You want to add a feline furry, friend to your family, but your family already contains a dog, who happens to have very little experience with cats. Is there any hope of integrating a new kitten into your home, in a way that is peaceful and safe for all parties involved?
The answer is yes! Thousands of households contain cats and dogs, that get along just fine. These housemates can even become quite attached to each other, playing together, sleeping together, and providing excellent company for each other. However, when adding any new member to the household, especially a kitten, you will need to ensure the introduction is conducted in such a way as to create a positive experience, so that your dog will accept the kitten and both kitten and dog are not stressed, frightened or injured in the process.
Dogs can have a tendency to view small critters as prey, so you will need to ensure that your dog does not make this mistake upon introduction of a new kitten. Also, remember that the kitten itself can be aggressive and lash out in defense if it perceives a threat, even when one is not present. Precautions to control the kitten's perception and reaction to being introduced are also necessary when teaching your dog to accept a kitten.
Before introducing your dog and kitten you will want to acclimatize them safely to the sights and sounds of each other and control the environment where they are introduced. Your dog should have a good grasp on obedience commands so you can control and direct him during the introduction and while the dog is getting used to the kitten's presence in his home in the first few days. Remember, this is a big adjustment for a dog that is unfamiliar with cats. Controlling the situation and ensuring that positive associations are created will make your dog's acceptance of the kitten, his new companion, much smoother.
Most dogs and cats learn to cohabitate quite nicely together. A little bit of effort on first meeting to ensure acceptance of your new pet will speed up the process and establish a lasting friendship between your furry friends.
We have had a brother and a sister kitten we have brought into the home. at first, the dog was not happy. She would bark and wine and make a noise she usually does when she prey chases and would even try to snap at them from a distance. Gradually, with the kittens in the dog crate and her on a leash outside of it and controlled, I was able to get her to sit, and keep calm to lay down.She has done that for a week now. However, she keeps trying to lick them through the cage. the kittens allowed that for a bit until addy started to not quite do a defleaing bite, but trying to pull them through by fur, so we put them away and tried again later and again the next day.
She is now at a point where she doesn't claw or bark at the door they are behind, she will wine and look at me to bring them out, so we do. She still is a little excited but able to stay seated with my fiance and I. When she gets overly excited, we put them away and allow her to calm down.
We just brought the calmer of the two kittens out and held her while my fiance had addy by the collar sitting. When we bring them close, I bring the kitten's back to her first and she bathes them but then she tries to bite fur with a little bit of skin to pull towards her. I can not tell if this is her way of trying to take the kitten to mother it and claim it or if she's trying to eat it because it's all done calmly but with intent focus. Now that it has been five minutes with the cat put back, she is laying at my feet, head down almost asleep. Calm.
We know one bite or wrong move from our 80lb dog can injure or kill one of these kittens, but addy has shown tremendous progress since they have come in two weeks ago. This is also the first time she has been introduced to cats.
Should we get a muzzle first before letting the cat free or should we give it more time before they are as freely around one another with out the cage and restraint? A little advice would go a long way because if we have to give the cats back, they will be split up and as brother and sister, they make an amazing duo. They don't run from her in the cage, they sit there and wait until she is calm, then they approach. They seem to be very intellectual but they have a lot of energy.
Hello Deseree, I would definitely give it more time. The licking that turns into nipping does sound prey driven and definitely not motherly. It sounds less intense than it was initially, so she is hopefully making good progress, but she is not ready for the kittens to be free around her yet, even with a muzzle on. There is still the risk of her squishing one if she tries to attack it while wearing the muzzle. I would suggest muzzling her and doing what you are doing now, but the muzzle will allow you keep the kitten a bit closer and let her get bored with it. Use a basket muzzle so that she can open her mouth up inside, and pass her small treats through the holes while he is being calm. Interrupt her behavior firmly when she starts to get over excited and nip through the muzzle, and give her a break like you have been doing if she gets over aroused. Practice with her restrained by a leash or collar until she is bored with the kittens when you bring them out. Be patient, this will take time. When you get ready to test them together, then definitely use the muzzle on her and keep a leash on her even if it is just dragging behind her, so that you can grab her quickly if you needed to. I would wait an extremely long time before you trust her around the kittens without confinement or a muzzle. She might get to the point where she can ignore them and be around them just fine, but if they run her prey instincts might kick in again, so you need to take things slow and give her instruction along the way to let her know when she is doing something correct and when her behavior around the kittens is unacceptable. Do not leave her to her own devises. Congratulations on the kittens. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We acquired Panda from a family member and we have 2 kittens who are old enough to not be cooped up all the time. Whenever we let Panda out if his kennel in the morning his rushes at the kittens and tries to hurt them. We have tried sitting down with him and the kittens and tell him that they are friends and bad dog but he just snarls at them. We don't want to get rid of him but don't know what we should do to help him transition. We have had him for 3 weeks now. What should we do?
Hello Jacinda, Since it has been three weeks without progress I would highly suggest hiring a professional trainer who uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections to help you. Right now start out by getting Panda used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle so that he will be safer around the kittens during introductions. This will help a trainer work with him faster also. Have him on a leash for introductions and correct him for any aggression toward the kittens and reward him for tolerating them. Start with more distance between them and with the kittens being still and reward good responses at that distance and correct fixating or acting aggressive toward them. You want the kittens to become boring so practicing his obedience with rewards in their presence may also help. Correct his response early as soon as he begins to act aggressive or fixate on them. Learn canine body language so that you can tell when he is relaxed and happy verses aggressive or stalking. A professional trainer will need to evaluate in person whether Panda can get used to the kittens or if his response is prey driven and cannot be changed enough to make the interactions safe long term. To get Panda used to wearing the muzzle show him the muzzle and give him a treat. Repeat that until he is comfortable around it. Next, touch it to him gently and give him a treat. Repeat that until he is comfortable. Next, hold the muzzle on his face briefly and give him a treat. Repeat that until he is comfortable. Next, hold the muzzle against his face for longer and feed him treats through the muzzle's holes while it is there. Repeat this until he is comfortable. Next, put the muzzle on him and feed him treats through the muzzle's holes once every moment. Gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for and increase the amount of time between rewards until he can tolerate wearing the muzzle without distress for one hour. Expect this process to take a couple of weeks. Meal times are a good time to practice this. You can feed him his food one piece at a time as rewards for tolerating the muzzle. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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