Introducing a new dog to a cat is quite tricky. Intimacy, acquaintance, and socialization among the dog and cat are necessary for the same home. If you already have a cat and brought a new dog, it is your inevitable need to introduce the new dog to the cat to keep a peaceful environment in the home. In this article, I am going to talk about introducing a new dog to a cat.
Introducing a new dog to a cat
You will find a lot of fun and amusement when both the dog and the cat in your home are friends together and show fellow feelings and companionship most of the time.
They can share a home, bed, food, and toys regardless. Even you may find the dog is saving the cat from any wanted danger, predator, or enemy, and vice versa. They go for a walk outside together and enjoy TV shows on the same chair.
Socialization is important. In some cases introducing cats to a new dog takes place naturally as both the cat and the dog would be amicable to each other in a decent and peaceful manner.
Time for acquaintance
Getting acquainted and introducing a new dog to a cat may take 2-3 weeks maximum. However, there must be some exceptions based on temperament, breed type, personality, behavior, and the environment; and you might be finding closeness and affinity between the dog and the cat from day one. There are some dogs that can stay with some particular felines, but not with others.
Monitor body language
Learn the body language of both pets while introducing a dog to a cat home. If you find the cat’s ears are pinned back or its tail is swishing back and forth, the sign is not amicable for the cat at all. The signs are hostile and mean the cat hasn’t accepted the new cat initially.
Also, look at the dog’s attitude, if you find the prey drive look in the dog’s approach, it is not a good sign either for the dog’s part. Prey drive is a sign that the predator dog shows for the imminent attack on a lower animal.
It is a good sign of hope if they look at each other but don’t fixate on their looks for a long time while introducing the cat and the dog. Also, keep your eyes open in every new situation in the following days, they may not be so friendly outside and in the absence of any human.
The first introduction is important to signify the rest of the journey. The first impression is the best impression. There are several ways to introduce, you may use one over another in case one doesn’t fit in any given situation. Be careful even if both the dog and the cat have lived with the other cat and dog before. Also, it is required to stay more people during the introduction, at least one per animal, to handle an animal during any unwanted situation.
Desensitization works in case the dog is fixated on the cat. By this process, you put the cat in a separate place that is visible by the dog but is not accessible. The dog only can see the cat during a specific time of the day but can’t intrude or interfere. Even the dog and the cat should sleep in separate rooms when none can see another. If your dog stays with you, but the cat in the other room, or bathroom, or in a spare room. The cat will be given all necessary items, litter boxes, toys, food, and all.
Each part can see others eating, playing, and doing private business. By smelling the body or the food of the other, both dogs and cats should gradually come closer and together, mentally, every day. Both pets will experience the existence of others and they will start thinking it’s normal and both of the members of the same family.
Just keep monitoring their body language in the process and make sure they don’t injure each other. You should not force them to stay or come closer in case any of them, or both show disappointment or grudge while coming closer. Consider their safety on top priority.
In this introduction process, bring both the pets in the same room, face to face. Take help from another person with you to monitor and hold the cat as well as its body language. You can hold and monitor the dog. The reason for two people for two pets respectively is to stop the animal in case they show negative body language.
Observe the cat whenever it is raising its back or hissing around the dog, or sniffing the body. If this continues, you may need to separate them and try for other slower options.
If the dog is not fixated on the cat and is busy with other items, it’s a good sign and you can reward the dog for this. If the cat shows its positive body language such as moving around the dog freely, sniffing its body, or is busy with other items, this process will work.
Not paying attention to each other
Train the dog not looking at the cat constantly. You have to change the state when the dog stares at the cat for a long time. For not looking at the cat, or looking for a little time and then changing his sight, you can reward the dog. Rewarding will give the dog signal not to fixate upon the cat. Gradually he will be habituated to it.
Some researchers name this process Look at That (LAT) training when the dog looks at the cat and then to other things. In the successful stage of this stage, the cat will ignore the dog and will pay attention when you call it by name. The distance between the pets could be 5 to 25 feet considering the breed temperament, body language, and behavior.
Clicker of verbal marker
It is the extended version of not paying attention to each other options. Start the distance at 15-20 feet between the pets. Use a clicker or verbal marker as soon as the dog looks at the cat, and see whether it turns back to you in response to the clicker. If the dog looks at you upon the call or marker, give it a treat.
Repeat this process every time until the dog completely understands the code. The same rule and treat apply for the cat as well. You may need some time or even some days to successfully accomplish this process. Gradually decrease the distance between them when they complete the level of 5-10 times clicker or verbal marker codes.
This process is good for a young cat and dog but move carefully in case you have a kitten with a mature dog or a puppy with a mature cat. It is wise not to spare them for others in your absence.
Patience is the key to training. Train them daily. If the learned train fails, start the process again. Be polite and offer treats for loyalty. Never go with a harsh voice or physical punishment with the pets in any situation.