Getting my dogs used to a new kitten
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  1. #1
    Senior Member klip's Avatar
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    Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    My father is getting a new kitten, and I often take my dogs to his house so I need to deal with possible kitten / dog confrontations.

    My dogs are large and both have strong prey drive. On the other hand, they are quite well trained and fairly obedient. I will be trying my best to keep them away from the kitten, but need to have some kind of plan for if they DO meet her by accident.

    Anna grew up with my father's cats. Pippin grew up in a cat-free household. It's really him I'm worried about. Both start barking like crazy if they see a strange cat, and they have on occasion chased my father's adult cats.

    I've been avoiding dealing with that, as I mostly succeed in keeping them separate from the cats whenever I'm there. They seem to chase and bark without doing anything more, and the adult cats seem to handle it OK. But a kitten is a different matter.

    I take my dogs to my father's fairly often as my work space is there, and occasionally we leave them with him if we are going to be out late or sleep over somewhere.

    Any advice?
    The best way to get someone to listen to you - is to listen to them.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Bring the dog's crates. Let the kitten approach them while they are crated. Keep them leashed. Redirect them if the approach the kitten. Step between the dog and the kitten and step QUICKLY into the dogs space, making the dog back up and look up at you. When you do this, say, "MY CAT." This is the body language to let the dog know that the cat is YOUR not THEIRS.

    Be sure to have NEW RULES if the dogs are there. The New Rules are that the dogs and cat are NEVER left unsupervised together. The cat has a secure (dog proof) place to go including litter box, water and food in that area. The dogs are ALWAYS crated if the humans leave the room or the house and the cat is put in a place separate from the dogs.

    Dogs kill cats. Even dogs that sleep with cats will kill cats. It is a horrible way for a cat to die. It is incumbent on the dog owner to insure the safety of the cat by physically separating them when no one is present and to train the dogs that the cat is off limits unless the cat does the approaching and then there is no roughing of the cat, chasing of the cat etc. I would be extremely strict with this since you have said the dogs have strong prey drive.

    Be prepared for this to not work out and be prepared for the dogs to not come to that location if they show any inclination to go for the cat. IOW's you may need to start boarding the dogs when you go away and you may end up not bringing them there when you work if you cannot manage this with the cat's interests coming first.

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    Senior Member klip's Avatar
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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Thanks for this advice.

    What you describe is very similar to what I've already been doing with the dogs and the adult cats, so that makes sense.

    By chance, I've already found place to board the dogs for when I go away for a week in late June - I just cannot see it working out with the kitten and the dogs on the same property when I'm not around.

    Keeping them separate should not be a problem, as the dogs are not allowed inside my father's house, only in my studio, and we want to keep the kitten strictly inside the house in any case. But accidents do happen and kittens are nimble and go where they please, so I need to be very careful with this. I will probably keep the dogs inside my studio, at least until the kitten is a lot older, or until it is clear if this will work at all.

    I dont crate the dogs - it's not such a common thing where we live So that's not an option. Would be very convenient, if I did! So it will have to be one dog at a time and on leash for any introductions that happen.

    I hope I can figure out a way for them to co-exist occasionally on the same property, but as you say of course, the cat's safety is the important thing.

    Pippin no longer barks at the cats in my presence because of an unfortunate thing that happened a while ago. One of the adult cat's was in my lap and he barked and jumped forward at it. I reacted on reflex by shouting very loudly and hitting him. I dont usually hit my dogs, but on this occasion, I had no time to think. He was vastly startled and thoughtful about this incident, and since then has confined himself to just looking at the cats. He is pretty good at calming himself, he lies down and looks at something else.

    Now I wonder if this kind of loud reprimand is a good idea after all, in this kind of situation?
    The best way to get someone to listen to you - is to listen to them.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    The loud reprimand and hitting him was essentially similar to steping into his space and making him back up. However, I will NEVER suggest hitting a dog for any reason. Moving quickly into the dogs physical space so they MUST quickly back up and look up at you while saying, "My cat!" gives the same message without damaging your relationship with the dog or causing other issues that hitting can cause.

    Never hit the dog.

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    I'm not gonna lie. I GRAB the dog if he goes after the cat and won't stop just with my body there. Not hard, but I do grab him and hold him. Sometimes they're just too quick for me to body block. Plus, sometimes he's fine with the cat, other times he wants to eat the cat. Go figure.
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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    I imagine the prey drive will kick in significantly, if the kitten runs. But I'd also guess that the dogs can be desensitized to leave the kitten alone when it is still or mvoing slowly.

    You might be able to teach the dogs to sit, if the kitten runs, and otherwise ignore it.....

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    Senior Member klip's Avatar
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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Grabbing him sounds like a good idea to me. He seems to respond well and understand these sorts of reprimands. I hate that I hit him, and would never do it on purpose - on this occasion it was really a reflex! He is a very sensitive dog, and gets very upset if he thinks I'm mad at him.
    The best way to get someone to listen to you - is to listen to them.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    leaving a leash on to grab is for grabbing if you cannot be quick enough.

    If you step into the dog's personal space and do this correctly it usually does not have to be repeated more than three times. Questa was 7.5 weeks old when I got her home and I never had to do this more than 3 times. After that I could say, "My Cat!" and she left the cat alone. And remember.. I have six cats with 4 cats being geriatric cats.

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    Question Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Hi,

    I'm a newcomer on here. I've recently decided to get a kitten and have been doing some research.

    I have two dogs, a mix Boerboel (Hooch) and a mix poodle (Loba). Loba is now 5 years old and Hooch is only 3 years. Neither of them have ever grown up with cats, and are also quite prey driven. The dogs are family dogs and not actually my pets, i stay with my parents but the dogs are not kept inside the house.

    I'm worried that if i get a cat, this could cause problems with the dogs as both of them tend to chase and bark at cats when they see them. As Hooch is quite a big dog, he is my main concern as he is quite territorial but I have been able to train him a bit and he does listen to commands BUT when i've taken him on walks, and he sees other dogs he becomes very hyped up and i worry that him seeing a cat would have an even worse reaction.

    I've been researching some things and they say that one needs to get the dogs used to the cat's scent. If i do get a kitten, it will stay in the house, and i am unsure of how I will be able to make my dogs get used to the cat as they do not stay in the house, and actually aren't allowed in the house.

    I like the idea of getting in the dogs space everytime it would go for the cat and say MY CAT but i worry if im not there and the cat does wonder about, would the dogs then chase it...

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    NEVER EVER EVER leave dogs LOOSE with a Cat in the House loose in the house too.

    Ever. If you cannot crate the dogs, confine the cat (both is preferable) do NOT get a cat.

    I never allow my dogs loose with the cats in the house and leave. Doing so, no matter how well they get along, is recipe for a dead cat.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Well firstly we never allow the dogs in the house. Ive trained them both well to not enter the house even though the door is wide open BUT with a cat being there, im sure their instincts could lead to something else. If i did get a cat, the cat would definately be in the house and kept seperate from the dogs. Our dogs are kept in our back yard and cant access the house in any way or even our front yard so i know it would definately be quite easy to keep the two seperate. My dogs are not aggressive and are quite well mannered but are just not used to other animals. When i've previously introduced my sister's dog to my dogs, my dogs were both quite excited but didnt attack/bark or charge for the dog they just sniffed like crazy at her dog. We also have love birds and our dogs show no interest in the birds whatsoever and one of our birds knows how to get out of its cage and sits basically in the lobby by the entrance to our back yard and when our dogs do come in the house (which is usually when im putting the leash on) they show no interest in the bird which suprised me the first time. But will defs take great caution between the cat and dogs if i do get a cat and will keep them seperate and supervised at all times but will try to get the dogs to become accoustomed to the cat

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Quote Originally Posted by Elana55 View Post
    NEVER EVER EVER leave dogs LOOSE with a Cat in the House loose in the house too.

    Ever. If you cannot crate the dogs, confine the cat (both is preferable) do NOT get a cat.

    I never allow my dogs loose with the cats in the house and leave. Doing so, no matter how well they get along, is recipe for a dead cat.
    Yeah, that^^

    ESPECIALLY outside. Even dogs who will respect the cats inside will sometimes go after cats outside (their cats or strays, doesn't matter). If you (sistah) get a cat, it would be best to keep it inside, away from the dogs.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    We had a kitten adopt us a few years ago, I say that as she was a stray that showed up at the back door---we made every effort to find her owner but think she was dumped.
    The strange thing was she was very used to dogs and wanted to be with them. My dogs (chessie lab mix and dane lab mix) had never seen a cat before.
    We were afraid to leave them alone. What we did was we set up one room with a baby gate that the dogs could not get into, the cat's refuge. After not too long, the dogs accepted her, to the point she eats out of their dishes at mealtime sometimes! I think she is making some point!
    but with the baby gate, should things go bad, the car can run and go to the safe room til they all get used to each other. We keep Kitty's dry food in here and she know's its her room.
    Hope this helps.

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    Senior Member Trillian's Avatar
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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Quote Originally Posted by Elana55 View Post
    NEVER EVER EVER leave dogs LOOSE with a Cat in the House loose in the house too.

    Ever. If you cannot crate the dogs, confine the cat (both is preferable) do NOT get a cat.

    I never allow my dogs loose with the cats in the house and leave. Doing so, no matter how well they get along, is recipe for a dead cat.

    I've always left my cats out with some of my dogs (not all of them, would NOT trust my boys alone with them). However there has ALWAYS been a no dog room where only the cats can get in/out of.

    I just think that declaring the cats -WILL- without a doubt DIE with -ALL- dogs is a bit far for me. :/

    Now I'm expecting to be bashed for "putting my cats in un-needed danger" but I really don't wanna here it.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    I think it depends on every owner and dog/breed i guess. I have a friend who has three different types of dogs (all large breed) with four cats who all live in the same house together peacefully without any supervision required and I asked her about whether the dogs cause trouble with the cats and she said that the dogs and cats even sleep together, but if her dogs saw stray cats, they would bark at those cats. I guess its just about having a good way of allowing ur dogs to adjust to the new animal and its scent. I read some sites that tell you, you need to give both pets their seperate spaces and give both equal attention but have both scents mix each other so that they are used to it...

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    Senior Member Bones's Avatar
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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Quote Originally Posted by Elana55 View Post
    NEVER EVER EVER leave dogs LOOSE with a Cat in the House loose in the house too.

    Ever. If you cannot crate the dogs, confine the cat (both is preferable) do NOT get a cat.

    I never allow my dogs loose with the cats in the house and leave. Doing so, no matter how well they get along, is recipe for a dead cat.
    I don't crate Bones (only Halo) but I have a gate (really sturdy one that's bolted to the door frame) that goes into the Kitchen so if the cats need to get away from the dog they have the kitchen space to do it in with food and water.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    I know my system is 100% fail safe.

    There was a poster who used to come on here all the time. Had 4 cats. Cats slept with the dogs etc. She had a 'safe room' for the cats. Dogs killed two or three of her cats when she was not home (all on separate oaccisions). The busted down the door to get at the cats in the safe room and then (apparently) climbed in the closet to reach the cat(s) which were as far and high as they could get to escape the dogs.

    Horrible way to die....

    But.. people will do what they do and it will work until it does not.

    Personally I do not tempt Murphy.. as he shows up plenty without my tempting him.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    that is crazy and aweful! i think though for me the fact that our dogs are not allowed or kept in the house would mean kitty is safe as the cat would be kept in the house. also, dogs dont have access to the front yard where the cat would be able to go if it wanted. i will be getting a kitten and make the dogs used to the cat, but from reading previous posts, i will definately NOT let the dogs and and cat be together unsupervised - i thnk that would just be very careless

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    Senior Member Bones's Avatar
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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Quote Originally Posted by sistah View Post
    that is crazy and aweful! i think though for me the fact that our dogs are not allowed or kept in the house would mean kitty is safe as the cat would be kept in the house. also, dogs dont have access to the front yard where the cat would be able to go if it wanted. i will be getting a kitten and make the dogs used to the cat, but from reading previous posts, i will definately NOT let the dogs and and cat be together unsupervised - i thnk that would just be very careless
    Just to add to this, when cats are outside they go ANYWHERE they want to lol. Fences and whatnot won't keep a cat in or out when they are outdoors.

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    Re: Getting my dogs used to a new kitten

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones View Post
    Just to add to this, when cats are outside they go ANYWHERE they want to lol. Fences and whatnot won't keep a cat in or out when they are outdoors.
    Yes, but the way our house is built, there is no way of accessing the back yard from the front unless throught the open door, no cat can get that right because its completely closed off on both sides. We have a garage door the one side, and on the other side of our house we have a lane that leads to a wall.

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