Aggression Towards Cats

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Aggression Towards Cats

This is a discussion on Aggression Towards Cats within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi all! I'm new to the forum and I'm sure this question has been asked before but there's so much great content here that I ...

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Old 08-05-2018, 05:21 PM
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Aggression Towards Cats

Hi all! I'm new to the forum and I'm sure this question has been asked before but there's so much great content here that I keep going down different rabbit holes

My husband and I have a 4.5 yo German Shepard named Loki. Loki is a great dog who wants nothing more than to make you happy. When Loki came to live with us as a puppy, we had an older dog named Max and a cat named Butler. Butler hated dogs and while he never attacked either dog, he would hiss, spit, and taunt them. So I guess its safe to say that Loki's first relationship with a cat was not a positive experience. Long story short, Loki killed Butler one night. I don't know if it was an act of aggression or if Loki was playing and not realizing the damage he was doing. Either way, it was devastating. I'd had Butler for a long time. Loki was about 2 years old at the time.

Since then, more cats have come into our lives. Over the past two years, we've had two stray cats show up on our porch starving and desperate for shelter and we could not turn them away. We've since adopted these two cats (had them spayed, neutered, chipped, etc.). Very recently, my husband and I have moved out to the countryside and we have 8 acres of land. One of the adopted strays is an indoor/outdoor cat and the other is outdoor only. Loki has seen these cats on a regular basis at our old house and they have met him too (though they prefer their own personal space). We've worked very hard with Loki to establish positive relationships with these cats but its still a work in progress. My husband and I are working to make sure all of our pets are adjusting to the move and I'm working to familiarize the cats with the outdoor setting here. Loki is on an underground fence so obviously their territories overlap.

My question is this: Are there any suggestions for establishing a positive relationship between Loki and the cats? When I've had either cat outside, I do not like the way Loki is looking at them. Intense stare, ears up, forward posture. I'm terrified of the same thing happening again. Loki has not had a negative experience with either cat. Any advice will be so appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:51 PM
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First of all, I would like to welcome you here! This is a really good forum where I'm sure you'll learn a lot.

I have exactly the same problem. We have a cat and four dogs. We allow all of them to freely go around the house, both inside and outside. When we aren't home there isn't any problem, because the dogs are locked in the garden and the cat never goes near there. I could say that cat and dogs don't behave well, if the dogs see the cat, they will immediatly go after him, and although I don't think they would kill him on purpose, I prefer to keep them separated.

If we're there, nothing happens or will happen ever. We can see the dogs watching all the cat's movements, but they would never start a fight because they are prohibbited to, and they know that.

I'll never leave them alone and together, because I'm not sure of what could happen, and I don't want to risk the cat's life. In your case, where your dog has already killed a cat, I'd never leave them alone, but I'm only speaking from my experience.
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:07 PM
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Thank you so much for responding. You're right, I have a ton of useful reading material

We were instructed upon moving out to our property that we should have cats to keep the mouse population at bay. That worked perfect for us since one of our cats is an outdoor cat and the other is indoor/outdoor. Especially with the outdoor cat who will eventually be free to roam our property, it will be next to impossible to keep the two separated. However, the dog only has run of 1/2 acre because of the underground fence and the cat has run of all 8 acres. The difficulty therein lies when the cat comes to the house to be fed. My husband and I have designed the underground fence so that there is at least the other 1/2 acre around our house that the dog cannot get to (or should not if he respects the fence). But still, there's overlapping areas. Everybody is still learning the lay of the land since this move is recent (just last month).

And you're right, I think most of the time the dog(s) just doesn't know the damage its doing and at this point despite all of our work with Loki and the cats its hard to tell if Loki's chase instinct is kicking in or if he's just overly excited, because both are equally likely possibilities!
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:04 PM
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I don't really know about this. I'm guessing your dog is pretty big, I know that my 18 month old 42lbs dog loves chasing the cat, sometimes jumping on her, but she's never hurt her (the cat is small, 6.5 lbs). But yes, she's obsessed too -we have a cat door, a gated area off the kitchen (where we feed the cat), a cat tree in the family room, and the door to the basement is open (dogs don't go down there), so the cat can get away from the dog as needed. But she really doesn't mind the dog and I see her rubbing her face on her snout all the time, so...

I'd say, just really make sure that the cats can get away...
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