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German Shepherds And Cats – What You Need To Know.


Last updated on March 8th, 2023 at 03:43 am

German Shepherds and Cats

German Shepherds are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature. They are also known for being excellent family dogs. However, there are times when these dogs can become aggressive towards other animals, including cats.

Whether you are a cat owner or a canine owner, you may be concerned about combining your cat’s natural instinctive behavior with the rambunctiously vibrant energy of a German Shepherd.

Unfortunately, your concern is valid, as German Shepherds can cause serious injury to cats if something goes wrong. 

However, even well-trained dogs have the potential to injure a cat in certain situations. However, this goes for all breeds, not just German Shepherd.

image of german shepard and young orange cat lying on the floor together

German Shepherd and Cat Behavior Problems

There are several reasons why German Shepherds might act out against cats.

  • One reason is that they don’t always realize that they shouldn’t bite or nip at a cat.
  • Another reason is that sometimes they see a cat as competition.

Regardless of which reason applies, the result is the same: German Shepherds can end up hurting your cat.

What Are Some Common Problems Between Dogs And Cats?

Many common issues arise when dogs and cats live together. Here are just a few examples:

  • Cats may find themselves feeling insecure around larger dogs. They may even start hiding under furniture or behind walls.
  • Dogs may growl or bark aggressively at cats who come into view. If this occurs frequently, it could indicate an issue with dominance.
  • A lot of people believe that all dogs like cats. In reality, not all breeds enjoy spending time with felines.
  • Some dogs don’t seem interested in playing with cats. Others dislike them.

If you notice one of these behaviors happening regularly, talk to your vet about possible solutions.

Can German Shepherds and Cats Get Along?

German Shepherds and cats can get along under certain circumstances. For example, if you train your German Shepherd puppy not to attack cats, he may eventually come to respect them. He may even begin to like them!

How Can I Prevent Dog Aggression Towards Cats?

It isn’t always easy to prevent aggression between dogs and cats. Several factors are involved, including genetics, personality differences, age, size, breed, and environment. However, there are ways to minimize problems before they occur.

1. First, make sure both animals feel comfortable around each other.

Start slowly, so neither animal feels threatened. Then gradually increase interaction over time.

You can increase their interaction every couple of days, but use your judgment based on how the interaction is going.

Use a standard baby gate or pet gate to help keep your GSD out of areas your cat tends to spend time in and considers it safe.

2. Second, keep your dog’s energy levels up. Exercise helps reduce stress, making it easier for your GSD to control himself.

3. Third, give your GSD lots of attention. Ensure he has enough toys to play with and space to roam freely. 

4. Finally, consider getting professional help. A behaviorist can teach you techniques to train your GSD to accept cats. It would help if you also had someone experienced to deal with any potential conflicts.

Signs That Your German Shepherd Will Be Good With Cats

How do you know if your German Shepherd will be good with cats? Many German Shepherd traits can show how well your GSD will do with cats. Here are some examples:

• A high energy level – When your dog has a high-energy personality, they tend to be more energetic. These types of dogs tend to enjoy playing games and running around. Because of this, they usually prefer activities where they can use all of their physical abilities.

• An independent spirit – Independent-minded dogs tend to be less likely to follow commands. However, they still respond positively to praise and other forms of encouragement. As long as you provide positive feedback, your dog will continue to perform tasks at its own pace.

• Strong focus – Some breeds of dogs are naturally focused. For example, Border Collies are explicitly bred to herd sheep. Their concentration allows them to remain attentive to whatever task they’re working on. Other breeds of dogs, including German Shepherds, are able to maintain attention for more extended periods of time.

• High intelligence – Intelligence plays a significant role in whether or not your dog will be successful with cats. The most intelligent dogs tend to be better problem solvers. They’ll figure out what needs to happen next before anyone tells them. In addition, these intelligent dogs are typically very observant. They notice details others miss.

• Calm demeanor – Many people believe that dogs who appear nervous are afraid. But actually, most dogs who seem anxious are just trying to make sure everything goes smoothly. Dogs who act confident tend to feel comfortable in new situations.

• Low reactivity – Reactivity refers to how much stress a dog experiences during stressful events. Highly reactive dogs experience extreme levels of anxiety whenever something unexpected happens. On the contrary, low-reactive dogs don’t show fear unless they have previously experienced similar circumstances.

• Aggressive tendencies – Most aggressive dogs aren’t born like that. Instead, aggression develops through socialization. If you allow your dog to interact with other pets and children regularly, their natural instincts should become more acceptable over time.

• Fearfulness – Although fearful dogs may look scared, they’re only worried about protecting themselves from danger. Even though they may exhibit specific behavior patterns associated with fear, they won’t necessarily freeze up completely.

• Trainability – Trainable dogs learn quickly and readily accept training. They also understand when instructions need to be followed precisely to know their expectations.

• Playfulness – Playful dogs love interacting with humans and other animals. They want to play because it helps relieve boredom and provides opportunities to exercise different parts of their bodies.

• Loyalty – Loyalties develop slowly throughout life. It takes years for puppies to bond with their owners. Once established; however, loyal dogs stick by their families no matter what challenges come their way.

German Shepherd and Cats

Whether you are a cat owner or a canine owner, you may be concerned about combining your cat’s natural instinctive behavior with the rambunctiously vibrant energy of a German Shepherd. Unfortunately, your concern is accurate, as German Shepherds can cause serious injury to cats if something goes wrong. 

However, even well-trained dogs have the potential to injure a cat in certain situations. However, this goes for all breeds, not just German Shepherd.

Things to Consider About German Shepherds and Cats

German Shepherds tend to be more aggressive towards cats than other dogs. However, they also tend to be very protective of their owners. If you own both a dog and a cat, this combination could prove problematic.

If you want to combine these two animals into one household, make sure that you do some research first. You should know what kind of interaction each animal has had before bringing them together.

You should consider whether your pet would prefer to live alone or with another pet.

The age difference between the two animals matters too. A young kitten who doesn’t understand how to interact with larger animals won’t fare well around a large dog like a German Shepherd. Likewise, a mature cat who hasn’t learned proper social etiquette isn’t going to enjoy living next door to a hyperactive pup. 

In addition, most German Shepherd puppies grow up quickly. As soon as they reach adulthood, they become pretty independent and self-reliant. They may start acting aggressively towards smaller animals without realizing why. That’s why teaching your GSD basic command early on is very important.

The Personalities of German Shepherds and Cats

The German Shepherd’s personality is highly individualized. Some people say that every German Shepherd is different from the others. However, when it comes to interacting with cats, many experts agree that the breed tends to be less tolerant than other types of dogs. They also tend to have dominant behavior.

A cat’s personality when it comes to German Shepherds is similar to its personality when dealing with any dog. The only thing that changes is the level of aggression. However, when it comes to German Shepherds, they’re usually much more likely to attack a cat than other dogs.

This makes sense because German Shepherds were bred specifically to hunt down wild game. To catch an elusive creature, they must use speed and strength. These same traits translate over to interactions with domestic pets. 

There are several ways that German Shepherds can hurt cats:

They might jump at them while playing.

Cats don’t always appreciate being chased by a fast-moving object.

Some German Shepherds try to nip at them playfully.

It’s important to remember that German Shepherds aren’t naturally inclined to bite. But, sometimes, they feel compelled to protect themselves against perceived threats. When this happens, they may accidentally snap at the cat.

Even if they don’t intend to cause injury, they still hurt the cat.

Do German Shepherds Have a Strong Prey Drive? 

German Shepherds have a powerful prey drive. That means that they’re naturally inclined to pursue whatever moves. When hunting down an unsuspecting feline, they aren’t afraid to go after it.

They might try to nip at the cat’s tail or legs playfully, but they still have no qualms about chasing it away. They also tend to bark loudly whenever they see something move. If the cat runs off, the German Shepherd follows it until it stops running. At which point, he tries to grab hold of it again.

If the cat gets scared enough, it might even attempt to fight back. And since German Shepherds are very powerful creatures, they could easily win out in these situations. 

How To Introduce Your German Shepherd To Cats

You should introduce your German Shepherd to your cat by slowly exposing him to it over time. You’ll want to start by letting him see your cat once or twice a day. Then gradually increase the amount of time until he sees it every day.

If your GSD has never met another animal before, you shouldn’t expect too much right away. It takes time for pets to adjust to new situations.

When introducing your German Shepherd to your kitty, you should never forget to give him plenty of attention first.

It would help if you were able to show your German Shepherd that your cat isn’t dangerous. Then, make sure that you take extra precautions to ensure that nothing bad happens between them.

When bringing your German Shepherd home, place him inside a room separate from your cat. Keep both animals separated during the daytime hours.

Make sure that you clean up any messes immediately so that neither dog nor cat feels threatened. Also, make sure that you put toys outside of each other’s reach.

Once you feel comfortable with your German Shepherd getting used to seeing your cat, you can move them closer together. However, you must continue to monitor your pup closely because he could become aggressive toward your cat. 

How Do I Train My German Shepherd To Respect A Cat?

Training your GSD to respect cats is critical. It can mean the difference between a peaceful or hectic home life. It also is vital for the safety of your cat. The best way to train your German Shepherd to respect cats is through positive reinforcement. That means rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad ones.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging desirable behavior by rewarding it when it displays it, hence resulting in positive behavior.

Start by giving your German Shepherd lots of praise whenever he does anything nice towards your cat. Praise all positive interactions with your cat. Praise works wonders at motivating dogs.

Next, try using treats to encourage your GSD to approach your cat without attacking. When he approaches your cat, reward him with food.

After this, you can begin training your puppy to sit next to your cat while feeding him. Once he sits down, offer him some tasty morsels.

As soon as your German Shepherd learns to tolerate your cat, you can add more challenging tasks. For example, you might ask him to lie quietly near your cat while feeding him. Or maybe you’ll let him play fetch with his favorite toy.

The key here is consistency.

Don’t change what you do every single time. Instead, stick to the same routine and allow your German Shepherd to learn from experience.

You might also consider using clicker training to reinforce your dog’s desired behaviors. Clicking encourages your dog to repeat those actions again. In addition, it works exceptionally well with puppies because it teaches them quickly and easily.

11 Top Tips to help your German Shepherd Dog and Cat Get Along

German Shepherds do have an aggressive prey drive which can make them difficult to live with cats. But there are still some things that you can do to help your dog better behave around cats, such as teaching them to sit when they see a cat.

First, you’ll train your dog to stay. Then you’ll teach it to stay when it’s being distracted. Finally, you’ll make sure it stays when the cat is around too.

Here are 10 tips for teaching your dog not to attack cats:

1) Start obedience training early. Your pup doesn’t need much time before it starts learning what “stay” looks like. However, the sooner you start, the easier it will be to keep up with its progress.

2) Use positive reinforcement. For example, don’t punish your dog for trying to play with a cat. Instead, reward your GSD every step toward good behavior.

3) Teach your dog to sit first. Once your dog knows what sit looks like, you can move on to stay.

4) Reward your dog after each successful interaction. For example, you want your pet to associate interacting with cats with getting treats.

5) Keep distractions away from your dog. Try keeping toys out of sight during these sessions.

6) Be consistent. Every day should look pretty similar to the last one. Your dog won’t forget what it takes to earn rewards.

7) Have patience. Training a new skill takes practice. So give yourself enough time to work through the process.

8) Practice makes perfect. Like anything else, repetition helps dogs learn faster than if you were to try something once.

9) Remember that this isn’t about making your dog love cats. Instead, it’s about helping your dog understand why it shouldn’t act aggressively toward them.

10) Don’t expect perfection right away. Dogs aren’t born knowing how to behave around cats. They must be taught how to do this.

11) Lastly, never leave your cat alone with your dog. It’s best always to supervise interactions between them.

Also, remember that just because your dog didn’t hurt your cat, it could’ve caused severe injury. Any signs of aggression should be taken seriously. Therefore, take precautions so that nothing bad happens to either of them.

How To Prevent German Shepherd and Cat Conflict 

There are ways to prevent problems arising between a German Shepherd and a cat. First off, if you already have a cat, try to keep him away from the puppy until he gets older. That way, he won’t accidentally hurt the new arrival.

If you decide to bring home a kitten, make sure that you introduce both of them slowly so that neither one feels threatened.

If you want to avoid potential conflicts altogether, consider getting another pet instead. There are plenty of breeds that would work just fine. You could even choose a mixed breed that has some characteristics of each species.

Another option is to train your German Shepherd not to bother the cat. Start basic training early. And do lots of training consistently. Make sure that you reward good behavior whenever possible. And never punish bad behavior. If your dog does something wrong, ignore it. Instead, praise him for doing what was right.

When all else fails, you should probably find yourself a new family member. It’s better to give up on trying to coexist peacefully with a cat than to risk losing everything due to conflict.


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