This post has been long over due! We’ve had Keke for almost 3 months now and she has totally blended into our family (with the exception of one dog – which we will get into in a bit). When we introduce a new dog into our house I always start with Matix, my boy, because he really loves everyone. He’s goofy and loves to play and will not react if a new dog growls at him… where as Buster, our other male is quick to put dogs in their place. Generally the order of Meet-N-Greets (for new dogs – because we have never had a cat) goes Matix, Coco, and then depending on new dogs gender Mamas and Buster.
So when we were choosing who to start with on Keke introductions we naturally went with Matix. A little Matix backround – adopted at age 9 months, was fearful of humans, has always gotten along with dogs and even lived with cats for nearly 7 months paying no attention to them. Seems like a no brainer, right? Wrong. About a half a second in to our introductions Matix ignored all his obedience commands and tried jumping for Keke (who was still in Sean’s arms) his intentions at that point in time were unclear.
We moved on to our next choice, Coco. A little Coco background – adopted at 6 months, extremely fearful of men, dog friendly. She was actually Sean and his ex’s dog, when they split, Coco went to live with her. We were told that Coco use to “catch” stray cats in the backyard and also there was an incident with the new boyfriends cat – which nobody really knows what happened because nobody was home. This ultimately led to Coco coming to live with us and we have had her since Feb 2012. So, not ideal, right? You are probably thinking, ‘why in the world did you get a cat?!’ well, ya’ll, I know my dogs, we live in the now and what they did previously holds little ground on who they will be tomorrow. (I mean, Once upon a time Matix use to bite people.) So we started with Coco. I brought Coco in the living room with a slip lead on, put her in a down stay and had cut up turkey dog and string cheese ready. Sean came in the room holding Keke and sat down with her in his lap right next to Coco. Obviously Coco was very interested in seeing and smelling Keke, so all I did was redirect her by calling her name, she’d make eye contact with me, she would get a treat. It only took about a minute for her understand what I was wanting from her, which was to keep her eyes on me and at this point she was fed like a slot machine! Eyes stayed on mom (and off the cat) meant she got a hotdog. *side note. we work obedience a lot in our daily routines. sit and stay before meal time, eye contact before eating, name recall, all that jazz. I would suggest brushing up on your obedience before doing an introduction.
Coco did amazing and after a few minutes (and a few hot dogs) Sean let Keke leave his lap and I kept Coco in a down stay. Repeat, Name call, treat. If she kept eye contact, no name call, just treats.
This was worked for a few days and then we took off Coco’s slip lead and did the same thing. Here’s a photo of her off lead with Keke. As you can see, Keke doesn’t care at all that there is a dog next to her – which has helped this process A LOT! But at the same time, it is also the reason we have gone so slow with this process. I do not want Keke to ever have a reason to fear dogs. Coco is totally focused on the hotdogs in this picture 🙂 A day or two of this and we let Coco up out of her down stay and let her smell and follow Keke around. Randomly, I would call her over and make her down again, simply because I could. Obedience isn’t suppose to be a negative thing. You shouldn’t only call your dog over when they are doing something wrong. You don’t need a reason, other than you want them to come and lay down when asked. Period. And that’s what we work on with our dogs. Obedience – just because.
Next dog we chose was Mamas (with hesitation from me). I don’t give that dog nearly enough credit. A little Mamas background – adopted at a year as a foster. We ended up keeping her because she kept being returned. She was NAUGHTY. Destructive, didn’t listen for anything, constantly pushed limits, she also allegedly bit someone who stuck their hand through the fence to try and hit her with a stick (this story came from the last family she was at which is why we decided not to try and find her another home). She literally did not care one bit. Her introduction went something like this.“OMYGAHHHHH, I’m the only one (dog) in the house right now?! PET ME! Lay down? ok. Leash? are we going for a walk? Hi cat. Is the cat going for a walk with us? PET ME!” and then Keke proceeded to “hunt” Mamas very waggy tail. Mamas and Keke were literally friends the first day they met. So that same day, and a few days after, we had Coco, Mamas and Keke together.
Buster was next and he was ok, super excited about the cat and we took a few extra days with his down stay before we actually let him up. Sometimes, he doesn’t know his own strength, so his idea of playing with the cat is not exactly what Keke has in mind.
We are on a solid month of having Keke out with our PitBulls and it’s going great! While Keke is out Matix is in his kennel and if Matix is out Keke is in Hayden’s room. About a week after we were comfortable with Keke and Buster together we started letting Keke sleep outside of her crate. Matix sleeps in a kennel anyways so that wasn’t a real issue.
There is literally nothing cuter than waking up to Keke and Mamas curled up sleeping together on our bed. Or going in Hayden’s room and seeing Keke curled up by Hayden’s head.
Honestly, we’ve been slacking on Matix’s introduction. A big part of this is wanting Keke to be a little bigger and to really be comfortable with the other dogs. Which she absolutely is! Watching her play with the Pits is hilarious!
Also, Keke likes water, which I thought was uncommon? She has actually jumped in the bath with Hayden to attack her bubbles. She’s a pretty cool cat! We definitely got lucky!
I’ll be sure to update as we get Matix and Keke introduced. I’m sure it’ll be an interesting process.