Introduce Dog to Cat

The time has come for you to introduce a Dog to a Cat I suppose. You likely just purchase a new cat or dog and may be without thinking too much ahead or maybe you are really planning and are looking this up before making your purchase. Introducing a cat to a dog is a touchy process, but can be done if carefully managed.

A dog may accept a cat as part of its pack and not chase is away does not mean it won't et the next cat that shows up. It only means the dog has accepted this particular cat... only. The dog feels full "ownership" on the cat. The dog has already claimed possession on the cat. The introducing process may take you up to 30 days of work.

Confine your new cat to his or her own room at first. After a few hours, confine the dog in a fenced-in yard or basement or separate room, and allow the cat to explore the rest of the house. Then put the cat back in his or her own room, so the dog has an opportunity to become familiar with the cat's scent. Put a baby gate up but leave the door closed.intoducing cat to dog

Crack open the door to the cat's room a couple inches and allow the dog to sniff and see through the opening for 30 seconds. Reward the dog for appropriate behavior. Repeat this step a couple more times during the day. Continue to give the cat the opportunity to explore the house when the dog is securely confined out of sight.

Increase the "viewing intervals" by short increments until the dog can watch the cat quietly for a few minutes. Reward good behavior.

Allow the dog to view the cat with the door completely open, with the baby gate still in place, for a few minutes at a time. If the dog is tolerating the cat, go into another room. Call the dog to you and play a game with him or her. Then ignore both animals (but keep attuned to them!) and engage in some other activity. The dog will start to lose interest in the cat.

Eventually work up to leaving the door to the cat's room open, with the baby gate still up, whenever you are at home. Always close the door when you are not present! Some pet owners will always need to keep the dog and cat separated when they aren't around to supervise, but others will find that after a couple months' probation, the dog and cat are OK together by themselves. It's far better to err on the side of caution, however, to prevent tragedy. Even after your dog and cat are peacefully co-existing, make sure that the cat's food bowl and litter box are out of the dog's reach. Keep the cat from approaching the dog when the dog is eating or chewing on a bone.

If there's multiple dogs in the household, there can be discord over possession. The cat can be seen as an object to be taken away. This is also true if the dog perceives the cat to be the possession of the owner.

There are some harder cases, and then it's a matter of the commitment level of the owner to making the dog accept the cat. Electronics can be used to imprint on the dog. These should be used under the direction of a trainer who knows how to instruct the owner in their proper use. Electronics can take the form of shock, sonic or citronella collars. At that time the owner will train with electronics instead of food or whatever other reward system was being used. This type of training will also tend to result in a dog which does not chase cats at all because it is not building on the pack and possession instinct aspects of behavior.

A dog who chases cats endangers both the cat and itself. A cat scratch in a dog's eye can cause infection, cataracts, glaucoma, loss of sight or even loss of an eye. I know this from experience with my Maya, who will chase any cat other than her own. About 5 months ago when I stepped out of the office, she chased and cornered Sylshire's kennel cat. The cat was just fine (thank goodness) but Maya nearly lost an eye from a deep cat scratch. Maya has since been trained using electronics to do a sit when she sees any cat.

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