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Kitten and puppy...is this a problem?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi guys! Situation in a nutshell...3 adult cats, 3 kittens about 3 months old. Introduce 6 week old chocolate lab puppy (Snickers). All of the cats either ignore or stay clear of Snickers except for kitten Gizmo. He made friends with Snickers immediately after we brought her home. And now, he's become her living chew toy! Snickers actually bites his ear or his neck and shakes back and forth! And the stupid kitten just goes limp and takes it. If I separate them, he goes running back for more. My husband says Gizmo will let her know when enough is enough, but I'm worried. Gizmo runs sometimes then comes right back and stalks her. Snickers is younger than Gizmo but much heavier. Should I be worried? Anyone been through this?
post #2 of 14
Okay the whole mouth shaking thing NEEDS TO STOP. That kind of play should not be allowed. You need to monitor them, I would never leave them alone until your cat is big enough to semi defend itself.

I had a puppy and kitten, the puppy[13 weeks rotti cross] always made the cat[14 weeks] scream a bit [chewing too hard] as she matured she learned not to bite so hard, and they still play all the time [both are a year old now]. I would definitley NOT allow the shaking, and you should teach her the word "gentle" so she can learn to play gently.



Those are my kids ^^
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Believe me, I separate them when the shaking starts! I say a firm "NO" and give Snickers one of her own toys, but like I said Gizmo goes running back for more. I don't want to get physical with the puppy because I know that isn't a good training technique but I don't know what to do. Maybe giving her a toy isn't a good idea? Could she think its a reward? Should I just separate them and ignore her?

Your kids are adorable, by the way! It gives me hope!
post #4 of 14
Dogs are known to go into prey drive with a cat or kitten. Many cats have been killed that way. I would wait until the kitten is older to let him around the dog. It can happen in a split second before you can even stop it. Its not to say they wont be friends eventually, but as long as the dog is exhibiting aggressive behavior towards the kitten, I would wait until the kiten is a bit older.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Believe me, I separate them when the shaking starts! I say a firm "NO" and give Snickers one of her own toys, but like I said Gizmo goes running back for more. I don't want to get physical with the puppy because I know that isn't a good training technique but I don't know what to do. Maybe giving her a toy isn't a good idea? Could she think its a reward? Should I just separate them and ignore her?
You don't have to get physical with her, but I would tell her "NO!" let the kitten recoup. If the kitten comes back for more, again, watch them if Snickers starts trying to shake her, agin "No!" I think substituting the toy is okay, but Snickers needs to learn how to play with the kitten, and she's just playing too roughly. I don't think she's intentionally trying to hurt the kitten, LiLo has tried that a couple of times on Napolean, I just think it sounds like Snickers is getting a little too excited. Once the kitten is older, this shouldn't be so bad since the kitten will be able to fight back more, for now I would work on teaching Snickers how to play with the cat.
post #6 of 14
I agree STOP the mouth thing now. Labs are "puppies" a long time and never realize how big they are or they can hurt. Your pup should learn the command "LEAVE IT" - which will come in handy many times. Leave it means to ignore person, dog, cat, others, etc. or to ignore whatever is on the ground that is so interesting!

The dog could seriously hurt the kitten by shaking it back and forth. You need to refocus the lab to other toys - not live ones!
post #7 of 14
Puppies play with each other by chewing on each other. Snickers doesn't have another puppy to play with but he does have a willing kitten.

I agree with others to stop the play when the shaking starts. Never let them alone together. I have witnessed kittens being killed by being shaken, and it doesn't take much of a shake. Dogs will do it to snap their spine and kittens bones are not very sturdy.

I wouldn't worry long term about it - you just need to get past the baby age with both of them. A lab is a smart dog and Snickers will come to love the cats as part of his pack.

I'd love to see some pictures!!
post #8 of 14
Quote:
I agree STOP the mouth thing now. Labs are "puppies" a long time and never realize how big they are or they can hurt. Your pup should learn the command "LEAVE IT" - which will come in handy many times. Leave it means to ignore person, dog, cat, others, etc. or to ignore whatever is on the ground that is so interesting!
Too true! One of the best things I ever taught my own pup [comes in handy too to make sure they don't eat something bad lying on the ground when you're out and about].

Quote:
I'd love to see some pictures!!
Me too!
post #9 of 14
When I was young, we had a Collie/Lab mix that did the same thing, and our kittens would behave the same way. We kids thought it was cute, but my dad put a stop to it immediately (on the pup's end). Nothing physical, just a stern, no-doubts-about-obeying command of "Drop it!". The dog grew up to be an excellent watch dog - totally trustworthy around cats, chickens, horses, toddlers - but kept away raccoons, coyotes & mountain lions.
I'm also waiting for pics! I'm enjoying Plebayo's crew's pics meanwhile.
post #10 of 14
Like others have said, you must stop the shaking. This is how dogs inadvertently kill smaller animals. This happened to my girlfriend's rabbit - their new puppy killed it with the bite-and-shake thing - completely unintentional but there you are. It's what they do to smaller prey.

Labs have extremely strong heads and necks, and a quick shake could kill your kitten - and I know you don't want this to happen! They're too young to be unsupervised - don't even let it get to the point where they have to be separated. The teaching needs to start now and it needs to be firm and consistent, positive rewards for the right thing - but NO shaking!

You won't be able to stop your puppy from mouthing - it's what puppies do - but with the correct attention and careful training you can teach bite inhibition, what is appropriate to mouth and chew and what isn't, and eventually in the right time frame your pup will grow out of it naturally, as they do. So, for example, it is perfectly acceptable to mouth and chew his toys designed for that purpose, but kittens and hands and shoes (for example) are not to be chewed at all - period! He will learn extremely quickly the difference, and a disaster could be warded off as well
post #11 of 14
Another trick is to put a little bit of Bitter Apple spray on the back of the kittens neck (on the fur). Kitten can't reach that area to lick and the next time pup gets a taste of Bitter Apple, he will find quite a surprise and figer that kitty is "yucky" to bite!
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! Snickers is getting MUCH better about playing nicer w/ Gizmo the last few days. I never leave them alone together...when we're not home or in the shower or anything Snickers is in her crate. But, boy I'm learning that raising a puppy is a lot harder and more time consuming than raising kittens! Now, if only I could get Gizmo to stop attacking Snicker's tail! I didn't think about bitter apple. I used to use it with my bunny I had a few years back to keep her from chewing on things. I don't know about putting it on the kitten (since she and her siblings groom each other) but it will definitely come in handy for shoes and other things.

Pictures will be coming soon! Hubby "misplaced" the digital camera (which means its lost somewhere in the mess he calls a car!) but I'll dig it out when he gets home from work and try to post some tonight.

Thanks again for all the advice!
post #13 of 14
Lol!! Welcome to the entirely different world of dogs!! It'll only get harder so I hope you can stick with your Snickers - I'm sure you will, but many people don't. Dogs are HARD WORK.

The best advice I can give you as a trainer, a dog owner, and a dog adorer is to start early. Teach him the things NOW you want him to know as he gets older - with puppies so much more than with kittens, the lessons they learn in babyhood stay with them forever, and its very important to instill them now while they're learning everything for the first time - ie, not jumping up, appropriate mouthing, not barking, sleeping in his bed (or crate) toilet training, good leash manners - all the things you want for him to be a well behaved dog. Un-teaching bad habits in dogs is so hard, teaching them well from the start is so easy (relatively!).

And also - get books and read and read about dogs. They really are so different to cats and need so much time and attention. Jan Fennell's The Dog Listener is one of the best ones out there, and IMO no one should have a dog without reading that book!

Good luck and enjoy! Snickers will bring you joy like nothing else you've previously known, (and tears and frustration too - but mostly joy!)
post #14 of 14
Dogs are smart, she will know that this is wrong if you were strict with her! She will know that by ur voice tone and ur looks!


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