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Hello!

We've had our first dog Scout for a little over 3 weeks now. We also have a cat (Shadow) who is 12 years old.

We've read everything about how to introduce your dog to your cat and for the most part we are doing very well! Taking it very slow. For the first week or so, they just smelled each other through a closed door, or we would pet one and then the other, etc. Then we moved to a new house, and kept going with the "get used to each other's smells" bit for another week, week and a half before attempting some face-to-face meetings.

Again, it's going really well I think! Our cat gets a little timid and scared, but she doesn't attack and opts instead to just leave when she has had enough. We were told that Scout "ignores" cats but... she's definitely interested. I think she mostly just wants to play with our cat and is impatient that she is not ready for that.

My questions are these:
1. For anyone else who has introduced a dog to an older cat - approximately how long did it take before you could trust them alone together? I am expecting it to take months but I am just curious about other's experiences.
2. Scout will sit patiently and watch Shadow, but then she will suddenly lunge towards her. I know it's almost impossible to tell without seeing it happen, but how do I differentiate an aggressive lunge from a playful one?

Shadow recovers extremely well after a less-than-ideal interaction with Scout, and maintains curiosity about Scout (which we are encouraging as much as possible). I'm just looking for reassurance I guess.. that we are on the right track?

Thanks!!
 

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congratulations on Scout what breed is he and what age.

restriction and supervision for bringing in a new kitten to un experienced young dogs am sure it went on for 6 months.. giving more and more leave way after the first 3 months when the dogs had learned to completely ignore the cat, actually laying down and falling asleep while the kitten was running around doing crazy kitten stuff. I teach that first to the dogs ... ignore, no contact, non of their business towards the cat.. with that as their foundation about cats, it's easier for the dogs to build a relationship with the cat that is calm.. And not the cat in anyway is a toy or part of their daily activities.
 

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You're on the right track and pretty much what Patricia has said - my dogs are taught 'leave it' with the cats and we praise profusely for being 'nice to the kitty', ie, sniffing without being rude, looking at the cat and then ignoring it. Lunging at a cat, regardless of whether it's playful or not, is not tolerated unless the cat initiates the play (and we've had some cats who were rougher on the dogs than the dogs were on them, in which case, we rescued the dogs.)
 
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