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#1 Safe Introductions
Dogs and cats are both complex animals, with emotional needs which can easily be upset so as to cause anxiety.
When a dog and cat are introduced to each other for the first time, if the situation is an anxious one, the animals will associate each other with negative feelings.
It will therefore be much more difficult to encourage them to bond. It should be noted, however, that even if this does occur, the negative association can be reversed with patience and dedication.
The younger the animals are the quicker they should grow to trust each other, but older leopards can change their spots too (I’m not suggesting you get a leopard).
For both animals, introduce them in a way which shows you are happy and at ease with them, showing that they are in a safe and secure environment. Animals always socialize more readily when relaxed.
#2 Obedience Training
Depending on how well behaved a dog is, it might be a good idea to incorporate a level of obedience training into how they interact with your cat.
The reason for this is that dogs have a strong chase instinct. This doesn’t mean they want to eat your cat (although you should always be wary), but it does mean that your dog might take it upon itself to chase your cat around your home.
This will cause anxiety for the cat if it doesn’t recognize this as a game, and in the worst case scenario the cat might decide to fight back, which could result in an injury to your dog. No need to panic about this, however, it rarely comes to this.
Most dog owners are aware of commands such as “sit” or “heel”, but the command “leave” or “leave it” is a great way to show your dog that you don’t want him or her chasing your new pet. It’s an effective way to control how your dog will be around your cat.
While some cats can be almost too inquisitive, most are cautious by nature so will hopefully not chase your dog around. If they do, it might be worth using a cat harness and leash when the animals are around each other initially.