Have a cat thinking about getting a dog or vice versa? Wondering can dogs get along with cats? Can two different species coexist without conflict? In this article, we uncover the truth about cats and dogs being able to get along!
What Well Cover
Can Dogs Get Along With Cats The Simple Answer:
Dogs can get along with cats and coexist peacefully if the dog at hand is trained, and understands boundaries and rules.
Understanding Your Dog
To fully uncover the question “can dogs get along with cats” we first have to understand our canine companions!
Dogs are predators by nature, and that means that dogs have what we call “prey drive” prey drive is your dog’s natural desire to chase catch and kill, some dogs have more prey drive than others, depending on breed, genetics, and upbringing.
Now just because dogs are predators doesn’t mean that a canine (dog) cant get along with a feline (cat), as you may know, every dog is an individual and every dog can be taught!
Regardless of your dog’s predatory desire here are some ways dogs can get along with cats!
Setting Your Cat And Dog Up For Success
Well, can dogs get along with cats? Yes, they can! If you take the right steps and set both your pup and cat up for success you’ll see that your cat and dog will be able to co-exist peacefully in no time!
The first step in ensuring that your dog can get along with cats is the initial introduction!
When it comes to the initial introduction you want to ask yourself these questions, how old is your dog? What past experiences has my dog had with cats? and how has my dog reacted when faced with an outdoor cat?
Being able to answer these questions will help you understand the best course action to take when going about the initial introduction.
If your trying to introduce your new puppy to your cat be sure to read our article where we cover how to introduce a puppy to your cat.
Introducing An Older Dog
If you have an older dog and are unsure how your dog may react to a cat the initial introduction shouldn’t be direct!
The best course of action, in this case, is to limit the amount of direct interactions both the cat and dog have with each other.
Guidelines To Follow
Your dog only eats when the cat is present and vice versa.
This begins teaching your dog and cat to associate each other with positive experiences.
Have your dog on-leash
Have your dog on-leash to control and prevent your dog from potentially getting too excited in the presence of the cat.
Don’t let your dog “fixate” ex “hard staring” on the cat
When your dog “hard stares” at something too long it can create an obsession and we want your dog not to become obsessive
Have a reward to redirect your dog’s attention away from the cat
Whenever your dog is fixated on your cat poke your pup in the but and redirect his attention to you, be sure to reward your pup for redirecting his focus and not paying attention to the cat.
These simple guidelines are in place to begin teaching your dog to associate the cat with positive experiences and not become overly pushy, obsessive or fixated on your cat.
Essentially what we want is your dog to acknowledge that there is a cat but its no big deal because good things happen when the cat is there while remaining calm.
Preventing Bad Habits
Following our guideline above somethings, we want to be aware when getting a dog to get along with a cat is that we essentially want to prevent your dog from getting into any bad habit with the cat.
What might these include?
Behaviors such as chasing, barking, and lunging. We want tp privet your dog from rehearsing these behaviors because the more your dog practices a behavior the more it will become a habit.
Behaviors such as chasing barking and lunging are what we call “self-reinforcing behavior” meaning that your dog doesn’t have to get a treat to feel rewarded fro performing these behaviors, the physical act of performing these behaviors alone are reinforcing to your dog.
“Self-reinforcing behaviors” are “addictive” to dogs, for instance, your dog can chase a squirrel every day and never catch the squeal but the physical act of chasing is rewarding on its own.
Easy ways to prevent your dog from creating bad habits are:
- Keeping your dog on a leash
- Redirecting your dog
- Using the crate when your dog is not under your supervision.
Rewarding Appropriate Behavior
While preventing your dog from rehearsing unwanted behavior you also want to be rewarding your dog when he does appropriate behavior.
What is appropriate behavior when asking “can dogs get along with cats?” Simply rewarding your dog for paying attention to you when in the presence of the cat is appropriate behavior.
Having your dog listen to you in the presence of the cat is critical.
Times To Reward Your Dog For Appropriate Behavior:
- When your dog is laying down calmly while the cat is present.
- Your dog walks past your cat
- Getting your dog to focus on you when distracted..etc
The most important aspect of asking “can dogs get along with cats” is to remember that behavior that gets rewarded will occur again in the future.
Getting Your Cat Comfertable With Your Dog
Now that we understand how to manage and get your dog to be comfortable around your cat, here are some ways to ensure that your cat is as comfortable as possible!
Providing Escapes Routes
Unlike dogs cats are more agile and able to climb and leap incredible heights.
An easy way to ensure your cat is comfortable is providing your cat with escape routes in the form of cat tree’s.
Cats love being high up and are often comfortable being alone.
Creating a routine for your dog will begin to teach your dog what is normal life going to be like, it also creates habits and familiarity between your dog and cat!
Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and routine so creating a consistent routine scheduled for your pup will work leaps and bounds when asking can dogs get along with cats!
When To Give Your Dog More Freedom With Your Cat?
When answering “can dogs get along with cats” your probably wondering when can you give your dog freedom with your cats the simple answer is:
The amount of freedom you provide your dog with your cat is directly related to how your dog understands the house rules boundaries and how to behave around your cat.
Dogs and cats can get along and co-exist peacefully if you as an owner take the time to teach your dog how to behave with your cat.
Taking the right steps will make all the difference when answering “can dogs get along with cats”
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!