Introducing new dog into Dog/Cat household


We have a shih-tzu whom we got 5 years ago.

In the spring of '08 we got a new cat. In the summer of '09 she gave birth to 4 kittens (and before anybody flames me she was fixed this fall). We kept one kitten, and the other 3 were sent to homes who would never have gotten a cat through an animal shelter. The one we kept (a male) has an appt. to be fixed early January.

A buddy at work recently had huskie/black lab puppies. I casually mentioned this to my wife, and she is ga-ga over the idea of getting one of these dogs.

We have the room (and financial means) to take care of this dog. Is it a good idea with the cats?

My shih-tzu gets along with anything (you could bring an african lion into the house and as long as he got to sniff its butt he’d be cool). But what about the cats?

Anybody with anecdotal evidence for the pro’s/con’s of introducing a dog into a household with cats?

I have never had trouble with introducing a dog or a cat. I always expected to have trouble but it never materialized. I had 2 beagles when I was given a cat. The first night he hid in the back room where I set up the litter box. The next day he walked out like he owned the place. We have had no trouble.
We have added new dogs or cats several times. When the dogs saw I was serious about them not hurting the cat they went along just fine.

i have 5 dogs and 4 cats indoors. I’ve never had a problem introducing a new dog. Cats can be touchier, but all the dogs get along, and all the cats get along with the dogs. I do watch them together, especially at first, but you’ll be watching the puppy anyway because of housetraining, so it should all work out.

I do say that things run smoothly because I’m the biggest bitch in my pack. They don’t get much say in what I approve in the house.

Good luck with your new puppy!


I had a little difficulty introducing a puppy to my older cats. My cats had all lived with dogs their entire lives, but a 4 month old puppy is a lot different than the older dogs they were used to.

What helped me was to keep them separated via a door gate. I still have half the house gated and off limits to the puppy at times, and he is still not allowed to be alone with the cats. He has a habit of trying to dominate one of them and sucks on her neck fur, and until he quits doing that I won’t trust him to be alone with her.

Data point of one, but when I got my black Lab (24 years ago) and my mom brought her Shih-Tzu over for an extended stay, the Lab seriously inhibited the personality of the Shih-Tzu, which ordinarily had a bubbly personality-would become seriously withdrawn having to compete for attention with this big doofus. When he was a puppy, he would try to play with her, but she would growl and “fight back” and I was never sure if she thought it was playing or fighting.

Your home is, naturally, your dog’s (and cat’s) territory.

While it’s usually not feasible to put your cats on a leash, I’ve heard it helps to bring your existing dog outside, introduce the new dog, and then let them enter the house together.

If the new dog were to enter directly into your home, the old dog might take it as an invasion on his territory.

I think it depends on how the dogs are socialized. City dogs (I live in Chicago) seem to be used to other dogs so it doesn’t bug them as much.

My neighbor bought a puppy over a year ago and the older dog was like 10 or 11 back then, and I was surprised that as soon as the puppy got into the house it started bossing the older dog around. If you put food down, the puppy would simply walk over and push the old dog (and much bigger dog) out of the way, and the old guy was like “Good grief” and walk away.

The old guy is happy to wait for the new one. When they play they get along fine for 10 minutes then the old guy will actually snap and chase the young one off. Apparently when your 12 years old, 10 minutes with a now 2 year old dog is enough :slight_smile:

When I was little we had no issues with the introducing the cat to the dog. The dog barked at it and it ran under the couch. Then we brought the kitten out, and the dog barked at it and the cat climbed on top the couch away from the dog. And the dog barked at it and then said “So that’s a cat,” and that was pretty much it.

The dog and cat then spent the next 10 years pretending the other one didn’t exist. And while they were never friends or enemies, they simply never interacted at all.

We had real problems introducing a dog to a 12-yr old cat. It really was total war (with the cat usually starting it and losing badly; nowadays the dog is the one who starts it).

They solved it themselves by dividing the house into two. The cat never comes downstairs, and the dog never goes upstairs. The cat enters and leaves the house through an upstairs window. The two haven’t met in over a year, and are clearly happy with the current setup.