Help getting dogs used to kittens?


We’ve always had adult cats when we got a new dog – so the dogs have always been used to adult cats around the house.
Not rambunctious, curious little balls of energy that look more like good play toys.

So long story short we took in a litter of kittens for someone, found some new homes, and now we’re likely to keep the last three.
They’ve only known dogs exist since Friday night, and they’re no longer hissing at the dogs – in fact, we let them roam the living room while one of our dogs was lying on the couch, and they paid her absolutely no mind. Today a couple of them were jumping on top of the gate while one of our other dogs was sitting with his head resting on it (watching them), and it had no issue with him.

So they’re good with the dogs as long as the dogs don’t chase them (at least so far).

Now I need help with the other side of the spectrum.
We have three dogs —
Smigeon is a JRT x APBT, has never been exposed to kittens in her life, and chased the first kitten to come out of the room. But she was the dog that laid on the couch while they were roaming our living room – so I believe she’s getting a little better (at least until one of them gets too close, then I’m sure she’ll have an issue). She’s full terrier, so obviously these little animals running around is torturing her – but she has paid absolutely no mind to our two adult cats. She doesn’t sniff them when they use her as a petting post, she doesn’t even acknowledge that they exist much more than a passing glance.
CC is a Siberian Husky. She was exposed to kittens at the home we obtained her from, but only through a chain-link fence. She was the second dog to get face-to-face with the kittens (besides the "nose touches" that occurred with our third dog), and – as is expected with her breed – wanted to eat them, or at least wanted to play for a while before eating them. She tends to play with her live food before killing it – proven by the fact she played with a tame white mouse for however long tossing it up in the air before we got to her/it. She’s absolutely fantastic with our two adult cats, though! She’s never had an issue past her first couple of encounters with them – at which point they would strike out with their claws and she’d lose interest. She doesn’t go after them currently, and she hasn’t in the past three years we’ve had her. The most she does is sniff them when they come inside from the great wilderness of our front yard and are covered in snow (and when they come out of the kitchen after eating). Otherwise she ignores them. She even cuddles with them on occasion.
Darnell, who’s been with us since August ’09, looks to be most similar in appearance and temperament to an Akbash or a Kuvasz, and loves to groom our adult cats when they’re waiting to be let outside. He sniffs them when he’s around and they come in, and sniffs them when they use him as a petting post – but he doesn’t bother them otherwise. He’s fine with our adults. He was the first to touch the kittens (nose-touches), and he’s the only dog that stands/sits next to the gate watching them like a hawk when the office door is open. He usually takes to lying near the door as well when he’s napping and at night. This morning one of the kittens had jumped up on top of the gate and he was sniffing it, and then went to watching the other three kittens that were debating jumping on top of the gate – but he ignored it while it was there after sniffing. Then the kitten jumped off the gate and ran when he went to sniff it again – so naturally he chased it under the corner stand and tried to find it. When I was holding the kitten, he would sniff it and watch but be fine otherwise. When the kitten was on the ground he would sniff it and watch. But as soon as the kitten moved his ears perked up higher than previously and his sniffing got a little rougher.

All in all – they’re not so good with kittens!
This is the first step to them being exposed without a baby gate in the way. I’m not sure of what step to take next (do one dog v. all kittens sessions more frequently until they’re used to them fully, then introduce a second dog?), if there’s a method that would work best for the dogs as well as the kittens (I’d prefer not to have them hate dogs by the end of this…), etc.
I’ve never had to socialize my dogs to kittens, only calm adult cats that were already used to dogs – so I’m not entirely sure of how things might be done differently.

Thanks for all the help I can get!

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2 Responses to “Help getting dogs used to kittens?”

  1. Kelp says:

    Just work it slowly and never leave them alone together until you know they’re 100% good with each other, especially the terriers.

    My dogs hadn’t been exposed to cats when I got my kitten and now they all love each other!

  2. Brian says:

    The terrier and husky breeds are high prey drive animals. Can be set off with fast moving kittens.
    The Akbash if it is, is a livestock guardian. Should accept once knows is part of family. Introduction, with showing your affection to the kitten. Have to know is part of your family. They have a low prey drive. Probably trying to figure out if they belong.
    I raise Malaks, a livestock/people guardian. Never had trouble once introduced. Good luck.

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