It is not always easy to adopt a dog and a cat into your home without disrupting your house’s peace and calm.
There is a widespread belief that dogs and cats do not do well under the same roof as they can never be friendly with each other.
Such an assumption comes from the fact that dogs usually showcase aggression towards cats to establish superiority and claim territory.
However, it is not always true as proper training can help the dog and the cat be friendly and become inseparable companions.
Signs of a dog is aggressive towards cats.
There are many cases where a dog starts to behave differently around cats and might even showcase signs of aggression and possible violence.
Certain evident signs can help you assert that a dog is aggressive towards cats. Some of them are:
- Excessive barking if the cat is present in the same room or within a visible distance of the dog. These barks are very loud and violent and often do not cease until the cat moves away.
- The dog stands in an upright position when the cat is near. It keeps its senses active and does not relax until the cat is moved away from its sight. You might also notice low pitched growls and snarls often projected towards the cat.
- It continually stares at the cat and keeps looking for a chance to scare it away. The dog shows signs of aggression, and it does not cease even after your repeated attempts to comfort them.
- It continually looks for ways to chase the cat away. They also rush towards the cat as soon as they notice them and tries to frighten them as much as possible.
- The dog bares its teeth to assert themselves as the alpha. The dog shows its teeth to prove its danger to the cat. It might even attempt to bite the cat when it gets a chance. The dog usually bites in situations where the cat does not acknowledge the dog’s aggressive behavior as a warning.
- You will notice that the dog keeps its ears erect when the cat is near. Such a phenomenon is stimulated by aggression or when they sense danger. It also means that the dog has all its attention focused on the cat and might attack if they perceive it as a threat.
How do you train a dog not to become aggressive towards other cats?
If you have a dog and a cat living under the same roof, it is essential to know how you can avoid fights between them.
It will help you maintain peace in the house and prevent them from attacking each other and getting injured.
It will also avoid any unfortunate scenario where you might be bound to disown one of the pet to avoid aggression and violence between the two.
Here are some ways you can train your dog to ensure that they are friendly towards cats:
1. Proper introductions
Unlike popular belief, cats and dogs are not supposed to be mortal enemies. They can be very friendly to each other if they are appropriately introduced at the very beginning.
If you have a puppy, it is best to start their training young. Before adopting a cat, you could take your dog to a friend who has a cat and notice its behavior around the cat.
Always keep the dog on a leash when near your fried’s cat, or it might lead to an accident.
You should always keep an eye on the two animals and allow the dog some time to get comfortable with the presence of the cat. This will immensely help if you want to adopt a kitten into your home later.
However, if you have an adult dog and get no chance of introducing it to another cat before adopting one into your home, you need to follow specific other strategies.
Dogs are susceptible to smell, and the cat’s new smell might be overwhelming for them. Therefore, you need to keep both the pets separated until the dog is not comfortable with the cat’s presence and its smell.
You should keep a barrier between the two pets for some time. You can leave the cat’s toys, foods, and other stuff near the dog to gradually introduce them to the family’s new member.
2. Obedience training
It is vital to make the dog aware that cats are neither their enemies nor an object of prey. Proper training helps the dog understand that cats are friendly creatures, and there is no need to attack them.
Obedience training involves strategies that support the dog to understand what consists of good behavior and what is considered bad behavior.
They require proper guidance and training to be comfortable around cats and control their instinct to chase and attack them as soon as they are in sight.
As a part of obedience training, you should associate rewards and praises when the dog behaves according to your desire.
You can give them treats or pats when they are friendly to a cat. If they show signs of aggression near a cat, you should use voice commands like ‘No,’ ‘Stop,’ etc. to discourage such behavior.
It will help the dog understand that you perceive such action negatively, and it is not welcome. If they are adequately trained, cohabitation will indeed be possible.
3. Limit their playtimes
If your dog is not comfortable around cats, initially, it is best to keep their interactions limited. They should only be allowed to come into contact with each other for a few minutes at first.
The two pets should never be allowed to play with each other without human supervision. You should always be prepared to intervene in case of any violence or fights between the two.
It is also essential to keep the dog on a leash during the initial interactions to avoid unwanted circumstances.
You should also be careful that the cat does not scratch your dog or hisses at it as it might stimulate aggression.
They can be allowed to interact with each multiple times of the day, but the sessions should be short to avoid stressing out the pet.
If you notice that they are increasingly getting comfortable with each other, you can gradually increase their playing time.
You should keep reminding the dog to be obedient and disciplined near the cat. You need to allow them to have enough time to get comfortable with each other and become playmates forever.
4. Provide individual space
Dogs and cats often do not get along because they feel that the other might invade their personal space.
Therefore, you must provide both your pets with individual spaces where the other cannot intervene. Their sleeping spaces and food bowls should be separated.
If possible, you should keep their items of daily needs in different rooms so that they do not have to interact with each other at all times of the day.
You should also set different feeding times for both the animals to feel like they have to compete for food.
Separation of food bowls would ensure no rivalry between the two, and they both deserve equal attention and love.
You should also have different toys for both the pets to play to not smell the other animal on their toy, leading them to believe it as a possible threat.
5. Use humane methods of correction.
While training your dog, you must discourage their malicious behavior. If they showcase continued aggression towards cats, you need to address the root problem without physically or mentally harming the dog.
Action should be taken as soon as you notice any dog’s aggression as delayed punishment would confuse the dog, and they would not realize their mistake.
If your dog knows specific commands, you should firmly use them to make them aware that such behavior is not appreciated.
You should never opt for harsh punishments to correct the behavior of the dog. Hitting them or excessively scolding them will worsen their aggression and impact their mental health as well.
Abusing the dog to make them friendlier with your cat is never okay. Instead, when they are naughty and disobedient, you should put them on time-out away from their favorite people for some time.
You should also use an angry voice to inform them that you are not happy with their behavior and need to correct it.
Dogs are friendly creatures, and with proper training and lots of patience, you can adopt a dog as well as a cat into your home.
The aggression of either pet should not be tolerated, and you should take the necessary steps to correct their behavior.
Address their aggressive behavior at the earliest stage possible so that it does not deteriorate. With time, you will surely notice your cat and your dog becoming best buddies.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.