"the greatest work we will ever do will be within the walls of our own home."

Tag: training tips

{Introducing Keke – Part 2}

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 ┬ábecause 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.
IMG_4712This 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 ­čÖé 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.

┬á“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.

Some more tail hunting. Buster hates it.

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.



Coco and Keke playing

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.

xo, E

{Introducing Keke – Part 1}

When Sean and I first started discussing if we should let Hayden have a cat or not, our first biggest concern (of course) was our dogs. We have 4 very large dogs that are all older (7 and 6) and haven’t spent a whole lot of time around cats. Being that they are Pitbulls and a Dutch shepherd, we had concerns, not because we thought they would intentionally hurt the cat but one wrong move and all could be very bad! We had originally wanted to adopt an older cat. But after much thought we decided a kitten would be best for our family/situation.

  1. A kitten would be less afraid of the dogs. Where as a rescued cat may have had a bad experience with a dog.
  2. A kitten would be more likely to play with Hayden.
  3. The dogs were more likely to adjust to a baby rather than a full grown cat.
  4. And ultimately, it was all about finding “the right” cat. And we did, and she happens to be a baby!

When we first brought Keke home we wanted her to be able to check the place out.
So first we 1)Separated The Dogs. We put them outside for a bit to let Keke walk around and check out her new house. (Because we live in Arizona and its 110 outside, this was short – maybe 20-30minutes)


Keke’s “Safe Place”. We don’t have the third level up because she’s pretty small still.

Next, we needed to┬á2)Create A Safe Place. We chose to use a kitty casita (shown in the photo). Luckily for us I work for a pet resort, so we were able to borrow a nice big 3 story cage that she could stay in and be safe. Keke loves this thing! It’s $150 on PetEdge and we will probably end up buying one of our own. We ┬áhave it in Hayden’s room and leave the doors to the cage open but close Hayden’s door while we are out of the house. Our dogs stay in crates while we are away also. So it’s just extra protection. Doggies are safe in their crates. Kitty is safe in Hayden’s room. Honestly, I don’t see this ever changing. I’m a firm believer in crate training (and supervised playtime) Some think crate training is “cruel”. I find it necessary. But I’ll save that for another post. (Also, please note in the photo, yes, that is a diaper box. Hayden said she needed a “house” so we cut a hole in the side and she actually loves it!)

The next day we 3)Introduced The Dogs To Kekes Smell. I used the blanket she had been sleeping on. I brought it out to the dogs and let them all sniff it like crazy! I also let the dogs come in to Hayden’s room (without Keke in there) and let them smell her cage and all its things (toys, litter box, bed etc.)

After that, we 4)Let Them See Each Other. Keke actually did amazing with this. She was not phased by the dogs at all. Which helped ALOT! I would say, if your kitty is freaking out, you’re moving too fast!!!! For our situation it was more about the dogs getting use to the cat. So we held Keke and had our dogs (ONE AT A TIME) sit next to us and let them sniff. If they were too excited or pushy (which did happen) I put them in a down-stay until they collected themselves.

This is where we are at in our process so far and we’ve had Keke for almost a week. Some might think we are taking too long… But I don’t want Keke to have a bad experience with the dogs or vice versa, because that will take SO much longer to correct, so we are really just taking our time with it. Also in there, Keke was spayed, so we took a couple days off of introductions.

I’ll post our next steps soon!

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