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How to introduce neighbour's dog to my cats

Helene4
February 8th, 2011, 12:15 PM
My neighbours have adopted a kitten and a puppy. The pup, Bijou, is a female doberman/bernese sheep dog and is now 4-5 months old. Bijou comes to my yard nearly every day. She loves to play with Arielle, my 7 year old German shepherd/husky. I don't mind because they have a lot of fun! :crazy: After playing and smelling around for 45 minutes she goes back to her place. With the snow outside, my 2 cats, Kira and Jadzia, don't go out but come spring, they will!

I'm anxious. How will they, and Bijou react? Bijou knows about cats because she lives with one but what will she do when she gets a whiff of my cats scent outside? I hope she doesn't pursue them. Arielle will sometimes run after the cats if she sees them running.:frustrated: Will Arielle let Bijou pursue them and even join in? I've always counted on my 2 dogs, Mickey and Arielle, to protect the cats when they are outside but with a young dog around I'm worried... My house is surrounded by forest where the cats like to explore; it's a little isolated so my cats haven't seen many strange dogs or cats.

Hubby thinks we should let Bijou come in our house, on leash, and let the cats see her and see how they all react to each other.

Any ideas or suggestions???

14+kitties
February 8th, 2011, 12:20 PM
Why not set your mind at rest and make your cats a safe enclosure to be in while outside? That way you don't have to worry about what animal is taking after your cats. I'm sure if they are allowed to roam the forests around you they have been lucky so far to not meet wild animals that could do grievous harm to them.
Here's a great link for different ideas to give your kitties a safe, happy summer.
http://www.catsofaustralia.com/cat-enclosures.htm

BenMax
February 9th, 2011, 08:37 AM
Remember that dogs will react differently if these cats are not within the family pack...and visa versa.

Just to give you insight on the dynamics and the unpredictablity of animals that all are familiar with one another: I have 4 cats and 5 dogs. 3 dogs are mine and I have moved with my BF who has 2 dogs. Before we got together, and before I made a committment to this man, I wanted to ensure that ALL animals were safe and well received. His dogs NEVER lived with cats, and one of his dogs was 'suspected' of killing a cat but not confirmed. You can imagine my concern for not only the safety of my cats, but also for a budding relationship that could be flushed if it did not work.

The intergration was very gradual with his dogs. We spent only weekends together with the doberman which is the calmer of the two and not the 'suspected killer'. It went very well. After a few weeks (closer to one month) we brought in the Anatolean who did very well and did not even bother with the cats but we still monitored this very very closely. All the dogs hit it off and the cats were comfortable as well as the dogs. Once this was established we took our relationship to the next level as everything worked out extremely well. Until.....

I made a bold move and moved all my dogs and cats to his home as we are planning to get married. As all dogs and cats have known each other for 8 months, we could not see any problems going forward. Well interestingly enough that was not the case. Due to a new environment we decided to re-introduce the dogs for 3 weeks on the BF's turf. That went great. The cats were not there. After 3 weeks we moved in the cats. We did however put them in a separate room as the environment was now new and they were no longer on their known ground. This was for 3 weeks. Slowly we re-introduced them to the dogs one by one...again we never left them alone together. The most interesting thing I noted is that the BF's dogs and 2 of my own were fine with the transition. One of my dogs however was not. He would chase the cats and did not accept them so readily. And yes..they lived together now for almost 1 year. All of the sudden - he had an issue.
We went back to training and setting boundries for all animals. Everything is fine now, but it goes to show that even animals that know one another, a slight change can make a huge difference.
The dog that did not initially accept the cats is now fine with them but it took time and patience and 'security measures' to ensure that all were safe. A simple chase by one dog could have triggered a pack reaction to chase the 'prey'...and that is exactly how they would interpret this dangerous curiosity.

Extreme caution is recommended. I have experienced this myself and have learnt alot by this experience. No cat is safe really being left outside with animals that are not part of their environment. In my case - even when the cats were initially accepted without a problem, a simple change could have turned into a disaster.

I just want to add, that when we go out, ALL cats are back in their room. We do not chance leaving all animals together unsupervised. Even the dogs are separated leaving only the doberman and the shih zsu free in the home. We love all our pets equally, and need to ensure that all are safe while we are not home to supervise their interactions.

Be very very careful.

Helene4
February 12th, 2011, 02:42 PM
BenMax, thanks for sharing your story. I will be extra careful and vigilant when the girls will be outside. If need be, I will ask my neighbours to keep Bijou in their yard. We can call each other if Bijou or Arielle want to play and I can get the cats inside if they are out. My neighbours don't want Bijou to cause any problems; they are very cooperative.

14+kitties, thank you for your suggestion. I understand your point of view but I know Kira and Jadzia would be stressed and very unhappy penned up outside. We have a system worked out and the girls respect it: they are allowed outside only when me or hubby is at home. If we want to go walking with the dogs, we call the girls and leave them in the house. They never ever go outside at night and in the evening before it even starts to get dark, they are inside. Most of the time, we are also outside with them and they come around regularly to check up on us. If we are not outside, the dogs are out and let us know if something is going on. They don't wander far and when they are called, they usually come running!

The bush and forest starts 10 feet from my house so they can be very close to the house but be in the bush looking for mice. Believe me they don't go far. The farther they go is when we go blueberry picking. It is quite a sight to see. Up the hill we go, me, 2:dog: and 2:cat: :cloud9: While I pick, they stay near, I can always see them, and when I'm finished we all go down the little hill together.

I know there are always risks in every situation but I am comfortable with mine. If I lived in town it would be another story. I would be scared out of my wits having outside cats. But here in the country, I'm not too worried especially with the routine we have. We don't have large wildlife except the very occasional bear or fox and we are careful not to attract them. I see tracks farther from my house but the girls don't go that far. As I said, having dogs keep the larger animals at bay and having them all inside at night is safer. If my dogs and cats were allowed to go out at night, I would go crazy with worry.

So for now having an outside pen is not the best thing. I can just imagine Kira and Jadzia gnawing at the fence, trying to get out and crying non-stop... They would be very very unhappy...

14+kitties
February 12th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Your choice Helene4. No problem. :thumbs up Just curious if you checked out that website? I swear my kitties would salivate if they saw some of those houses!!! And the fenced areas where they can wander safely - I only wish I could do that for mine.

Helene4
February 15th, 2011, 12:03 PM
Yes I did check out the website. I found that some of them were too small for my taste but the ones that have a "jungle" feeling are super! Lots of plants and hiding places :thumbs up