And Just How Is the New Pup?

She’s not unwell, thanks for asking. By and large Daisy seems to be getting the hang of the Scalzi family, although there’s still work to be done on the “cats are not for eating” score. She’s very attuned to fast movements and, surprise, the cats move quickly around a new dog, so there’s been some chasing, followed by us grabbing the pup and putting her on her back. She’s a pretty smart dog and already seems to have picked up that we’re displeased when she chases a cat, so hopefully this will get resolved sooner than later. I’m sure the cats hope sooner.

Otherwise: a sweetheart of a dog.

44 Comments on “And Just How Is the New Pup?”

  1. She’s cute! Looks like a lil’ ridgeback in there but perhaps it’s just the lean build & coloring.

    Sparky, our dog, was a pup when we got him. George FOreman, the cat, was about 7 or 8. The dog learned to respect him even when he outgrew him. Now they are fast friends. Which sucks for neighborhood cats as they don’t get that Sparky wants to play not eat ’em!

  2. Looking good. Very handsome dog.

    Do you have a crate for daisy? It might not hurt to give her some “chill time” in the crate while the cats are in the room. Just so she can get used to seeing them and not chasing them.

  3. Obligatory reminder that even the Monks of New Skete no longer advocate the “alpha roll”, or putting dogs on their backs.

    Dog training isn’t really about dominance, in spite of Cesar Milan’s stuff. Watch Victoria Stillwell instead.

  4. In my experience, what really helps is for one or the cats to be the ever-loving crap out of the dog. Of course, that only really works if the dog is still a puppy, so not really recommended for Ghlaghee et al. But I have vivid memories of our large tom chasing the new dog through the house, spanking her (claws in) while she ran for her life. He only had to do that once.

  5. This is only very slightly related, but I just realized that, as labrador-mastiff mix, Daisy would be a “Mastador.” Strangely, thinking of that made my day. I lead a pretty boring life.

  6. Janice in GA:

    I don’t know who either of those two people you mentioned are. That said, I’m comfortable with helping a new dog understand she needs to pay attention to me. She’s listening better as regards the cats. I did it with Kodi, too (I put her on her back twice; once involving the cat and once involving an infant Athena) and didn’t have to do it again. I don’t expect it will be a common occurrence with Daisy, either.


    I do expect one of the cats will deal with her thusly at some point; my money is on Lopsided Cat. That said, I’d prefer to avoid bloodshed on either side.

  7. Helloooo…? Just soak the cats in Bitter Apple. Dogs hate Bitter Apple. Problem solved.

    Man. Do I have to think of everything around here?

  8. Yeah, but, how do cats feel about Bitter Apple? I wouldn’t be willing to risk it. A dog might bite you, but a cat will slowly and thoroughly plot your complete and utter destruction.

  9. Congratulations

    I am a first time dog owner (although we’ve now had ours for a few years) & I remember the bit of anxiety I had when we brought her home & I wondered if our cat would survive.

    No bloodshed & no chasing …. however, Zoey (Golden Ret) knows that Scout (cat) is not to be trifiled with.

    And when we go away & take the Zoester with us, Scout always runs up to her first to sniff her out & give her a meow or two.

    People say animals don’t have feelings, but when you hear all the different vocalizations that your animals make, you know when one is happy that the other is home.

    Hope that the blend continues to go well & you have tons of happy memories in your future.

  10. I was going to suggest a high place for the cats to retreat to so they can cast disdainful looks at Daisy safely…then I remembered how big she is. How high are your ceilings?

  11. Great to hear, John! I agree with Janice in GA. Victoria Stillwell has a book (and Animal Planet show) called “It’s Me or the Dog.” She advocates 100% positive reinforcement and I know she’s dealt with the dog/cat issue before. Besides, most dogs get the hint when smacked across the face with a pawful of claws. ;-)

    The problem with rolling a dog or puppy is if you try it with the wrong dog, you may get badly bitten. :-(

    Been in Sheltie Rescue for over a decade and have lots of knowledge/resources/contacts. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. :-D

  12. It helps to put the cats in kitty carriers so that they and the dog can check each other out safely. Then Daisy can get a good sniff and get treats for being chill around cats. The cat may be too nervous for treats, but once the cat chills out, it’s treats all around. Did Kodi totally leave the cats alone, or did she chase them some? Our dogs and cats all get along well, but there’s still some chasing in the evenings (and I think the cats are willing participants, the way they seem to deliberately saunter by).

    Pay no attention to the dog trainer wars.

  13. She looks like a great dog. I have raised a few female yellow labs, and I think they’re great dogs. Our latest was a rescue dog like yours, and she has been wonderful.

    I hope she brings a lot of joy to your lives.

  14. Aww, pretty puppy!

    My Jack – a lab/border collie/pitbull mix – chased the cats ONCE. Lulu, the youngest cat, bitchslapped him, and that was that. Now, Lulu bosses Jack around, and Bailey, the elder cat, sleeps on him.

    My favorite part of any day involves finding the three of them piled up somewhere, snoring.

  15. Congrats on the dog! I had a major issue with our dog meeting our cat for the first dozen times. He was used to chasing squirrels his whole life, and well, cats are just bigger squirrels right? I know it’s incredibly frustrating in the beginning, but know that it will calm down. It took Dewey about a week to stop barking in Gandalf’s face. Now, a year later, the touch noses from time to time but generally just ignore each other. It did take at least a month for Dewey to lay off. But the butt sniffs still continue. Luckily for us, our cat is the most laid back cat we have ever seen. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

  16. Helen @14

    “I was going to suggest a high place for the cats to retreat to so they can cast disdainful looks at Daisy safely…”

    Good suggestion. Online you can find simple plans for cat tree’s/cat condos (those things made of wood and carpet you see at the pet store that they charge $100+ for). We recently put a rather tall one together for our cats, and they love it. if you get your wood from the clearance racks at home depot and the carpeting from scrap that carpet stores don’t need anymore, you can do the whole thing for about $50 and a Saturday afternoon.

  17. “Mastador”? – although not correct “Bindlestiff” popped in my head as a good name for a Mastiff mix – then I looked it up – not an entirely PC term for a “tramp” or “Hobo” – – then I saw it was the name of a dog in a short story by RAH
    funny how my brain works sometimes

  18. @chang – TMI

    quickly leads to: how many times has john been bad, JUST so he can be put on his back.

  19. Hopefully none of your cats will learn the joy of teasing dogs. Psyche, aka Psycho-kittie, loves to walk up to my son’s puppies (8 mo old shepherd mixes), stick her tail end in one of their faces, run off at high speed so the pup will chase her and then disappear under furniture where the very large puppy can’t follow. The hapless pups have yet to figure out that she’s tormenting them on purpose.

  20. re: bitter apple sprays and the like

    my first pembroke welsh corgi was convinced that bitter apple spray with some kind of gravy made especially for her. she proceeded to eat everything upon which it was sprayed. i’d avoid spraying the cats with it. you know, just in case. :)

  21. Scalzi @24: I don’t know. To me “Labstiff” sounds like you should be hooking up wires to the dog during a thunderstorm and shouting, “Give my creature life!” Or maybe that’s why you like it?

  22. My dog (a Shiba Inu female) and cat (an orange tabby-ish rescue male) did fairly well adjusting to each other. Except for all the times I have to say “Hera, leave Jonesy alone, he’s not bothering you or stealing your food” (she tries herding him or chasing him away), they’re good.

    Only in the past year or so we now have to adjust to the cat-racing-around-making-thumping-noises upstairs in a sneaky feline way to lure Hera upstairs when Jonesy wants her up there with him.

    I’m just not sure cats and dogs will ever leave each other alone completely, even if they do co-exist. I hope Daisy continues to maneuver into a comfortable place with you and all your other beasties. :D

  23. I’m in favor of “Mastador”. It has somewhat of a regal air to it, maybe even a new type of bull fighter. You could say he’s decended from Spanish royalty.
    “Labstiff” sounds sort of dirty to me for some reason.
    Go with “Labramast” if you want something nautical sounding.

  24. Oops, sorry. I’ve been reading about dogs & living with them for so long that I assume EVERYONE knows this stuff.

    The Monks of New Skete wrote a book called “The Art of Raising a Puppy.” In one of their early editions, they advocated the “alpha roll” where you put a dog on its back and hold them down until they “submit” to you. They later retracted that advice, because it was based on a misunderstanding of wolf pack behavior.

    By all means, do what works for you and your dog. I didn’t mean to bring dog training wank to the comments. Sorry.

  25. How difficult was the process to adopt Daisy? Did they give you flak for not having a fenced yard?

  26. Krissy would be the one to ask about that, but I think we had very few problems. The lack of a fence didn’t seem to be an issue, but then again our yard is the size of some municipal parks and we live in a rural area.

  27. Daisy is a beautiful dog John, best of luck to you and your family with her.

    Laura, when my wife and I adopted/rescued our dog through Petfinder, some of the agencies who were posting dogs about whom we were interested did mark not having a fence against us. Hugs for Hounds is where we eventually got our dog and they didn’t give us flak about having an unfenced yard.

  28. What a great photo of her.

    She looks like an intelligent dog. The cats will get used to her and vice versa. She will probably get swatted on the nose a few times by them. I agree that bloodshed is not fun. She’ll get it with your help.

  29. If rolling her on her back doesn’t solve the problem completely you could also try keeping her on a leash indoors for some time each day until she learns not to chase the cats. That’s what the shelter we got our dog from recommended. Fortunately our dog is a giant wuss and the cat totally owns him for the most part.

  30. We got our German Shepherd/Lab mix (he’s a Germlab!) 4 years ago. He and our older cat have a mutual non-agression pact going on. The two younger boy cats opted for the “lay back and try & enjoy it” response when they violate the dog’s in house speed limit.

  31. Some near neighbours got themselves a Lab puppy a couple of years ago. Their small female cat, then about 8 yrs old, did not appreciate this. It hasn’t helped that her owners have more or less ignored her ever since, on the grounds that ‘cats can look after themselves’. Feral cats, maybe; domestic cats, no.

    Not for a minute am I comparing you with our neighbours, but any cat dissatisfied with changes to its home and routine may decide to move elsewhere if they find a more congenial crib. Our neighbours’ cat, in the supremely insinuating way cats have, is trying very hard to move in with *us*. We’re fond of her, but this is an awkward situation.

  32. Huh, maybe this is why rolling my Jack Russell over
    and insisting he wear a harness and lead for walks
    only works for – oh – 2 weeks before I have to
    assert my alphadom again. Hmn.

    Beautiful puppy, John. I bet you will look back on
    this time of cat/dog adjustment with lots of laughter

    Congrats on the new family member…

  33. Aw. Sad puppy face.
    probably overwhelmed by all the places that need to be marked, and the look is with the thought ‘should have.drunk more water’.

    congrats on the new addition.

  34. Our dog is like that. Likes us – obviously – Nita’s sisters, my brother, AJ’s girlfriend and one of his friends. That’s it. Everyone else she sees as dog chow.

    Especially squirrels (which we encourage purely out of sadism), cats (which we don’t, but let the cats deal with ‘cuz cats are good at that), other dogs (which prompts a trip to the basement), and bicyclists (the only times I’ve had to actually spank the dog in three years.)

    Other people we either hide the dog or let her do her watchdog thing.

    Our ex-brother-in-law is terrified now.

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