to socialize your German Shepherd is vital to helping them adjust to a kitten or any other household pet for that matter.
When socialized properly from a young age, a German Shepherd should have no issues with a family cat or other animals for that matter.
German Shepherds and Cats
So, can German Shepherds and cats get along?
Some German shepherds get along well with cats and other pets, while others do not.
👉 However, you should never leave your dog alone with your new kitten. You need to check how your German Shepherd behaves around your new pet cat.
German Shepherds, originally bred to herd sheep, are naturally designed to herd other creatures, including cats. These dogs race through flock of sheep to ensure that no animal is injured or in danger.
While some German Shepherds have greater herding instincts/chase drive than others, your dog could make supervising and herding your cat his job. He might follow the cat around the house, trying to guide them into or preventing them from getting into certain areas.
When herding sheep, German Shepherds typically nip at the heels of any lamb that doesn’t stay in the line they are supposed to be in. Your dog might exhibit the same behavior with the kitten, so it’s important to supervise their interactions and intervene before conflicts arise.
Many German Shepherds are now kept as companion dogs, but that doesn’t mean that they have deserted their natural herding instincts.
But how do you train your German Shepherd to stop their powerful cat-chasing instincts?
It all boils down to puppy socialization.
The Importance of Socializing your German Shepherd
Keep in mind that not every case or situation is ideal; some dogs come to our lives when they are already fully grown. They might have been in families where they were the only dog or pet.
Sometimes a German Shepherd is brought home to a cat that has never interacted with dogs before. In other cases, a cat may be brought to a German Shepherd who has never been around cats. That’s why socialization is extremely important.
German Shepherds are naturally inclined to be protective. Without proper training and socialization, this can manifest itself as violence or aggression.
Right from the start, German Shepherds should be taught how to behave around other people and other animals. That way, it will be much easier to introduce your German Shepherd to a cat.
You can take your German Shepherd to a nearby dog park, so they can get used to staying in the same environment with other dogs. You can also take them to your friends’ and neighbours’ homes to meet other dogs and animals.
No matter what the situation is, and why you’re asking “How do I introduce my German Shepherd to my cat?” The following section is for you!
Adding a German Shepherd to a Home with a Cat
First of all, you should make sure both the German Shepherd and the cat are ready for the introduction.
The best way to get started is to give both the German Shepherd and the cat something that smells like the other pet. That way, both animals can sniff at it and become accustomed to the scent before you introduce them to each other.
Next, you should introduce them through a glass window or door. Let the cat and your German Shepherd approach the window or door as they wish. Make sure you do not force either animal to do anything. Ideally, you should ask a friend to help you, to ensure there’s someone with each pet.
Each of you should give treats to the cat and dog near the window to show them that being around each other is a nice thing. Repeat this socialization session through the window until each pet is calm when near each other.
Next, you should bring your German Shepherd on a leash, into a room with the pet cat.
(Important tip for introducing a German shepherd and a cat: always bring the German Shepherd into a room with the pet cat. Remember German Shepherds are territorial animals, and they might see the cat getting into the room as a potential threat to their territory).
Let the German Shepherd and the cat sniff at each other and become accustomed to each other before you let the dog off the leash and allow them to play together.
Be patient, especially if it doesn’t work out well at first.
Adding a Cat to a Home with a German Shepherd
When bringing a cat to a home with a German Shepherd, the process will be quite similar, with the only difference being that the dog will be used to the home with no cat around it. This means that it will be quite a different experience for your German Shepherd.
Again, you should bring your dog on a leash, into a room with the pet cat after you have done some introductions through swapping scents and introducing them through glass windows or other barriers.
Make sure to stay in the same room with the cat and the German Shepherd until they are comfortable with each other’s presence.
When you are adding a new cat to your home, make sure that the kitty has a comfortable room to settle in.
Also, make sure that the space has the specific items that the cat needs. This includes food, water, litter box and toys. This will let him know there’s a comfortable place for him to retreat and thus, helps keep his stress levels under control.
LEARN ABOUT IT: How to Stop Dog Aggression towards Cats (4 Tips)
How to Train Your German shepherd To Love Cats
Ideally, you should start training your German Shepherd to get along with cats at a young age. The lessons you teach your German Shepherd while he is still a puppy will always be a part of them as they mature into adulthood.
You’ll find it easy to train your GSD if you already have a cat that gets along well with dogs. Your pup will learn how to calm down when excited, but this will be more difficult if the cat is stressed out.
Training a German Shepherd to Ignore Cats
Dog experts recommend that you train your German Shepherd to ignore cats. To do this, you need to capture your puppy’s attention in a room with a cat.
Start by getting a cat into a pet carrier. Take your pup into the room and allow him to sniff the pet carrier. After some time, call your pup for some treats and divert his attention.
Continue playing with your German Shepherd while your cat is comfortably crated nearby. If the dog tries to examine the pet carrier, distract his attention again. Whenever your GSD ignores the cat, reinforce the behavior with praise and treats.
After several ignore sessions, put your dog on the leash and take your cat out of the carrier. Repeat this to ensure your dog learns how to ignore the cat without allowing him to investigate.
In the end, you should be able to trust your dog to play off the leash and maintain their undivided attention where the cat is still in the room.
How to Train a German Shepherd Not To Chase Cats
Once your dog has mastered the ignore skill, now it’s time to teach him to wait and let the cat approach him. Put your dog on the leash. After some time, bring a cat in a carrier into the house.
Command your GSD to lie down and stay. Your dog should already be on his stomach and comfortable with this cue before you bring the cat into the house.
If the dog barks or leaps at the kitty, say “No…Quiet”. Correct this behavior until they stay calm.
Once your German Shepherd has learnt to stay quiet around the cat, take your cat out of the carrier. Make sure you’re firm or else the dog could become assertive.
Keep the dog lying down while the cat investigates the room. Repeat this for five minutes.
If you’re calm and patient, your dog will get used to being around cats faster. Your cat might feel like approaching the dog, but you should keep the dog calm and relaxed for the whole experience.
Make sure to ask your pup to lie down whenever they see a feline. You want your dog to naturally calm down and take a non-aggressive position whenever they see a cat. Make sure you reward your dog for acceptable behavior.
Can a GSD And a Cat Live Together?
Yes! You’ll have a much easier time if you acquire the German Shepherd as a puppy. That way, he can get used to the cat, and learn that they are part of the family.
👉 German Shepherds will only chase cats or animals that run. By helping your cat to calm down when near your dog, you can prevent the chase.
Your cat might not get along with all dogs, but you can train him to be comfortable around your German Shepherd.
According to experts, it can take several weeks for a cat and a dog to grow comfortable around each other.
The key to getting your canine and feline to get used to each other is introduction and socialization. With some patience, you can train your dog and cat to get along well without fighting each other. Don’t expect overnight results, and be patient with both family pets.
Tips to Avoid German Shepherd and Kitten Conflicts
No matter which method you use when training your German Shepherd and kitten to get along with each other, your ultimate goal is to be able to trust both pets to live together harmoniously even when you’re not at home.
Even if you think that both pets get along with each other, you should still take the necessary steps to prevent potential conflicts.
Make sure that both pets have places where they can get away from one another. Your cat should have a safe place where the dog can’t reach. On the other hand, dogs will need a crate, a backyard and other safe areas that are exclusively theirs.
Both animals should be taught to leave a tense situation in no time. Leave bathroom and bedroom doors open when you are not at home.
You may also want to separate the pets when you’re away. Use treats to help the two pets relax. Royal canine food and yummy food treats can help create positive associations.
Be sure to keep your dog on a leash while you supervise any interactions between the dog and the cat, especially during the first few months.
Can Cats Attack German Shepherds?
The short answer is Yes! However, the reasons will vary. This usually depends on the dog or cat, the circumstances and factors involved. Fear and prey drive will usually play a huge role.
However, a cat can also be aggressive if they are fearful or are expecting a distressing event.
Can a German Shepherd Kill My Cat?
Although most German Shepherds will stop chasing a feline when they reach it, some dogs with high prey drive can attack or even injure a cat.
Therefore, it is important to socialize your German Shepherd with cats early. If the pup is raised and socialized with felines, they will not kill your cat.
Are German Shepherds Good with Children?
German Shepherds are normally good around children since they are calm and patient. Nonetheless, a German Shepherd that has not been properly trained and well socialized could be a threat to small kids.
Do German Shepherd Get Along with Other Dogs?
Just like how a trained GSD gets along well with cats, an untrained and poorly raised dog may be aggressive to other dogs.
This means the German Shepherd temperament can be changed for the better through proper training and socialization.
What Dog Breeds Are Good With Cats?
There’s no way to accurately predict if your dog and cat will get along, but some dog breeds are known to be more cat-friendly than others.
These include the Basset Hound, Beagle, Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Border Collie, and Bichon Frise. Other breeds that will see a cat as a potential playmate are the Maltese, Boxer, Dachshund, German Shepherd and the Poodle. As always, proper socialization is a must.
Everyone wants to see their dogs and cats living harmoniously. That’s why dog lovers often ask the question “Are German Shepherds Good with Cats?”
Some claim their pets get along well, but yours might not. So how do you make them get along?
Be sure to follow the above tips on how to make a German Shepherd and a cat become acquainted.
The good news is that many homes have proven that German Shepherds and cats can actually become best friends. Remain vigilant, though, to ensure everything goes on smoothly.