I'm doing research at the moment in anticipation of adding a standard poodle to our family toward the end of 2012/early 2013. We have two Siamese cats which are already part of our family. What is the correct way to introduce the cats and dog/puppy? Is it wiser to get a puppy then an adult? I've heard it is better to get a puppy because of the cats.
I'm interested in any and all opinions/suggestions. I'm sure this will be the first of many many posts with questions I will be asking.
Poodle Type: Toy Poodles (and Kelpies, and Coolies)
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I have cats and dogs, two of which are toy poodles. The cats have hidey holes throughout the house to get away from the dogs if/when they want. I think it's easier to introduce puppies to cats than adult dogs. Either way, do it slowly. Keep the dog/pup under control - leashed, and trim the cat's claws before introductions. I pretty much don't 'introduce' them so much as tether the new dog/pup to me while everyone gets used to each other.
If it helps, though, my poodles wrestle and play with the cats regularly. They all seem to enjoy it. Really kind of cute. (I have Siamese as well).
oh, yeah - welcome and feel free to ask all the questions you need.
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You are right to think it best to get a puppy when you already have cats. You could get an adult that is used to cats, but it would be hard to find. My last standard was not around cats for the first year of her life and I never fully trusted her around the cats. We had to keep them separated.
My current poodle was around cats from a puppy. They aren't best buddies, but I don't worry about her hurting the cats and don't keep them separated. She knows how upset we would be if she even thought about touching a kitty. It also helped to allow her to get a few good swipes with the claws when she was little, although I felt bad for her the time she had a claw mark on her nose for a week. She does burn holes in them with her eyes from a couple feet away which can be annoying, but not harmful.
You could get a puppy with less intensity and prey drive than mine has. There are people on here with poodles that adore their kitties. It is possible!
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We have two older cats, a Himalayan and an Abyssinian, and they hate our dogs. However, just recently my kids have been playing "room puppy" and taking a dog onto their bed, which is the cats' territory. The dogs have been awesome, and the cats seem to accept the dog and sleep alongside them on the bed. This is major progress!
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If you can get an adult that has been raised with cats, it could work, but many dogs make a distinction between "our" cats and "other" cats. A puppy will be hard work for the first weeks, but will eventually settle down with them - a pup used to cats would be ideal!
Make sure the cats have safe space that the dog cannot get to - perhaps upstairs, or rooms downstairs blocked off with baby gates. Remember to give them protected access to their cat flap, if you have one. Then do your absolute best to ensure the puppy never discovers that it is fun to chase cats - manage all encounters with the puppy crated or leashed. Your cats will either hide away upstairs grumbling at your perfidy at bringing in a horrible intruder, or swagger around determined to impress the newcomer with their superior status (I've had both!). I would discourage any play between cats and dog at first - polite sniffs and nose kisses, yes, but pups easily get excited, and thngs can escalate. Toys, treats, games are all good distractions for a puppy - be more fun yourself than a cat could ever be.
Training dogs with a cat around is an interesting activity - with Siamese especially you may quickly find yourself click-and-treating the cats as well as the dog! Cats learn a great deal by observation, and it doesn't take them long to observe that something as simple as sitting is earning someone else chicken. I rarely manage a training session these days without at least one cat wanting a piece of the action!
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring- it was peace.
~ Milan Kundera
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This was my biggest worry when I brought my spoo puppy home. I have a 10 year old Abyssinian who doesn't really like people except for our family. We brought Kobe home at 8.5 weeks and for the first several weeks only let the cat and puppy be together supervised. We also gave the cat a safe place, blocking off the laundry room with a baby gate, and moved his food to the laundry room (litter box already there). A few short weeks after that and us getting tired of stepping over the gate, we removed the gate and now they run free together in the house. Mainly the puppy wants to play and the cat wants no part of it, but the cat will always win. The cats will find their hiding places where the dog can't fit, like behind the couch. It's a treat to watch them play.
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Sunny, athough not a spoo -- he is a mpoo -- was raised with cats and thinks nothing of them. The breeder said she had an adult cat that she used to socialize the pups and they would crawl all over her, and she just let them -- so now, at 4, Sunny looks at a cat, and then past them -- he could care less. I would think many breeders do socialize the pups with cats, too, just in case their new homes have cats.
Always a Sunny Day
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Apparently the response I posted yesterday didn't post.
Thank you to everyone for your responses. I will be incorporating many of your suggestions when we get our spoo and some immediately.
After I posted my request I realized I could use a lot of these suggestions for my brothers spoo.
My brother and SIL have a spoo puppy born on 10/28/11 who has been coming over to be exposed to cats about once a week. He has already chased the cats and been swatted twice. So I had already placed a babygate on my mom's bedroom 10 inches above the floor. They can come and go but he can't get to them. Today I'm going to implement another one of your suggestions. He will be in my home office (I work from home) with me behind another babygate 10 inches off the floor. Again the cats can come and go but he will stay with me.
He doesn't want to harm them, he just wants to play. The tail is wagging a mile a minute. He just needs to tone it down a bit.
I will be asking a lot of questions I'm sure and I appreciate any and all feedback. I have also sent this forum to my SIL and I am sure she will be joining in.