In part 1 of our post ‘How to Introduce your dog to your cat‘ we provided a recommendation that can be used to introduce your dog and your cat together. Today we will continue with more recommendations.
Recommendations # 2: Face-to-face introduction
This is a quicker method of introduction and may have mixed result. Keep both animal at a distance- not too far, but not too close. Gauge their body language to determine the comfortable level between them.
If the cat is not raising his ears or not hissing at the dog, the cat can be allowed to roam relatively freely around the dog.
It is important to note that cats are not usually menacing to dogs, since most cats personality traits are indifferent to the presence of other animals, but there are some instances where the cat may be easily irritated.
If the dog is exasperated; for example: he appears as if he will attack, attempt to bite at the cat or makes an effort to chase the cat, then it would be wise to try a different method to foster the relationship between them.
On the other hand, if the dog is calm, praise and reward the dogs nonchalance to the cat. As the owner, you can also encourage the dog to sniff the cat- or vice versa – allowing them to be more comfortable with each other.
Recommendations 3: Look at That ANIMAL
Unfortunately, if the preceding two options are unsuccessful, the option of close, subtle interactive sensitization may be yield success. The technique is called look at the animal (LATA).
In this scenario you will teach your dog to look at the cat and encourage an appropriate response, which will be to remain calm.
During this exercise, keep the dog on a leash and at an adequate distance away from the cat. Take note at what moment did the dog notice the cat and how did he respond. Was his reaction unreceptive and began to bark? Was he composed, remaining quiet?
By instructing the dog to look at the cat, you can train the dog to not respond by attacking the cat. Employing the technique in a structured pattern will soften the dog to the cat’s presence, which overtime; the dog will ignore the cat whenever it comes in contact with it.
Recommendations 4: Using A Clicker Or Verbal Marker
You can also use a clicker or a verbal marker and offer the dog a treat anytime your dog reacts ideally to your cat. In the initial stage, put the treat before the dog’s nose. Point to the cat each time you press the clicker and if your dog responds in a good manner, give he/she a treat.
By doing this, your dog will anticipate a treat any time he/she hears the marker, because s a marker, which can be a clicker or a word like “good boy/girl,” always means a treat will be given.
You can use any amount of treat to encourage a positive response to the cat. Remember to point and click as soon they look at the cat.
After a sufficient amount of treats, see if your dog looks at the cat and then back at you. If your dog does, either click or use the verbal marker and then give it a treat.
If this doesn’t happen go back to the first step and go over the routine once again, until your dog responds in an acceptable manner towards the cat.
When this method is successful, you can bring the dog next to the cat and repeat the step to assure both animals can be in close proximity to each other without any tension.
Recommendations 5: Introducing kittens and puppies
This is one of the best methods.
Introducing a dog and a cat as puppies and kittens can be very effective.
The reason is that they are at a tender moments in their life; both animals are susceptible and will more likely engage each other.
The dog doesn’t necessarily possess the predator driven characteristics at the puppy stage; hence, he won’t be easily aggressive towards the cat.
Fortunately, the young pup will be energetic; therefore they may enjoy playing with the kitten, moreover since kittens are immensely active.
Numerous pet owners use this method to achieve the objective of getting both animals to get along.
Even if the dog doesn’t have a problem with the kitten, it is of paramount importance to still watch them closely, a high energetic dog could hurt or possible kill the kitten, since most kittens are very fragile. Thus, its recommended to keep them apart when your unable to watch them until both animal develop the self control and the physicality to be on their own.
Additionally, ensure their interaction is in a safe environment that facilitates an amiable relationship.
Another recommendation is to allow an adult cat to be introduced to a puppy. This is method can sometimes be very fruitful.
A well socialized adult cat may be fine with a young puppy behaving in a rambunctious manner. As aforementioned, most cats are immensely dismissive and won’t be easily goaded by a small pup.
It’s even possible the adult cat maternal instincts may become active towards the puppy. The two interactions over a period of time will foster a relationship that will build a long-lasting bond between them.
One behavior which should be discouraged is the dog chasing the cat, whether they are playing or not. You don’t want to encourage this sort of behavior because it becomes embedded in their interaction, especially during moments when they are tense situation among the two.
Recommendations 6: Seeking help from a professional
If any of these recommendations prove unsuccessful, on their own accord, the last suggestion is to get assistance from a professional.
The option can include an animal trainer who has the expertise with different animals and can suggest the most effective way to introduce the animals.
Another professional can be an animal behavior consultant who possesses the knowledge base on an animal interaction and can assist in the smooth process of both animals living harmoniously.