It’s funny when it happens in a cartoon or 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 sworn enemies be coaxed to get along? The short answer is yes, but it can take a lot of time and patience to reach a peace treaty between the animals. Here’s how you can help your dog and cat get along.
Take it slow
First of all, never force the two animals to interact. This problem is a complicated one, based mostly on the fact that many dogs have a very strong prey instinct. They may not actually want to eat your cat, but the desire to hunt and chase Fluffy is undeniably strong in some dogs.
Let the animals move freely in your home, but keep a sharp eye on your dog for signs that he 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. Ironically, a straight, upright tail in your cat shows he’s happy and relaxed. These different body language meanings can confuse the animals, so you should be on alert to separate them if necessary.
Set the rules
If your dog already follows basic commands from you, he’s going to be easier to introduce to the cat. Dogs follow the pack leader--you--so if you say that the cat is off-limits, your dog should respect that. It may take a little time and lots of reinforcement, but eventually your dog should at least be calm and relaxed when the cat is in the room.
If your dog hasn’t mastered the basics of training, keep him on a leash around your cat. Learning to control the impulse to chase the cat is one of the harder skills to learn, so if he does well, the rest of your training should be a breeze.
They may never be the best of friends, but you can still have peace in your dog and cat household. For more tips on introducing Fluffy to Fido, visit the friendly staff at Bark Busters today.