It is not impossible to teach the dog to live with the cat. Although, if you would ask a dog owner, most likely, the answer will be that the cat and the dog cannot live friendly under one roof. A scene where the dog barks and chases the cat is too common. However, the patient owner can teach the dog to live with the cat. The first law – patience, as it all takes time. Dog’s native instinct of predator is to chase, while the cat – to be cautious and take a defensive posture. However, despite the contrary instincts, there are ways how to make the dog with cat become friends and live together peacefully.
The owner has to take into account the dog’s / cat’s breed, size, sex, age, temperament, and health. Before the introduction the owner has to assess how much harm these “friends” can cause to each other. It should be mentioned that a part of adult dogs who have never seen a cat in their lives do not show any signs of aggression. Cats rarely attack dogs unless they are not scared.
Specialists believe that dog’s and cat’s introduction must be done gradually, which can take up to 1 – 2 months. It is recommended to make an introduction in the puppy years, as then dogs adopt new things better, accumulating the experience for the future life. The puppy will quickly adopt a cat as a family member, but take into account that the cat, which has been a part of your family for long time, may have a different opinion about the arrival of new pet in its territory. It should be mentioned that the cat who has not been persecuted by the dog will be easier to introduce the dog, as the previous experience will not interfere.
Before the important meeting, make sure that your cat’s sharp nails are cut to avoid unexpected injuries. In turn, the dog should be able to perform the most important commands such as “sit” and “stay”, which give the owner more control. The owner should also think about tasty snacks for both friends. It is important that the first meeting of dog and cat would be monitored and controlled.
At first, the new inmate of the house should have their own place at home where the constantly living dog or cat would not have free access. Make sure that your new dog or cat can freely and undisturbedly walk all the rooms and get acquainted with the new scent. Let the permanent dweller to get acquainted with the new scent and see how it reacts. It is important to introduce them with other’s smell before the meeting, using a toy, collar, or sleeping mat.
Then gradually – at the beginning open the door for 30 seconds where the new dog or cat resides, allowing the other to look into the room and smell the air through the opened door slot. Reward both of your pets with a healthy treat for good behaviour. If the dog or the cat is worried after the first meeting, try to involve it in some other activity – play with it or take it to a walk. The dog or the cat will lose interest in the new inmate. With each day, open the door more and more widely, and let the dog or the cat to look in the room for longer time where the new inmate is staying.
It is better if your new dog or cat stays in special room where it cannot be freely accessed. If opening the door the dog respects the cat, go to the adjoining room and call your dog by getting it in the game or any other activity. Do not be afraid if the dog wants to sniff the cat – you should even encourage the dog to do it. Remember that the dog feels owner’s anxiety, so be calm and quiet.
Remember that the first meeting should last as long as the dog and the cat feel comfortable. That is why owner’s patience is so important. Regularly repeating this introducing procedure, you will be able to leave the door opened more and more. Later you will be able to leave it opened all the time to be able to control the situation. Some of dog and cat owners will have to accept that their new friends will not be able to be left together unattended. Others will realize that after a few months of introduction both of their pets are get used to each other’s presence. Finally, remember that a dog and a cat will never be best friends, but you can try to teach them to put up with each other’s presence.