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Sometimes the thought of your aggressive cat interacting with a new puppy might put off the idea of buying a new puppy altogether. Well, it might surprise you that puppies and cats can get along if you take some measures. Today, we want to look at how to introduce a puppy to an aggressive cat. At the end of this guide, you will have enough information to help you introduce a puppy to its new home.
Do Dogs and Cats Hate Each Other?
Since most of the time you would see dogs chasing the cats around, you might think they are enemies. However, that is not the case. Dogs and cats can coexist peacefully in a home when you take the right steps to provide such an environment.
Dogs and cats have different species behaviors that at first it might seem they have aggression against each other. An example is that a dog will have its hunting instincts kick in when it sees a moving object. It is why it will chase the cat at first. With a bit of training and socialization, this habit will fade with time leaving you with two pets that love to get along.
Cats and dogs have different methods of communicating. When a dog sees a wagging tail, it interprets it as an invitation to play. That is not the same for cats. A cat wagging its tail means irritation. As you can see, a dog will misread this kind of behavior and start chasing the cat around thinking that it wants to play.
Do not worry when this behavior seems to be persistent at first. After several sessions of socialization, the two pets learn to understand each other. The next time you see a dog chasing a cat, just know they might be playing. Keep in mind that the large dog breeds might injure cats, so train it early to live with your cat.
Introducing Your Puppy Into Its New Home
When you have an aggressive cat, it might not like the presence of a new puppy in the house. The worst part is that a puppy might be too playful that it tries to play with the aggressive cat. Sometimes such a cat might get defensive and end up harming the puppy. So, below we give you tips on how to introduce a puppy to an aggressive cat.
Start by creating a separate space for either pet
You cannot just put your new puppy and aggressive cat in the same room with no confinement. They both need time to adjust. You should never force a first meeting when the puppy gets home on its first day. For the first day or two, confine the new puppy before letting it roam the house. Make sure to provide it with enough food, toys, and water. You still have to spend more time with the puppy to help it adjust to your new home.
Alternate the confinement for each animal
After two days, start alternating which animal gets into confinement. It is recommended to keep rotating the animals every few hours. This helps the new puppy roam the house and get used to its new environment. This activity also helps the animals to get used to each other’s scent.
If the cat is in the cage, a puppy might get curious and try to paw or sniff at the door. Sometimes a puppy can excessively paw at the door irritating the cat. Correct this behavior if you want them to get along.
Exchange their scents
As part of getting to know each other, you need to help them get accustomed to each other’s scent. Start by swapping the bedding, toys, and much more. Rub one animal’s towel on the other so that it can get used to the scent. Getting used to the scent will make them friendly to each other faster.
If you go out, keep them confined
If you are going out and no one is home, it is best to keep the two confined. They are not yet ready to be left unsupervised for long durations. You can as well as confine the puppy and leave the cat to roam freely as it is already used to being in the home.
Setting up the first meeting
After a few days, your puppy at this point is used to its new home. It is now time to have the first meeting for the two pets. Get a large room which is neutral to either pet. A large room helps to keep the pets at a comfortable distance between each other at first.
During the first introduction, keep the puppy on a leash so that it can be easily controlled. At first, you will notice some fear or aggression from either animal. It is normal for the first meeting, but the behavior subsides when each pet realizes that the other animal is not a threat.
Always keep the meetings short and controlled. If one animal gets too aggressive, that is your signal to end the meeting. As time goes by, the aggressive cat will be more confident about the puppy and thus remain less aggressive each time they meet. The puppy will also become disinterested in the aggressive cat after these meetings.
Reinforce good behavior
Reinforcing good behavior helps your pets to behave better while around each other. It is common for pet owners to scold a puppy that chases a cat. Scolding can be counterproductive. You need to train the puppy better to avoid such kind of behavior. Whenever you reward it with treats for not chasing the cat, it will help to maintain such behavior in the future.
If the puppy gets fixated on the cat, distract it with toys, treats, and games. Continuous positive reinforcement on the cat and dog will help foster a great environment for the two.
Always take safety precautions
As part of taking precautions, take your pets to a vet for a checkup. If any of the pet is sick, sometimes it can complicate the introduction process. Once the vet gives both pets a clean bill of health, then you can proceed with the introduction process.
In case you follow these steps, but it seems it is hard for the two to coexist, seek professional help. Hire an animal trainer to help with the smooth transition of the two into one home.
Tricks to Help Your Puppy and Cat Get Along
Anyone who has ever kept both cats and dogs as pets at the same time knows that it takes time for them to get along. They might be hostile towards each other at first, but here are some tips to help them stay happy together in the same house.
Try obedience training
Most of the time, if there is a problem between the two pets, normally it is the dog that is at fault. Dogs tend to have a higher prey instinct and might pounce on the cat. As a result, cats will mostly fear dogs, but it does not mean they would not try to defend themselves. Your puppy needs to be trained to understand that sneaking up on cats is not okay. Teach the dog basic commands such as down, sit, and stay. This allows for ease of controlling the pet when it is misbehaving.
Allow interaction under supervision
It is no brainer that at first, a puppy and an aggressive cat would not be comfortable around each other. This is for the first few weeks. In such a case, you mind want to supervise their interactions. Reinforce positive behavior so that they can learn to stay around each other. The dog might at first like to irritate the cat, but that subsides with time.
A cat should have its safe spot
Even for an aggressive cat, sometimes it will feel threatened by a dog. It is why it needs to have a safe spot where it can hide whenever it feels threatened. Well, your dog should not have access to such safety spots. It can be window perch, the top a refrigerator, or a bookshelf. Since they are both territorial animals, they should both have different eating areas.
Desensitization is when the aggression towards each other fades through continuous exposure. This is the best way of helping the two animals get along. With continuous exposure, they will understand there is nothing to fear. That is how they end up being friends rather than chasing each other around.
Take it slow
You must understand that the two are different species so it might take some time before they get used to each other. Because of this, it is advisable to take baby steps towards exposing them to each other. If you are lucky, it might take a few hours for them to be friends. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes you might have to hire a pet trainer to help them get along.
How to Stop the Puppy from Chasing the Cat Around
Naturally, a puppy might be compelled to chase a cat around. However, in this case we are talking of an aggressive cat. It might swipe at the puppy and end up injuring it. So, how do you keep the puppy from chasing the cat?
The muzzle technique
Sometimes you might have just bought a restless puppy. This is one that cannot keep itself from the cat. When you have such a puppy, getting a muzzle for it would be ideal. Having a basket muzzle will help keep the clueless puppy away from the cat.
You cannot just muzzle the puppy right away. Make it get used to it first. Let it sniff the muzzle a couple of times to like it. Sometimes throw in its favorite treat and watch it come running for the muzzle. After a few sessions, it should be used to getting the muzzle. Each time you cannot supervise the puppy around the cat, then make sure it has the muzzle on.
The carrier technique
This technique is often used when you suspect the two might hurt each other when left alone in a room. This means that one pet gets to stay in a carrier while the other one is free. You can alternate who stays in the carrier depending on the time. Rotate the two after a couple of hours until they are used to each other.
A leash for the puppy can still help to keep it on one side of the room from the cat. Keeping the animals in the carrier all day long might not be ideal for the long term, so a leash can be appropriate sometimes.
The cookie cat technique
If done correctly, then this technique is the most effective. The aim of the technique is to teach the puppy to respond to the presence of a cat so that it does not chase it all the time. One way would be keeping the puppy under a leash most of the time for ease of control when it starts to chase the cat.
Have treats in hand so that the puppy is rewarded for not chasing the cat. This makes the puppy to be disinterested in the cat over time.
Try to keep them in the same room for extended periods. This allows them to roam around each other and get used to doing activities together. During these meetings, offer treats to the puppy whenever a cat is around or makes a move that attracts the attention of the puppy. These treats will distract it from focusing on the cat. That is how it will end up losing its interest in the cat.
For most people, it has always been hard to get their pets to coexist together. That changes today when you use the right techniques to have your new puppy in the home. By now, you have an idea about how to introduce a puppy to an aggressive cat. It is all about taking one step at a time. You must be patient as some pets take longer to get along.
There is no shame in seeking help from a pet trainer. This is because some animals might give you a hard time living together. Having a professional help with the training process is ideal to keep the pets from fighting each other. Go ahead and get yourself a nice puppy and bring it home because you know how to safely introduce it into your home.