The infamous "cat door"
Here kitty, kitty! I just want to meet you...with my teeth!
We have had some exciting things going on and here's one I like to highlight. Blaze has a more Husky qualities than any of the other dogs. She is hyper, whiny and has a strong prey drive. It is this prey drive that she can't be around the cats. For the past three years, I have been trying everything my little brain can think of to accumulate her with the cats with very little success. The latest thing I could come up with was putting her in a crate and letting Boxer roam about. Blaze isn't crate train, she will go in one, but has never been closed in one. So my mind kept reeling.
The unsuspecting Boxer
Don't I look scared?Finally it dawned on me to tether her. Bingo! So I found a hook, attached it to the wall in her corner of the room which is also the furthest from the cat's door. I leashed and hooked Blaze with a bag full of cheese and began with simple commands, then we moved on to "leave it." She was so excited with the game and the cheese, she could hardly contain herself! I wondered for a second or two, whether introducing the cat was a good idea because she was so excited, but I had to at least feel it out. So I made her sit, while I opened the door to the cats room. That got her attention. She was on complete alert, but in an happy way. She doesn't show any signs of being aggressive, but being an avid hunter, her play would be quite rough and serious for the cats.
Don't worry, I've got this dog thing covered!As Boxer began to stir around, I kept telling Blaze to sit. She was so focused on the doorway, that I had to gently raise her muzzle to get her to sit. Click and reward. She took the cheese!! I couldn't believe it!! Food means nothing when there are cats around. So this was a BIG plus.
Well, you would have thought that Boxer and I had rehearsed all of this the night before. Boxer came to the doorway, staying behind the threshold and stayed there. They both looked at each other, Blaze's body was wiggling like crazy, with her eyes locked on the cat. I continued to make her sit and she still took the cheese. This was fantastic!! After a few minutes, Boxer began grooming himself, not paying any attention, and when I told her to sit again, she actually turned, faced me and sat. I about fell over. This was better than I could have expected.
Let's try again, Mom. This time without the leash!!That's when Boxer took his cue and went back in his room and Blaze's excitement began to reach it's peak. So I realized, I needed to wrap this up before she started bouncing off the walls. I told her to sit and stay while I closed the door, then took a few more minutes of praise and simple commands before letting her off the leash. Success!! I thought for sure that her first instinct would be to go to the cat's door and investigate, but instead she followed me around while I was doing happy dances and singing praises to her. Another big surprise! It was simply awesome!!
It helped that Blaze's intensity with the cats has died down this past year and both parties are becoming more curious about each other. I was quite impressed with the entire experience. Little by little we can take things a step further. And who knows, Blaze and Boxer may become the best dog and cat friends that a little hyper Husky could ask for!