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Age-Old Question: Cats & Dogs Best Practices


Guest LikeJamaica
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Guest LikeJamaica

Good afternoon, all!

 

The wife and I went through an adoption group for retired racers and were lucky enough to come home with Kingston, a 3.5 yo brindle boy. He's overall an excellent dog, walks well on the lead, obeys when we redirect him from counter surfing, and isn't overly gassy (knock on wood). He was presented to us as a cat-friendly (per the regional vernacular) dog and the foster he was with indicated he'd spent time around cats previously with no ill consequence. We've had him about 10 days now and we've kept our two little ladies (4 and 6 yo rescue cats) sequestered in the back of the house via a baby gate. We tag out to give them loves and play a bit and Kingston doesn't seem to mind when our louder girl cries (she has a big mouth in the best way).

 

Unfortunately, on a couple of occasions the dog has walked by the gate to head downstairs where his nest is (it's much cooler and quiet), keyed on one of the cats sitting behind the fence and lunged at them. In most cases, when he looks that direction and his ears go up, we draw his attention away and reward him for the diverted gaze. When he's jumped at them, though, it's a single bounce and he goes downstairs. There's been a bark once or twice, and I don't want to discount the idea he may be trying to play, but the cats are not really used to dogs.

 

Is our training with him, diverting the gaze and slowly acclimating him to the cats when he's muzzled and leashed, backsliding when he does this? He doesn't get fixated to the point of not moving or anything, but I want to make sure we aren't setting ourselves up for a long summer to no avail.

 

I'm trying to stay optimistic and really I think he's doing well for the most part, but these brief jumps make me nervous.

 

 

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Hi. When I got my first grey, I had three cats and I live in a condo (smallish). The single most important thing for you to do is to provide an escape room for the cats. He is probably more interested in them since they are sort of "on display" for him right now. If there were just out and about and doing cat things, it wouldn't be like "Hey dog! Lookit what's behind this gate!!"

 

What I have is a tall metal gate that mounts easily (pressure mount, no tools required). It also opens for humans to pass through. But at the bottom is the genius of it all--a tiny cat sized door that can be left open! So you can easily pass in and out of the gate, the cats can to, but the dog cannot. You can also just mount a baby gate about 6 inches from the floor and that's their escape hatch, but I found that was a bit of a pain in the but--plus George actually army crawled under it the first time I tried to confine him that way!

 

I would muzzle your dog, set up the escape hatch, and WHILE YOU ARE HOME AND SUPERVISING let the cats out and see where it goes. Cats are pretty quick and can duck under furniture, and as long as you are there to keep it under control, I think it's worth a try at this point.


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest LikeJamaica

GeorgeofNE, I've seen those fences with the small animal door; not sure why it didn't occur to me to allow some actual interaction for them! Thank you for the suggestion. :D I think for this first week it wasn't terrible to keep them somewhat separated, but I the continual leeway for the cats will go a long way to showing our new boy the pecking order. One of the cats is sort of a chicken, so we'll have to watch her to make sure there aren't any sudden movements to entice a chase.

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Guest budsmom

I have the same kind of gate as GeorgeofNE, and it works great. I also second letting the cats out when you're around to supervise. I'm on my third hound now, and have found that it's best to let cats & dog sort things out themselves as long as no one is getting hurt. Remember, though, that no matter how well they may get along inside, all bets are off outdoors. Even my bridge boy who was terrified of my crabby cat in the house was known to react to cats outside. He was really a diva, though, and would have backed down had the cat made any move, but small fluffy moving thing outside caused him to take notice!

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It's not about "pecking order." But I do believe your dog will learn to see the cats as part of his larger pack. That's why indoor cats are different from outdoor, in your dog's eyes.

 

Trying to create a pecking order as you see it never works anyway. They will figure it out. Your cats might hide for days--but then again they might investigate the dog. My old cat, Ming, was adopted by me when he wsa 11. He had lived his first 11 years in a home as a spoiled only pet. Then he was given to a couple with a yappy terrier who chased him. He was terrified, so they shut him up in a room. They knew that was no life for him, so they sought out a new home, and that's when I got him. They didn't really want to give him to me because of the dog--but George barely glanced at him when he arrived! The cat, however, was terrified. I kept him in his own room for a few days to separate him from my other CAT. When I let him out, he didn't go near George for weeks, but eventually realized George wasn't a threat, and he started walking past him--but keeping as far away as possible. Now, two years later and a different greyhound, this cat is 15 and sleeps on the couch with the dog.


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Has he had a chance to sniff the cats?

 

Still a newbie myself. I brought Allie home almost 5 months ago. I already had two 10-year old cats that had never lived with any other animals besides me for their entire lives. The cats were less than impressed. They have claimed the basement (baby gated) for themselves.

 

Allie was interested in them initially. She wanted to sniff them. I facilitated short (5 minutes or less) controlled interactions with the friendlier of the two cats (Mina). Once Allie got her chance for a few sniffs, she lost interest. Mina has finally started spending more time upstairs with us. For her part, Allie ignores her. The other cat, Maia, will take much longer to come around, if ever.

AMF All for One "Allie" (1/15/2010 - 3/25/22)

Color Print "Davis" (1/29/2009 - 2/24/19)

Craigie Skynyrd "Zipper" 

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