A major consideration when adding an Australian Cattle Dog to a family of existing pets is: Are Australian Cattle Dogs good with cats?
YES, Australian Cattle Dogs can get along just fine with cats!
It is, however, important to know that the Australian Cattle Dog was bred and raised to be a chaser. He thinks it is his job to chase.
That’s why so many times you will hear that he needs a job!
The idea is if you can involve your dog in an activity that he really enjoys he will leave the cat alone. It’s sort of like a distraction.
But it is really hard to find a job that he enjoys more than chasing other animals when they run!
Originally it was his job to work, herd and move cattle. Sometimes they were very obstinate cattle.
This meant that the successful cattle dog had to be brave and forceful.
But it was more than just chasing them, the Australian Cattle Dog also had to be very trainable and learn to follow commands in order to put that cow exactly where the handler directed.
This meant that he had to be smart.
It was never the intention to breed for Australian Cattle Dogs good with cats.
Will an Australian Cattle Dog chase cats?
Yes, Australian Cattle Dogs will chase cats and squirrels and sheep and rabbits and horses and children, and almost anything that moves!
After all, that is who they are. That is what they do. And honestly, maybe it’s also because they are dogs.
(Almost any dog will chase something when it moves or runs.)
That is exactly why they are on the top of the list at Scratchpay.com: “These Are the 7 Worst Dog Breeds for Cats” written by Janine DeVault.
But does that mean that they can’t learn to get along with cats? No, not at all. With proper human intervention and training we can make Australian Cattle Dogs good with cats.
Remember, not only is he brave and forceful, but he is very smart.
(A lot of dogs will chase a small animal to attack or kill it. But, in the case of the Australian Cattle Dog, it is mostly his innate desire to herd that gives him the almost uncontrollable urge to chase.)
It is the natural characteristic of being very smart that will allow us to make Australian Cattle Dogs good with cats.
How can I stop my Australian Cattle Dog from chasing my cat.
And isn’t that the most important question if you already have an Australian Cattle Dog and he is chasing your cat?
The answer is: TRAINING
With proper, constant and consistent training you have the opportunity to correct that unwanted and dangerous behavior.
But you must know, that means way more than just yelling NO when it is already happening.
Proper training means that it must be meaningful to the dog. It also must be applied or explained in a way that he understands.
And, proper training means that it must be consistent, or exactly the same each time that it is applied so that their is no confusion.
Lastly, proper training means that it must be constant. You cannot take a few days off and ignore the situation expecting to pick up where you left off at a later time.
Just as important, you must get out in front of the behavior. You must put the proper training on the dog before the behavior actually happens.
Are Australian Cattle Dogs good with cats?
The importance of the "Place" command.
Probably one of the worst situations is to have your Australian Cattle Dog just wandering around with free roam of the house.
This will give him untold opportunity to get himself into trouble, especially when you also have a cat roaming in the same house.
Using a well understood place will give the cat an opportunity to enjoy his freedom in the house without worry of being chased by your dog.
Learn everything you can about how to teach and when to use the place command. This will really help make your Australian Cattle Dog good with cats.
What about an E-Collar?
An E-Collar is a training aid that may be one of the most misunderstood items in the training world.
Some people put them down and say that they would never use them.
Some say that they are so valuable that they are an important part of their training with every dog and especially if they are having trouble making an Australian Cattle Dog good with cats.
Before you decide, read this:
Article by Tyler Muto: A Silent Killer – K9 Connection (connectwithyourk9.com)
Article by Steve Courtney: Prong collars and e-collars – why? | Blog by K9 Pro and Steve Courtney Dog Training
Are Australian Cattle Dogs good with cats?
Roxie and Ringo think so!
Jaime Staley, Roxie and Ringo
Here is their personal story
“This is Roxie my ACD and my Bengal cat Ringo. The question I get a lot is how they became best friends. I got Roxie when she was eight weeks old.
I also had just rescued my other cat Luna who was a kitten at the time. I started training her at eight weeks to be gentle with the kitten.
The younger you start training the better, in my opinion. If she would get too rough, I would raise my voice and say “leave it!” She was very responsive and would stop with just a raised voice. When she played gently with her I would praise her over and over.
This breed wants nothing more than to please their owners. In my personal experience the key to training is when you praise them for good behavior as well as correcting the bad. After a couple weeks Roxie and Luna became best friends.
Ringo came into Roxie’s life when she was two. I have always wanted a Bengal cat and saw Ringo and fell in love. I brought him home when he was 12 weeks old.
He had never been around a dog. He growled, hissed and struck out at Roxie. Roxie was determined to be this mean kittens friend. She never once chased, bit at, or barked at Ringo. She laid on the other side of the room and would craw over to him showing him she was not a threat.
She did this for two days, getting closer and closer. Day three they were playing, day four bathing one another. By the end of the week they were best friends and snuggling on the couch.”
Thank you to Jamie for sharing her story and training efforts that made her Australian Cattle Dog good with cats.