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post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've agreed to take care of a ShihTzu while the owner is renovating her house. It is not yet here so I need some advice.
Some background: The owner loves her dog, but she keeps him caged a lot (can't understand why her family has pets when they are so picky about the mess pets make). I have a small cattery (hardly used since my cats roam free inside and outside) and she said I could keep it there during his stay. Something tells me this is not a good idea.
Second, only one of my 3 cats grew up with dogs. Knowing my kitties, I don't think they will harm the dog, but will probably stay away. However, they will be stressed, so I expect some behavior problems. How can I minimize them?
My main question is this: Since the dog will stay with me for a few months, what is the best way to make the introductions? I don't want him caged (I don't care what the owner says) and will my cats love me less when they meet this intruder?
PS: I am taking the dog out of pity really. The owner has 6 other dogs and you guessed it they are all in cages most of the time.
post #2 of 5
I wouldn't put it in the cattery- nor would I cage it either (poor dog) I would be more inclined to see how it reacts to the other cats and sort of play it by ear. If it indeed has been caged most of its life, it is going to crave company and pets. They are very lovable dogs (usually) If you have a room you could screen off temp to see how he is when cats come close, then we wouldn't be in a small cage and he would feel a part of your home. If you or someone you know is crafty, taking chicken wire and framing it into a door works great to contain an animal and make it still feel a part of things.
post #3 of 5
I know, I know, as cat people, the idea of caging one of our furkids is horrid! But dog people swear by it. Since a dog lives in dens, the cage becomes their den. And if the dog is used to being caged, that becomes their safe-place. That is where they go to sleep and feel safe since nothing can get behind them.

The cattery may work. The dog needs to be able to stretch out, stand up, and walk in and out. Put a blanket in the bottom and take out any shelves. Is there anyway to bring the dog's cage from home?? That would work the best.

Personally, all my dogs have had the run of the house once they were old enough. I caged the puppies to give them security and make the housebreaking easier. I haven't had a dog since I moved out of my mom's house. Maybe its time??
post #4 of 5
Our German Shepherd has a cage and she sleeps in it every night, BUT the door is never closed. She goes to the cage on command (usually when we have someone come to the house) and stays inside on command even if the door is open. We never command her to go to bed, we just say "Let's go to bed" and she will automatically go into her cage, turn around and lie down. (The cage is HUGE) But again, the door is always left open. We trained her this way, and we use the cage for incoming kittens so they will get used to her quickly as well and the process works.
post #5 of 5
Shih Tzu's are fairly small, but I would keep a soft muzzle available during introductions. If the dog hasn't been around cats before, he might not know what to do with them and could snap at them. Having introduced both puppies and adult dogs to my cats in the past, one important thing for them to recognize is that you are the alphas in the family, and the cats are part of your pack. You will need to ensure the dog knows his place in the hierarchy.

For our new puppy (we are still relearning all of this), it is the simple things like feeding ourselves first, then the cats, and the puppy last. When we take him for walks, we must be the first in and out of the door. He's young still, but beginning to catch onto his place. When he chases the cats (he thinks they are his littermates), he gets stopped with his first approaching step (he actually crouches down in a stalk position) and redirected to his toys.

As far as kenneling goes, I've been given a lot of strong advice to get him used to being crated. I agree with MA on this topic - I want the kennel to be his safe place and sleep place but don't want to close the door on him. If this dog has been crated all his life, he might be comfortable with it and being in a strange environment might welcome the safety. I would ask for his kennel and some strong smelling clothes from his owners to place in there while you have him. He might suffer from separation anxiety for a while. Bring as much of his world with him when you take him in (bowls and everything).

Is the dog shaved? Shih Tzu's can have long coats that need a lot of grooming everyday. If you aren't willing to do this, ask that he is shaved before you take him.
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