No matter how small, tame, or socialized your new puppy is, when you introduce him to your cat, your feline friend may become suddenly anxious and start to leap for higher ground or dive under anything she can take cover from this new creature. So it is quite obvious that regardless how well mannered or trained your cat is, you will need to make plans and teach your new dog how to interact with your residential cat.
Before any interaction training begins, you have to do some preparations prior to bringing your new pup or dog home. Many potential dangers or inconveniences can be avoided if only pet owners pay just as much attention to the preparations as to the training itself.
What You Need to Prepare Before Introducing Your New Pup or Dog to Your Cat
Collar and leash for your new puppy or dog.
Make sure your cat is free from fleas and ear mites. Although your dog and cat may not be in close proximity on the first day, these parasites can be transmitted within a close range.
Place your cat’s litter box where it is inaccessible to your pup. Dogs are attracted to cat feces and your puppy may eat poop as a way of seeking nutrients not found in his diet.
Provide two sets of food and water bowls and beds in separate rooms. If that’s not possible, you may have to schedule different meal time for them. You should also give them healthy products such as cbd for dogs. Your cat and dog should each have his/her own sanctuary for eating and resting.
Use baby gate to separate your dog and cat when they aren’t supervised. For example, if your cat likes to spend time in the living area, confine your puppy in the kitchen with the baby gate. That way your puppy will be able to see the cat and get used to her wandering around.
If you have a cat flap in the kitchen, then it would be best to place your cat there. Otherwise, you have to close or seal the cat flap when your puppy is confined in the kitchen. This is to prevent your puppy from escaping so that he won’t be able to sneak his way through other door where your cat resides. Meanwhile, you have to train your cat to use the window or install another cat flap on the front door.
Train your dog the Sit, Stay, Drop, and Heel commands.
When it comes to training, I prefer taking the gradual approach. Of course you don’t have to follow all the steps outlined below; you are free to customize them as you see fit. Just don’t expect miracles to happen overnight.
When you first introduce your new puppy to the home, confine your cat to another room of the house, i.e. study room. Put a baby gate with an inch above the ground and closed the door. Allow your puppy to familiarize himself around the house or part of it. Once your puppy has become acclimated, direct his attention to the study room door where the cat is residing. Allow them to sniff each other under the door for about few minutes or until the pup gets used to the cat’s scent. Gradually open the door with the baby gate still intact so that both the pup and cat have a closer contact. Depending on your cat’s personality, some adult cats are less inquisitive than puppies and will probably take a hike! If not, allow them to further investigate and perhaps paw each other through the baby gate.
If both of them react positively (cat didn’t swat the pup and the pup didn’t growl or wanting to bite the cat), praise your pup and reward him a treat but also admonish it promptly if they turn hostile towards each other.
Put your pup inside a crate and place it in a room. i.e. TV room or home office. Bring your cat into the room and close the door. Let the cat roam freely in the room. Carry on your task as you would do in this room. Your pup should become used to the cat and not react when she’s within close proximity. Whenever the cat passes by the crate and if your pup didn’t react negatively (barking, snarling, growling) offer him treats or extra attention. This programs your pup to associate the cat with positive things.
This training should last no more than 2.5 hours since most young puppies haven’t master the art of bladder control! Remember, to praise your pup generously after the training. Take him out for a short walk and play session. This reinforces his positive behavior.
If everything runs smoothly for the first two days, then now it’s the time to have your pup meet your cat face-to-face without barrier, almost. Put your pup on a leash and bring your cat into the room. The goal here is to get your dog to maintain his focus only on you while ignoring the cat in the same room. It is very important that you give your cat a high shelf or gated room where she can retreat from the dog if she wishes. While your pup is on the leash you will want to get his attention and play with him, while at times allowing him to take the focus off you to look around and sniffed towards the cat. Have your dog do some simple commands such as Sit or Stay. Walk around the room towards the cat. Allow your dog to head his way and sniff towards the cat. This should only last a few seconds before you tug on the leash and call him to get his attention. After playing with him for a minute or two, allow his attention to be brought back towards the cat. If your puppy starts harassing the cat, tug on the leash and give him the command Leave It and bring the puppy towards you. Do this consistently each time your puppy begins to harass the cat. Remember your cat was there first and she has the prerogative to live peacefully without constant harassment from the puppy. When your dog is less fascinated by your cat, stroke and hold your cat in his presence. Your dog will sense that you also value the other family member—your cat.
This training should go on for a few hours with many intervals and as many training days as possible until your pup will not be completely overwhelmed by your cat.
If all the previous trainings proceed successfully, you can now allow your dog and cat to meet while your dog is unleashed. Again, your cat must have a way to escape from your dog in case he gets too excited and starts to chase after her. You should have sufficient control to instruct your dog to sit quietly and accept the presence of the cat. If you have no control over your dog, consider having some obedience lessons. Continue the training until your dog reliably sits, drops, and heels when he is told. A reliable dog should lie down when he is told and have no desire to leave even when the cat is passing by. In any case, do not allow your puppy to have access to your cat unless you are present to supervise the interaction. With each positive interaction, you may want to supervise them at a distance and gradually increase the distance but never let them out of your sight!