What Have I Done?!

(29 Posts)
Poorpuss Tue 30-Apr-19 07:01:36

we've had our Lab for a month now, he's 13 weeks old and im struggling.
It's not the dog as such, he's lovely, is toilet trained, sleeps all night, sits etc.
We have cats, everyone said a lab will be fine with cats. It's not working. The cats are terrified and are living upstairs. They are so wary about going out the garden and then coming back in again.
He has chased the cat down the garden. I'm at the end of my tether, the cats were my babies, so loving and gentl. It's been a month now.
Any advice welcome please. I'm at a loss what to do sad

OP’s posts: |
minmooch Tue 30-Apr-19 07:46:49

The cats will soon get the better of him! A couple of cat claw swipes across his nose and he will learn that the cats are far superior to him grin.

glenthebattleostrich Tue 30-Apr-19 07:48:38

My dog was awful to my neighbours cat initially. Chased him out of the garden and trying to catch him.

6 months down the line they are best friends. Yesterday they were curled up together on my sofa having a snooze!

coral13 Tue 30-Apr-19 07:54:11

We got our rescue dog (German Shepherd / Collie cross) in August and my cats are my babies. One cat told him straight away it was her house and they've always been fine. She's the boss and he knows it. The other cat basically lived upstairs and was scared of him. We're now in April and starting the last couple of months, they'd be asleep on the same sofa as each other.

If your cats feel like they've for their own space upstairs then that's actually a good thing. We don't let our dog upstairs for this reason.

Time and patience does amazing things.

Georgiemcgeorgeface Tue 30-Apr-19 08:01:01

It's early days yet give it more time x

settmenu Tue 30-Apr-19 08:06:06

Took our cat a good 6 months of hiding upstairs and darting in and out and they are currently in the same room both asleep. Hoping for the same sofa soon!

TailsoftheManyPaws Tue 30-Apr-19 08:11:14

You need to prevent him chasing the cat ever.

Our dog is only friendly to cats he knows well and lives with (have now done the introductions three times with full time resident cats and still he grumbles at the sight of the latest foster cat, till bribed heavily with sausage).

Keep the dog on a harness and possibly a house line, and don’t let the chase start. Also, invest hugely in walls sausages/ham/vile puppy treats to reward the not-chasing.


TailsoftheManyPaws Tue 30-Apr-19 08:19:40

When people say that labs are fine with cats, they mean labs are relatively easy to train out of chasing cats (unlike, say, your average greyhound). Puppies need teaching.

Poorpuss Tue 30-Apr-19 09:00:45

Thankyou for your comments. I'm so hoping that there will be harmony one day! I just feel so upset all the time when the cats are out, knowing they will be scared to come back in.
They are totally freaked out by the dog at the moment. The dog has only chased the cat once, I was caught off guard and didn't see the cat in the garden before it was too late.
Those of you whose cat and dog now sit together, how did you get to that stage?

OP’s posts: |
TailsoftheManyPaws Tue 30-Apr-19 10:22:47

Bribery! And recall/Leave It!! work with the puppy, and a stair gate for the cat to gaze through, appalled, and high surfaces that the cat could reach and the dog couldn't -- basically your cats need room to move around safely, till they realise the dog is a smelly but acceptable household object rather than a terrifying predator.

TailsoftheManyPaws Tue 30-Apr-19 10:25:00

Our cats all got to the point of shoving briskly past the dog to come inside, or indeed sitting in the middle of the corridor watching it whimper and refusing to let it get past.

TailsoftheManyPaws Tue 30-Apr-19 10:27:28

I should mention that they were all small, inoffensive cats who hadn't had any prior dog experience. They worked it out.

Do you have a crate for the puppy? Could you let your cats walk past it sneering, maybe while he's asleep in there?

DogHairEverywhere Tue 30-Apr-19 10:31:23

Baby gates/dog crated, so the cats can feel safe that the dog cant get to them. It does take time, but my cat will curl up with my dogs when he chooses to now.
He still gets chased when he comes in from outside, but that's his choice for running. At other times, he will stand his ground and rub round them.
If you want to speed up the process, keep the dog crated or on a lead at night when you all sit down to watch tv. You can reward the dog for being calm and just let the cat get used to him at his pace.
If you feel guilty, spend time alone with the cats, upstairs where the dog can't go.

Poorpuss Tue 30-Apr-19 10:42:13

Thank you. We have a stair gate, the cats sit happily on the stairs watching pup scoot about.
pup has never been upstairs, the cats have 4 bedrooms to choose from and all their food, toys, litter box is in the spare room.
I sit up there with them for a bit every day and they will sleep on our beds with us at night.
What has tipped me over the edge today is that old cat went out at 6am and hasn't come home yet. (He never does this, he's normally back within the hour) and I'm worried that he's too scared to come home.sad

OP’s posts: |
coral13 Tue 30-Apr-19 12:42:43

@poorpus we taught our dog "leave" (with food at first). Once he was already chasing a cat, it was too late for "leave" to work. We had to pre-empt it. So when the cat would walk in the room we'd say "Koda LEAVE" and he very quickly learnt not not go after them.

We now don't need to say leave. It worked so well that the cats will occasionally go up to him for a sniff and he just gives me a look that says "I know, I'm not going to do anything!"

Honestly though, a lot of it is patience. It did takes quite a while but they just need time.

We progressed from cat staying upstairs, to cat not wanting to walk past dog, to cat walking past dog but not if he's in a doorway to all sleeping happily on the sofa.

coral13 Tue 30-Apr-19 12:49:35

Black and white cat was terrified for the longest.

I also want to point out that our dog was a stray from Romania who arrived to our door in a van and had never been in a home before. He had no training (and didn't understand English hahaha) and we're fine. As long as your cats are safe, it just some training and time.

coral13 Tue 30-Apr-19 12:51:09

Black and white cat was terrified for the longest.

I also want to point out that our dog was a stray from Romania who arrived to our door in a van and had never been in a home before. He had no training (and didn't understand English hahaha) and we're fine. As long as your cats are safe, it just some training and time.

EngagedAgain Tue 30-Apr-19 12:59:36

Yes it's early days, but you have to put some effort into training him not to chase the cats. Presumably when he does it is in a playful manner? I am sure it is with him being a puppy, so that is a bonus, as he doesn't mean them any harm, it's just that they don't realise that! Also, I doubt they have lived with a dog before, so all new to them.

TailsoftheManyPaws Tue 30-Apr-19 13:00:17

I have to say, Coral, that our dog quickly learnt that a very small bounce in the direction of the cats followed by coming meekly back to me would get the double result of a slightly flustered cat and a piece of ham.

I'm not proud of being outwitted by a mutt. But things at least got calm enough for the cats' natural pride to take over, and they would stand their ground and make claw-filled gestures.

coral13 Tue 30-Apr-19 13:14:55

@Tailsofthemanypaws But things at least got calm enough for the cats' natural pride to take over, and they would stand their ground and make claw-filled gestures.

Yes!! I think once the cats are over the initial terror letting them stand up for themselves and stand their ground rather than you always intervening is the long term aim.

Both cats will now tolerate him sniffing but if they then have enough of it or if he goes up to them quicker than they like, they'll bop him on the nose. He then knows that the cat is saying no and will leave them to it. One cat was quicker at this than the other but they've both got the hang of it now.

It's also worth mentioning that even to the best trained dog, running cat = something exciting. Our cats learnt that if they walked slowly past him rather than running he barely noticed them, let alone moved. I remember funny scenes of him sitting in the doorway and the cat creeping past him 1cm at a time and him being completely oblivious. Again, it took the really scared cat a little longer to realise this but she got it pretty quickly once she started coming downstairs more.

TailsoftheManyPaws Tue 30-Apr-19 13:52:38

Oh, we had that for a while. These days it’s more likely that we hear whimpering and find that the dog is trying to find a way to sneak past a cat who is giving off that ‘Try it, just try it, StinkyDog’ vibe.

Baloonphobia Tue 30-Apr-19 13:56:31

Same here. Resident cat, total shock when dog came. It took way longer than a month. And our dog was a cynical older rescue with no interest in the cat.

Poorpuss Tue 30-Apr-19 16:53:11

Thank you all so much, lots of positive stories. smile I realise a month is such early days and I need to put in some hard work!
The cats are perfectly safe upstairs, puppy can't get up there. We will work on 'Leave'

OP’s posts: |
Poorpuss Tue 30-Apr-19 22:35:04

Old puss came home after 8 hours! he's never out that long. They are both on the bed with us now, just a how I like it!
Puppy has been particularly boisterous tonight, really bitey and jumpy. Gave him Time out and he was sound asleep in minutes..... I think he gets over tiredconfused

OP’s posts: |
adaline Tue 30-Apr-19 22:44:18

We've had our pup eleven months now and the cats are just finally starting to tolerate him!

We have a three year old female cat and a four year old male. The female adapted much quicker and they play and chase all the time now. The male was slower to adapt and still swipes at him sometimes but they're pretty tolerant of each other now!

We just make sure the cats have space away from the dog (and vice versa) and never leave them unattended.

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