Happy Friday! I hope you and your dogs got through the Fourth unscathed! Here’s hoping the neighborhood kids use up all their backyard fireworks so we can close that book for the year…
After I wrote about how we were introducing dogs and cats, you guys shared some phenomenal advice – thank you! So I wanted to update you on “the cat plan” and share our next steps.
We’re still working the the “neutral” room above the garage. Right now, upstairs is her space, and downstairs is the dogs’ space. We’ve had them into each other’s areas many times, but only when the resident wasn’t there to get defensive.
We still haven’t let the boys off leash around Newt, though I think we’re there with Emmett and maybe Cooper. Lucas… not so much. We’ve actually come up against a wall with Lucas. Years ago, a trainer said that part of Lucas’ leash reactivity is because he has inappropriate eye contact. If a dog looks at him, he locks eyes and it escalates quickly from there. When we’re out for walks, the goal is to break that eye contact by having him look up at me.
Well, turns out, cats stare.
They lock eyes. Lucas feels threatened. He lunges.
When he’s on leash, we can focus on breaking that eye contact on his end (there’s no teaching Newt not to stare…), but we’re not sure how to move on to the next step – or even what the next step is.
Yesterday, though, Newt scared the pants off all of us, though, when she catapulted off the couch ONTO Lucas’ head. He was so surprised, he just froze in place! Then she scampered off.
Coop is doing great. All he wants to do is PLAY, which translates into CHASE. We haven’t let that happen yet, but I think it’s time we “let go of the leash” and let her learn how to run from him.
And then there’s Emmett. He doesn’t seem to care about her even a smidge. That makes her incredibly comfortable with him, of course, so she spends a lot of her time pummeling him. Or attempting to, anyway.
Here John had the cheese out working with Emmett a bit. Newt crept around the table and…
Newt plays with Emmett’s tail from Maggie Marton on Vimeo.
I’m honestly not sure where to go from here. Let go of the leash, so to speak? Keep doing what we’re doing until they’re all totally bored with each other? Take down the baby gates and let them have at it? (Just kidding on that last one. Maybe.) I don’t want to rush it and risk anyone getting injured or anything, but I also know we need to stride forward. Our series of gates and systems of letting animals in and out is fine for us, but what if we have company?
So, anyway, that’s where we are. Not much beyond where we were at last check in, only less sure about how to proceed!
I also have 3 dogs. And we have 3 cats. All 3 cats were with us well before the dogs. We did not do the introductions the right way and as expected Lincoln, the oldest (and first) dog chases the cats first chance he gets. Truman came next and is ok with the cats…he only hunts them in a pack when Lincoln get sassy. With our newest Romney he could care less about the cats. One of the cats actually likes him and will often walk back and forth across his face. The cats are generally in the basement – we leave the door open and the dogs don’t go down there – but the patio door where the dogs go out is literally right by the basement door. So there is often interaction…its funny with the cats…they know not only a dog is coming because they hear the tags…but where to go and how to react depending on which dog it is…
Good luck – I wish you the best and I wish we would have done more when we got our first!
Thanks for sharing your experience, Crystle! I sort of wonder if we should just… let them go. They’re aware of each other and have had several interactions, but I’m worried Newt won’t realize to run when they’re off leash and chase her since they can’t actually try to chase her right now? One step at a time, I guess!
As you know, my cats and dogs are best buddies. Scout prefers to play with the cats over the other dog. And one of their favorite things to do is chase each other. Somehow the cats know how to get away. Newt seems like she wants to play with the boys – evidence by the video and jumping on Lucas. I bet she would be good buddies with Cooper and they might even wrestle like Scout and Simba. Now, Willy is much more cautious and he does not like to wrestle. He has learned to gauge Scout’s mood and when she’s a bit too wild, he stays away from her. I bet Newt would do that with Lukey. I say, drop the leash but keep a gate up so Newt has an escape place, and see what happens. I know I yell at Simba to stop teasing Scout just as often as I yell at Scout to back off of holding Simba down. It all evens out.
YES! Ann, Your situation is what I want! I guess because I’ve never had a two-species household, I’m a little nervous about their interactions. But, we took your advice and let Cooper “go” a little bit last night. Oh, my gosh. First of all, it was hilarious. He kept nose bopping her, and she would swat him then run away, then run up and swat him, then run away. When he got too rambunctious she retreated behind her gate. We did keep him leashed the whole time, but we’re getting close! I’ll have to film it next time… Hilarity!
Jan K says
Oh gosh, Newt is just a character! The vision of her jumping on Lucas’ head…..I tried not to laugh because I’m sure it wasn’t so funny to you at the time. And then her playing with Emmett’s tail….she is a mischievous one! I wish I had more advice for you….if you feel confident that Cooper only wants to play then it might be time to let him go with her. Our cat Katie used to deliberately run by the dogs to get them to chase her. Then she would turn around and stop and stare at them….daring them to do whatever they were thinking of next. It always stumped them….they just stopped too. Cats can be pretty clever, maybe too clever. at times! Sometimes you just have to go with your instincts on what you think is the next best step to take.
She IS a character! At first I thought I was reading into it… then I saw her swat them from under the door, and I knew she was messing with them!! I think you’re right. I’m trying to stick with my instincts on this one. A two-species household is turning out to have a steep learning curve for me!