Moving in with dogs

Masson99

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So my girlfriend and I are planning on moving in together within the month. She would be moving in to my house where I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old (cats not children). My girlfriend has a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and a 3 month puppy. My cats have been to my girlfriend's house but have never interacted with the dogs face to face (they've seen them and smelled them). The puppy has been coming over just cause she cannot be left alone and is currently in the process of being "whipped" by the 2 year old cat. The 4 year old use to live with a cat but not like a free roaming one (was a roommate's cat that stayed in the roommate's room most of the time) and wanted to play with him but also understood what a hiss meant. The 3 year old literally doesn't care about anything but food and scratches. I am planning on doing the introduction method where you do it through a door, then a baby gate, then supervised, then free roaming but does anyone have any advice as to how to make the introduction easier?
 

danteshuman

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I would suggest obedience training for the dogs. You need to work on trading the dogs and she needs to work on playing with the cats. Teach them place/bed/crate, drop it & to not enter 1 room. Let the cat boxes be in that room. Lots of cat trees and shelves should help. I would feed the kitties up high, out of reach of the dogs.

⭐Make sure the dogs are not disturbing the cats while they are trying to pee, or your stressed out kitties will start avoiding the litter box. Remove any litter box lids for now. Oh and another reason to keep dogs out of the litter box room; dogs sometimes dig in the litter box & eat 🤮🤮🤮 cat poop!!! 🤮

⭐For the puppy, I would suggest a baby gate &/or putting the puppy on a leash (at least for the first couple of days.)

Expect it to take time. Your cats will get there. You can always watch the series Cat vs Dogs (I believe it was on discovery) that deals with mixed pet household issues.
 

Jcatbird

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You don’t mention the breed of dogs. While most dogs can mix well with other animals, there is a breed that comes to mind that can be a bit unpredictable so go slowly and carefully. Be mindful of making sure that none feel their territory or their human is being threatened.
 

neely

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Masson99

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You don’t mention the breed of dogs. While most dogs can mix well with other animals, there is a breed that comes to mind that can be a bit unpredictable so go slowly and carefully. Be mindful of making sure that none feel their territory or their human is being threatened.
The oldest dog is a lab/collie mix, the 2nd oldest is her daughter and sort of looks like a pitbull, the puppy is a german shepard but is being trained for service work so she's very obedient.
 
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Masson99

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I would suggest obedience training for the dogs. You need to work on trading the dogs and she needs to work on playing with the cats. Teach them place/bed/crate, drop it & to not enter 1 room. Let the cat boxes be in that room. Lots of cat trees and shelves should help. I would feed the kitties up high, out of reach of the dogs.

⭐Make sure the dogs are not disturbing the cats while they are trying to pee, or your stressed out kitties will start avoiding the litter box. Remove any litter box lids for now. Oh and another reason to keep dogs out of the litter box room; dogs sometimes dig in the litter box & eat 🤮🤮🤮 cat poop!!! 🤮

⭐For the puppy, I would suggest a baby gate &/or putting the puppy on a leash (at least for the first couple of days.)

Expect it to take time. Your cats will get there. You can always watch the series Cat vs Dogs (I believe it was on discovery) that deals with mixed pet household issues.
We're going to get one of those gates that has an opening for the cats to put in front of the litterboxes. Also My cats have lots of high up places and cat trees. I'm just worried about stressing them out
 

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I love labs and collies. I have had both. You really do need to be sure that they all feel comfortable together before any time free roaming though. It’s easier when they grow up together but I have known plenty of families that mixed older pets. Training and working with them all as a couple will be necessary for a happy mix. If there is stress, it’s too early for free roaming without a human. The cats need to know they are safe doing all the things a cat needs to do.
 

danteshuman

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I think, at least in the beginning, your cats need a room just for them. Also if your cats are used to sleeping with you, I wouldn’t change that. If the dogs are crate trained, your cats could safely meet the dogs while you sleep.

I’m not sure how strong of a prey drive a German shepherd has. Either way obedience training is key. I know when I was a kid, our Norwegian elkhound hunted anything except our cat. They knew our cat was off limits. The possums, chickens & bunny were fair game in their mind. A drop it command could help prevent an accident.

Please tell us how it goes.
 

neely

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I’m not sure how strong of a prey drive a German shepherd has. Either way obedience training is key.
Our last dog was a shepherd and by far the sweetest, most tolerant dog. He got along better with our cats than any other dog but I agree obedience training is key no matter what the breed and being consistent. Unfortunately some owners are not consistent or do not follow through.
 

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You should expect to take a minimum of a month to introduce your dog and cat properly. Cats are usually more sensitive about their territory than dogs, so it may take months before she feels comfortable being in the presence of a dog. Changes in a cat’s environment cause them a lot of stress due to which some cats stop eating, some hide from everyone in the house, and some become aggressive. Initially, you can start by allowing them to hear and smell each other. Once they are familiar with each other’s smell and voice, allow them to see another, but there should be a barrier between them. And most importantly, make sure your dog is on a leash. Reward both your cat and dog with treats if they both act calm and relax during this time. Slowly and gradually, when both of them become acquainted with each other’s presence, allow them to meet face to face, making sure that your dog is on the leash, and know basic commands like sit and relax.
 
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