Smooth The Way For Dogs And Cats To Cohabitate
Whether the multi-species household is one big happy family or not depends on reasonable pet adoption decisions, careful introductions, good management, dog training and behavior modification, and a little – or a lot – of luck.
Sensible Adoption Selections
When you’re contemplating adding a new family member, be wise. If your dog has a history of killing cats in your backyard, a feline may not be the best choice for you, especially if you intend to let your cat outside (not something I recommend, but that’s a different discussion).
On the other hand, some dogs who chase – and kill – cats outdoors can live safely with their own cats indoors, where the cats are less likely to run and thus trigger the predatory response. Still, it’s a greater compatibility risk than a dog who shows no desire to chase/attack cats.
Good management requires effective barriers (doors, baby gates), sturdy containment units (crates, pens), restraint (leashes, tethers), and unwavering supervision (your eyeballs and awareness).
However, all of your management tools are only as good as your ability to ensure their use. A moment’s lapse can result in beaks and feathers instead of warm breathing beings, and sooner or later there’s likely to be a lapse.
If your children (or roommates) aren’t good at heeding your warnings to keep doors closed, or if your talented canine can open doors, you might need to add self-closing springs, child-proof latches and/or padlocks to your list of management tools.
You’re likely to be more successful in the long run commingling species if you combine a foolproof management plan with an effective program of training and behavior modification.
Teaching Dogs And Cats To Get Along
Want to know how you can teach your dogs and cats to get along? Don’t we all! Many of us love our four-legged family members, of both species, and want them to have a better relationship with each other. If you’re looking for some “Do’s and Don’t’s” for introducing dogs and cats to each other, you’ve come to the right place!
Starting from “Scratch” (so to speak)
There are some definite “DOs and DON’Ts” to keep in mind when introducing dogs and cats for the first time. Dr. Landsberg cautions that the most important aspect is matching personalities of the pets, if possible.
For example, a playful dog or puppy will be better matched with a playful cat – or a more tolerant one.
“Any new kitten or puppy, if not too fearful, will want to play with the other animal,” he said. “The question is whether the existing animal will enjoy or tolerate the presence of the other pet or the play with the other pet.
Another important aspect is that just because a dog has been socialized or friendly with another cat (or vice versa) – it does not necessarily mean that the dog or cat will tolerate, understand or communicate well with a different dog or cat.”
Palika advised that when bringing in a new cat or kitten into the home, it should be confined to a separate room for awhile. “That way, everyone can get used to the smells,” she said. “Household smells, new cat/dog smells, all the smells. New and the existing pets need this to adjust.”
“Make sure the cat is socialized to dogs and not too fearful,” Dr. Landsberg said. “Ensure the cat has sufficient perching and climbing places where it rests and naps that are out of the dog’s reach. If not, consider training this behavior by giving toys and treats on the perches or counters.”
Dr. Landsberg continued, “Bring the dog into the room under control with a leash or leash and head halter. Keep the dog occupied and monitor the cat’s response to the dog, and the dog’s response to the cat. It may be possible to use food rewards and toys to encourage the pets to approach each other, but you need to monitor and ‘read’ the pets to determine how fast you can go. Keep the dog in a kennel (crate) or separate room when you cannot supervise the two together.”
– via www.petsit.com
Do you have both dogs and cats? Did you have a hard time introducing them to each other?