Cats and dogs
The fact that dogs and cats don't always get along is something you may have heard before, or have personal experience of. But did you know that with training and patience, there are very good chances for your dog and cat to become friends and get on well together? By introducing them slowly and gently to each other, things usually go well and they will eventually accept each other!
Before you start introducing them to each other, you need to make sure they are both comfortable in the environment they are in. This is especially important for the cat so it knows where to hide if it feels threatened and wants to escape from the dog.
The first thing you need to do when you want to get a cat and a dog used to each other is to let them become familiar with each other's scents. The reason this is a good first step is because both dogs and cats communicate through scent markings. Keep the dog and cat in separate rooms and allow the cat to sniff the dog's blanket or toy and the dog to sniff the cat's blanket or toy.
Sometimes both dogs and cats can react negatively to the other's scent, in which case you need to stop the training and calmly remove the object and try again at a later time.
When both dogs and cats react neutrally to the other's blanket or toy, you can extend the training by allowing them to switch rooms with each other. Only when both the dog and the cat react completely neutrally or positively to the other's scent can you move on to step 2.
Once the dog and cat have become familiar with each other's scents, it's time to let them meet face to face. It is important that the first meeting takes place in a place where neither the dog nor the cat feels crowded or can reach each other. Keep the dog on a leash and put a composting grid or baby gate between them.
When both the dog and cat react neutrally to the encounter, you can move on to step 3.
The final step involves letting the cat and dog have a real sniff of each other. Keep the dog on a leash even in this step to begin with. Take it easy and reward both the dog and cat when they calm down in each other's presence.
Continue practicing step three until they can be completely at ease in the same room.
Keep this in mind
- Take your time, be patient and always reward positive behaviour
- Don't leave the dog and cat alone until they have really accepted each other
- Just because your cat has accepted your dog doesn't mean it has accepted all dogs