Yes! Golden Retrievers can be just fine living with or walking by cats, but like any other dog breed, they still need to be taught that cats are friends, not food. There are steps you can take to make sure your Golden will be great around their smaller furry friends.
Do Golden Retrievers Get Along with Cats?
Goldens are sweet and lovable dogs, yet they need training for new things, just like other dog breeds. Being around cats can be new and exciting for dogs so they need to be taught that cats are not toys!
Training a Golden Retriever is beneficial for more than just building a good relationship between canine and feline! They are intelligent animals that perform well when being trained; Some even become service animals.
It may take a little bit of time and effort, but having your pets live under the same roof can decrease stress for everyone involved. It just takes a little bit of learning and patience!
Getting Your Puppy Used to Being Around Cats
Starting training early is the key to having a well-behaved dog. Puppies start learning from the moment they are born! They are watching their mom and sibling’s behavior, mimicking all of the actions that they can.
If you have a dog that jumps up on people or begs for food at the table, the new dog is likely to pick up those same bad habits. The same thing applies for all the good stuff your other pets do! If you tell your dog to sit, and they do, your puppy will watch and understand what the word ‘sit’ is telling them to do.
If you don’t have another dog in the home, it is important to socialize them at an early age, to prevent them from becoming antisocial with other dogs. They will also learn from other dogs outside of the household, such as figuring out other animals’ boundaries and playing with others.
Using their eagerness to learn is a great way to introduce them to the idea of a cat being in the same living space as them.
Training your Adult Golden to be Around Cats
Unlike the old wife’s tale, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Dogs can learn to be around cats, even if they haven’t even lived with one before. Some dogs need a little bit more time and patience to learn that living with a cat doesn’t mean they will get any less attention and snuggles (something a Golden Retriever worries about).
Older dogs that have been in the household are more accustomed to the routine and flow with everyone already living in the house. Changing that up will take some time for them to get used to but Goldens have an amazing temperament that is sure to make adjustments over time.
One good thing about older dogs is they have less energy and curiosity than a younger puppy may have. This is good because the calmer both the dog and cat can be during the meeting process, the smoother it can go.
Steps to Take when Introducing the Dog and Cat
Patience is key!
Introducing a new pet to an existing pet should be done slowly and calmly. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast! So take things slow and everything will go smoothly, preventing you from having to go back in steps.
When you first bring home your new dog or new cat, keep the animals separate for a few days. Put the original pet into a room they are comfortable in and let the new pet explore the house and get used to their new home!
Rotate around with what animal gets put in a room and which animal gets the rest of the house. They will get used to hearing and smelling each other in the home environment. During this time, you can work on training the pup to be calm in the house and other tasks, such as sitting and paying attention to you when you call their name. These will come in handy during the first physical meeting of the two.
Goldens absolutely love meeting new people and new animals, so they may get a little excited during the first full meet.
Starting out with the first sight meeting, its best to have one animal (most likely the dog) in a crate, so they can see each other but they can’t get too excited and chase anyone, so no one gets scared. Once they are calm with each other in the same room and a crate (this can take days), you can move to having the dog on a leash.
Make sure you are allowing the cat to approach the dog; It’s okay if the cat hisses at the dog in the beginning, they are establishing boundaries with each other. Reward both animals for being calm and praise them for being close to each other.
Keep a close eye on them, make sure the interactions are always supervised, and take enough time where both animals are comfortable before leaving them alone (this could take weeks).
When you feel it is safe to let your dog off leash and neither animal will be aggressive, make sure your cat has an escape route. The door to their favorite place or bed should be open so if they feel uncomfortable, they can leave the situation.
Make sure not to leave them alone until you are completely certain that they will be safe with each other. It is best to allow both animals to have their own space that is separate from one another, even after the initial meeting is over.
Want to learn more? Check out the American Humane page to read more about introducing your pets.
Giving the Cat a Safe Space
If you already own a Golden or have ever seen one, then you know that they can pack a lot of energy and movement. This can be stressful for many pets, cats included.
What most people refer to as “zoomies,” the running around a dog may do when they get excited, often in circles with no care to who or what is around them. Giving your cat a safe space that is away from the dog will allow your cat to leave the area if they are ever over stimulated or scared.
Cat trees are a popular safe space for cats! They already love being up high and can easily climb up the tree when they want to be off the ground. There are also wall shelfs you can hang up that serve the same purpose as a cat tree, but they don’t take up as much floor space.
How to Work on Walking by Cats or Other Animals
Like stated above, Goldens love meeting new people and sometimes that means dragging you across the park by their leash so they can see exactly what that squirrel is burying in the ground.
When you are taking your pup out for a walk, make sure you let them sniff everything, use the bathroom, and look around, but their attention should go straight to you when you ask for it.
If they start pulling on the leash when they see a cat or another animal, make them sit down and look at you. This will bring their attention away from the distraction and will keep you from being yanked around on the leash.
Be sure to praise good behavior! If your dog just looks at the cat but leaves them alone and continues walking, give them a pat on the head and a “good pup” for doing the right thing. Overtime, they will stop wanting to pull towards the cat, instead, they will work for your praise and attention.
Giving them Outlets for Their Energy
There are tons of ways that you can wear out your Golden (which can help with the meeting process).
Playing ball, walking around the park, going on a run, and bringing them to a dog part are great ways to let your dog be a dog and let all that energy go!
Golden Retrievers are a breed that require a lot of attention and that includes energy outlets.
Check out this article to see just how much attention a Golden Retriever needs!
Little things that you do during this process matter! Here are some additional tips that should help the process go smoothly.
- If you plan on moving your cat’s things (litter box, food bowl, etc.) when the new dog comes in, move it a few weeks ahead of time so the cat can get used to it early
- Taking your Golden on a long walk or playing fetch before the first meeting could tire them out and make it a calmer interaction.
- Having a person per animal can help with the integration process, each person can give the animal attention and praise.
- If things are rough, take a step back and give them more time. Every animal is different and has different needs.
- Training treats for both the cat and the dog should be kept on hand in the beginning, but make sure you don’t over feed them!
- if you have more than one dog to introduce to a cat, do it one at a time. Dogs are big animals with a lot of energy that can scare cats.
- You can swap blankets with the animals so they can smell each other even when they are separated.
A Happy Home is One Full of Pets
Goldens are all around great pets and can be some of the most well-behaved dogs when they receive proper training. Working with your dog to behave around cats and even living with them, takes a little bit of time but it is worth it!
Have more questions?
We have tons of blog posts about Goldens and other breeds! See the full selection of articles on our homepage here and read on!