Advertisement

Ask the Trainer

Can Cats & Dogs Live Together Harmoniously? Yes! Here’s How

shutterstock_162633491Having both a cat and a dog live harmoniously together in the home is a goal for many pet owners. However there are many variables that come into play and dictate whether this is possible or not. It is essential to be in-tune to the personality/tendencies of your pre-existing pet (whether it be a dog or cat) and the personality/inclinations of the new pet you are looking to bring into your household.

If you have a cat that falls in the defensive antagonist category and want to adopt a dog with a high prey drive, this may be an unsuccessful pairing. Conversely, if you have an older dog who has no interest in playing with smaller animals, and adopt a cat who falls in the avoidance category of not wanting to engage, then you could have a very successful relationship. Appropriate pairing is the foundation of successful cohabitation.

The tips I am going to mention below are just that, tips and considerations. Unfortunately there is no clear cut way to successfully introduce every dog and cat combination into a home. The rule of thumb is to set both you and your pets up for success. Be proactive with having safety precautions in place (ex. leash, crate, gate, etc.), progress slowly over a long time frame, and use the assistance of a qualified professional who can work with you and your pets in person if you are at all hesitant.

shutterstock_310245758

  1. Keep all introductions short and as stress-free as possible (for both cat and dog).
  2. The goal should NOT be for your dog and cat to play together, the goal should be for them to simply co-exist together in the home (if they eventually move to the playful stage that would be a plus).
  3. Have your dog on a leash so they can see and be around the cat, but not directly interact.
  4. Take your dog for a long walk outside prior to the introduction(s). Relieving pent up energy will help the process.
  5. Allow your cat access to elevated surfaces, so they can flee and observe from a comfortable area if necessary.
  6. The better obedience trained your dog is, the easier the introduction process will be. If your dog will reliably “Come” when called, relax in a “Down-Stay”, or “Leave It” upon command, the smoother, more controlled, and less stressful the initial interactions will be.
  7. Interrupt any chasing, barking, or overexcited behavior from your dog. Make sure you are not using a high pitch voice or a lot of attention/praise. This can add unnecessary excitement to an already excitable situation.
  8. Keep your cat and dog securely separated when you are not present and can’t directly supervise. The introduction process should be gradual and progressive over an extended period of time.

shutterstock_456753517Remember, safety is our #1 priority, and there is no guarantee that every dog/cat combo will live harmoniously together in the home. However, utilizing short structured introductions on a daily basis will help provide both you and your pets the best chance of success.

Steve Reid is a Certified Dog Trainer and owner of S.R. Dog Training, LLC based in Westchester, NY.  Steve’s mission is on “Changing the World for Dogs”.  For more information about S. R. Dog Training, send an e-mail to steve@srdogtraining.com, call 914-774-7654 or visit www.srdogtraining.com

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Reine Nefertari

    Feb 26, 2015 at 7:35 am

    I have a cat and 2 dogs and they getting along really well. I introduced the cat when he was a kitten to the 2 dogs (adult dogs). There was some excitement in the fisrt 2 or 3 ours and then they calmed down and got along with each other great from then on…

  2. Jojo

    Mar 8, 2015 at 3:39 am

    I have 4 cats and 4 dogs all of whom joined the family at different times and different stages of adulthood. I never had a problem with any of them interacting with any of their new brothers or sisters – I definitely think that it has a lot to do with how relaxed you are as the pack leader, regardless of the species 🙂

  3. Debbie

    Mar 13, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    My 1 ‘ st rescue cat picked us out. We brought our dog with us and we were walking around looking at all the different cats and kittens . We walked by this cat that I wasn’t really interested in and he swatted my dog on the butt playfully . Every time we went by him he would do it. So we decided to check him out and now he’s been with us 7 yrs . The 2 of them fell in love instantly so that was it. Erik ( the cat) is the best. He likes to open doors and every rescue that comes in he welcomes right away with no hesitation .He also sleeps with our dog every night even though he has his own bed. So glad he picked us.

Leave a Reply

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Just when this dog-eat-dog world has handed you all the poop you can take, it's time to walk the dog. Or wash the dog. Or feed the dog. You get the idea. So welcome to the world of easy-to-care-for cats. Entertainment comes bundled in a furry, huggable, self-cleaning cat who won't beg for your food. In his eyes, you don't eat well enough anyway. Just keep a laser pen handy, sit back and wait for the fun to begin! Cats...ya gotta love 'em.

Become a Contributor!

Copyright © 2016 Catington Post.

To Top
shares
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest cat news, recalls, and kitty contests!

You have Successfully Subscribed!