As animal lovers we have had an assortment of pets throughout the years but cats and dogs have been the primary choice when it came to our 4 legged children. Having deciding early on to only adopt rescue animals, we often had behavior issues to address before peace would reign.
When you are introducing new members to your home there are facts that must be considered. Dogs are territorial and will often be aggressive to any new addition to their home. Cats have the same tendencies and will fight to defend their territories and mark their spaces to show their dominance.
There Is Hope
It is a challenge to get dogs and cats to coexist but it can be done with time and patience. The usual process is to separate the two physically however this is not a practical long term solution. Though caging and closed rooms can be used in the beginning for safety, creating a plan of action for new behaviors can help you achieve harmony with time and practice.
The First Steps
Obedience in the most important factor when introducing your older pets to the newest member. Both cats and dogs can be taught basic commands and NO must be understood immediately. Chances are your new pet will understand the command by word or by tone but it can also be reemphasized with treats and affection.
While the older pets are contained, allow the new pet to slowly acclimatize themselves to the new surroundings and smells. By letting them wander on their own for short periods, they can scatter their own scent within the home which allows the other to become familiar to the new scent.
Once the new pet is secured, allow the older pet to investigate and aquaint themselves to the new scents and reward them positively for acceptable behavior. This stage may take some time for both cats and dogs to adjust but the more they feel safe the faster the process.
Once you see signs of acceptance you can introduce physical contact. With each pet being held securely and only when they are calm in each other’s presence, you can allow them to sniff each other. Be ready to correct negative behavior and offer protection from aggression swiftly.
By repeating this process often and increasing the time in each other’s company, they will begin to learn to adapt to the new situation.
Dogs are pack animals and are happy to be with their families and though cats are aloof, they too enjoy affection from their owners. In time you will begin to see that your dog and cat can coexist peacefully without fear or aggression.
You may find they become the best of friends and they may agree to give each other a wide berth. Whatever the case, you can teach both dogs and cats to be comfortable in their new home safely.
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