The right way to introduce a Dog and Cat

Many pet owners feel their house isn’t complete until they’ve added a puppy and a cat to the family. It’s easy, as long as you stick to a few steps.

Under no circumstances should you let them work out things on their own.

That technique is far too stressful, even in the best circumstances. It is important to keep in mind that inductions can be dangerous, especially for the cat. Some dogs see cats as prey, and even those that are easy going may react instinctively to a cat on the run.

Introductions must be supervised and handled with planning, care and patience.

If you have a dog and are planning to introduce a cat, start working on your dog’s obedience before you add the new cat. Your dog should be comfortable on a leash and trained to obey your requests for him to stay or sit while on the leash.
For the cat's comfort he or she should be confined to a small area during the early stages of introductions.

A bathroom or spare bedroom will allow the cat space while acclimatising to the dog’s sounds and smells. Be sure the room has everything that they need, including food, water bowl and litter tray. Make sure they have frequent visits from the family.
After the cat has been sequestered for a few days you can begin with the introduction to the dog. Put your dog on a leash and open the door to the room. Allow the animals to see each other, but do not let the dog chase the cat, even in play.

Use “sit-stay” or “down-stay” to keep the dog in place while the cat gets used to its presence. Don’t’ force the cat to interact with the dog. Reward both animals with treats and praise.
Keep the dog on a leash for a couple of weeks in the cat's presence.

You should always make sure the cat has a way to escape from the dog - baby gates are especially effective. Gradually increase the time the animals spend together and continue the rewards.

When can you take the dog's leash off and let them live together?
When the dog isn’t interested in bothering the cat and the cat feels secure enough to come out from under the bed. Allow time.
It is not uncommon for cats and dogs to become friends and to enjoy each other’s company.
Take time to manage the introduction and you could be setting up a friendship that will last for the rest of your pets’ lives.


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