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 got a new kitten last week, he is 8 weeks old and isn't nervous, in fact he is quite fiesty. I have a dog who I share with my dad, she stays over from Friday night til Monday every week but is never left alone in the house during the day. She lives with a older cat at my dads house, who she has lived with since we rehomed her as a puppy (a few months old). When we first introduced her to the kitten we done this with him in a crate, and her on a lead. She was barking and trying to scratch to get in the cage. We then held the kitten standing up and her her on a lead and she would wine and start to jump up at him. I would tell her off and then reward her when she began to calm down. Slowly she started to get bored and not trying to get up to the kitten as much. We kept them seperate for a few days and Leah (the dog) would search the house in hunting mode looking for him. We then held the kitten inside with the dog free but held by her collar and she sits to watch him. Then we let the kitten stroll free and held the dog and she just wanted to be let go. The bedroom door was open with the kitten inside, and the dog walked in (we didnt do this intentionally) they stood and stared at each other for a good 10 seconds until the kitten put his back up, hissed and swiped and the dog ran away. Another time the next day the dog ran towards the kitten and he ran and hid behind the toilet and she stood crying trying to get to him. Im really upset that we cant have them in the same room without restricting one of them but understand this may be a long process. Leah (the dog) is used to being given 100% attention, and treated like a baby (always having cuddles, sleeping on the bed, and hardly being told off or left alone- ive probably made a rod for my own back). As you can see ive also attached a photo of leah with my dads cat, who she doesnt 100% like but knows the cat is the boss and wouldnt cross the line. Please could you give me some advice. Thank you.
Hello Hannah, Honestly, it sounds like you are generally doing the right thing and your suspicions are likely correct - they need a lot of supervision, confinement when you can't directly supervise, rewarding for calmness, correcting for over-excitement, and time. I also suggest teaching her the Out command - which means leave the area. The Leave It command, Quiet, and Place. These commands can help her learn better impulse control and help you communicate to her what she needs to be doing instead of getting too excited. Practice the Place command a lot, so that as she improves, you she can be told to go to Place (and automatically stay there) while the kitten is around and you are supervising them. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Also, reward her very calmly whenever the kitten enters the room and she stays calm, she is tolerant and calm around the kitten, or looks to you for direction when the kitten is around. If you feel like the kitten is endanger and things are not manageable I suggest hiring a trainer who can come to your home to help the training process along faster. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I got a kitten. My dog has been around and gotten along with cats in the past. The kitten wants to play with my dog, but my dog tries to ignore and avoid the kitten. Now my dog is stressed - not eating or drinking, peeing in the house, and early morning vomiting. Help!!
Hello Betheny, I suggest a trip to your vet. While stress may cause some dogs not to eat, the other symptoms indicate that there is likely something medical going on also. - I am not a Vet. If your dog doesn't feel well he won't feel up to being around the new cat, which would make him not want to interact. There may have been something going on before the cat and it's just gotten worse lately. First, rule out any medical conditions with your vet. Don't force the animals together right now. Reward your dog whenever the cat is present in the room and your dog stays calm, and keep the kitten from pestering your dog - let them learn how to simply calmly coexist. Keep the kitten in another room when you cannot supervise the kitten around your dog. For right now I suggest visiting your vet and keeping the animals apart. If something medical is ruled out, then you can also try the suggestions I mentioned above to decrease stress and let them warm up to each other gradually. Until your dog is well though I wouldn't push any interactions. 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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My puppy supposed to be a very happy dog, she loves ayong around, biting things and such but the moment I adopted a new kitten, she suddenly changed, she looks sad. They don't scare each other, they even go near to each other but my dog looks so ad, she doesn't play anymore like she used to. Do you have any advice on how to make her happy again? I got no problems on making my kitten and her as friends but, she suddenly got lonely. Please, give me some advice :(
Hello Virma, First, I suggest a trip to your vet to check her for potential parasites, an infection, or a virus like parvo. She may have even picked something up from the kitten - it is very possible she is sad and won't play because she doesn't feel well. If there is nothing wrong with her health (I strongly suggest looking into that first though), then whenever the kitten is around give her a treat when the kitten enters the room and when the kitten comes over to her to help her associate the kitten with something good. I also suggest spending time teaching her new tricks and commands with treats and lure reward training in an area where the kitten cannot come. If she is feeling stressed about the kitten, then give her times to do something that will build her confidence without her having to worry about the kitten coming over... such as practicing tricks or easy agility courses you set up outside. Just be sure that these areas outside are somewhere where other dogs cannot come to avoid diseases while she is on the ground - she can be carried other places too but should only be set down on the floor or ground in places where other adult dogs or un-vaccinated puppies have not been. I suggest a trip to your vet first though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We rescued our dog 2 years ago. When we brought her home we had to adult cats in the house. They all get along fine. Our dog is pretty lazy. Very rarely barks unless there is thunder or fireworks. We just got a 10 week old kitten that we rescued through our veterinarians office. We had to do a meet and freest in the office with our dog and the kitten to make sure the dog didn’t show any signs of aggression. She passed with flying colors. We originally gated the kitten in the living room until he could get used to us but after the first day he learned how to climb over. The dog has been showing signs of aggression towards the kitten. She barks, growls at him and tries to go after him. We can’t leave the house because they have to be watched constantly. What can i do?
Hello Cindy, First of all I suggest crate training the kitten and Jollie, so that you can crate them in separate rooms when you cannot supervise or need to leave the house. Check out the article linked below to introduce Jollie to the crate. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Second, check out the videos linked below. Jollie needs to be corrected for chasing, staring at, fixating on, or acting aggressive toward the kitten. You can also teach a Place command and reward her for calmly staying on Place while the kitten is in the room. Only reward when she is being tolerant and calm. Check out the videos linked below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojIQmMuOwns Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When I introduce my dog and kitten my dog wants to chew on it like a toy. There is very little progress of them getting along. How can I get them to become best friends?
Hello Lydia, First of all, your goal should be your dog leaving the cat alone. At this stage you don't want to encourage a lot of interaction or play. You want your dog to learn to mind its own business and for the cat to become boring. As they establish mutual respect for each other and become safe around each other, they may choose to hang out more as adults. Teach your dog the Out command - which means leave the area. Correct your dog for getting too interested in and intense with the cat. Use a basket muzzle for safety if needed, and always have the dog on the leash or behind a gate and supervised during the early days. Whenever your dog gets too excited around the kitten, command Out, and if he doesn't obey and leave, correct him. Teach Place and have him practice staying on Place with a leash on that is secured to something close by in case he breaks command around the cat. You can screw an eye-hook into the baseboard or wall to attach the leash to if needed but be sure to use the right hardware to make it strong, like finding a stud in the wall and screwing it into that instead of drywall. The leash should be loose while he stays on Place and is only there for an added safety measure - you want him to practice self-control while on the bed and to be staying out of obedience. When he stays calm on the bed with the kitten in the room in your lap, and later the kitten walking around, then toss treats onto the bed as a reward. Essentially, firmly correct any intensity toward the kitten - don't wait until it's a bite. If he is staring at the kitten intensely, let him know he should stop that. If he is getting super excited about the kitten, tell him to calm down or leave. Use commands that he knows to give him instructions, such as Out, Place, Leave It, or Down. Also, focus a lot on rewarding calmness, tolerance, and ignoring the cat. Don't leave them alone together and take measures to keep the kitten safe right now, such as a basket muzzle or leash, and crate him in another room when you are not home to prevent him from getting to the kitten. Out command - which means leave it https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We have had our dog since she was a puppy we recently added a kitten (Pixel- 3 months old) to the mix she is very playful and very friendly but the dog is unpredictable and has been staring her down and we are worried she will go for her.
Both animals are very affectionate and loving not vicious at all when they are on there own.
We have tried introducing them slowly but we can't keep Pixel in a seperate room as she cries a lot! And this aggravate the dog.
Im not sure the best way to get them use to each other, the kitten is very eager to get to no the dog and play but the dog not so much please help!
Hello Beth, Staring can be related to prey drive, especially since the kitten is so small - when the kitten gets older is could get better but not necessarily. Check out the two videos linked below. One case is an overly interested, aroused dog, the other is a dog with a history of killing cats. You will notice the difference in tools and structure depending on the severity of the case: Less severe case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojIQmMuOwns More severe case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My Chihuahua constantly barks when she hears a noise outside, when someone new comes inside, and when I had brought my neighbors lost cat inside out of a storm and put the cat in the spare room. She would calm down but every time I would open the door to the room with the cat, she would bark and run at the door. How do I train her to stop barking and prepare her to be introduced to a kitten? How should I go about introducing them for the first time? I am adopting 2 kittens in a month.
Hello Patience, I suggest combining a few things in your case. First, you need a way to communicate with her so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Work on the Desensitization method from that article as well. Make a list of the barking triggers, such as people out the window. Reward pup whenever pup stays quiet in the presence of the trigger. Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter. One type of interrupter is a Pet Convincer. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. While you are not home, confine her in a crate or room that doesn't look out the windows right now - barking at things out the window lets her practice the bad behavior over and over again and barking is a self-rewarding behavior because of the arousing chemicals released in a dog's brain - so once a dog starts she is encouraged naturally to continue it and stay in that state of mind if you aren't there to interrupt. For introducing the kittens I would first determine whether her reaction toward the cat was a desire to chase, a fear, or simply over-excitement. If the desire is a strong prey drive I don't recommend adopting kittens. You can manage prey drive but you can't get rid of it completely since it's instinctual - leaving the cats always at risk. If her desire is to chase, fearful, or over-excitement, you can work on impulse control, quietness, desensitization, and learning to leave the cats alone. Before adopting kittens, work on the quiet command and other barking training mentioned. Also, teach a long, high distraction Place command - where pup can stay on a Place bed even when guests come through the front door or fun and tempting things are going on - start with Place for just a few minutes and work up to longer gradually. Also, work on building pup's calmness and impulse control in general by practicing the commands like the ones below: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ If you aren't sure whether she has high prey drive toward the kittens or how to train, I suggest hiring a trainer who specializes in behavior issues, comes well recommended by previous clients, and has experience evaluating things like prey drive, to guide you with her training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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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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