Can Dogs and Cats Get Along?
It can be funny when it happens in a cartoon or a movie, but if your dog chases after your cat in real life you’re bound to have some very unhappy pets on your hands. Can these two potential enemies be taught to get along? The short answer is yes, but it can take a lot of time and patience. 

Be sure to take things slowly

From their first interaction onward, never force the two animals to interact: keep your dog on their leash and observe your cat’s reaction. If the cat seems stressed or aggressive, increase the physical distance between them and try again later.

Giving them each the option to retreat to a safe space will help them feel more secure. Cats often feel safest if they are able to climb up to a high perch or disappear to someplace completely hidden, so allow them to do so as they gradually acclimate to the presence of a dog in their environment.

Even once they begin to interact and show interest in one another, remain patient and pay close attention to their interactions. Many dogs have a strong prey instinct. They may not actually want to eat your cat, but the desire to hunt and chase them is undeniably strong in some dogs. Understandably, that can make the process more challenging!

Pay attention to body language

Once your pets are moving freely around your home, continue to keep a sharp eye on your dog for signs that they may want to give chase. An upright tail, laid back ears, and tense posture are all signs that your dog may be uneasy with the cat and may be about to lash out. Conversely, a straight, upright tail position on your cat shows they are happy and relaxed. These different body language meanings can confuse the animals too, so you should be ready to separate them if necessary.

Make sure you also watch for signs of stress or aggression in the cat, such as hissing, arching their back, flattening their ears, or puffing up of their fur.

Set the rules

If your dog already follows your basic commands, it will be easier to introduce them to the cat. A dog who trusts you to lead them and keep them safe will look to you for these new rules.

If your dog has not yet mastered the basics of training, continue to keep them on a leash around your cat while they are still learning to control their impulse to chase them. It is one of the harder skills to learn, but you can help them through it.

It may take a little time and lots of positive reinforcement for each pet, but eventually your dog should at least be able to keep calm and relaxed while the cat is in the room.

They may never become the best of friends, but you can still have peace in your dog and cat household. As always, if you need some one-on-one help, get in touch with your local Bark Busters trainer.