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Old 09-29-2013, 09:46 AM
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Default Introductions yet?

Our foster kittens are barricaded in our bathroom. We have a box of blinds in front of the door (the babies are small enough to squeeze under it) with the Kitty litter container pushed against it.
Every time we open the door Penny tries to run out. Several escape attempts have been made. When I go in I have to push her back, Gracie looks in but stays back until the door is closed. When I get inside the bathroom I have to put something in front of the door so Penny will not get out. Gracie lays on the other side, sometimes whining. The other day Penny was looking under the door at Gracie.
When Gracie hears them playing she sits in front of the door, occasionally crying.
Several times we have caught Gracie trying to move the blind and Kitty litter from in front of the door.
This morning while I was getting dressed Maggie (my ten year old) hollers. I run in to my bedroom to find Resa in Gracie's crate. I take Gracie outside. Gracie had moved the barricade. She didn't bark at them, just stood in front of the crate looking. Although that could be because Resa was puffed up. Penny was under the bed.
Should we try introductions yet or move them to the girls' bedroom (more easily secured and easier to keep an eye on)? Resa is scared of Gracie but Penny is very curious about her.
Gracie hasn't barked or growled any just whining, crying and trying to let them out of the bathroom.
OPINIONS PLEASE
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:40 AM
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How old are the kittens?

If you do intros I would suggest having the dog on leash, laying down, while you feed treats for her staying down (assuming she is not possessive about food with other animals). You just want to make sure you keep her arousal levels down and her being able to stay in a down will hopefully let you know she is still calm enough to be there. Basically do a sort of "Look at That" type thing. Let her look at kitty, then prompt her to look at you for a treat, repeat. Again her being able to look at you will let you know she's not too aroused.

Eventually a kitten will come close enough for her to sniff so you'll need to keep a VERY close eye on her body language. You don't want tensing or fixation. You also don't want the dog to be afraid and avoiding looking at the kittens either.

If you are really worried you may want to first put a kitten in a crate and let her sniff that to see how she reacts. You could also do the first face to face intro using a muzzle if you think she may grab one. You could put up a gate in front of the kitten room and let her watch them through the gate to see her reaction (though you'd want someone with the kittens and someone with the dog to make sure no one goes over the gate.

I guess it all depends on what you think!
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:50 AM
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I'm trying to find a good video of an introduction but they are all terrible. The dogs are either loose and scaring the poop out of the cats or the dog is forced too close to the cat and looks TERRIFIED, some to the point where I thought the dog was going to snap and bite the kitten in the head. So if you want to see how not to do it go to youtube lol.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:47 AM
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The kittens are 5 and 6 weeks old. To begin with we had a babygate up. Gracie would stand and watch them, sometimes crying. We sat with the kittens petting her over the gate. Or I would have my girls with the kittens and I'd stay out with her and pet her.
But then Penny learnedly how to jump over the gate. We moved them to my bathroom. She has smelled them through a crate. Resa hisses at her but Penny is relaxed. After they're in the crate a few minutes after smelling them she ignores them. When they have gotten loose she is very fixated on them, but I think it's because they're running around. When I held Penny butt first to her, Gracie tried to put her mouth around her. That scared me so we haven't done any more since then.

Thank you Maxy
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:08 PM
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It really depends on the dog. I introduced Cara to Dobby the day I brought him home because he was content to lay down and ignore him until he felt comfortable enough to approach her. I waited with Adele until he was more comfortable and I had time to sit with her on a leash giving lots of cookies for ignoring the kitten.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:18 PM
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She ignores them after just a few minutes when they're in the carrier. So lay her down on leash, let the kittens walk around and reward her when she ignores them? Try to keep her focused on me with talking, sits and downs? How long should first session be if she is obsessed? Should I do them in the carrier more first?
Thank ya'll for responding!
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Old 09-29-2013, 03:50 PM
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If she's obsessed keep it short or else her arousal will just increase. But if she ignores them in the crate quickly I don't foresee a huge problem unless movement triggers a prey drive response.

Once you have them out with her you should have a good idea of how to continue (or not). If she's simply a little curious you may not have to continually keep her attention, you can let her sniff them and if she doesn't pull back on her own after a couple seconds ask for her attention and treat (even shove the treat in front of her nose and move it so she follows). It's more if she's getting worked up or fixating, you want to be able to get her back. You also don't want her going into play mode at this point, she's big, their little, it could end badly if she slaps one with a paw so breaking her attention will keep her from getting into that behavior.

You also need to be careful of how she reacts to them if they react poorly, for some dogs a cat fluffing up and hissing is going to rile them up. She may get swiped at too and you want her to pull back when that happens, not get aggressive. I'd intro with just the calm kitten first and if she's a rock star with that one you can do the nervous one. If Gracie seems nervous don't let the kitten touch her. Pet the kitten so it's behind faces Gracie and she may feel comfortable to lean forward and sniff kitty's bottom.

We thought our dog would be nuts when he met our kitten for the first time, he was just a hyper very excitable dog and chased cats outside. We had him lie down for treats, he was obviously excited but after a thorough sniffing he calmed down considerably and it was obvious he wasn't going to cause a problem. So give it a try and if you don't like how things are going end it and come up with another plan.
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:20 PM
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I'm thinking we'll practice moving them in their crate in to the living room. So far I put them in the crate when I 'm cleaning out their room. After a sniff Gracie lays down while I'm vacuuming. Tomorrow I think I'll try putting them in the living room while I vacuum (them in the crate) and give Gracie a treat when she ignores them. So far when she's seen them through the doorway or over the gate she's been very excited, that makes me nervous.
When the kittens escaped Resa got in Gracie's crate, the door was open and Gracie didn't go in after her. I think she may be scared when they fluff up at her. The time Penny got over the gate Gracie did chase her some but when I got a hold of Gracie she stopped.
I just want to make sure I do this right!!!
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:58 PM
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Doing okay so far....we brought the kittens out in to the living room in their crate. Gracie smelled them one then ignored them.
Let them out of the crate, DH held on to Gracie. The kittens were terrified. Resa puffed up and Penny hid under the couch. With a lot of coaxing they explored and finally played some.
James laid down beside Gracie and held her close, she was very fixated on them. She whined some and wagged her tail some. Sometimes my husband just held the leash. He told her no when she seemed too excited and petted her when she was calmer. We left them out for around 20 minutes this time.
What do you think, did we do okay?
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