The introduction process
Introducing a cat and dog can be tricky no matter what breed you have. Some dogs just can’t live with cats. Their prey drives create an unsafe environment and the dog can’t be trusted to not harm the cat.
The easiest time to introduce a dog and cat is when they are both young. A puppy and kitten growing up together in the same house at the same time will make them know and understand each other from an early age, giving them the best option to become friends.
Since people don’t often get puppies and kittens together, but rather add new companions to their households over time, it is possible for an adult cat to get used to a puppy and an adult dog to get used to a kitten. An adult dog meeting an adult cat might not go so well at first, or even at all. Adult dog/adult cat is the situation that might take the longest for them to acclimate to, if they even ever do at all. The Bernedoodle has a good chance at successfully living in a house with a cat if the introduction is executed properly.
Introducing a Bernedoodle puppy to a kitten
Puppies and kittens are typically playful, curious, a bit mischievous, and always observing. As babies, these animals are constantly learning about the world around them and taking it all in. It’s up to us to show them how to navigate life. We show them their home, teach them manners, potty-train them, and protect them.
As the animals grow, they become familiar with their home and its residents. This is why getting a puppy and kitten together forces them to instantly accept one another. They won’t remember a time without the other, and therefore, they will bond to each other as family members. Dogs and cats raised together from the start of their lives can grow to become best friends.
When you introduce your Bernedoodle puppy and your kitten, start with short, monitored interactions. Both have lots of energy and want to play, and a puppy of this breed is likely going to be bigger than a kitten. It is best to create calm moments for the pup and kitten to hang out. This could for example be you holding the kitten on your lap while your Bernedoodle pup lays next to you chewing on a bone.
Make sure the playing doesn’t become too rough and cause injuries. Remember that kittens have tiny, sharp claws they use when playing and they can injure a puppy’s eyes and nose. Don’t leave your puppy and kitten unattended together and be sure to separate them when playtime is over. Each will need their own separate spaces for meals and proper rest.
Introducing a Bernedoodle puppy to an adult cat
Your adult cat already has an established personality and way of life. Introducing a puppy to the mix can disrupt that way of life and annoy your kitty. While the Bernedoodle puppy is silly and wants to play, your adult cat may find this behavior undesirable and won’t want to be jumped on, playfully nipped, or chased.
If your cat is showing signs of being upset, like flat ears, hissing, raising a paw to swipe, or growling, remove her from the situation and let her go to her safe spot in the home. Naturally curious, she might be interested in smelling the puppy and getting to know him over time, but usually on her terms. It’s best not to force things.
Try sitting on the floor with your puppy and letting your cat come over to investigate the situation when she feels comfortable. She may observe from across the room, or she may leave the room completely. To make her feel more at ease, give her plenty of spaces that are just hers to which she can retreat when she’s feeling overwhelmed. If she has the opportunity to leave when she wants to, she’s more likely to feel safe coming back and checking things out again.
Remember that adult cat claws are bigger and can do more damage than kitten claws, so don’t leave your cat and puppy alone together until you’re sure they can be trusted. Over time, with love and patience from you, she can learn to live peacefully with your pup.
Introducing an adult Bernedoodle to a kitten (or adult cat)
This introduction should take place separately rather than face-to-face at first to see how your Bernedoodle will react to a kitten. Because the kitten is so small, keep her protected by showing her to your dog through a baby gate.
Watch your dog’s reaction. Interested, playful, curious, and trying to smell the kitten? All good signs. Some prey drive trigger signs to watch for are high-pitched whining, shaking, staring, and being hyper-focused. If you try to get your dog’s attention and can’t because he won’t break his focus from the kitten, this is a sure sign you should continue to keep them separated and your dog’s prey drive is very high.
To avoid a dangerous situation, work on desensitizing your dog through professional training methods before you allow a face-to-face meeting of your Bernedoodle and kitten.
If your dog is relaxed, chilled out, and interested in the kitten but you can still get him to follow a command and pay attention to you, a face-to-face meeting is possible.
As far as your kitten goes, if she’s hissing, growling, trying to hide, or arching her back, she’s scared and not ready for a face-to-face meeting yet. Allow them to keep getting used to each other through a baby gate until your kitten relaxes and seems at ease when your dog approaches.