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“C’mon kids, quit fighting like cats and dogs!” Does that sentence ring a bell or two?
Dogs and cats are not your typical set of best friends, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be the best of buds.
With the right amount of understanding, patience, and let’s not forget the treats, you can properly teach your dog and cat to get along and coexist in peace.
Some dog and cat couples will take to each other easier and quicker than others, but it’s not just a dog vs. cat thing. Dogs meeting other dogs and cats meeting other cats also requires some patience, and maybe a little bit of luck.
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Here are 9 tips for teaching your dog and cat to get along with each other.
1. Introduce Their Belongings First
When first introducing a dog to a cat or vice versa, it’s important to “set them up” on a blind date. Meaning, you’ll want to let their noses first discover the other species before ever letting them come face to face, which could spark a territorial battle.
Oftentimes, cats and dogs are thrown into the pen, “Meet your new friend, Fido!” But this is not such a great idea.
Both cats and dogs should have the chance to sniff out the other’s belongings (i.e. toys, bedding, food bowls, etc.) first before seeing each other in person (or in cat, or dog?).
To do this, make sure to separate both animals. Let only one (either the dog or cat) enter into the room with the other’s toys and belongings. This will let the dog or cat know, “Oh hey, there’s another pet living here…”.
2. The Earlier, The Better
As they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but how much does that apply to make new friends?
Older animals who have lived a predominantly solitary life in a household will find it much more difficult to “adopt” a new furry family member.
This is why it’s crucial to try and introduce your dog or cat to one another at the earliest age possible (if you can).
3. Match Personalities, Not Breed Specifications
According to Jackson Galaxy, you should try and match your cat or dog’s personality instead of going by breed specifications.
Each dog or cat, despite their breed, will have their own character and personality. It’ll do no good to pair an outgoing dog with a shy cat, and so on.
If you want them to truly get along, you’ll need to delve deeper into their personalities rather than going by breed specifications.
4. Give Each Their Own “Territory”
Cats often feel intimidated and vulnerable if not high off the ground, hence why they like perching themselves on top of our fridges and bookshelves.
Make use of the vertical space in your home by providing an outlet for your cat to go and chill. Cat shelves, cat trees, and scratching posts, for example, are stylish and modern cat furniture that will give your cat the chance to climb and scratch.
This also comes in handy when your cat just needs to get out of the way of your dog, who cannot climb. Dogs, on the other hand, are very territorial over floor space – think food bowls, toy basket, or even their owners’ feet whilst on the couch.
If you wish your dog and cat to get along, make sure they both feel comfortable in their own spaces. Give them their own areas where they can rest without pestering or being pestered by the other pet.
5. Train Your Pup Not to Chase Cats
You can try to train your cat not to hate your dog, but you’ll have more luck if you train your dog to be gentle with the cat.
Dogs who chase cats are not going to make friends easily, so make sure to train your dog not to chase the cat, bark at the cat, or attack the cat if it were to approach while eating, sleeping, etc.
Accidents are bound to happen if you let your dog willingly bark and “go after” your cat.
6. Hold the Puppy, Not the Cat
When first introducing a new puppy to a home where there lives a cat, it’s important to let the cat do the sniffing and not the other way around.
Cats come to us, we don’t go to them. It’s the same for dogs. If you hold the cat and let the dog do the sniffing, the cat will likely claw its way out of the intrusive situation.
Let’s face it, dogs can be pretty nosey in some sensitive areas.
7. Let Them Eat Behind Closed Doors
Not only should you first introduce a new cat or dog by letting them sniff out the belongings of the other, but you should also let them eat “next” to each other behind closed doors.
Making them eat in proximity to each other, without them actually facing off head-to-head, helps them both associate the positive reward of eating food with the scent of the other.
It’s a sneaky yet smart way to get your cat and dog to get along.
8. Raise Them Together
You will save yourself a lot of headache and time if you raise your dog and cat together as puppies and kittens.
Typically, cats and dogs under one year of age who grow up together will end up getting along, perhaps even becoming good friends.
9. Eradicate Boredom for Both Your Dog and Cat
Dogs and cats both have different exercise requirements – especially if you have a particularly sporty dog or cat who needs to run off all that built-up energy.
To help your dog and cat get along, you’ll want to stimulate both your cat or dog’s physical and mental health by letting them exercise and play with toys.
If a dog isn’t getting enough stimulation, they’ll look to play with the kitty cat, who isn’t likely going to play nicely back.
Dogs and cats don’t have to mortal enemies, as so many clichés and TV shows make them out to be.
In fact, some cats and dogs end up bonding and becoming sleeping and playing buddies for the rest of their furry lives. How sweet does that sound?
All it takes is a little patience, a lot of treats, and a little matchmaking!
Brittany, Paul, and their adopted cat, Yoda, travel around the world and write about it. Follow their adventures living in Mexico and beyond on their blog Fluffy Kitty or on Yoda’s Instagram.