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The Dog Decision

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm finally going to be living somewhere with a fenced in yard starting this weekend, so the boyfriend and I are looking into getting a dog.

The problem is the only dogs that he things are "attractive" are basically husky and malamute type dogs. I love all dogs but his dog love is very specific much to my dismay. I think these northern breeds are beautiful, but I'm concerned about introducing them to our cats.

I've read a lot about the breed and the process of introducing dogs and cats, but I'm still a bit nervy about it. One of the dogs we're considering is about 9 months (Male, malamute) but is really shy (we have to make sure he doesn't have any fear aggression before we take him) and the other is about 3 months (female malamute). Is this young enough for them to get socialized with the cats?

I will have a yard, but the fence will not be high enough to leave a mal outside unattended, so it will be an indoor pup.

My cats are both a little under 2 and are used to new situations and people (this will be our 4th home together in 2 years and our LAST for a LONG TIME). They like to run and play but can be a bit skittish as well. (Both female spayed DSH). The older cat had major issues when I had a foster cat, but they were all three female and the foster cat had just had kittens and was in "mother" mode.

Any advice would be helpful.
post #2 of 10
I have solilized a nearly 4 yr old terrier to a cat ... it can be done ... read all the intro articles on here
post #3 of 10
Warning: Huskies are HUNTERS. There are some that get along with cats, but not many. Huskies were bred for stamina. Do you have the time to exercise and train your dog? Without adequate exercise and training your dog will drive you bonkers with his energy! Also, huskies are known for climbing/digging out of fences. If you leave your husky outside unattended for even a few minutes, he could be over that fence and gone. Also, huskies blow their coats twice a year. That means HEAVY shedding twice a year (big, gigantic tufts of hair everywhere, tons more than the cats). Can you deal with that? Huskies are a very strong-willed breed and need firm but not harsh handling.

Anyways, just some things I thought I'd mention. Hope everything works out ok!
post #4 of 10
Mals are hunters also. high prey drive. But mine lives with a cat. Inside cats are different than outside cats to him. He wants to EAT outside cats. Be very careful with your introductions and even though the dog is terrified of Harriet, I still do not leave them unattended together. Not worth it! All it takes is one flip of a "switch" and Cash is in prey mode and Harriet is a goner.

I would just like to mention (and I'm sure you've done research) that these dogs are working dogs with working mentalities. They will blow you off, run away, tear, dig, chew and howl.

Mals, especially (since I'm a mal gal) don't give a rat's butt what you think. they were bred to think independently and make their own decisions. they will do what you want if it suits them. They respond well to positive reinforcement training, esp. clicker training b/c they love food.

They are VERY VERY pack oriented and LOVE to be with their people. They are prone to same-sex dog aggression and leadership on your part is a must. If you don't assume a leadership role then they will and you'll have a problem.

I put huskies and mals in the "don't ever let off leash in an uncontained area" catergory. They will run off. Again, not only do they not care what you want them to do, they have a natural roaming instinct, and a high prey drive. And they're escape artists so if they're bored and lonely --whop! Over the fence they go.

They need a good bit of exercise and training. Don't skip either and it goes without saying that they need to be inside with you.

I just love Mals Hope they're right for you, but do make sure theyr'e right for b/c they're not the easiest dogs in the world.
post #5 of 10
I personally think that you can get any breed to adjust to cats. I had 2 greyhounds with 11 cats - greys were trained for 1000 years to hunt down small furry animals and we peacefully co-existed.

It's all about the authority you place over your dog and the unconditional obedience you demand from them, of couse all of this tempered with love. All dogs are pack animals and are motivated to be a good member of a pack. You can exert yourself as alpha without being overbearing or cruel about it.

What ever dog you decide to adopt, get yourself and the dog to a good obedience class and remember its more for your benefit, not the dogs. I also highly recommend "The Dog Listener" by Jan Fennell. Her philosphy is right on when it comes to dogs.
post #6 of 10
German Shorthaired Pointers have a high prey drive. They love to run & chase. I've got a mix(mostly GSP) who attacked cats at first. After work & persistence & 6 months, she just chewed on the kitties a little bit. It took over a year to get her to completely leave the cats alone. One can now walk past her 3 years later & she will not even look at it.

Any dog you get can be problematic with cats.
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
I personally think that you can get any breed to adjust to cats. I had 2 greyhounds with 11 cats - greys were trained for 1000 years to hunt down small furry animals and we peacefully co-existed.
I also have two greyhounds, and agree with Momofmany. I'm not sure about malamutes, but with greyhounds (also considered a 'high prey drive' breed), there is only a very small percentage that can never be trusted around cats. Most respond well to some training.

In my personal experience -- it really helps to have a cat who is willing to 'lay down the law'. When I adopted both of my greyhounds, my resident kitty made it clear that she was the boss. Five+ years later, both dogs give her a very wide berth.

I'm with Fats McGee on the supervision aspect. When I am not around to supervise, I do separate my dogs and kitties. I anticipate that I will do this indefinitely. It just gives me peace of mind -- you can never completely predict how a dog or cat will behave, IMO.

Good luck!
post #8 of 10
I agree that it's all about the training and reinforcement. At least you're getting this dog as a puppy, so will be able to lay down the "no chasing cats" law right from the start.
I've seen all kinds of dogs peacefully coexisting with their cats. Some dogs need more work than others though. At least you and your BF are well educated on this issue and prepared for the work it will take.
post #9 of 10
you could also rescue an adult (from a rescue that temperament tests their dogs) and ask for one that is good with cats. That is what I would do. You may also request to see him in the presence of a cat to make sure you like his reaction or see if he was fostered with cats and ask to see him at the foster home with the kitties and of course once you bring him home do a proper intro to your cats. You should teach him the leave it command so if he starts to chase or looks to intensely at a cat you can get his attention on you and away from kitty. I think it can be done. If you are set on a purebred then yes you can work it out with a puppy just make sure you are very consistent with your training.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am not set on a purebred, I would honestly prefer a mutt, they are such good dogs usually. But the BF wants a "wolfy" looking dog. We are mostly looking into puppies because I think it will be MUCh easier to get them to accept the cats. But we plan to do obedience training, long walks and keep the dog and cats separate when we aren't around.

Thanks everyone for your feedback, I just needed reassurance. Too many horror stories.
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