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7 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along

7 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along

Most dog and cat owners know that their pets can’t stand each other — they fight, they argue, they snarl, and they hiss. It seems like these two species would be doomed to life-long enmity, but it doesn’t have to be that way! This guide on how to get your cat and dog to get along will show you how to keep them happy and safe together so you can stop worrying about their squabbles and start enjoying their company.

1) Give your cat extra space

Cats are highly territorial animals, which means they can be prone to attacks out of aggression or fear. Cats also have a naturally distrustful attitude toward anything that isn’t human—and dogs fall into that category. If you’re introducing your cat and dog, keep your cat in one room for several days. Also, make sure to give your pets treats during social time so they develop positive associations with each other. Finally, avoid stressful scenarios; don’t give them food near each other or move from one side of a doorframe to another too quickly (your pet might interpret it as a threat). When you do finally introduce them, just leave them alone together for a few minutes.

2) Don’t leave them alone together

Try not to leave your dog and cat alone together in a room. Separating them is also not an option because they need one another. Dogs shouldn’t be left with cats or other animals they don’t know either, so you have no choice but to keep them all separated. If you have kids, make sure they are respectful of the fact that your pets need space from each other. Pets can get along fine if their needs are taken care of separately, but when a new addition comes into their territory, it’s harder for them both to accept each other as equals.

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3) Provide enrichment

Dogs are constantly on a quest for self-satisfaction. This means that without an outlet for their energy, they’ll find one for themselves—and it usually involves destroying your couch. This can be prevented by providing them with enrichment activities such as food puzzles or an extra play session with another dog in your household. Studies show that dogs who have their own set of toys are less likely to engage in destructive behavior than those who don’t, so keep that in mind when providing entertainment. It can also be a good idea to give your cat or dog free access to parts of your home where they’re allowed—such as a backyard or spare room.

4) Take it slow

No matter how much you adore your cat, getting him to accept a new dog into your home can be challenging. It’s even more challenging if you got a puppy in hopes of taking his mind off of your kitty, which is fine. But make sure that the dog doesn’t chase or harass him; it will only result in a setback for getting them to get along. Some cats and dogs will not get along well simply because they are not compatible, but if they have open space where they can interact at their own pace then they should learn how to get along over time, says veterinarian Dr. Cailin Heinze. So give them time—and some space—to work things out themselves.

5) Use treats as rewards during training

Dogs and cats love treats, but remember that food should only be given as a reward for good behavior. Treats are a powerful tool when it comes to dog training—if your dog misbehaves, take away their treat or give them something less appealing than what they usually get. For example, if your cat leaps on top of you while you’re trying to eat, remove their food bowl until they learn how not to disturb you during meals. Conversely, if your cat is sitting quietly in another room, toss them a favorite snack as an incentive for staying out of trouble.

7 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along

6) Always supervise

If you plan on letting your dog and cat interact with each other, make sure you are present when they do. Both animals need supervision in order to avoid conflicts. If a fight does break out, separate them quickly! Don’t wait around for it to stop on its own. This could lead to severe injuries or even death for one of your pets. Also, never leave your pets unsupervised when they’re together in their crate or yard! They might be able to escape unnoticed during a conflict. Try not to bring both animals into any area where they can get into an altercation—it isn’t worth risking their safety!

7) Keep things positive

When you’re training your pets, it’s essential that you keep things positive. If your dog jumps on people when they come over, then tell them what to do instead of scolding them for doing it wrong. For example, say sit every time your dog jumps up on someone; eventually, he will learn what he's supposed to do when people come over. When working with animals, humans are always much more successful if they try to positively reinforce desired behavior than punish undesirable ones.

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