Help with introduction to cats - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Help with introduction to cats

Hi there, yesterday I brought home a rescued 6-month old female GSD. I've taken to calling her "Sage." Which she is surprisingly already responding to more or less. She is honestly blowing me away with how gentle and smart she is. She responds to basic commands -come, sit, lay down, off, out, in, go...etc...- still working on "stop" and "stay" though haha. Even so, she is amazing on and off leash. Even just a single day with her and she is already the best dog I've ever had. (Not just because she sticks with me in every room like Velcro haha)

Anyhow, at her foster home she was around another GSD and an in/outdoor cat that she paid no mind to. I have two indoor only cats that are not dog-savvy. One is skittish and hides at the notion of a dog, and the other is fine so long as she doesn't bark... which she does. I know it has only been a single day, but i want some advice as to how to handle this. So far i have put the cats in another room with a sliding glass door and shutters, and put the cats food on one side and the dogs on the other side so they can smell but not see. If i open the shutters Sage will go nuts and the cats will hide when she barks. what I've been doing is diverting her attention and giving her a treat when she stops barking and looks to me.

My question is: What else can i do to speed this process along? I understand that it should be slow and methodical but its impracticable the way things are laid out in this house.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 06:23 PM
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Have you heard of the two week shut down when you bring a new dog home? It is highly recommended to let a new dog decompress and to let it observe how things function in your household.

For now, one or the other must be crated when the other is loose.

Do NOT allow her to bark at or fixate on the cats.

Once you have that under control, you can take it a step further by tethering her to you for introductions. Correct any attempts to lunge, chase, bark at or fixate on the cats.

This can take some time. Don't be in a hurry. Your cats' lives depend on proper introductions.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 08:43 PM
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Uh oh ... "unfortunately" for you ... I saw this!

And while I am also an "advocate" of the "Two Week" shutdown ... and you can find details on that here.:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/5296377-post8.html

And I have written voluminous "stuff" with sources cited from the "experts" on Cat and Dog introductions.:

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/6715746-post2.html

Yeah, all great "advise" in theory! But in the "real world" bottom line when "push comes to shove" ... "prove it!! And I as it happens I did! My core principle is still "intact" the dog "never chases the cat" and "you can't "hide cats" from dogs!"

Hard Core "zero" flexibility there ... that is how I roll! And these days I am down to "five cats" and I don't expect my "cats" to change there "lives/behavior" because I brought in some "stray"

But beyond that ... with cats in the house and paws on the ground ... I had to be "flexible" in my thinking??? "Ideally" one would "Crate Train " there dog and train there dog in "Place!" Once the dog "understands "Place" the cats become a non issue, you "Correct"? the dog for breaking "Place" and the cats are a "non issue!" Once the cats "understand" that "you" have this new "creature" under control?? They will make themselves known!


"That part" ... I got "right" but how I got there ... was not "exactly" how I thought??? In the "real world" as it happened ... I had no crate?? I was not expecting to bring home how ... a seriously massive, strong, agile," I was not expecting to rescue a "Pit powerful ... dog and people friendly "APBT" with a "Cat Attitude" fresh off the street while on my way to work???

But you know I did, that "Pit" was "almost perfect" aside from the fact that she had a "serious freaking" if it moves fast ... I will chase it "attitude!" I had a "problem here"" And I had no "Crate" had no "Crate??" So yeah ... I had a problem??

So ... there I was "Paws on the Ground" as I am want to say ... so "flattering myself" I asked well "what would Chip Do??" In as much as I had no Crate readily at hand ... I had to be flexible, in what I chose to do! And my 5 Cats living in terror ... for two weeks ... was not part of the "program!"

My Cats "proved" my" basic concept" ... once the cats understand that "this" new creature is under control ... they will make themselves known but ... how I got there is not "exactly" how I "thought" it would work??

I ... "sadly" for me ... had to relay on experiance! Still there is a "tool" that I think, I can explain to you how to use ... "PROPERLY" that can "easily" replicate years of experience ... I'm a "Slip Lead Leash" guy myself but ... if ... the"stuff" explained in the Cat v Dog ... link dogs thread does not work ask questions.

I really don't ...want to put a "number" out there as to how long it takes to get a dog out of his "Cat Chasing Crap" out there! Some folks on here often tell me "i can't do stuff I've done?? So yeah ... good luck with that.

So yeah ... I'm not "Joe Galaxy" the "My Cat from ****" guy ... I'm not rebuilding my home to "accommodate a freaking dog??" It's the "dogs" "job" to fit in! Works out fine "for me ... welcome aboard.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MineAreWorkingline View Post
Have you heard of the two week shut down when you bring a new dog home? It is highly recommended to let a new dog decompress and to let it observe how things function in your household.

For now, one or the other must be crated when the other is loose.

Do NOT allow her to bark at or fixate on the cats.

Once you have that under control, you can take it a step further by tethering her to you for introductions. Correct any attempts to lunge, chase, bark at or fixate on the cats.

This can take some time. Don't be in a hurry. Your cats' lives depend on proper introductions.
Thanks for the response! I haven't heard of the shutdown... A quick google search only states that it means to "take it slow" for the first two weeks, as in limited training, socialization, excursions, etc. Is that right? So far that's what I've been doing, just letting her settle in. I have however been strict with her and the cats. I have been keeping them separated, but have been swapping run of the house. She is crate trained, so that helps lots. Still working on "place," but i am taking it slow as recommended.

Right now marks the end of day two, and she no longer barks at the cats after some positive reinforcement with treats and a clicker. She still does fixate every now and then however. On the plus side, she isn't aggressive unless they run. They hiss through the glass and she jumps back. She doesn't lunge- she just seems curious. So I'm hoping this will work given a few days to a week or two...
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Sage_Wolf View Post
Thanks for the response! I haven't heard of the shutdown... A quick google search only states that it means to "take it slow" for the first two weeks, as in limited training, socialization, excursions, etc. Is that right? So far that's what I've been doing, just letting her settle in. I have however been strict with her and the cats. I have been keeping them separated, but have been swapping run of the house. She is crate trained, so that helps lots. Still working on "place," but i am taking it slow as recommended.

Right now marks the end of day two, and she no longer barks at the cats after some positive reinforcement with treats and a clicker. She still does fixate every now and then however. On the plus side, she isn't aggressive unless they run. They hiss through the glass and she jumps back. She doesn't lunge- she just seems curious. So I'm hoping this will work given a few days to a week or two...
Here is a link to the two week shutdown: http://www.marshmallowfoundation.org...file=20866.pdf

It advises against training the first two weeks, only fun stuff.

I would not train the place command with expectations of using it to help with this cat situation. You can only add one to two minutes a week to the command during training and it will take months for you to get her where you need her in order for the place command to be functional in protecting your cats. Also, crating and tethering are zero risk methods vs place which is high risk if the dog breaks command.

If you need equipment to maintain control of your dog, understand you’re hanging on to your dog’s body because you’ve lost his mind!

Suzanne Clothier
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 10:25 AM
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Hi, been there and done that, and LOVE cats--they are king in my house.
Your new girl sounds fabulous, and already a plus in that she`s good with brave cats. Yay.
But yours are skittish and fear can bring out the worst in the most decent dog.
So I WOULD go all Jackson Galaxy for your cats--which means, for now, give your cats their own space so they can have a fine and happy life without, from their point of view, having to risk their lives sprinting past a predator that has invaded their home. So there needs to be one comfortable dog free room that includes food, litterbox, water, warmth, a window, sunshine, and you (other other people they like). Do give them `routes` to get around the remainder of the house for when they get brave and explore.
Cats are happy with `timesharing` so giving them the run of the house when you are away (dog in crate or other locked area) or when everyone is asleep (dog in crate or other locked area) will be greatly appreciated by them. The more secure they feel, the quicker they will come around.
I`ll ditto mineareworkingline and chip18`s ``no chase`, no staring, no lunging, no bothering`` the cats rule. Those are BAD things to allow to happen, and even a `good with cats` dog can turn sour if they get to practice these behaviours.
Depending on your dogs inclinations and the training you do, it may just be a matter of time for the cats to adjust to the dog and start acting less prey-like, or you may have a lot of training (of your dog) to do; in the mean time, keep everyone safe and keep on asking questions.
Congrats on your new dog-she sounds absolutely lovely.

As for inconvenient, I hear yah, but get this. I had a lawn-chair covered in blankets across my front entrance for 3 months (talk about tripping hazard) to give 2 new cats ``sneak access` to the main floor. Basically a ``secret tunnel`` to undermine my older cats hold on the main floor (I got the idea from medieval seige techniques). It worked. Use your imagination and empathy for whatever comes your way.

My previous dog, gsd, eventually got some ``tough love`` in regards to cats--but you may never need go there, so wait on that (that`s part of what the 2 week shutdown is all about)

SONIC--Dominican Street Collie aka 100% Unknown Fibers
All of my other dogs were GSD's, sadly missed, moving forward

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 11:19 PM
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Yes, I have been given advice for the two week shut down. I really like it, and it is working well so far on day 10 with my rescued Irish Wolfhound! The only time he has left our house/property has been to go to the vet. Do you have other dogs in your house in addition to the cats? My new rescue has fallen in place with the daily routine of feeding times, going out, napping, going to bed, kennelling up. The other dogs have really helped in getting the new rescue into a pattern. The sit on the dog is also a good tool.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 03:31 PM
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You can't rush cats. You really can't. Cats are gonna do what cats are gonna do.

If it helps, we have two cats one of which is brave (or dense) and isn't afraid of the dog, and another that's skittish. Since the beginning, we have had rooms blocked off to the dog where the cats could go. Currently, we have two baby gates up, though we started with three. Initially, we blocked off the stairs, spare bedroom, office, and second bathroom (no gate, just bungee cords to keep the door cracked). We've since (7 months later) taken away the gate to the spare bedroom, but have kept the gates on the stairs and office.

The office will probably always be sectioned off, since that's where their food, water, and cat tree are and I don't want the dog to bother their things. The stairs are now open during the day when we're home, but eventually that gate will go away. The second bathroom will also always be secured as that's where their litter box is.

Anyway, by blocking off dog-free zones, we gave our cats places where they could go to escape a rambunctious puppy. Over time, this has allowed them to observe the dog safely and go about their business. The gate on the stairs designates whatever floor the dog is barred from (upstairs during the day and downstairs at night). The cats can thus choose whether or not they want to be near the dog, and it allows them to timeshare the two floors.

The dog at first would harass and chase the cats like no one's business. However, he has SLOWLY learned that the cats just don't want to play with him and don't want anything to do with him. He no longer chases the cats at full speed, instead he just follows them. He harasses the cats less and less each day. Our skittish cat now knows she can easily slip under the bed or into the office to escape the dog, and as soon as he has passed by, she comes right back out. Our braver cat knows he can effectively get the dog to go away if he wants, and the dog in turn backs off.

Keep in mind that this has also involved supervised interaction with the cats and CONSTANT reminding to leave the cats alone the second he started getting too rough. Getting too rough we defined as roughly nosing the cats, nibbling their fur, or pawing at them. He'd get a physical correction: when smaller, we'd just pick him up and move him away; when larger, we'd grab his scruff and move him away. Anytime he approached them gently, he'd get lots of praise.
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