Finn and intro to a kitten.. suggestions?

Discussion in 'Cat and Pet Forum' started by AllieMackie, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Here's the short story:

    Finn has met two cats, and was good with them. They were full-grown and dog-savvy.

    Matt (the BF) has just rescued a 3-month old kitten. As Finn likes the cats he's met, and the kitten is new to dogs, I feel that if introduced properly, all will be well, and they'll at least be tolerant of one another.

    My only issue is Finn's impulsive behaviour. Matt held the kitten tonight, and the kitten showed curiousness in Finn... until Finn leaped at Matt's legs trying to get to the kitten, tail wagging away. The kitten hissed and tried to clamber up Matt's shoulder. We made a mistake in "introducing" them that way, I'm sure, and I wanted some advice.

    Since Finn is so over-impulsive and the kitten -is- curious about Finn, and I don't want her to be frightened of him, what do you folks feel is a good way to introduce them? The kitten is staying in our bedroom for the time being until she recieves her next booster next week, so keeping them apart for now is no problem.

    Thanks!
     
  2. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    So I don't have a cat... but my cousin recently got a dog whom she had to introduce to a cat (who attacks anything that moves) and I had to walk her through that.

    While the cat is staying in your room.. close your bedroom door and bring Finn just outside your bedroom. This way he can smell the kitten from beneath the door and vice versa. After a few days, while Finn is in his crate bring the cat down and let them sniff at each other through the crate. This way they can see each other, and they can get out any "frustrations" per say with each other. After about a week or so, when you feel like Finn has calmed down to the kitty, let him out to roam and smell the cat (maybe even have him on leash so you can pull him back if need be).

    It's a slow, long process, but it'll stop the new kitten from getting even more stressed!
     
  3. Izzy's Valkyrie

    Izzy's Valkyrie Very Food Agressive

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    Izzy does the same thing with our Jade.... We let Jade get bigger before we let them play too much and they still have to be monitored since Izzy wants to play with her like another dog.
     
  4. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Yeah. Finn is crate trained and June Bug ha the run of our bedroom, so confinement and "crate and rotate" is really no big deal for awhile. I figure we may even have to wait a month or three before formally introducing them with Finn on a lead, or something similar.

    I only get nervous because Finn will want to play with her. And he plays a lot with his paws. And could hurt her REALLY easily. So I'm nervous.
     
  5. GreenFireflyGirl

    GreenFireflyGirl pointer

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    Hey, you and me both! I'm going to be getting a "rescue" kitty in about three weeks if all goes well. A friend found some kittens that she is bottle feeding, and if they are healthy, I will be taking one off her hands soon, and my dog is one of those super happy to play types and I worry about a little kitten. I've been throwing fuzzy toys around a lot lately, saying "leave it" when she gets close, so hoping that the "leave it" is 100% when the kitten comes home.
     
  6. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    Very true, he also goes straight for the face so may try that with her as well...

    Either way, just let me know what's the verdict with that (crate and rotate or whatev) when ya see me before leaving me watching Finn :p Probably be a good thing to know lol
     
  7. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    It's no biggie, simply when one's out, the other isn't. Matt will be around which will help, and kitten CAN stay in the bedroom all day if needed, unlike Finn.
     
  8. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Can you let them get to know each other through a babygate? That was they can really see each other and smell and sort of touch through the mesh but there is still a barrier there to thwart Finn's impulsiveness.
     
  9. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I agree with doing the crate and sniff for a few sessions but I also agree with Zoom about the baby gate. By having the kitten in his room and Finn on the outside of the gate Finn gets to watch the kitties movements (which could entice him to chase) but will get used to the fact that he cannot chase the kitty because of the gate. After a while the movements of the cat will become less foreign and therefore less chase enticing (assuming your dog is not hugely prey driven).

    With Max I also took him into the kitty room and put him into a down and petted his head while the kitty checked out his back end. I made sure he couldn't go and try to shove his face into the cat and stayed lying down as to not scare the cat off. Use treats if you need to to keep him lying nicely.

    Before they have an actual interactive meet give kitties nails a clipping in case he takes a few whacks at Finn's face.
     
  10. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Okay, so we've had a few sessions of intros, and we do have a small batch of problems.

    Finn -likes- the cat, and does not have intent to harm her, which is awesome. However, and this is also a characteristic of his breed... he obsesses over her. When he is out loose with her, he chases her down wherever she goes. If she moves, so does he. His face is always in her face and he glares at her and no distractions can get him away from her.

    I've tried having him on leash, offering his best treats, coaxing him away THEN offering a treat... it doesn't seem to work. He's far too focused on her. I've tried it when he's absolutely exhausted from the dogpark, and his intenseness with her doesn't change at all.

    He hasn't hurt her, but he corners her and doesn't let her move an inch without him being RIGHT THERE which obviously causes her stress.

    They've only met for about 20 minutes at a time. The past two evenings we've allowed her free roam around him while he's crated, and he just obsesses over where she is from in the crate, barking and whining whenever she's close/running past. He is so intense that he's tensing every muscle, and grabbing at his blankets.

    When we roomed her and took Finn out to pee, he was frantic and acting VERY strangely. Coming inside from his pee, he tore down to where his crate is and knocked some stuff over in a full-out spazout. He was really stressed from having her around him while confined.

    I'm frustrated. I think if I can somehow get a grip on Finn's obsessiveness, they would be fine. He LIKES her, he just likes her to the point of obsession.

    Any thoughts?
     
  11. Labyrinth

    Labyrinth New Member

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    One of my dogs has always been the same way whenever a new animal is brought in to the house. She absolutely loves all of them, and when they're new she's just GOT to follow them everywhere. I handled it much the same way you did, and I just kept on her and used her leash or kept them separated by a barrier a lot. Eventually she let up on him (kitten) and they coexist peacefully now. It only took her a couple weeks to settle down, but she was 6 and a half years old at the time.
     
  12. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Have you tried body blocking? Since treats don't work -which I'd expect they wouldn't since he's a border collie- I would start verbal corrections. I know with Blaze, I barely used treats when he was younger, so he doesn't respond much to them. But he KNOWS what an "Ehhhhh AGGGNN" means and responds by stopping what he's doing. Or a growly 'Heeey NO".

    I would try having him on leash, when he starts eyeing the cat and going into that 'prey drive' mode, I would jerk his leash back, body block him, and give him the "Ehhhh AGGN!". Then turn and walk out of the room quickly.

    I had to do that just today with Blaze. I've had problems with Blaze going after the lawn mower. We worked alot on that since it's started, and he's fine now. But just today I was out mowing and Blaze came up and started eyeing it and circling. I gave him a sharp, growly "AGGGGN!!!" a couple times and he left it alone.

    It will probably take a few times of doing this, but hopefully it will help.
     
  13. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I think it'll just take him a while to get used to kitty. How does kitty react when Finn is up his butt? Body blocking might be something to try, though I would not jerk the leash as I am opposed to collar corrections, after all you still want him to like the cat, physically punishing him for showing interest in the cat might not be the best way to build a good relationship.


    I would also get kitty a cat tree so he can get away from Finn. I really do think Finn just needs time for the newness of the kitty to wear off and he'll be fine but we'll all have to see, maybe he won't.

    I would continue with leashing and using gates so that he can get used to seeing the cat and not being able to go after. He will hopefully give up any tantrums he has when he realizes it won't work. In fact if he does calm down his reward could be going to sniff kitty politely for a few seconds on leash.

    But give it time, tell us if there are any changes once he is more used to her.
     
  14. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Speaking from having a Border Collie who has done exactly what Finn is showing signs of, just leaving things to sort themselves out probably won't help any. It would most likely just make his obsession worse.

    A leash correction isn't the end of the world for a dog, and it's okay for a dog to have some physical punishment/correction IMO. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for positive training. But I also think there is a fine balance between the two.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2009
  15. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Another update... we've had some small successes. :)

    Finnegan and the cat DO get along. It's for sure now. Finn is out with the cat for at least 3-4 hours a day, tethered to me on a 6-foot leash so he has lots of space, but can't just mindlessly chase and corner her.

    She has also gained confidence in being near him. Since he was chasing her and cornering her and never leaving her alone, she was becoming very apprehensive about him. But now that he is under control, she happily walks up to him, batting at his tail and sometimes even running up and pouncing on his front legs!

    He takes it in stride. I watch them very closely while they interact, and while Finn is still sometimes a bit too rough with her, he tries hard to play with her. Usually, she winds up between is front legs on her back, batting and grabbing at his nose while he sways his head around and pushes her around a bit with his nose. There is no aggression, and they seem to enjoy playing with each other. <3

    We're certainly not out of the woods. Finn is still VERY much bosessed with her. I don't think it's gotten worse, but now that she plays with him he wants to be around her even more than before. :p When she's not in the room where he's tethered, he whines. This is all happened over the course of four days or so though, so I think they just need more time. The tethering works well in the sense that they can be out together and I can still get work done while watching them out of the corner of my eye.

    I dunno, I'm trying not to be TOO optimistic just in case, but I'm really glad they play well, Finn doesn't intend to harm her, and June Bug enjoys being around him. I think it's a step in the right direction!
     
  16. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    I'm glad he's making progress! :)
     
  17. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    Breakthrough. Huge huge HUGE breakthrough.

    We have a level of harmony. Off leash. Finn can reorient to me with ease off of her, he can see her and not immediately obsess. He can leave her alone and do other things like eat, go outside to play or play with his own toys, with me or alone.

    HUGE.

    He still follows her lots, wants to play with her, but he is now LISTENING to when she gets annoyed, and leaves her be. This is over the past two days, so I'm still watching closely, monitoring, and providing Finn with feedback, but I could cry with happiness. I'm so glad I was consistent and patient and I'm so proud of Finn.

    They'll be fine. :)
     
  18. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    YAY!! that's awesome! :D
     
  19. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Hey that's great to hear, hopefully they'll end up being good friends.
     
  20. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    It just keeps getting better. Last night I was crying with laughter. They were playing games. For awhile, June Bug would start chasing Finnegan (whcih was a new development!) and Finn thought this was heaven on earth. Then he would chase her. Wash, rinse, repeat for a good half hour. Lots of skidding and tag jingling all over the house. :p

    Then, Finn realized that if he carries June Bug's catnip mouse my the tip of the tail, June follows him and bats at it, well, that was an awesome new game. They played that for another half hour. :p She had a lot of fun following him and chasing the mouse!

    I'm so happy I could burst, This is even better than I expected, not only do they get along, but they enjoy playing with each other. <3
     

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