So, you are bringing your new cat into a home that already has a dog in it. As you may realize, these two species don’t always get along. But how are we going to go about it?
After all, there are plenty of homes where cats and dogs live together harmoniously, often even watching out for one another and showing affection to each other. How do you get that with your pets?
We want to show you five tips you can use to get the animals to socialize with one another. It shouldn’t take long for you to have a peaceful house with pets that can tolerate one another.
Give Your Cat a Safe Place
It is very likely that your cat will be afraid of the dog at first, even if your dog is friendly. It’s possible the dog will be aggressive or overly curious about the cat until they get to know each other.
The cat is going to need a safe place – something that is out of reach to your dog. This can be an elevated position, such as on a bookcase or table, or it can be a pen that the dog cannot get into.
For the sake of your cat’s nerves, make sure to provide a place to where it can feel safe and secluded from the dog.
Help Your Dog Relax
If your dog is hungry or overly energetic, it can become anxious, rambunctious or irritable toward your cat. You can help your dog calm down and decrease the risk of aggression by making sure the dog is well fed before you introduce the cat.
Also, give your dog a chance to exercise vigorously before the cat comes into the home. Take your dog for a run or just play some fetch with it to wear your canine out before the cat shows up.
This will help your dog to feel more rested and at peace, and it will be less likely to attack the cat or otherwise harass it.
Make Sure Your Dog Obeys Commands
You will have a hard time controlling your dog when he is misbehaving toward the cat if he doesn’t know and obey some simple commands.
Your dog should know the commands “sit” and “stay.” If he does not, then you need to take the time to teach him and ensure that he responds to your voice even when he is excited or hungry.
If you are going to make this work, your dog will have to be disciplined. Otherwise, he will irritate and scare the cat so much that the cat will not want to hang around.
Keep Your Dog Chained
We are not suggesting you keep the dog chained up or confined all the time, but the cat needs to have some freedom to move around and explore the space before having to hide or run from the dog.
You may want to introduce them by having the dog already confined, but in a place where the cat can see the dog and get used to it.
You want to introduce the animals in a controlled situation, where there is no chance that they will go running after one another or where one will attack the other.
Once you are sure that the animals can handle one another without going crazy or being aggressive, then you can let the dog go.
Try releasing the dog for short periods of time at first, until you are sure both animals can get along.
Supervise the Animals at First
It may take some time for the two pets to grow accustomed to one another. You need to oversee their time together and their interactions.
Give them a chance to both be loose together, after they have both been in the house for a while.
If the dog becomes aggressive, then use the leash or tell him to sit. If he is gentle toward the cat, then praise him and give him a treat.
You will reinforce good behavior and limit bad behavior this way, and eventually, the dog will realize how he is expected to treat the cat.
You can make these interactions longer and longer until you get to the point where it is safe to leave the two of them unleashed together.
Just make sure you know your animals and don’t take any unnecessary risks with them. Bad behavior can still pop up from time to time, and you need to watch for that.
These two kinds of pets can live together well, but it cannot be forced. Without a proper plan and strategy it would be more difficult to get them to get along.
You can’t just throw them together and expect good results. With these tips, we know they will be able to socialize quickly.
This was a guest post from Pedro (pictured), Editor-in-Chief of We’re All About Cats. Click over there and show Pedro and his family some love!
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