Bailey and I had a lovely drive home (~100 miles). When we first got in the car, he climbed into my lap. I had to call for help, because I couldn't stop laughing OR get him off of me I barely weigh more than he does. He sat secured away in the back for the rest of the ride, with lots of scritches along the way. We stopped at the Feeders Supply to get him a few more things, where he proceeded to poop and pee all over the place. No big deal, everyone does it. That's why they have clean up stations! He was sweet and friendly to all the people and dogs he met, big and small. Good so far.
When we got home, he checked out the yard, and then I brought Roxy out. They both pooped and peed all over the place, with Bailey more curious about the surroundings than he was about Roxy (who jumped all over him trying to get him to play). I brought him into the house and let him explore, again with Roxy jumping all over him and him not really appearing to notice. Whenever I sit down, he sits right next to me and snuggles. Good so far.
So now we are gated into my office and I decided to let the cats out while Bailey is safely locked in sight, but unable to get to the cats. Unfortuanately, it's as if he's never seen a cat. He's all growels and snarls and barks and hackels and the cats are TERRIFIED. (One is a 9 week old kitten.) Not so good.
He was supposed to be okay with cats... should I not panic (yet)? HELP!

Lynne
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Okay, it just got worse. The kitten put his nose to the gate from the other side and Bailey attacked him. Fortunately I had my hand on Bailey's collar and pulled him back and the kitten ran.
This is NOT good...

Lynne
Lynne,
I'm sure he'll be fine, it can sometimes just take a bit of time. How old is Bailey? It may take longer (maybe up to several weeks) if he's an adult and hasn't been socialised to cats. Also, what breed is he?

The most important thing is to reward Bailey (and the cats!) for appropriate behaviour and reprimand him for bad behaviour. Rewarding should be in the form of a food treat, and to reprimand a loud noise is good - I use a loud "UP-UP".
Don't let the cats get so close to Baileys gate at first. He may be trying to protect his space and you. Let a cat out for a short time but don't let it get too close to Bailey. Don't pick the cat up though as he may see it as something that belongs to you that can be stolen. If Bailey is aggressive, reprimand him, don't give him any attention for a while and take the cat away. Keep trying until he is silent when the cat comes in. As soon as you see this non-aggressive behaviour reward him and tell him what a good boy he is. Reward the cats too. Keep doing this for several days until Bailey shows no concern about the cats being in the room.
Next, put Bailey on a leash and do the same thing. Reward when theres no fighting from either the cats or dog. Reprimand strongly if there is any aggression. Usually as soon as the dog gets his first scratch on the nose he realises his place is below the cats anyway.
Finally, after showing no aggression for several days when he is on the leash you can let him off and repeat the process with the treats. Depending on how much you trust him you may never want to leave them together when you go out. Also, don't let the cats get close to the dog when he's eating.

Good luck and don't make him too fat with all those treats (I recommend small dry cat food). Let us know how it goes.
Iain
www.pawstoplay.com.au
Dog Walking and Pet Minding in Sydneys Inner West
Okay, it just got worse. The kitten put his nose to the gate from the other side and Bailey attacked him. Fortunately I had my hand on Bailey's collar and pulled him back and the kitten ran. This is NOT good...

What a bummer!
I went back and re-read the post where you met him. Didn't say anywhere that you saw his interactions with cats. Do you know that he has gotten along with cats before?
Suja
I went back and re-read the post where you met him. Didn't sayanywhere that you saw his interactions with cats. Do you know that he hasgotten along with cats before?

I was told he got along with cats, but I did not observe this myself.

Today I learned that the cats he has been around are barn cats and they have never been indoors with him. I'm not convinced he had any interaction with them at all, knowing barn cats. I guess I should have been more specific? I was clear that my cats are indoor cats and that one is a tiny kitten. I also stated that we sleep in the bed with my dog and the cats. I'm honestly not sure what else I could have said. Obviously I should have asked more in depth questions. Hindsite is a ***.
One of my primary requirements in a dog is one who has been around cats and who is disinterested in them. I made this clear up front and we discussed this in respect to Bailey. Bailey was extremely aggressive towards them. It scared me. Bailey is now back at the rescue. I cried the whole way back with him, because he is perfect in every other way (really amazing, actually), but our cats are as important to us as are our dogs.
When I talked to the director of the rescue, she said she would have beaten him for that behavior. That's not my style at all, and I can't imagine that would be a good foundation for trusting, secure relationship for Bailey.
I feel like I failed him. My daughter hates me. It doesn't help that her hamster died while she was on her trip and I had to tell her tonight.

Oh, and I ate the $300 adoption fee. Despite that, I donated some of the things I bought for Bailey to the rescue. We're going to take a break from looking for a dog. I'm thinking of going to the shelter and getting a mutt puppy instead of an adult... at least any behavioral problems would be of my own doing. Judging by how Roxy behaves, it's nothing I couldn't live with.
sigh

Lynne
I'm sure he'll be fine, it can sometimes just take a bit of time. How old is Bailey? It may take longer (maybe up to several weeks) if he's an adult and hasn't been socialised to cats. Also, what breed is he?

Hi Iain,
Thank you so much for the advice. Bailey is a ~4 year old Labrador Retriever. He was bought at a Puppy Mill auction and has been in rescue for a bit. Unfortunately, I was under the impression he had been socialized to cats. This was one of my primary requirements...

I do appreciate you taking the time to write to me. I hope your advice will help someone else in a similar situation.

Lynne
Lynne, please forgive me, as I'm not thinking very clearly at the moment, but IMO, you did not fail Bailey. There are not that many linguistic nuances re: cat safety, and I think you expressed your needs clearly enough. If Bailey was aggressive toward your cats, then clearly he was not well enough socialized with them. Don't beat yourself up about this; it appears that perhaps the first rescue group was right in cautioning you. There *is* a dog out there that's right for you, and it shouldn't be that difficult for you to find.

Mustang Sally
Lynne,
Fist thing I want to say is how truly sorry I am that this didn't work out for you. This is so heartbreaking. Damn.
I was told he got along with cats, but I did not observe this myself. Today I learned that the ... sure what else I could have said. Obviously I should have asked more in depth questions. Hindsite is a ***.

Totally untrue. You asked perfectly FINE questions. And if the rescue didn't know how he would have done with indoor cats, they simply should have said "I don't know". From what I read, you communicated your needs very well.
One of my primary requirements in a dog is one who has been around cats and who is disinterested in ... perfect in every other way (really amazing, actually), but our cats are as important to us as are our dogs.

I always think of it as a prior commitment. Each animal that I accept into my home as a permanent resident gets to stay. Period. And its my job to insure that no one who comes in after that will put them in jeopardy or make their lives miserable in any basic way. To me, that's just what's fair to the animals that share my home. I don't fault you for making that same decision.
When I talked to the director of the rescue, she said she would have beaten him for that behavior.

Wow.
That's not my style at all, and I can't imagine that would be a good foundation for trusting, secure relationship for Bailey.

Especially within hours of taking him into your home?!?!?

I'm also shocked that she's basically recommending beating a dog to an adopter. I;m baffled by that.
I feel like I failed him.

You didn't. You really really didn't.
My daughter hates me.

Well, she's young, and she's really heartbroken. She's got to blame whoever its safest to blame. She'll move on from that.
It doesn't help that her hamster died while she was on her trip and I had to tell her tonight.

Basically, you've had THE suckiest day.
Oh, and I ate the $300 adoption fee.

Why on earth did you do that? You had the dog less than 12 hours. How could they possibly justify keeping your money?
That just strikes me as unfair.
Despite that, I donated some of the things I bought for Bailey to the rescue. We're going to take a ... behavioral problems would be of my own doing. Judging by how Roxy behaves, it's nothing I couldn't live with. sigh

I am soo sorry you're going through this. Take a deep breath. Forgive yourself (though there's nothing to forgive), and remember why you're doing this.
What a mess for you to deal with. Hot bubble baths and a good night's sleep might not cure anything, but it'll make things a little easier to take.
Tara
I guess I should have been more specific?

Nah. I can't imagine that anybody reasonable thinks that the default cat situation is "barn cat."
Look, cats and dogs can go really well or they can end up terribly. Some dogs simply cannot learn to live with cats and that's just the way it is. You made a sad choice but, I think, a very wise one.
When I talked to the director of the rescue, she said she would have beaten him for that behavior.

!!! Frankly it sounds like you somehow hooked up with psycho rescue. Jeeze.
That's not my style at all, and I can't imagine that would be a good foundation for trusting, secure relationship for Bailey.

Hell, no.
Dogs have a way of falling into our laps when we're not looking. Keep making good decisions and you'll find the perfect (to you!) dog. In the meantime, climb something hard.

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

What Republicans have done to the US's fiscal health: on go ot/america the bankrupt
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