I have a 10 month old German Shepherd who is VERY interested in our cats. We have had him since he was 11 week old and the cats have been there since the beginning.

He killed a kitten in our backyard about a month and a half ago but he is crazy for our cats. When he comes out of his crate from over night he searches the house to find where they have been so that he can sniff and/or lick where they were but sometimes if it is a blanket he grabs it and tries to tear it apart.

I am afraid he is going to hurt one of them and currently they are locked in our laundry room (with access to the house) but that is no way for them to live. They do have a cat door and he is ALWAYS trying to get in there with them. He was subjected to training for two weeks but that did nothing to curb this issue.

What could I do to resolve this problem?

  • 3
    If he's killed a kitten already, you need to decide which you value more, the new dog or the established cats (and personally, I think the pets who came first should be the priority), and rehome the other party. You didn't give details of the training or how you've reinforced it afterward, but it sounds to me like this dog needs to be in a cat-free (and possibly child-free) household.
    – Allison C
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


I'm conflicted here, because in his current state, your dog poses a real threat to your cats. At the moment, I wouldn't let him out of my sight even for a second if there was a cat nearby.

I don't know if he actually wanted to kill the kitten, or if it was the victim of too rough play. In either case, boredom could have been a reason. Shepherd dogs are a working breed and need to burn off energy every day, both in walks and in play. A bored dog is prone to developing compulsive or destructive behavior.

The next question is how obedient is he? Can you reliably make him wait even if he really wants to run after the ball? Can you make him sit down even if he sees something exciting? If the answer is "yes" then you have a chance of teaching him not to attack your cats.

I strongly advise you to have him on the leash and maybe even muzzled for the confrontation.

It's as simple as sitting down in the room adjacent to where the cats are and letting them come inside.

He will be excited and want to sniff at the cats, but he's not allowed to run free! The cats must come to him. Since they'll be curious as well, this shouldn't be a problem.

Now you have to gauge his reaction. If he snarls, stop immediately and bring the cats to safety. I don't think you could let both the dog and cats live with you safely. (Barking is OK, though. It's a sign of excitement as opposed to aggression)

Then he may interact with the cats (while you hold the leash and can intervene immediately). Sniffing and licking is allowed, but scratching, pushing them around or biting is not! If he goes for the throat of a cat, it's not safe for them to live with him (and that's the reason for putting a muzzle on him).

You must reprimand him strongly for being too rough with a cat. Tell him "No!" in a loud and angry voice, pull him away from the cats and make him lay down. You can be a little rough with him, but don't hit or kick him or otherwise cause him pain.

Remove him or the cats from the room after a few minutes. Repeat the same procedure every day at least once to get him used to being together with the cats. Depending on how he interacts with them, you can leave the muzzle aside after 2 or 3 days and unleash him when he understood that he isn't allowed to be too rough with them. Always keep an eye on him until you are certain he won't harm them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.