Having both a dog and a cat around can be pretty thrilling, especially if the two pets live harmoniously.
Dogs may sometimes make it difficult for you to have a cat around due to their prey drive and territorial dominance, making them view a cat as more of an opponent than a companion.
However, one dog breed, the Bernese Mountain dog (also known as the Berner), tends to stand out when it comes to its relations with cats.
So, if you are thinking of adopting this agile, personality-rich, and extremely outgoing dog and you already have a resident cat in your home, and you can’t help but ask, ‘Are Bernese Mountain dogs good with cats?’ then read on as I got you covered.
I will give you a straightforward answer with a factual explanation on whether a Berner can live with a cat.
I will also provide you with a tested and approved guide on how to introduce your Berner to your cat.
And just in case your dog keeps chasing your cat even after a successful introduction, then I also got you covered.
As I will walk you through easy tips on how to stop your dog from chasing your cat.
Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good With Cats?
Yes, Bernese Mountain dogs are good with cats.
In fact, this dog breed tends to get along way more with cats when compared to other dogs breeds due to their friendly, affectionate, adaptable, and protective nature.
However, it may be hard sometimes for a Berner to get along with a cat. This is so as both your cat and dog have an innate prey drive.
That is, they both are predatory animals, making them to want to hunt and chase small animals.
In most cases, if you introduce a young pup to a senior cat, the chances that your cat will try to display territorial dominance by growling or hissing are high.
It may also urinate or defecate in different places as a way of marking its boundary.
On the other hand, a Berner will not take such intimidation lying down owing to its strong-willed temperament.
This may lead to a feisty battle of dominance in the house.
I highly recommend that you either introduce an at least grown-up puppy (17 months of age) to a cat or introduce both the two when they are young.
Luckily there are tested, and proven methods on how you can make your Bernese Mountain dog and your cat become buddies without any form of aggression.
How Do I Introduce My Bernese Mountain Dog To My Cat?
In order to avoid triggering negative behaviors (excessive barking and herding-more like following your cat around or chasing it) from your Bernese Mountain dog, it’s vital that you know how to introduce these two moods enhancing pets properly.
NOTE! The only way you can successfully introduce your dog to your cat is if you have a well-trained cat who understands basic obedience commands.
Otherwise, if your cat is not fully trained, start immediately training it at least 2 months before bringing your Bernese Mountain dog home.
Below is the complete guide on how to introduce your Berner to your cat (either a senior cat or a kitten);
#Prepare 2 Different Rooms For Both Your Cat And Berner
Before bringing your canine companion home, ensure that you thoroughly prepare 2 separate rooms, one for your cat and the other for your dog.
Make certain that each room is equally fitted with clean beddings, food, water, a litter box that’s filled with sand and toys.
Also, ascertain that there is adequate ventilation in the room and enough space that can facilitate easy and unrestricted movement for your pets.
#Confine Both Your Bernese Mountain Dog And Your Cat In The Different Rooms
After thoroughly preparing the 2 separate rooms, have both your pets confined in them.
You can have each of your pets take shifts in staying in their confinement room when you are around.
PS; Just be sure not to let both your dog and cat out simultaneously since chances of an aggressive confrontation occurring are high.
Don’t confine your hound or cat for more than 6 hours.
Exceeding this time limit can cause your pets to develop separation anxiety or aggressive behaviors.
It can also lead to partial or permanent physical disability for your dog.
This usually happens when you confine or lock your pet in small cages or rooms that limit their movement.
#Train Your Berner Basic Obedient Commands
Before attempting to introduce your hound to your cat, have it learn and understand all the basic obedience commands.
This includes; sit, stay, quiet, come, and no!
All these commands will substantially determine if the meetup will be successful or not.
Extra tip; Keep the commands simple and give the orders in a firm and clear voice. Ensure that the training sessions last for 5-10 minutes. Provide breaks in between.
Also, practice consistency and patience while training your hound.
The good thing about Berners is that they can grasp training or commands after 5-15 repeated sessions.
#Let The Two Get Used To Each Other’s Scents
Dogs and cats both establish bonds through smelling scents. Let the two get used to each other’s smell by;
Exchanging their beddings, have your cat lay on your dog’s beddings, and vice versa. Alternate the 2 sleeping rooms, have your dog sleep in your cat’s room, and vice versa.
Do this for at least 2 weeks.
This will help lessen tension during the physical meetup as both your canine and feline will sense a familiar smell.
Extra tip; Just be sure that you maintain both your dog’s and cat’s overall hygiene adequately.
This will help reduce any chances of spreading infectious diseases between the two animals.
#Organize A Visual Meet Without Physical Touch
Organizing a visual meetup without any physical touch helps eliminate the ‘stranger’ vibe between the two.
It also builds a sense of belonging to your new dog, since you are letting other animals meet it;
This way, it will try to behave. Consider placing your cat in the cage and your dog on a leash.
Let this meetup be in an open area, preferably your backyard.
This will somehow create distractions and prevent your cat and dog from focusing more on each other.
Use rewards or treats each time either of the two displays good and nonaggressive social behaviors.
Pro-tip; If you have a friend or know someone who has a cat and a dog who are fully socialized with each other, you can ask them to bring them in.
Securely place the two socialized pets in a crate and have them play together. This will help show your dog and cat that the two can also be friends.
#Let The Two Meet Physically But Under Supervision
Suppose you are unsure how the physical interaction will turn out to be, then consider using leashes and have a friend or one of your family members help you.
Ensure that you invest in quality and durable leashes that can withstand pulls without ripping.
Pro-tip; Let the physical meet-up be in an at least empty room with enough lighting and an easy to unlock door.
Please don’t do it in an open field, as you risk having either of your pet escaping or wandering away due to fear.
If you notice any signs of aggression (growling, hissing-in cats barking, snarling, carrying tail high-in dogs), immediately end the physical introduction.
Things You Can Do After A Successful Introduction Between Your Dog And Your Cat
Don’t be quick to let the two interact without supervision.
NOTE! Both cats and the Bernese Mountain dog breed can be pretty good actors.
They may pretend to like each other in your presence, only to go physical immediately after you exit the room.
At least supervise the two for 2-3 weeks before leaving them unsupervised. During this time, make yourself ‘invisible’ by exiting the room and peeking on them.
This will help you establish whether the newly formed bond is genuine or not.
Always feed your cat first before feeding your Berner-this only applies if you are introducing a grown Berner to a cat.
This reinforces that the cat is also equally important to the dog. If both pets are young, feed them both at the same time.
Place their feeding bowls in the same room but in different locations-eating together will improve their bond.
NOTE! You should feed your canine dog food and your feline cat food. Train the two not to eat each other’s food.
Don’t restrain any of your pets from leaving the room-restraining your cat or dog from leaving their shared room may cause a physical brawl, in which either one of you may end up getting hurt.
How Do I Stop My Bernese Mountain Dog From Chasing My Cat?
Berners were explicitly bred as a herding dog breed. So, its chasing habits can be attributed to its innate herding behavior.
The good news is that you can tame your Bernese Mountain cat chasing behavior by;
#Understand And Eliminate Any Triggers
Find out what triggers your Bernese Mountain dog to chase your cat and eliminate the triggers.
Most common causes that may make your hound chase your cat around include; Competition for a toy, your attention or space, or boredom.
#Train Your Hound Not To Chase Your Cat
Let your Bernese Mountain dog know that chasing your cat around is not permitted by training it.
Use the commands, ‘no,’ ‘sit,’ and ‘come’ each time you notice your Berner is about to chase your cat.
If these commands don’t work, have your hound put on a long leash and use it to your advantage.
Each time you notice a chase is about to ensue, gently but firmly pull the dog close to you and give it treats.
This will help it understand that not chasing your cat comes with treats.
#Provide Your Cat With Its Safe Zones Which Are Inaccessible To Your Dog
Sometimes it may prove difficult to train your Berner not to chase your cat or eliminate the triggers that lead to a chasing spree between your dog and your cat.
If that’s your case, then consider creating or providing your cat with safe zones that are inaccessible to your dog.
Have a pro install a safe cat tree for your cat to perch on or card boxes that act as hideouts for your cat.
#Use Treats To Reinforce The Non-Chasing Behavior
Let your Berner associate treats with not chasing your cat.
Each time your dog chases your cat and stops, even if it’s to catch its breath, give it lots of treats or praises.
Always make sure that you know what your dog considers a treat since not all dogs love being given snacks to munch on as treats.
#Keep Your Berner Engaged
Bernese Mountain dogs are energetic and love staying physically and mentally stimulated.
Slight boredom caused by inactivity can trigger your dog to chase your cat around. Consider taking it out for walks, swimming, or teaching it tricks.
Having your dog do any of these activities is a sure way of reducing its tendency to chase your cat in order for it to get physically or mentally stimulated.
How Long Does It Take For My Cat To Get Used To My Bernese Mountain Dog?
It may take a week or 1-2 months for your cat to get used to living with your Berner in the same room or house.
Note both of these two pets’ personalities, age, level of independence and activity play a significant role in determining how fast they get used to each other.
So be sure to adopt a dog that compliments your cat’s personality.
Are Bernese Mountain dogs good with cats?
Yes, they are. Introduce your Berner to your cat when the two are relaxed.
I recommend that you let the two meet after an evening meal and when both are physically exhausted.
This helps reduce a hostile confrontation from ensuing.
Note that the introduction steps are integrated; so, you cannot skip one and do the other.
Ensure that you follow these steps systematically to avoid confusing your dog and cat.
If you notice that your Bernese Mountain dog keeps chasing your cat even after a successful introduction, please make sure that;
You eliminate any triggers that may be causing your dog to chase your cat.
Keep your dog engaged, use treats to reinforce positive behaviors, and provide your cat with its safe space and hideout just in case it becomes hard to tame your Berner’s urge to chase your cat around.