Can My Dog Co-Exist With My Cat?
It’s the classic rivalry: cats and dogs are always painted as sworn enemies in the animal kingdom. But there are plenty of people who have both dogs and cats, and don’t report any domestic disputes between the two animals. It shows that dogs and cats are capable of communicating with each other, and can co-exist with one another.
But what if your dog is not just picking up your cat’s cues? What if the cat is causing the dog to only be more excited and disruptive? What if your dog’s prey drive is high, and the cat is setting that off, leading to potential aggression incidents? The last thing any pet owner wants is an injured pet, or one that is constantly anxious and on edge.
When dogs cannot understand the boundaries that the family cat is setting, then we as owners must step in and help them understand. It is not only for the protection of the pets, but to ensure that both the dog and cat can live comfortably together, without anxiety, depression, or aggression. When our dogs cross our boundaries, we let them know, and then when they respect those boundaries, we shower them with reward. We have less control with our cats, but our dogs can learn impulse control when they are around the cats.
With my dog training here in Boston, I always want to start from the basics. Even if your dog knows all their commands, how often do they follow through when given the command the first time? And is there a difference in their responsiveness when distractions are present? Will your dog stay or go to his place when told to, as your cat sneaks away, hiding from the dog? If your dog can sit when it’s quiet, but will completely ignore you when your cat is strolling through the living room, then it’s time to get back to basics and sharpen your dog’s recall skills. This may seem like a small step, but it can make an enormous difference in you and your pets’ lives!
As a dog trainer here in Boston, it is not my job to take away your dog’s instinct. If he gets excited over seeing the cat, I am not going to completely eliminate that from his personality. All I want to do is instill control for the owner, and have the dog consistently follow their owner as a leader, in ANY environment or situation.
If your dog is aggressive toward cats, don’t think this is something that is just inherent, and that your dog is just “being a dog”. Plenty of dogs get along with cats, and your dog can be part of that major demographic! Aggression is a problematic behavior, and we will correct that behavior so that your cat is safe, and your dog understands that your cat is a family member, not an enemy or appetizer.
Dogs and cats hating each other does not have to be a reality. As a dog trainer, I cannot guarantee your cat will be thrilled with your dog, but if your dog demonstrates good, calm behavior with the cat, then the cat will feel more inclined to open up and be more comfortable with your dog. It doesn’t matter what species – families can stay together and co-exist!
For any questions or if you’re having some cat problems with your dog, call me at 800-649-7297!