How to Introduce Cats & Dogs

Cats and dogs – can’t we all just get along?

You can see it now: the cat has its back arched and tail bushed out, and the puppy is oblivious to the danger. He just sees a potential playmate. Puppy gets a little too close and “rowwrrrr,” the cat digs a paw full of claws into puppy’s nose and takes off. Pandemonium ensues, and you vow to work this out.

Socialization is the key. Choose a room and bring both animals in and shut the door, but be ready to stop a chase before it begins. Restrain your puppy and let the cat roam free. If the puppy moves to chase the cat, distract him with a toy or a game. He must learn that humans are the game source and the cat is not a chew toy.

You should introduce a command, such as “gentle,” and be said in a low vocal tone every time he approaches the cat. It might also be advisable to leash your puppy and if he lunges at the cat, “pop” his lead and repeat “gentle” in a low tone. Always praise your puppy for the appropriate behaviour. A baby gate on the puppy’s room will allow the cat to be able to come and go as he wishes without being chased.

Allow them to sniff around each other, but keep a firm hold on the puppy. This may take some time, and watch carefully as the dog grows more confident. Remember, to a dog, chase is play and it can’t figure out why the cat won’t cooperate. Give it time. They might be snoozing together by the end of the week and playing games the next.