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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Introductions (to other animals, I mean)

So, while Linus is specifically MY pet (as in my sole responsibility), my family owns a number of other animals as well -- 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 very noisy parakeets to be exact.

Now, we know for certain that one of these dogs is incapable of ever being introduced to Linus. She's a Siberian Husky and has a really strong hunting instinct. We're not even capable of allowing her around our cats without us being right there -- and I do mean RIGHT there. We can't even be on the opposite side of the room, so she's out.

However, I have the two cats (both declawed) and the two other dogs (one a shih tzu named Gizmo and the other a german shepherd/lab mix named Charlie Brown) and they all co-exist quite peacefully.

My thing is -- how do I even do this?

I've read things about rabbits having heart attacks from perceived threats. What if I try to introduce Charlie Brown to Linus (pause for adorable factor), and Charlie barks at something he's clearly not familiar with, and Linus has a heart attack?

I'm never planning on leaving any of the animals together unsupervised, but I would like to be able to sometimes let Linus roam the house without worrying about the other pets.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 11:04 PM
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How do Gizmo and Charlie react to your other pets?
I've never had a problem with Smudge and my Shih Tzu, Chuey. Chuey is actually scared of Smudge, because Smudge has attacked him before LOL.
Smudge does get a little freaked out if Chuey barks a lot though.
I've never had a cat, but my friend who used to bunny-sit for me had one, and Smudge attacked the cat too.

As for the heart attack thing: Yes, it can happen, but it is MUCH more likely to happen if a rabbit is in a cage while being confronted by predators. When a rabbit is scared of another animal, they get a surge of adrenaline that would usually help them to run away. But since they are stuck in a cage, they can't run it off like they would in the wild. Rabbit's bodies fail at handling large amounts of adrenaline, so they have a heart attack instead.

So, I highly doubt that your bun would have a heart attack just by looking at your other dog. You of course need to use your best judgement on introducing them all since I obviously don't know your pets, but I thought it might help if I explained the heart attack thing a little.

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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 10:00 AM
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Jess summed it pretty well. I will give you a few hints. Are your 2 remaining dogs food-oriented?? If so, keep a few treats with you. Now, have someone hold the dog and you hold Linus close to your body facing away from the dog and pet him. Let the dog sniff Linus and talk calmly and praise him for being good. Offer treats throughout. The dog will learn that the rabbit is yours and not his and since dogs love to please he will know as long as he's good he will get rewarded.

Do this gradually. My terrier likes to chase but the first time he seen the rabbits (he was about 10 then) he was just more curious than anything. I held each rabbit individually on my lap facing away from Coco and he sniffed them. I had my sister or someone standing behind him in case but he's pretty good with a stern NO if it came to it. Then, if I'm not mistaken I placed one of his toys in thier pens with them for a day or two so they could 'sniff' him.

Personal meetings occured gradually during their out time. My bunnies were never bonded so they were always separate so it wasn't overwhlming to watch Coco and them. After a long dog walk to wear down an excited dog I let the bunny out and he could go sniff. Akina went up to him and that's how Coco got used to them. Acacia had outlets for hiding (cardboard boxes) and just let it happen. I had to call Coco back from her bc she's nervous. Anyway, now it's to the point where Acacia sneaks under Coco's belly when they're outside

Cats are pretty untrainable. Clip their nails and keep your eye on them.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 05:26 PM
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It is always tricky, but I managed to introduce cats to dogs mostly with no problems so far. At least one of them was always a pup/ kitten tough, so that made things much easier.

I would let the dog sniff the cat and of course I was ready to react to any negative reaction from both of them. After a few times of this, they would always get used to one another.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 06:25 PM
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@sazzy, this post was about introducing a rabbit to other animals
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