In the last two episodes of the Raising Your Paws podcast, we talked about how cats and dogs misunderstand each other and how to help them get along, with my guest, certified animal behavior consultant, Amy Shojai, author of ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in the Cat-Dog Household.
How to Create Harmony Between your Dogs and Cats Right from the Start.
From Amy Shojai’s book, here are shortened and paraphrased versions of her TEN COMMANDMENTS of PET DYNAMICS – Things to keep in mind before you choose a new four-legged family member for your household.
The ideal situation if you want to have both cats and dogs in the home, is if they can grow up together as kittens and puppies. This way they go through their socialization periods together and have a greater chance of living together in peace and harmony as adults.
Since this may not be realistic for you, follow these guidelines to try to avoid the worst cat-dog behavior challenges. Detailed advice and additional information about all of the topics below are found in Amy Shojai’s book, ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in the Cat-Dog Household.
- Introductions between the resident pet (either dog or cat) and the new one is much simpler when your resident pet already knows the rules of the house and basic obedience cues. At the least, the ones that already live there, should understand the word NO and the dog, be leash trained.
- It is easier to introduce a newcoming cat to a resident dog than the other way around. Dogs tend to be more accepting of newcomers than cats are. Cats prefer a status quo and changes can be perceived as threats.
- Resident adult pets, both cats and dogs tend to accept and be more tolerant of younger pups and kittens being added to the family more readily than adult animals. Baby animals are less likely to challenge the resident’s social status than adults.
- The more space you have in your house, the less trouble you will have. Dogs and cats are territorial so there needs to be enough room so that they are not living on top of each other. Amy’s “rule of paw” is to have no more pets than there are rooms available in your home. If space is limited, make sure you enrich the environment by providing plenty of hiding places, lookout posts, and numerous toys. Privacy is important to pets. Both dogs and cats need a place they can call their own – a sanctuary where they can retreat and not be bothered by the other pets.
- With cat/dog introductions that will take place in the home, both pets should be familiar with your house (the territory,) before introducing them to each other. The new pet should be allowed to explore the home without interference from the resident pet prior to the introductions.
- Choosing complementary personalities of the pets, aids in establishing good relationships. The potential for most problems comes with two aggressive individuals especially if there is a big size difference between them. Confidence in a pet is an asset, if it is fearful, this can cause problems. The least conflict comes when your resident pet is outgoing, curious and interested, eager to investigate rather than running to hide.
- Along this vein, matching a lap sitter with a playful pet works well because they don’t challenge each other’s preferred state of being. Your energetic pet can encourage the lap-potato to become more active and the more sedentary pet may help calm down the energizer bunny pet.
- Introduce the new dog or cat to one resident pet at a time if you have multiple pets.
- Pay more attention to your resident pet. The new kitten or puppy is irresistible, but your older beloved friend will feel much more willing to accept the newcomer if they don’t feel they’ve lost your affections.
- Patience is the key to successful competability. Don’t expect pets to become fast friends upon the first sniff. It can be hate at first sight and the best you’ll be able to hope for is that they initially will tolerate each other. Most likely, it will take days to weeks before the pets have figured out everybody’s place and established their own furry rules.
Does your dog guard its bones or possessions? You can help fix this.
Find out how to do the technique called the “object exchange” in Raising Your Paws podcast episode, 29. Listen here to segment one.
NutriSource Pet Food’s new freeze dried treats are great to use in the object exchange exercise for teaching your dog how NOT to guard its favorite possessions. But you can use them for training anything to your cat or dog and pets think they are YUMMY.
Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think of the podcast and what you’d like to hear in the future, and we’ll randomly select three people to win some bags of the dog or cat treats. To see all the different flavors of meats that the treats come in, check out the Pure Vita website.
Show Notes for Raising Your Paws episode 29.
Title: The Easiest Way to Stop a Fight Between Your Cat And Dog & Taking Coveted Items Away From Dogs Without Them Guarding the Possessions.
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