Broady, 9 weeks old, is barking non-stop at my cat. Any suggestions?
Liesje or any other cat people—-
Do you have any advice on this?
How old is the cat? What is the cat’s response? If the cat is basically ignoring him, then Brody’s not getting what he wants, so he keeps barking. Correct Brody and tell him to knock it off. A favorite command of mine is “quit!”. If the cat is afraid, correct Brody and tell him to knock it off. In either situation, try and hold the cat and have Brody come and sniff him and say hello. If he pushes much more than that, again correct him and tell him to knock it off. When he stops barking, quietly say “good”. Repeat as often as necessary. It is new to Brody and, being a typical GSD, they always have to tell you about it! This, too, shall pass – at the least they will learn to tolerate one another, and at the best (which is most likely) they will become friends!
My take on the GSD/cat thing (as I have been explaining to Becky) is that unfortunately a lot of it will boil down to the CAT’s reaction. If your cat is upset by the dog, I wouldn’t push it (ie, don’t hold the cat out for the dog or put the cat in a crate so the dog can investigate…I treat my cats and dogs the same, the cats were there first so I do not change their status or their privilege to accomodate a new dog).
I have three cats. There were never any issues between them and Chopper. I don’t know if she was around cats before w/ Julie but she never pestered them, and I was amazed at how curious they were of her and how they all instantly tolerated each other. In fact, Chopper would get off the couch if the cat came on, or back away from her food bowl if the cat came to sniff. When we got Coke, he was FAR more interested in cats and chased them pretty bad at first. My youngest cat Marijke did NOT take this well at all. She would see Coke and totally panic. Not that I condone dogs being inappropriate with cats, but when this fluffy cat is running around wildly like she has lost her mind, what dog wouldn’t be interested in chasing that? This is why it’s important to try to correct or stop the behavior before it becomes a chase. I did a lot of correcting for locking eyes on the cat, or trying to always be by the cat door. I would say “uh uh!” or squirt him with water (this works with him b/c he HATES that, some dogs think it’s a game). If he didn’t listen I would get up and body block him away (not mandhandling or collar corrections, but showing him he could not ignore when I say no and that we don’t allow dogs to crowd the cat door). Nikon is the first dog to really bark at my cats. He is very vocal, barks at a lot of things. At 9 weeks he could “speak” command, he liked this idea of getting treats FOR barking! That helped a bit. Mainly I just ignore/ignored inappropriate barking. I say “That’s enough THANK YOU!” and if he doesn’t quit, I will try to redirect him with a toy or move to a new situation (I try my darndest not to use a crate as a “punishment”). Now sometimes the cat is just being a little scheisster, sitting there staring at the dog like “haha you can’t get me!” If that’s the case, I move the cat. Anytime the dogs acknowledge the cat without giving chase or throwing a barking fit, I mark and reward that. After we got Coke it took almost a year before Marijke was comfortable being in the same room or within eye sight of him. With Nikon she has regressed a bit but is coming around a lot faster.
I was told that picking up the cat in front of the dog can increase the prey drive, so I never really held my cats up to “save” them from the dog or to allow the dog to sniff. This does make Nikon more hyper, and it also terrifies the cat which is not fair for him/her. We just took it slow, did things on the cats’ terms because they were there first.
Also I have my house setup so there are cat-only “safe” zones. Our basement is totally off limits to dogs, so there’s a cat door with a flap in the basement door. Also since our front room has white carpet and I keep my nicest antiques and curios from Africa in there, the dogs are not allowed and it’s gated off. I think the cats use this room a lot while I’m at work (my adult dogs are free roam) because we never go in there and yet there is always cat hair everywhere! Also during the day I gate off the upstairs so the cats can sleep on my bed. At night we switch, the dogs sleep in our room on the floor and the cats have the house. Having these “safe” zones (and other spots they can “flee” to like the top of the fridge, the entertainment center, window sills…) helps with the cats’ confidence and once they learned the dog can’t get them there, they were better about coming out.
Is you cat out of reach and staring at Brody, perhaps? Try getting them on the same level for an introduction. Hold your cat on your lap with its back slightly towards Brody, and let Brody come up and say hello. If he is barking, just tell him, “shhh, be nice to the kitty!” If your cat isn’t too thrilled with having a new housemate, this might be a two person job.
If Brody is barking for the introduction, then he doesn’t get to say hello to the cat. Barking stops, praise and he can sniff the cat.
With pups this age, I’m not real big on too much correction. It is more of a distraction given and tell them to be nice. It is ok to sniff and even slobber on the cat, but no mouth, as in play tug with the kitty. If Brody gets too rough, “Be nice to the kitty.” Just use your hand to guide Brody’s mouth away from the cat.
The important thing to remember is to praise Brody when he is giving you the proper behavior.
Until they are both very comfortable with each other, do not allow Brody to chase the cat, be prepared so that it doesn’t happen. A baby gate will also work wonders—it allows your cat a safe space away from Brody.
I have three cats—one who can be very mean. I still worry about her hurting Kayla. So in this case it is, “Be nice to Kayla!” instead of the other way around. If your cat is on the cranky side, keep a good grip on your cat so that Brody has a pleasant experience. If the intros go smoothly now, you shouldn’t have problems with them in the future.
Just to clarify :~) I have six cats and everyone gets along. By “correction” I mean say quit or no … and then good or thank you. I completely agree, chasing is NOT okay. And like I said, what is the cat’s reaction? That can tell you more than anything how to proceed. Plus, dog free zones are a must for everyone’s sanity! LOTS of good advice!
You have SIX CATS?!?! WOW!
Yeah wow! Well, I probably would have six I guess if not for zoning laws! I’m at the limit with dogs AND cats. That’s probably not a bad thing…
Thanks Everyone for your Suggestions. I have been trying to not let him Bark at the cat. When the cat gets close enough to Brody, Brody just mouths Him, Every time. Brody mouths everything and everyone…. All people all Dogs all Cats. I am trying very hard to stop his mouthing by putting his toys in his mouth. I hope I am doing the right thing. I have to pull him off of our other dogs because he is just getting very strong and is starting to hurt the others.
Thanks Again Everyone and I Completely appreciate any other suggestions!
Hi, I am no professional, but with our other dogs I have basically let them correct Sabree(Yellow Girl) when it comes to playing with them and she is learning what she can get away with and what she can’t, with the pups getting stronger I feel this is teaching them how hard she can grab on and when to let go, if she gets too excited, and starts hurting them they will correct her and then not play with her for awhile so then she will get a toy or take a nap.
As far as mouthing us I try to prevent than as you are with a toy in place of a hand or such.
I have also been giving her a Kong or a goody out of the bag I got from Julie, that seems to tire her out also.