Dogs (in most cases) are more interested in meeting the cat than the cat is the dog. Slow down. For best results, this process is done at the cat’s pace - regardless of how good and platonic your dog’s intentions are.
Before meeting in the flesh, it’s best to work through their senses one at a time. Progress to each step only after enough repetitions have taken place that both parties are disinterested. Outside of these times, keep the cat and dog seperate.
1. 👃 Start by swapping smells. Give the cat something the dog has slept in, and the dog something the cat has slept in.
2. 👂 Meet through a non-visual barrier, like an internal door. Choose somewhere where the cat is comfortable. Feed each on opposite sides of the door so they can hear and smell each other without having visual or physical access to each other.
3. 👁 Meet through a barrier that allows visual access, such as a ranch slider. Reward your pooch for calm behaviours and for ignoring the cats presence.
4. 🖐 Have your pooch on a leash or crated and give the cat access to the room, whilst also allowing it the freedom to leave to its safe space. Continue to reward your dog for calm behaviour.
5. 🐕 🐈 Once your dog is adequately disinterested in the cat, it’s time to do supervised off leash greetings. Ensure the cat has the freedom to leave and ideally has a high vantage point to retreat to.
6. ⏰ Unsupervised interactions should be avoided until both parties have been happily coexisting in supervised situations without incident for a good few weeks.
7. 📞 If at any point your dog is fixating and showing too much interest in the cat, don’t leave the interaction to chance. Get in touch or find a local dog trainer to help.
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