Dogsitting With 4 Cats in the House

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Dogsitting With 4 Cats in the House

Post by CabrioGir » Tue, 03 May 2011 22:06:50

I have agreed to dogsit in my house for some friends next weekend.
They have a 9-year-old 22 lb Shih Tzu mix, who is very mild-mannered.
I have 4 cats in my house, who have only seen a dog once in person
just for a few minutes, but get along with each other well for the
most part. The one time my neighbor's dog was in the house, only one
of the cats freaked out, but the others were either uninterested or
sniffing curiously. The dog will come with a crate. I plan on keeping
him in the crate in a closed off room at night when I won't be able
supervise interaction between the cats and the dog. The family
includes a young boy, and I have witnessed the dog passively accept
him pulling her ears and tail so I am not worried about her attacking
or chasing the cats if they show any aggression towards her. The dog
is very friendly around humans, but I have been told she doesn't play
with other dogs at dog parks and prefers to stay close to her owners.
I have met the dog a few times and she seems very comfortable around
I would like to make it as comfortable a weekend as possible for all,
and would welcome any advice as to how best to introduce the dog to
the cats. We have a 2000 sq ft house so there should be plenty of
for the animals to have their space, and I plan on keeping the door
my large screened in patio open during the days to allow them more
room to roam. Anything else I could do to make it a happy weekend for
all would be much appreciated.

Dogsitting With 4 Cats in the House

Post by Jo Wo » Wed, 04 May 2011 04:30:20

Crate the dog when you can't supervise, which it sounds like you intend
to do.  I'd keep the dog on a leash when not crated.... just in case.
You can stop the dog from running by stepping on the leash, if you
aren't holding onto it.

My cats always introduce themselves to a new dog.  Dog on leash held by
an *** (the youngster will want to  hold the leash.... but has no clue
about 'reading' animal body language).

The biggest danger would be  if the dog was loose and no way of easily
grabbing it, and a cat started running.  A cat is still Reletively safe
with a small dog if it has easy access to high places...... if the dog
can't get there, too.

One concern with a youngster that age is open door safety.... not being
used to dogs in the house.  You need to get the idea across that no
outside door that isn't into a secure area (screened patio) can be open
unless an *** has the loose dog in physical contact, or the dog is
crated.  Kid should NOT take the dog for a walk alone.  If an ***
holds onto the end of the leash, kiddo can safely hold onto it between
*** and dog..... OR *** holding middle of leash to control the dog
and kiddo holds the end.  (And I have sometimes put a second leash on
the dog... one for kiddo and one for me.)  If your child had more
dog-with-family experience or was older and less impulsive (a fact of
AGE), kiddo could hold leash and *** walks alongside.  Maybe next time
the dog comes to visit.  Maybe.  

Small dogs are amazingly strong!  One of my 18 lb dogs almost pulled a
tiny Japanese lady over,, and I've had a *** shoulder pull from one of
my small guys taking off after a cat during a walk....I didn't see the
cat....  Some of the strength comes not from the dog's weight, but from
angle..... physics is involved.... between human holding leash and dog
on the ground..... and how far the dog runs before it hits the end of
the leash (acceleration rate....).

Kids running around dogs can be a disaster....  This WILL be hard for
your kiddo to remember.  I just spent most of yesterday afternoon with a
troop of 9 yo Girl Scouts and a 7 yo brother, at a demonstration of dog
training and tricks with safety-around-dogs and what different kinds of
dogs were developed to do for humans.   I could tell which ones came
from homes with dogs; they didn't run.... and they didn't walk up and
shove a hand in the dogs face.  Petting is best begun on the dog's
shoulder or side, not reaching out to the top of the head.  (Think about
a huge hand coming into your face or over your head......  and use this,
hand as a claw to teach your youngster.... have him do it to himself.)

Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia