- Cats often adjust slower to new things than dogs do. Don’t be alarmed if your cat and new dog or puppy do not act like best buddies. Your cat may simply just learn to tolerate the dog. Time is often the best behavior resolution for your friendly feline. In the meantime, always supervise dog–cat interactions. Watch all interaction around food, toys, litter boxes, and sleeping areas. Always make sure that your cat has a safe place to retreat from the dog. Be quick to distract or interrupt any aggressive or overly playful behavior. Do not punish either the dog or the cat; instead, redirect attention elsewhere. Each pet should learn that when the other pet is around, good things happen. Give them lots of positive associations in the presence of one another.
~Crystal Coll , All Ways Pawsitive Pet Behavior and Training, Queen Creek, AZ
- Introduce a new dog to a resident cat by keeping the dog on leash for several days. Let the cat go where she wants to go, ensuring “safe passage” to her litter box, food, and water. When kitty learns that you won’t let her be assaulted by the new dog, her curiosity will get the best of her and she’ll start showing up and checking out the new kid in town. Never let the dog chase the cat–not even once–so that your cat will trust you and believe she’s safe.
~Becky Schultz, BA, CPDT-KA, Becky Schultz Dog Training and Behavior, Golden Valley, MN
- When introducing a new dog to your household, introduce the two dogs on neutral territory, not in your home. Do not interfere in how the dogs work out their relationship unless there are serious aggression issues. At that point, it would be wise to contact a behavior specialist to help.
~Christina Shusterich , BA, CBC, NY Clever K9, Inc., Queens, NY
- To help set the stage for a positive first meeting between two dogs, start by conditioning them to associate each other’s presence with good things. There should be a handler for each dog, and each handler should have a supply of tasty treats. Gradually move the dogs into each other’s presence, and as soon as each dog becomes aware of the other, immediately begin feeding tasty treats to each dog. In this way, both dogs will learn to associate the other with something pleasant right off the bat.
~Ann Allums , CPDT-KA, Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, UT
- Even if a dog approaches you, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s friendly. Wait for him to curl his body in front, almost
touching you. Then drape your hand gently along his back. Avoid approaching dogs to say hello–let them come to you and look
for the curl.
~Maureen Schooley , Blue Paws, Inc., New Port Richey, FL
- When you are approaching a dog you don’t know very well, try not to look him directly in the eye, as this is a threatening approach. Look at his ears instead. Also, approach the dog at an angle instead of a straight line. When you pet him, don’t bring your hand over his head. Instead, pet him under the chin.
~Darlene Koza, Scooter’s School of Sit & Stay, Rochester, NY
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Excerpted from Top Tips from Top Trainers – 1001 Practical Tips and Techniques for Successful Dog Care and Training © 2010 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.