German Shepherds are courageous, intelligent, smart, attentive, and obedient. They are considered as one of the most reserved and loyal dog breeds across the globe. Many people prefer German Shepherds when it comes to security because of the alertness and bravery this dog breed has been blessed with.
On the contrary, cats are adorable and tiny furry pals that are dominant, friendly, and spontaneous. As a pet lover, you must be wondering whether German Shepherds get along with cats or not. Well, this depends on a lot of factors. In this blog, we would address all your concerns regarding the same.
German Shepherds are less friendly as compared to other dog breeds and they possess a strong instinct associated with prey chasing. These particular traits present in German Shepherds make it difficult for them to get along with cats. Generally, they tend to see the cat as a target for chasing. Well, the best possible solution is to socialize your German Shepherd and give him proper training to get along with cats without any hassle.
If you adore both, cats and German Shepherd and want to keep them together as your beloved pets, then they need to get along with each other very well. However, it is not possible naturally as German Shepherds are of reserved nature and can get aggressive sometimes; you can take up a few measures into account for developing a bond between these two. Besides this, there are a few factors that are needed to be considered to make this possible.
The Personality of a German Shepherd
German Shepherds were originated as a dog breed used mainly for herding and they excel as security dogs. These furry companions are bred for herding, chasing, and providing security to their owners. Apart from this, German Shepherds are not social dogs and they do not like to get involved in too many social interactions.
You cannot expect from a German Shepherd to be friendly with the surrounding people, unlike the other dog breeds. Also, they get aggressive quite often, which is a part of one of the inherent personality characteristics. Although German Shepherds do not like to cuddle; they are loyal enough to sacrifice their lives for the safety and protection of their owners.
The Personality of a Cat
Just like the German Shepherds, cats also take time to familiarize themselves with the new surroundings. Cats are pretty much reserved and timid at the initial stage but once they get mingled with the owner, they tend to become notorious.
Cats are dominant, cautious, adorable, and fluffy. Because these furry munchkins are delicate and small in size; they need more care as compared to the dogs. Cats love to seek the attention of their owners and in return, they bring colors of love, affection, and joy.
Understanding the Mindset
It is a proven fact that if you keep your pet with other fellow pets in the house, at some point they all would learn to get mingled with each other. The same applies to the case of German Shepherd too. On the other hand, those pets who are habitual of staying alone as the only pet of the family are less likely to tolerate the presence of other pets around them.
Be it cats or dogs, they tend to mark their territory, and mostly, they do not like the interference of other pets in their territory. If you have adopted a German Shepherd who has earlier lived with other fellow pets, then he would be more tolerant of the presence of cats around him.
If your German Shepherd has lived as a single pet in the house for a long time, then it would be difficult for him to tolerate the presence of cats around him. You need to understand the mindset of your pet before pushing him to do something which he or she disapproves of. However, this does not imply that you should not train your pet accordingly.
You cannot expect your German Shepherd to give a warm welcome to the cats in the house. For this, you need to give some time to your pet dog to understand the transitional changes in the house with the arrival of a cat in the family. Unlike other dog breeds, German Shepherds are not much notorious; instead, they are obedient enough to follow your instructions.
The Importance of Training Your German Shepherd
The cat-chasing instinct is in the genes of a German Shepherd but this does not mean that they cannot familiarize themselves with the cats. Dogs have a natural tendency to bark at strangers. Some dogs socialize with strangers very quickly whereas some like maintain distance.
However, German Shepherds are smart and intelligent enough to realize when to be gentle and when to get aggressive. They never show aggression without any reason. If you properly train your German Shepherd, then they are nothing less of a brilliantly obedient and remarkably loyal dog breed.
Some dogs are friendly with their fellow living beings whereas some are not. You need to train your pet dog in such a way that he can tolerate the presence of other pets in the house without getting aggressive on them. To make this happen, the below-mentioned tips would surely help you out!
Those pets that stay in the house and do not go out are less likely to socialize. As a result, they do not like to indulge in social interactions. The best way is to take your German Shepherd out for a walk and let him socialize with the other pets and people around him. This would enable your pet dog to become more tolerant to the presence of cats in the same house.
The more your German Shepherd would socialize, the more relaxed he would become on the arrival of a new pet or person in the family. However, one must always remember that the best time to train your pet for this is during his initial months. Once your German Shepherd has fully grown, it would be difficult for you to train him according to you.
Basic Commands and Mannerism
There are a few basic commands that depict the obedience and mannerism of your pet dog. There are mainly three commands that your German Shepherd should follow as these are considered as the foundation block of pet training. Make sure your pet dog must follow the commands namely; Sit, Stay and Stop.
Whether your dog is eating food or is playing outside, you need to train him in such a way that he obeys your command in every situation. These basic commands would assist you in controlling your German Shepherd whenever he gets aggressive. Also, if you are having cats at home, these basic commands would help you in regulating your German Shepherd in the best possible manner during his unintended interaction with the cats.
The Very First Interaction
You need to consider an important factor that cats and dogs do not get along well with each other naturally as they are not good buddies. Hence, at the time of the very first interaction between your cats and the German Shepherd, you need to be more attentive, proactive, and calm. You should not expect your pet dog to get friendly with the cats at the initial stage.
However, you can take a few measures to prevent any sort of aggressive behavior by your German Shepherd during his first interaction with the cats. Also, keep the first interaction as brief as possible for around 5-10 minutes and not more than that.
During the first interaction, if your German Shepherd shows aggression towards cats or starts barking excessively, then you need to command him to stop. If the aggressive behavior by the German Shepherd continues and he does not obey your command, then take the cats away from him. If your pet dog obeys your command, then reward him with pet treats.
You should continue such sort of interactions between your cats and the German Shepherd for few more times and then gradually increase the time duration as soon as you feel that both of them have begun to recognize each other very well. You should keep on repeating the same process until both of them are able to spend around half an hour with each other comfortably.
The next step is to take forward your German Shepherd and put on a sturdy leash, then introduce him to the cat. Do not unleash your pet dog if he is not calm and peaceful during the interaction. Also, make sure to keep a sharp eye on both of your pets at the initial stage.
Start feeding both, the cat and the German Shepherd in close vicinity to each other. You can place both them towards the adjacent sides so that they can familiarize themselves with each other’s scent. In case if anyone of them freaks out or gets aggressive at the other one, then be the peacemaker between them. You need to ensure that if something goes wrong, you have adequate space to accommodate your German Shepherd for a while.
Allot them their own spaces
Every pet needs his own space where he or she can feel secure and comfortable. You should allow separate spaces located close to each other for your cat and German Shepherd. Pets tend to feel contented and relaxed when they get their very own separate space without anyone’s interference in it.
It has been seen that cats and dogs are very particular about their respective territories. That is why you cannot just allot one place to accommodate both of your pets at the initial stage. You should give them their own spaces to make them feel comfortable. You can place a cat flap over the closed door to accommodate the cat and allow the space behind it to your German Shepherd.
You should not forget that after attaining a certain age, it becomes pretty much difficult to train your pet the way you want to. If you are planning to keep a cat along with a German Shepherd as your lovable pets, then it is necessary to start the training process for your pet at the earliest.
Since it is extremely difficult to train an adult or elderly German Shepherd, that is why you cannot expect them to suddenly get friendly with the cat. However, it is a lot easier to train small pups or young German Shepherds.
However, it is also preferable to have a kitten instead of directly fostering adult cats at home. It German Shepherd and the cat are small, it would be easier for them to get along with each other as compared to the adult ones. When pets are quite young, you can easily teach them good mannerism and obedience, just like small children.
Seeking professional help
Each pet possesses a different personality as some are obedient whereas some are notorious from their birth itself. Generally, German Shepherds are great learners and can be trained easily. If your German Shepherd is too notorious or disobedient and you are not able to train him, then the best solution to this is to hire a professional and competent dog trainer.
You can even send your German Shepherd to a dog training school for the same. Although, cats do not require a rigorous training program like dogs it is necessary for them also to learn basic obedience. You can easily train your cat at home to obey your commands.
After going through this blog, we can conclude that German Shepherd and cats can socialize with each other. Both of them can get along very well with each other. To make this happen, you need to put in a few efforts.
Also, it would be better if you start the training when both of your pets are small. After all, pets never fail to captivate the hearts of their owners!