If your German Shepherd has been nibbling on your cat then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my German Shepherd nibble on my cat? Possible reasons are that it has a strong prey drive, it hasn’t learned to control its bite, it is being dominating or it is jealous.

There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to understand why your German Shepherd nibbles on your cat. Depending on the cause there are also a number of things that you can do about it.

Why your German Shepherd nibbles on your cat

Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd does it will likely come with a number of clues.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and the signs to look for.

It has a strong prey drive

German Shepherds are a breed that is known to have a strong prey drive. This means that they have it in their nature to chase after small things like cats, rabbits and even small dogs. 

This is likely to be why your German Shepherd has felt the urge to nibble on your cat.

They have actually been known to kill small animals so it’s important not to keep them together until you have trained your German Shepherd to be as well behaved as possible. 

It hasn’t learned to control its bite

When German Shepherds are young they will learn to control their bite since the other puppies will stop playing with them when they bite too hard. If your German Shepherd did not socialize much with other animals as a young puppy then it could be that it has not learned that it is not ok to nibble on cats.

If this is the case then following the training tips a few sections below will likely help a lot in getting your German Shepherd to stop doing it.

It is just playing

It could be the case that your German Shepherd is just playing when it does it. This would be more likely if it does not do it in an aggressive way.

However, even if it is just playing, it will still be helpful to train your German Shepherd not to do it using the tips below.

It is being dominating

Another possible reason could be that you have an overly dominant German Shepherd.

If this is the case then it could be that your German Shepherd is trying to assert its dominance over the cat.

Signs that this could be the reason would include your German Shepherd displaying other dominant behaviors such as trying to position itself in higher positions than you or being unresponsive to your command (although that could also be a lack of training).

Jealousy

It might also be the case that your German Shepherd is jealous of your cat. This would be more likely if it only seems to do it after you give your cat attention or if you have been giving your cat more attention overall lately.

To correct this it will be necessary for you to give your German Shepherd lots of attention and to give it lots of exercise so that it doesn’t feel the need to be jealous of your cat.

German Shepherd

Things to consider

Before getting your German Shepherd to stop nibbling on your cat it would help to understand what is causing it to do it.

Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things that you can consider.

How old your German Shepherd is

If your German Shepherd is still a puppy then it would make it more likely that it has not learned to leave your cat alone yet.

If your German Shepherd is older then it would be more likely to be due to a combination of having a strong prey drive, jealousy and being dominant.

When your German Shepherd started to nibble on your cat

The timing of when your German Shepherd started nibbling on your cat would also be a helpful thing to consider.

If it didn’t always do it and it started to do it suddenly then it would make it more likely that it was doing it due to jealousy. However, it could also be that your German Shepherd was being dominant if your cat has been doing things like sleep where your German Shepherd normally does.

When it does it

It would also help to consider the timing of when your German Shepherd does it. If you notice that it only seems to do it at certain times then it would help to consider what else happens at around that time. Perhaps, it does it when you are about to feed it food and it doesn’t want the cat beating it to it.

How to get your German Shepherd to stop nibbling on your cat

Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about your German Shepherd nibbling on your cat.

You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.

Separate them

A quick and easy way to get your German Shepherd to stop nibbling your cat would be to simply keep them separated. By doing this you will be able to keep your cat safe and to prevent bad interactions.

You could do this by keeping your cat in separate rooms or you could try to section off areas using room dividers.

If your German Shepherd is still young then you might not want to do this since it’s easier to get your German Shepherd to get along with cats when they’re younger. So, you’ll want to emphasize on the training method in the video below.

Train it not to

The next option is to train your German Shepherd to get along with cats. If your German Shepherd is still young it’s very important that you take the time to do this now. It’s also important that you train it regularly and that you maintain it over a long time period.

To train your German Shepherd to get along with your cat you’ll do it in three stages. First, you’ll teach it to stay, then to stay when it’s being distracted then to stay when the cat is around.

I have written about how to teach your German Shepherd to stay and how to do it when being distracted in the past here.

After you have taught it to stay when being distracted it will be time to slowly introduce the cat.

You’ll do this by telling your German Shepherd to stay and then start by just putting the cat in the same room.

Then after your German Shepherd maintains its attention on you you’ll reward it for doing so. You’ll repeat this process where you get your German Shepherd to stay with the cat in the same room until you’re able to get it to keep its attention on you easily.

Once it’s good at doing that you’ll continue to tell it to stay but you’ll reduce the amount of distance between your German Shepherd and your cat until you’re able to get your German Shepherd to keep its focus on you even when the cat is nearby.

Watch the video below to see how it is done.

Feed them separately

You should also take measures to ensure that you feed them separately. The probability of your German Shepherd lashing out at your cat is much more pronounced when they are eating since it will naturally want to protect its food. So, by feeding them separately you’ll be able to reduce the likelihood of something bad happening.

Be consistent

It is unlikely that you will be able to get your German Shepherd to be well behaved around cats in one training session. However, if you stick to it over the course of weeks and months then you will be able to see much more prominent progress. This also goes for training it to do other things such as to sit as well.

Train it early

If your German Shepherd is still young then it is important to train it to be well behaved now so that it doesn’t develop undesirable habits when it is older.

Most Recommended For German Shepherds

Best German Shepherd Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.

Best German Shepherd Guide

Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.

Best German Shepherd Treats

Our favorites: N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (on Amazon) - Great for German Shepherd puppies. American Journey Dog Treats (on Amazon) - Great for adult German Shepherds.

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