Bringing a dog in the house that has not been around cats. What should I do to socialize?

I doubt you'd be able to tell right away. Learning how to interact with one another is a process for dogs and cats, but I'm happy to share my experience in case any part of it helps!

I had an adult cat already when I got a puppy.

For the first seven months that I had her, my dog lived in the kitchen. I blocked exits to other rooms with baby gates and doing that had a bunch of benefits. For example, accidents were a breeze to clean up on hard wood floors (as opposed to rugs in other parts of the house) and she didn't have access to chewable household items like shoes and books.

Most importantly though, my cat had the ability to get to know the dog at his own pace. He started by watching her through the gates and eventually started hanging out on kitchen counters (Yeah, yeah--it's gross. Whatever.).

When my cat started getting bolder and coming down towards the dog on the floor, I kept the dog on a leash. If she lunged at him (which she did, at first), I held her back. When she was calm, I fed her a steady stream of treats to positively reinforce gentle behavior.

Eventually the leash became unnecessary, but I still monitored their interactions very closely for weeks. Until I was extremely confident in my dog's ability to be gentle with the cat, I kept her crated when I couldn't be present.

The two of them get on swimmingly now. My dog is super gentle with other cats and small dogs, and she's learned a lot about boundaries.

Take it slow and respect your cat's need to feel safe in its own home. It's totally doable though, so best of luck!

/r/Dogtraining Thread