I just adopted a 6 year old American Bulldog that is an absolute marshmallow with humans, but I am worried about his interactions with my cats. The humane society said he was only interested in sniffing the crated cats and only hyper focused on one after it tried swatting him, but I'd rather be careful and not have my cats become chew toys. It's only been a day, but I would like some tips on what behaviors to keep an eye on.
We are keeping them in separate rooms so far - cats stay in the bedroom during the day then get free range of the rest of the house at night for now. We plan on eventually letting them loose in the house while the dog is crated when we aren't home.
While transferring the cats while the dog was crated, one of them puffed up a bit and approached the crate. I let it happen this once to see what the dog's reaction to cats would be as a baseline for his behavior. He stayed about 2 or 3 feet away and was trying to figure out the newcomer. The new dog watched and was very calm, had his ears perked forward and tail was neutral. Then he did a fake lunge while in the crate and his tail was wagging away. I think this was playful?
He became somewhat fixated again when a muskrat ran through our yard and under a shed. He stared and pulled at the leash (but not hard enough to drag me, which he probably could do even though he still needs to puton a bit of weight) and really wanted to check out where the muskrat went, even a couple hours after it happened. I had to drag him away to finally get his attention off of it. Does this seem predatory, or just extremely curious?
Sorry for the small novel, but I've never had a dog that was actually predatory to cats before and want to make sure I'm not mistaking predatory behavior for something I'm used to seeing when a dog is being playful (like my mom's pitbull that likes to play "boop the kitty"). Obedience classes start in 3 weeks, but obviously correction should start right away if possible. Any advice would be much appreciated!