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…
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!