How to Train Your Dog and Cat to like Each other

It’s exciting to add a new furry friend to the family.

Whether you own a dog or a cat first, a gradual introduction of your new pet works best so they avoid fighting like cats and dogs. There’s a reason we find those children’s cartoons so entertaining—it can actually happen. These training tips ensure you can create a happy home with both animals.

Prepare the House

At the beginning, don’t put both pets into the same room. Cats are territorial creatures and they need time to adjust to their new surroundings. Make sure your home has ample space or spare rooms so you can keep each pet separated. The first few days, the pets should not see each other. Allow them to adapt to the new environment for a couple days at least.

Follow The Commands

Before the first introduction, make sure your dog understands and obeys your commands. A well-trained dog will make the process go much smoother if you don’t want the dog chasing the cat around the house.

The First Informal Introduction

If your cat is in a certain room or space, keep her there. Next, let your pets adapt to their sense of smelling each other. Most likely the dog and cat will sit near the door as the scent is new and unfamiliar. Allow them to sniff each other through the door for three to four days before making a face-to-face introduction.

Mix the Scents

Moving slowly is best for both animals. Once the pets sniff each other behind the door, owners should pet each animal and allow the dog and cat to smell the other’s scent on the owner’s hand. It’s best to pet each animal with each other’s scent so the pet learns that the smell is okay. Next, you can switch their rooms. This will give them plenty of time to sniff around and gradually get used to each other’s scents.

The First Formal Introduction

Once your pets, especially the cat, seemed relaxed, you can physically introduce each other. Hold the cat in your arms and let another family member bring the dog into the room on a leash. Slowly, walk toward each other and let the dog and cat sniff and stare without physical contact. If it gets to be too much and one of them freaks out, separate them and try again tomorrow.

Keep Practicing

Gradually increase the time your pets spend time in the same room. Some pets bond immediately and others need more time. It is important that you let your cat run and hide if she needs to. Keep the cat’s food and litter pan in an area where he or she doesn’t have to enter the dog’s territory. Never force proximity or physical contact. Let the pets adjust with time and practice.

Meet the Author: Elizabeth Kovar

Elizabeth Kovar M.A. is a fitness trainer, author, freelance writer, workshop presenter and Reiki Master. She is a national Master Trainer Presenter for fitness companies, ACE and BOSU A lover for all things in life, her adventurous soul continuously follows the road less traveled and off the beaten track destinations.

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