The Australian Shepherd is a beautiful dog. Aussies can play multiple roles. So, whether you’re looking for a working dog or a home pet, this breed can be your perfect choice. These dogs are super intelligent, loyal, affectionate, and playful. However, are Australian Shepherds good with cats?
The Aussies are herding dogs. As such, they get along with livestock and people. These pups are obedient and love to please. Aussies excel at herding. Even though they sometimes use nipping to keep the animals in order, they still agree with each other.
However, some might wonder if the Aussie gets along with other home animals. For example, cats. I asked myself the same question. Therefore, I talked to some Aussie owners and canine behaviorists. Here’s what I managed to find out:
Are Australian Shepherds Good With Cats?
Are Australian Shepherds good with cats? Yes. In general, Australian Shepherds are good with cats. They are loving and affectionate and get along well with the felines. Australian Shepherds show no aggression towards smaller animals and make a great pair with a cat.
The Australian Shepherd is a brilliant animal. They are not aggressive and have no desire to hurt smaller animals. Therefore, they are a good pair with a cat. However, this is very individual. Like humans, dogs, too, have personalities. While some pups will have no problem sharing the home with a cat, some might dislike it. Also, friendship is a two-way street. Maybe your Aussie will love your cat, but the cat won’t be too thrilled about the dog’s presence.
The first problem which might occur is the herding instinct of the Aussies. These dogs tend to herd everything that moves. The cat might be the Aussies herding subject, in lack of sheep. Aussies tend to be bossy, and so do cats. However, this issue can be resolved with proper training.
The second obstacle that you may face is the activity level of the Australian Shepherd. These dogs have the energy to run and play all day long. And believe me, they will. While cats tend to spend most of their days sleeping, Aussies love to hang around. This might be especially problematic if your cat is older while the Aussie is still a pup. However, proper exercise will decrease the dog’s need to be active in the house. Wear off your Aussie for at least two to three hours a day to overcome this obstacle.
And lastly, the Aussies create strong bonds with their humans. While not exceedingly jealous, they are possessive, especially of their favorite person. So, if your dog sees the cat in your lap, you might have a problem. However, Australian Shepherds are not aggressive by nature and will never harm a cat. Although, expect some barking and funny behavior.
Yet, all of these problems are easily solvable. Just give both the animals to get used to one another. It would be best if you get them at the same time. A puppy Aussie and a baby kitty will get along very well. They will learn to live together as they grow older, despite their differences. After all, having lazy and active pets simultaneously should be super entertaining.
How do you introduce an Australian Shepherd to a cat?
Alright, so you’ve decided to take the chance and have both an Aussie and a cat pet. Congratulations, you are a wonderful person. Your next step is introducing your pets to one another. However, there are certain things you should know before doing this.
If you happen to have brought them home simultaneously, half of your job is already complete. Both your dog and kitty will enjoy playing together, thus growing up to be friends. However, your task will be slightly more complicated if there is an age difference. As cats have more difficult personalities, you will have to train your dog to be friendly.
It is wise to keep the animals apart at the beginning of their journey. Provide them both with personal spaces where they could be alone. Also, use a leash when you take the Aussie near your cat. The dog must learn to obey you, regardless of the cat’s presence. Only when you are certain they will get along, remove the leash and let your Australian Shepherd create its new friendship.
First, teach your dog the basic commands. Once your Aussie has become obedient, you can approach introductions. The most important rule: do not neglect either animal. Both the Aussie and the cat are your pets. As such, they both love you. Making them jealous of one another will do good for neither of you. Therefore, provide them with the same amount of time and love.
Always reward your Aussie when he behaves well around your cat. Positive reinforcement does miracles with these dogs. Try to be present during their first interactions. Use different feeding bowls, but always feed them at the same time. Put them both to sleep together with you. Play with them at the same time. The animals must feel equal. However, if they misbehave, let them know you disagree with that. Cats, the same as Aussies, are intelligent creatures. Be patient. In time, they will learn to live with each other.
How do I stop my Australian Shepherd from chasing my cats?
The first step is to make sure that your Australian Shepherd is getting enough exercise. If your Australian Shepherd is bored, he may be more likely to chase your cats. Make sure that you are taking your dog for walks or playing with him in the yard regularly.
If your Australian Shepherd is still chasing your cats, you may need to start using a training collar. There are collars that can be used to shock or spray your dog when he starts to chase the cats. You can also use a behavior modification technique called “counterconditioning.”
This involves teaching your Australian Shepherd to associate positive things with the sight of the cats. For example, you could give your dog treats every time he sees the cats. Over time, he will learn that being near the cats is a good thing.
The final step is to continue reinforcing the positive behaviors and keep an eye on your pet to make sure he is not reverting back to his old habits. Be patient as modifying behavior takes time, but eventually, you should see a change in your dog’s behavior around the cats.
If you are still having trouble getting your Australian Shepherd to stop chasing the cats, you may need to consult with a professional trainer. He or she can help you develop a behavior modification plan that will work best for your dog.
Are Australian Shepherds Aggressive?
Many people are unsure if Australian Shepherds are aggressive dogs because of their herding history. The truth is that Australian Shepherds can be quite territorial and protective of their family and property, but they are not inherently aggressive dogs. With proper socialization and training, Australian Shepherds can be great family pets.
If you are considering adding an Australian Shepherd to your family, it is important to be aware of their personality traits and how to properly train and socialize them. Australian Shepherds need plenty of exercises and mental stimulation, so make sure you have the time to commit to training and exercising your dog.
Australian Shepherds are usually not aggressive towards cats. However, some individual dogs might be prone to aggression. They are also a loud breed. Expect some barking when your pup is around your cat. However, aggressive behavior in Aussies is neutralized with proper training.
Socialization is essential for these dogs. The earlier you start the process, the better. And what better way to socialize your dog than have it share the roof with another pet?
As you can see, Aussies get along with everyone. These dogs are almost perfect the way they are. They are aloof with strangers but cordial with others. Isn’t that what we all want from our dogs? The Aussie is a pup that will be our friend and protect us simultaneously.
However, they need to be socialized. Hence, the almost perfect part. If not, you can face some severe issues. Take your dog to the dog park and let it interact with other animals and people. Once the Aussie learns it can trust, it will become the best pet you’ve ever had. And yes, your cat will agree with you.