How to Train a Doberman to Like Cats

Some dobermans instinctively chase cats.

Some dobermans instinctively chase cats.

A doberman's feelings about cats varies from dog to dog and is not a trait specific to the breed. Some doberman's love cats while others have strong instincts to chase and seize small animals. You can't force your dobe to love cats, but you can train him to tolerate your feline friend.

Allow your doberman several hours of high-intensity physical activity prior to meeting a cat. Doberman's are energetic and become restless and even destructive without exercise. A doberman with pent-up energy will be unable to meet a cat calmly.

Introduce your dobe to a friend's cat in a controlled environment. Only introduce your doberman to a cat if he follows sit and stay commands without hesitation. With your doberman on a leash, have him sit while your friend holds the cat across the room. Praise your doberman with treats if he remains in the sit and stay position. Slowly bring the cat closer to your doberman while continuing to enthusiastically praise and reward him with treats, according to the Dog Owner's Guide. If your doberman stands or jumps, start from the beginning and have your friend return to the far side of the room. Depending on your doberman's attitude towards cats, this can take days, weeks or months before the cat is sitting directly next to a calm doberman.

Rotate confinement periods for a new cat and doberman. If you've already brought a new cat in your home, choose a room with a sturdy door to use for short periods of confinement. The door must latch and have a solid close to prevent a strong doberman from bulldozing through and turning Whiskers into a chew toy. Confine the cat for a few hours while the dobe has full range of the home and then switch so the cat has full range. This allows your dobe to familiarize himself with the cat's smell while keeping the cat safe. Once the smells have been established, follow step 2 and gradually bring your cat closer to the doberman while praising him with treats.

Items you will need

  • Treats
  • Leash
  • Friend
  • Friend's cat


  • Make the process of introducing your doberman to a cat as pleasurable as possible. Replace everyday treats with something special, like small pieces of cooked chicken or liver.
  • Calm, confident cats that do not run fearfully or playfully are best to introduce to your doberman, the American Humane Association recommends.
  • If you're adopting a new doberman, find a breeder who raises the puppies and parents around cats, according to the Gentle Doberman.
  • Always confine your doberman separately from your cat if you're not home to prevent unsupervised interactions, according to the American Humane Association.


  • If you have an adult doberman with an established temperament that displays a strong dislike for cats, it's best to avoid bringing a cat into the home. The doberman's strength and size could easily injure or kill a cat.
  • If anything goes wrong during the doberman's breeding, socialization, training, handling or management, the dobe can seriously injury or kill a cat, according to Your Purebred Puppy.
  • Do not allow the doberman and new cat to work it out on their own. This is likely to be tragic for the cat.
  • Do not allow doberman's to eat cat food since it can cause pancreatitis, according to the Gentle Doberman.

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About the Author

Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

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