Introducing your new Dobi to cats

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T-Rex's picture
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Hello,

I have an 18 month old Dobi. We adopted him at 14 weeks so he was not a little puppy:) He is  very energetic and still nibbles on us so we are nervous about him being around our 3 years old and 1 year old cat. The dog has to be in a crate when they are loose or they have to be put away when he is out. I don't want anyone to get hurt. 

Any advice on how to make this easier for all of us?

Danielleak's picture
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Well you could try a small crate for the cats and put the crates next to each other. If both crated separate but still able to sniff and be safe?  Or a little sillier... Put cats on leash and puppy on a leash and have it be controlled time together. 

Sgourle's picture
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Have your child and Doberman interacted at all? It probably would have been easier to introduce them when the puppy was smaller. Maybe try taking them both to a park or something and introducing them to contact in that kind of setting where your child won't be the most interesting thing around? Is your boy good on a leash?

talisin's picture
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hmmmm this is hard if your dog has a prey drive, some dogs do some don't; if they do it's almost impossible to train them otherwise.....I would crate the dog and let the cats do their cat thing chase each other etc. watch your dog for reactions to their quick movements if you notice prick ears, jerky movements like he wants to give chase from inside the crate then you will most likely have a prey drive dog.....head propped on legs in a down position with ears moving with the cats movement is interest but not deadly interest most likely......you will know real quick if your dog has instant prey drive that could kill your cats with a few days of observation with the cats out and the dog crated. Dogs can move so fast that the cat may not be able to get away - don't take the chance your cats will die, you may have to alternate the cats and dog if you have a high prey drive.

The dog has got to watch the cats doing their normal activities in order for you to judge your dogs reactions.

T-Rex's picture
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Thank you for all the great feedback. Talisin based on your comment I don't see to much of the prey drive in Rex. When he is in crate he watches the cats play but he is mostly relaxing and seems not to be concerned or bothered to much. We have had the larger more confident cat out in the room with him usually on the dining table and Rex just wants to sniff or acts like he wants to play with her. The concern is that he is getting big fast and he is clomsey and still bites a bit so the introduction has been slow. We have had him for 7 weeks now and would love to have one big happy family but we are realizing that this is going take some work and time. 

Thank you

M

 

 

talisin's picture
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yes patience is a must with these intros; one other thing I forgot to mention is watch your cat - your cat can give you alot of information about what behaviors are trustworthy in the dog and which ones aren't if for instance your dog is out and the cat is sitting unconcerned and the dog walks by and sniffs the cat and the cat continues to sit still or just slowly moves away that means the cat does not feel threatened, if however, the dog moves and the cat is instantly on the move to a higher place or moves quickly to get out of the sight or way of the dog then the dog is not to be trusted with the cat; your cat will signal you as to whether you need to correct the dog.

I also correct my crew of critters - the dogs are NEVER allowed to approach the cats in any way except to walk by them or sniff them they are NEVER allowed to play with the cats as that is just a death or vet trip waiting to happen; the cats are NEVER allowed to annoy the dog either - even my newest rottie Sampson whom we adopted last year at age 9 now 10 learned quickly that when a cat approached him to play with his feet (one cat will not leave the dog's feet alone) that we the humans will correct the cat and remove the cat from the dog's space. I did this by holding my hand up and saying "wait" to my rottie and then moving in and removing the cat physically, so now when the cat starts to play with his feet he looks up to me makes eye contact with me and I immediately get up and move the cat he does not growl or make any corrections himself.

So far this has worked for over 30 years of introducing and creating a family of anywhere from 8-10 cats at a time with 2-5 dogs at a time. Thank goodness we are down to 6 cats and 2 dogs right now.

It does mean that there is NO play between the cats and dogs which can be cute and entertaining but not with large dogs and cats to me it's just to risky. They share the same space with no issues but they do not play. And when the cats are really playing and chasing each other I watch my dog like a hawk even after a full year of trusting him, I will never trust him 100% with moving objects.....if he perks his ears and looks with interest I tell him "leave the cats alone" and he makes eye contact with me and he knows my expression means "do not even think about that cat" and he lays back down.

Hope some of that helps

 

PS - I always crate my dogs when I am not home to ensure the safety of the cats while out I never know what one of them might do without a human to make the correction, if you can't crate the dog then shut the cats up in another room but in my experience never leave the dogs and cats together without supervision. The only dogs I ever trusted with my cats loose in the house were my collies they loved and adored the cats there was absolutely NO worry with them. But large working dogs that are not herders I wouldn't trust. Several friends of mine have had cats raised with dogs (as puppies and kittens together) and at 8-10 years of age the dogs snapped and killed all their cats while they were at work.....none of these friends had any warning that there were issues between the cats/dogs, one had 8 cats killed in one day she was a veterinarians assistant and still had no clue said she left for work the dogs/cats were doing fine/normal and came home they were all dead.......safety first

T-Rex's picture
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Talisin,

Those are some wise words of advice. I have never own a big dog so I am experiencing many new things. I had a min-pin for over 16 years and at least 5 different cats around him. Never a problem I guess because they were around same size and the dog treated the cats kind of like siblings.

I also questioned if I got the dog to late (he was 14 weeks) but by your explanation and the horrible experience your friend had I guess it doesn't really matter how old the dog It matters that it will get big and it can cause harm. 

Wow 8-10 cats at one time :) you must have some property or a big house to have this animal kingdom. Good for you. Animals bring a lot of joy. You have had many experiences in what I am dealing with so I do appreciate all of the great advice from someone like you. I will put that great advice in to practice:)

Thank you!

M

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

Glad to be of help!! I have had lots of experience introducing cats and dogs, the little dogs can be pretty quick so I have to be on top of that too....but the big dogs - all it takes is one snap and the cat is dead or injured severely. I have never had this happen to me personally in my home......

We never let our cats outside too dangerous they are perfectly happy watching safely from inside what goes on outside. All our guys are inside......the youngest cats are turning 3 this July - our first rottie Ben (the honorary doberman here, he died in 2013) raised these little kittens to love dogs; our oldest cat is 16; our dogs are 10 for the rottie sampson and 16-18 for the chihuahua so it's mostly a laid back household with cats finding a sleeping spot and dogs laying around. But in the earlier years a few years back it was pretty rowdy with the kittens and the chihuahua......
 

T-Rex's picture
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I forgot what is like to have kittens and new puppy. The last wonderful group of critters that lasted together as a unit consisted of a 20 year old 4 foot iguana Ziggy, min pin Carmello 16 and Persian cat Smokey 16. We lost first two within 6 months of each other. We of course at that time adopted a cute kitten girl that I feel extended the life of our Persian for two more years. We  had a feeling that since they were all close to same age that we would start loosing them around the same time.

So once Smokey moved to the greener pastures we got another kitty for the young 2 year old. Was very surprised how mean she was to the 8 week old for good 3 months. We expected them to bond quickly. I think she had major anxiety after Smokey died. So now when they just got comfortable be brought T-Rex in to their peaceful lives. He is definitely a hand full. You mentioned you have a Dobie? How long does it take to come out of that puppy bouncing all over the place stage?

M

talisin's picture
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Oh my no I have rottweilers my first rottie was an "honorary" doberman cause I joined the forum with full intentions of getting a doberman and the forum suggested a rottweiler with my lifestyle and that has been an excellent choice; from what I have read  the dobermans are pretty active for a while -  with just my dog experience I would think that the bouncy stage would begin to settle around 8-16 months that's usually the case with other breeds that are really active however there are those exceptions that continue the bouncy stuff for years......
 

Celly Swehykol's picture
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I now have a small Doberman and a kitten, I found this topic and it became interesting for me to read and find out how they will grow together. Because now they have a complete idyll, they run around and fool around and even sleep together in an embrace. The kitten gently crumples its paws on the puppy's belly and nobody gets nervous. I read why do cats knead about this phenomenon and it turns out there is nothing strange about it. It's just that the two of them are very comfortable while they are small.

Princesse's picture
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Good morning Celly, I'll give you both my opinion and my 2 experiences with dobermans and cats... first knowing that they are both babies and they will grow together what they are doing now will continue and they will be best buddies. My first experience was back about 11 years ago my then 4 year old beloved doberman female Princesse found a 2 week old kitten under a eureka palm tree in our back yard and brought it to me in her mouth by the neck... at first I got scared for the small kitten but soon realized Princesse wanted to help her. After looking for the mother that morning and realizing that the kitten was abandoned we took her in and rescued her. We bottle fed her and Princesse became her surrogate mother. She was really protective of her. We named the kitten Dumpling and Princesse even helped us stimulate her so she could go to the bathroom like a cat mother would do! Dumpling grew up to adore Princesse and always came to her for comfort during thunderstorms and other stressful times for her. The same thing happened 1 year later with this time a litter of 4 kittens were in my yard with their mother but after a few weeks of being born animal control trapped the mother and refused to let her free! I told them that she had kittens and wanted to take the kittens as well so I never told them where they were... so I knew that I had to jump into action and rescued the 4 kittens. I now have fixed all outside cats that come to my house to eat as I have been feeding the feral cats for years. We bottle fed again and raised the 4 boys. They were all white and 1 black one. We rehomed 3 to good homes and kept one white one named Nathaniel. Princesse took the same interest in helping raising the kittens. They lived together happily for the rest of Princesse life who passed last October at the age of 12. Now it got reversed it was introducing a doberman puppy to adult cats ... a whole different ball game. It was introducing adults cats to a dobershark... The cats didn't take well to the puppy at first his name his Duke especially Dumpling since she was missing Princesse so much and knew that ,new little guy that entered her life was no Princesse lol. Well the then 2 month old puppy just wanted to play with the cats but never once wanted to hurt them. Just a little bit of chasing game between Duke and Nathaniel which is still going on at times today but the cats have both back bedrooms in the house for their sanctuary to which Duke doesn't have access to. The cats can come and go as they please throughout the house. Dumpling now 11 years old is not a big fan of Duke but tolerates him. Nathaniel on the other hand is an antagonist and teases Duke to chase him all the time. They now live in harmony. Sorry for the long story but yes they can live together and in your circumstances they will be absolutely best of pals:) the more interaction together the better... good luck with raising your 2 babies and keep giving us updated on how they are doing please. And welcome to the forum. Here's a picture of Duke and Nathaniel kissing each just yesterday:)

Princesse's picture
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Ps: sorry for my pictures being so big, I need to found out how to resize pictures. Any tips would be gladly appreciated. Thanks in advance.