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Hi, all,

I'm a first time dog owner (as an adult).

I have 2 cats, male (5 years) and female (6 years).

I brought my puppy, Duke, home about 4 weeks ago.

He spent the first 2 weeks completely confined to the kitchen all day and night, except about 2 hours in the evenings when he lays on the couch with me and chews a bone while I watch a show or read.

The 3rd week, I started bringing him through the first floor (floor with the kitchen) on a leash, and letting him lay by my feet while I work in my office (on the leash).

This last week, I allowed him to be off the leash on the first floor, but only if he's right with me (laying at my feet in my office, or playing with me in the living room).

The cats come and watch him a lot when he's locked up in the kitchen. The first week he was here, they actually came into the living room while we were watching TV and hung out, even knowing he was there. Then, they started avoiding him altogether, other than spying on him where he can't see them. I KNOW he did not do anything at all to them--he's very submissive if they even growl.

Unfortunately, yesterday, I made the mistake of letting him come to my bedroom on the second floor so I could take a laundry basket up, and he did decide to chase the male cat (the dominant cat) around the room. He did so playfully, not aggressively, but I'm miserable.

I've read other threads on here and I understand this can take awhile. I also understand they may never be friends, but will probably grow to tolerate the pup.

My question is this: does anyone have any fairly certain methods to socialize the cats to the dog to speed up the process? (I realize that's probably impossible, but I didn't think it could hurt to ask.) I love my cats so much--they mean the world to me--and it breaks my heart to see them acting so hurt and betrayed by me. I dearly just want us to have a happy little home. (Again, I realize that sounds foolish, but I'm hoping someone out there understands where my emotions are and where I'm coming from.)

Thank you in advance for any and all support and advice!!!
 

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Give them a lot of high places to go to watch the dog without being "in danger" (in their opinion). Cat trees, shelves, high furniture, etc. The more they can watch him, the sooner they'll get used to his body language and doggie behaviors.

Also low places to hide---under the bed, tables, couch, etc.

Don't let him chase them; leash him if you think it could happen. The more he chases them, the funner he'll think it is, and the less the cats will trust him.

While the kitties are up high watching the dog, give them their favorite treats. If they can see/smell the dog while getting treats, this will create a favorable association for them---dog = yummy treats yay!

Also, do some scent swapping. Let the dog lay on an old shirt/towel/whatever, then put this item where the cats like to sleep. That will help them to have a good association with his scent.
 

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You sound kind of like me two years ago, though I have 3 cats, and two of them are over 10. We got our first dog, and ended up getting a puppy primarily because we thought it'd help the cats if he started out smaller than them, and he could be socialized with them. The cats reactions were mixed. One wasn't afraid, just hated him, would stand there and hiss and hiss. Still does. One was cautious around him, and now he'll antagonize him a bit, and gets annoyed and runs off when the dog does something dumb then comes right back. My oldest cat is finally at a place where he is not afraid of the dog as long as the dog doesn't chase him. He'll come to bed with the dog in bed, and sit on one side of me when the dog is on the other. We discourage the chasing as much as possible, but sometimes all is well and the dog just decides he's gonna chase the cat. We never pushed the cats to socialize with the dog, and we always made sure they could get away any time they want.

The dog is NEVER left out where the cats can't get away from him. If we go out, he's gated in the living room (or crated) and they can come and go as they please (except the oldest cat can't jump the gate so we make sure he isn't in the living room!). We have plenty of high spots the cats can go the dog can't. When the dog "goes out" with one of us, the other makes sure the cats get some play time. Their litter boxes are in the basement, and there's a cat door to the basement, so the dog can NEVER get down there unless we open the door, so they do always have a dog-free zone.

My best advice is give it time, and make sure there's 'dog free' time for the cats to get attention and playtime too.
 

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I am going through this right now too.
I love my cat and it hurts me to see her so stressed out that she's peeing outside her litter box.
The chasing is our issue too. The cat just likes to wander and then the dog likes to chase. We typically break his concentration when he's thinking about it or trying to entice her.
We are putting our dog more in his x-pen more often during the day so she can be in the same room and it's calm and there is no threat.
Sometimes when he chases her she fight back and swats him with no claws.
I read this is good so she establishes dominance over him.
 

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just recently added a kitten to my dogs, two of them were new to raising a kitten,, you in the right direction for your pup.. I don't worry about training the cats,, I spend my time teaching the dogs skills about the cats. Did as you did , have a seperate area for the dogs and cats, let the visual of seeing each other at a distance that was calm for everyone, do controlled interactions in the same room.. (basically the dogs learn to stay completely still to have the privlige of being in the same room with the cat, if not they back behind the baby gate but I keep it short so the dogs can win) I've always known that cats are more incline to come examine a calm dog and then the dog gets what he is so anxious to have in the first place and that is a chance to check out the cat.. so it's a win win situation for the dog to learn to stay still and not focus on the cat.. Just working on it as their only task the dogs just fall asleep when the cat is loose... it was several months, but know they all loose together , same with when I was taking the kitten outside (separate, could watch through a barrier, stay still while the cat ran around,, and just help them about not chasing by calming them back down even leash them) I don't punish don't want to make the dogs nervous about the cat, just help the dogs if they make a mistake and show them where to go next after making a mistake , stay with you, lay down, go to another room.
 

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My Siamese hates Ammy. She will always hate Ammy and there's not really any getting around it. I was less patient than you. I let the cats meet her when she got home, and they both hated her. Then I separated them for like 3 days in different rooms all the time. My tabby is verging on like wih Ammy now after 1 year. After about a month he was cool with her because he grew up around dogs in the first place. But now he tries to initiate play sometimes :).

I agree with hambonez, making personal time for the cats without the dogs is super important. Especially for my Siamese, and I'm not always great about this since she can be difficult and when I come home I usually have to work Ammy then it's work time or bed time.

The key to cats + dogs is time. Lots and lots time haha.
 

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Positive reinforcement training works with cats too.

Reward your cats with their favorite treat when they are around your puppy. Feed them on a higher surface around the puppy as well. Make sure the cats have lots of places where they can observe the dog but at the same time can keep their distance from him.

A lot of it also comes down to the cat -- two out of my three cats love other dogs. One was raised around dogs as a kitten, and the other is just a weirdo who knows no fear lol. One does not like larger dogs -- he is not used to them, so he is still nervous/suspicious. The other one prefers larger dogs and plays with them. My third guy, he tolerates Meeko. He tolerates all my fosters/boarders. When I first started fostering, it took him at least three dogs before he was comfortable enough to walk around, etc. without having to scramble.

So if your cats hate dogs... that's okay. They will learn to tolerate them, as long as you make sure that they hvae as little traumatizing/negative experiences with them as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, everyone!!! I will definitely start rewarding the cats for coming around... I hadn't thought of that. I try to give them lots of love, but that's mainly at night and in the early mornings, since they sleep with me, and puppy demands most of my time during the day. I hope to report back in a few months with pictures of them all cuddling, but I'm sure that's not likely, haha.

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Discussion Starter #10
Kyndall54--too adorable!!!!

What baffles me is that they came into the room and laid on furniture near him one of the first nights he was home, and now seem to hate his guts. He didn't do anything after that night until just recently, and they decided to hate him before that. :-(

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