It’s an age old myth that dogs and cats are mortal enemies. Many people claim to either be a “dog or cat person”, but what about the majority of those who still think that these arch rivals simply were not created to get along? If you are among this large population or entertaining the notion of having a home that includes both dogs and cats, here are a few tips to introduce felines and canines and keep the peace in your multi-speices home:
Put your pup through obedience school. This is the best place to start to save yourself time and headaches. Having a dog that is trained and ready to listen to your commands is vital when introducing a dog to a cat.
When choosing a dog, do your homework! Different breeds of dogs are more accepting of other animals and less excitable than others, so if you are planning on adopting a cat or already have one, make sure that the breed of dog you select is one that will be okay with other animals.
Focus on the dog. A cat is an independant entity that you will not be able to control. Stay focused on your dog and watch how it reacts to the cat so you will know exactly how to train it.
When you introduce the cat and dog, never punish. Make sure that you praise your dog when it does something good and not punish him for misbehaving. It’s okay to correct a dog, but dogs are people pleasers and when they are praised by their owner over and over, it will become a behavior that they will associate with reward.
Introduce them slowly. A great technique for dog and cat introductions are to keep your cat in one room with a few blankets and toys for 24 hours. The next day, put the blanket that the cat slept on in the room with your dog. Let him sniff it, roll around on it and play with it to get him use to the cat’s scent. Then do the same thing with your dog, only use a toy, then give the cat the toy to investigate and get used to.
Practice makes purr-fect and it may take some time, but with consistency and slow introduction, cats and dogs can be friends and share the same home without any problems.