August 4, 2010
In honor of the new film Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, which opened this past weekend in theaters across the country, DogTails is tackling the fascinating relationship between America’s most popular pets. For every story of a dog who loves cats, there are even more stories of dogs who love fighting with cats.
In honor of this love-hate relationship, we have compiled the following tips to help all the brave animal lovers who share their homes with a dog and a cat. Follow these tips, and you can help keep the peace between your two furry best friends.
The most important rule of introducing a new dog to your cat (and vice versa) is to take it slow. When it comes to a dog and a cat’s first meeting, do not just open the door and let them chase each other. Instead, let the two animals slowly move closer to each other, while maintaining control of them at all times. As a result, it is best to have another person help with the introductions, so that both animals can be quickly pulled away if necessary.
As always, treats are helpful to encourage good behavior in your dog. Ask the dog to look away from the cat and look at you. If he complies, give him a treat – he is doing very well! If he does not comply, continue working with the dog to calm him down and divert his attention away from the animal. Toys and treats and words of praise are all helpful here.
The ultimate goal is to allow the dog and cat to interact without chasing and lunging. Some dogs will need more guidance and training than others – it depends on the dog’s breed and history. Also, you will want to muzzle larger or more aggressive dogs when they are first introduced to smaller animals like cats, to ensure that no one gets hurt.