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Old Cat Meeting New Dog

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We've had our first dog Scout for a little over 3 weeks now. We also have a cat (Shadow) who is 12 years old.

We've read everything about how to introduce your dog to your cat and for the most part we are doing very well! Taking it very slow. For the first week or so, they just smelled each other through a closed door, or we would pet one and then the other, etc. Then we moved to a new house, and kept going with the "get used to each other's smells" bit for another week, week and a half before attempting some face-to-face meetings.

Again, it's going really well I think! Our cat gets a little timid and scared, but she doesn't attack and opts instead to just leave when she has had enough. We were told that Scout "ignores" cats but... she's definitely interested. I think she mostly just wants to play with our cat and is impatient that she is not ready for that.

My questions are these:
1. For anyone else who has introduced a dog to an older cat - approximately how long did it take before you could trust them alone together? I am expecting it to take months but I am just curious about other's experiences.
2. Scout will sit patiently and watch Shadow, but then she will suddenly lunge towards her. I know it's almost impossible to tell without seeing it happen, but how do I differentiate an aggressive lunge from a playful one?

Shadow recovers extremely well after a less-than-ideal interaction with Scout, and maintains curiosity about Scout (which we are encouraging as much as possible). I'm just looking for reassurance I guess.. that we are on the right track?


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