If only our pets were like this every day! Below the video are some of the best ways to introduce your pets to one another.
- Go slow and be patient.
Thinking that your animals will be immediate friends and do not need a careful introduction is often a recipe for disaster. Dogs and cats rely heavily on scents for building familiarity so give them the time to feel each other out for at least a few days. Keep them in separate rooms and allow them to get their first feel of each other by safely sniffing each other under the door.
- Introduction by positive reinforcement:
Give your pets food and treats near each other so that each may associate the smell/ look of the other with their favorite thing—food!! Once they are able to meet face to face, continue feeding them together and giving them treats to encourage a positive bond. Feed the cat on a higher space if need be to keep the dog from eating its food.
- Make sure your dog is well restrained during the first few face-to-face meetings:
The cat should also have plenty of places to hide without fear of the dog chasing him or encroaching too closely on his space. Cat trees and other high perches in the house are particularly useful for this as cats feel most comfortable in high spaces. Baby gates are also useful in letting the animals see each other eye to eye and slowly build a relationship.
- Your dog’s training:
Make sure to brush up on your dog’s basic training and voice commands, just so you feel confident that if the dog should go after the cat, you can break up the situation as quickly and calmly as possible. Understand that your dog and cat may never be best friends, but most any dog and cat can learn to at least tolerate one another with the right training and encouragement. Don’t give up, it can take months and you can always start the reintroduction process if things get hairy.
- Introduce your dogs in neutral territory like a park or somewhere outside of the home:
This will help prevent a dog from acting territorial when another dog enters his home. Once they are acquainted it will be easier to bring them both back to the house.