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Which way of introducing cats and dogs is better?

Poe
August 31st, 2005, 08:14 AM
I've heard two opinions about introducing cats and dogs:

The first is the separate them with a baby gate and wait for them to make their peace in their own time method, which I tend to favour.

My sister, who is living with me for the next year, has a german shepherd/boxer mix and she prefers method two: introduce them in the same room and get them used to one another more actively.

I was wondering which approach would work better, because we sort of used both last year, moving the baby gate around and introducing them occasionally, but Kayla never got over her chase instinct and Poe never got over his desire to run.

Anyone had any more luck with one method than the other?

Lucky Rescue
August 31st, 2005, 10:11 AM
My sister, who is living with me for the next year, has a german shepherd/boxer mix and she prefers method two: introduce them in the same room and get them used to one another more actively.

Please never EVER do this - this would be the number 1 worst method. You could end up with a dead cat, a severely scratched or even blinded dog, and you could be injured as well, very easily, trying to break it up.

I have introduced many cats to my dogs, and never had a problem by doing the following:

Put the cat and all it's stuff into one room, and close the door. Take some of the dog's articles in to let the cat sniff them. Eventually, put the baby gate in the doorway, and raise it just high enough so the cat can get under and find refuge. The cat must know it has a safe place to retreat to. This will make it much less fearful/aggressive. Never allow the dog to chase the cat.

Of course all this depends on if the dog is predatory or aggressive to cats?

Poe
August 31st, 2005, 10:48 AM
The dog likes to chase the cat, and badly maimed one of my brother's chickens when visiting his farm. I wouldn't call her aggressive, but with the method you suggested, Poe hides under the chair all day and Kayla goes up to the baby gate to wait for her "toy" to come out. She's just over one, so I would say she's a puppy more than an aggressive dog.

An option I'm considering is giving Poe more space--we live on two stories and can separate the bottom and top floor. This might help his anxiety, and keep Kayla from sitting outside waiting for Poe to come out. I was reading that the method you suggested worked in part because the dog would get bored with the cat, but Kayla just doesn't seem to lose interest in Poe!

I think on Poe's side, he needs security. Is there anything we can do to help Kayla curb her interest in my scaredy-cat?

jessi76
August 31st, 2005, 12:05 PM
Is there anything we can do to help Kayla curb her interest in my scaredy-cat?

If you haven't done so already, I'd teach the dog LEAVE IT. We taught our pup, and it really minimizes the chasing through the house. Even before a chase starts, if my pup is fixated on one of my cats, I give the LEAVE IT command, and redirect him.

Poe
August 31st, 2005, 12:47 PM
I think I'm starting to understand what the problem is. My sister really wants to socialize the dog, Kayla, well, so the method of introducing them face to face appeals to her because she wants Kayla to be good with cats. Her heart's in the right place, but she encourages Kayla to be interested rather than ignore the cat. I think Kayla is starting to understand the leave it command, so we'll try to use it when we see her interest in Poe perk up, rather than just during a chase.

I'm feeling a little more hopeful that they can at least learn to get along, even if they aren't going to start curling up in sunbeams together. Poe was pretty good with a poodle we stayed with this summer who completely ignored him, so that's probably the kind of socialization we should be aiming for (rather than imagining them engaged in mutual grooming and bounding together through sunflower fields).

Lucky Rescue
August 31st, 2005, 12:57 PM
I"m sure your sister's intentions are good, but she is not understanding some things. Encouraging the dog's interest in the cat is rewarding the dog for cat chasing.

Dogs and cats are different species and have very different body language. Dogs are social/pack animals, and cats are not. Trying to have them meet face to face is likely to result in injury,as a cat sees this as an attack and an act of aggression.

jessi76 is right. The dog must learn that ignoring the cat will get rewards, like treats, toys and/or praise, and that showing too much interest in the cat, or trying to chase will result in a correction. You must put the dog on a leash, and every time he shows interest in the cat, give a little correction, say "Leave it" or "no cat!" and immediately reward him for turning to look at you.

Dogs do what works for them.

proudfosterdad
August 31st, 2005, 01:11 PM
Introduce Them When They Are Puppy And Kitten So They Can Grow Up Together And Not Fight That Is The Best Way . About 8weeks-3 Months Is Prefect :)