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Old 03-18-2010, 09:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Introducing Shepherd to cats

So we just got an 18m old female. She wasn't taken care of the best by her previous owners. Kenneled 10-12hrs a day inside of the house. She has alot of energy and loves her tennis ball. She has been around other dogs and seems to do OK with our 8yr old lab.
But we have yet to introduce her to our two cats.
How is the best way to do this? She has never seen or been around cats and last night when she was checking our basement out she didn't even attempt to go into the room where the cats sleep and eat.
Our cats are use to dogs, we just want to make sure things are smooth and we don't have anything horrible happen.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Ugh, I'm eager to hear advice on this! Fortunately, Harper doesn't treat Monster as prey (watch for this!), but she does always try to play with him...and that doesn't go over well. I don't have much useful other than making sure the dog knows "Leave it", the cat has somewhere it can escape to, and keep a close eye on them until they're comfortable together. But...I certainly have a lot of hissing, scratching, and running going on at my house.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It would be best to keep your dog on a leash while the cat is around. It was easier for us since Bear was brought home as a puppy, but you just have to make sure your dog knows that the cat is not a toy. We still can't keep Bear from chasing them when they run through the house, but he understands he can't be rough. The cats have swatted him several times. We just kept telling him that the cats are our friends. If you can teach your dog the watch me command or if they know stay, just treat them heavily when the cat comes into the room. Until your sure, never leave them alone together. Just keep her on a leash and she should understand in time that the cats are part of the pack. Here's proof that they can co exist.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh, I can dream of that, Bama! Looking forward to playing you this fall!

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Old 03-18-2010, 03:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We found an abandoned baby cat and took her in.

My female literally wanted to eat her. To her, everything smaller than a poodle is potential food.
She went crazy and literally wanted to chase and kill the baby cat so what I did was crating the cat for a couple of days. I had to watch every step my female did and she had to learn to accept the cat. Crating her was the right thing to do. I used the dog crate to do it.
It took her a couple of days to accept that there was a new family member. I only let them get together under supervision. It took me a little over a week to be able to leave them alone without having my female eating the cat.

In the end she not only accepted the cat but also played with the little furball.

But you have to have an eagle eye and make sure that the dog doesn't go after the cat. It takes discipline and they have to know exactly where they stand in the rank structure.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bama4us View Post
It would be best to keep your dog on a leash while the cat is around. It was easier for us since Bear was brought home as a puppy, but you just have to make sure your dog knows that the cat is not a toy. We still can't keep Bear from chasing them when they run through the house, but he understands he can't be rough. The cats have swatted him several times. We just kept telling him that the cats are our friends. If you can teach your dog the watch me command or if they know stay, just treat them heavily when the cat comes into the room. Until your sure, never leave them alone together. Just keep her on a leash and she should understand in time that the cats are part of the pack. Here's proof that they can co exist.
First, what I wouldn't give to have the scenario above going on in my house with my GSD and our Calico.

Second, my trainer had advised about the same using "Look at That" to condition positive associations with the cat and also "Leave it" when my dog seemed a little too fixated on her. Also, what has helped is I've given my dog outlets to sate her prey drive using various cognitive games and exercises. So far she'll ignore the cat which is a lot better than chasing her.
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I guess we were really lucky when an abandoned 3 month old kitten came to our house. She climbed on the wood pile and looked in the house and cried to come in. She wouldn't go away. The dogs barked at her when she was outside. At first look I thought it was a ghost of my cat named Bonus. The resemblance was remarkable. We knew the kitten wasn't going to make it outside ( January). We brought her in the house in a crate. My girls had a giant sniff off, tipping the crate over several times. The kitten would stick her paw out, but just to play, not using her claws.We decided to let her out to see what happened. If it turned into a huge problem we agreed to find the kitten a home. To our total amazement, the kitten rolled over on her back and let the dogs sniff her. No fear at all. Also to our amazement, the girls didn't try to chase her. They gave me the "What the heck is it" look. We held and petted the cat and explained to the girls she was going to be a part of the pack now. ( I swear my GSD understands English ) The cat then settled in to our family. She does bully the lab but my GSD has explained to her the pecking order. I guess we were meant to save this kitten, at least we'll never have another mouse.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well the cat into didn't go so well. We have a fairly small home, so we felt to keep Mya in check we would have her in her soft crate, allowing her to see us interacting with the cats and our lab. Not a good idea other than the fact that we didn't have to worry about an escape route for the cats. Our older cat practically jumped out of his skin when she barked. The little one wouldn't even attempt to come near.
So any opinions about doing this with her in her crate?
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Put the cat into the crate for a day or two and let the dogs see it. Only let the cat out while the dog and the cat is under supervision. It will take up to a week or two until the dog will accept the cat around him.

Close all doors so there is no way the cat can get out of the house but leave enough escape roots for her open. If the dog is going after the cat pull the dog back. You can also use a muscle on your dog for that period of time if she is trying to bite the cat.
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