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  1. Hi, Noob, here. My husband and I are first-time dog owners (as adults) and adopted our boy almost exactly two weeks ago. He is three and a half and his last race was in August, so he seems pretty fresh to me. He has been doing really well so far, aside from some separation anxiety that seems to be a bigger issue at night right now and our cats. Our adoption organization has been super helpful with staying in touch to check on our progress and connecting us with other people who are knowledgeable on the topic, but I'd like to get some more feedback since all of this is new territory. We were told that he passed his cat test with "flying colors." The cats have been relegated to our basement since we brought our grey home. We waited a couple of days to introduce him to the cats and went about it the way that was recommended to us by our organization. We crated one of the cats and put him on the floor, slowly approached with our muzzled and leashed grey. He almost immediate got extremely excited and started lunging while sniffing wildly so much so that he knocked his muzzle off (I think we were given the wrong one/size, I have since tightened it). I gave him some very firm leash jerks while basically shouting my deepest "NO" multiple times. We took the cat out of the room and he continued to sniff around furiously for 10 minutes while I called our adoption coordinator because we were NOT EXPECTING this reaction and we were both at this point super anxious that we had a huge issue. She informed me that he just needed to smell the cat to realize that it's not something he wants chase, but he seemed to get all the smell he needed to know that he wanted to murder this thing. She suggested that we try placing one of the cats in his crate and keep him leashed outside. I climbed in with the cat out of solidarity (this could have been a mistake, but I didn't know what else to do). He reacted just as strongly and didn't stop sniffing around his crate furiously for about 30 minutes. So we have the wind taken out of our sails big time at this point. Upon further discussion with some other grey owners, we decided to let him settle in more as he was totally out of his element. Some of the suggestions I got seemed to be more in the vein of the organic approach in which you allow the animals plenty of time and exposure until they assimilate. When the grey reacts to them, you distract him, etc... I decided that we would try to integrate this into our method which also included negative reinforcement for unwanted behaviors. Earlier this week we put up a gate in the kitchen doorway so that the cats could come up into the kitchen area without putting their lives on the line. We've been sure to be close by to monitor their interactions. Nearly every time he's seen them he has barked, lunged and gotten super amped up, but it kind of felt like maybe he was coming around a little bit and was starting to listen to us a little better, understand what "NO KITTIES" meant and we were able to break his attention toward them a little better. Cut to tonight. We thought we would test the waters a little bit. He was crated and my husband brought a kitty into the room and sat on the couch with the kitty in his lap. Immediate barking, lunging and frantic sniffing. I gave him to him good but it was hard to tell if he was responding at all. It's so weird because he hates tiny little yappy dogs as soon as he hears them and I've even been able to redirect him (seemingly better) outside when there have been squirrels and cats. It's been suggested by our organization that we allow him up close and personal interactions with the cats while leashed and muzzled, but I'm pretty hesitant to do that right now considering. I realize that this is most likely an issue that's going to take some time, but I'd like to gather as much advice because that's just what I do. We're trying really hard to not get frustrated because we realize that's setting him up for failure, but it's tricky. I would appreciate any advice or personal experience with this particular issue. I'm really hoping that this is a trainable thing and we didn't adopt a high prey drive grey (who just didn't happen to display that during his initial cat test) that will require we keep the cats separate forever.
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