How to Train Your Cat To Get Along With a Small Dog

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Are you a tried and true cat lover about to branch out into doggy parenthood as well? While many felines get along great with canines, not all introductions go super smoothly. In some instances, the early days of friendship between pets can be a little rocky before the relationship moves into blissful mutual affection.

Defining Tasks

It is possible for felines and canines to be friends, though. Our cute and cuddly kitties can be best buddies with their canine counterparts, no matter the size of the dog, but it just may take a few steps.

We’ve got a few tips to help your cat ease through the sometimes tricky transition from living in a single pet household to sharing their space with a happy hound. Remember, however, that perfect patience is a necessity. It can take weeks (and in some cases, even months) before the multi-animal house is a peaceful home.

Your cat and small dog may become the best of buddies and form a team without too much trouble. They are close in size, after all! But every cat has their own personality, and every dog their own traits. So if they learn to just tolerate each other, that’s completely fine, too.

Getting Started

First and foremost, your special cat has to have a dynamite space they can retreat to when they feel like being alone. This cats-only hang-out must be easily accessible to the cat and not to your small dog. Cats love their privacy after all, and solitary catnaps are essential to their well-being. So a cat-only hideout is number one.

Your cat also needs a separate place for other daily functions: eating and toileting. A cat will not tolerate a nosy dog sniffing around or sampling food from their bowl. Your finicky feline will also be highly dismayed if they see a dog within proximity of their litter box. Your dog may nibble at the litter as well, which is an unhealthy habit in many ways.

Neither the cat nor the dog should be punished for displaying animosity. It’s only natural and will diminish as time passes. When the two furry parties are getting along well, praise, and offer treats. If your small dog or your cat show signs of a change of mood, separate the two to avoid an altercation.

The Scent Training Method

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Step
1
Make the scent familiar
In preparation for an actual introduction once the soon to be canine BFF arrives, train your cat to get used to the scent of your new small dog. Feed your furry duo at the same time, but in separate rooms, each on one side of the door.
Step
2
An appetizing meal
Give your cat an enticing meal they’ll eat with relish, noticing the scent of the newly-homed pooch on the other side of the door. Feeding the two species at the same time may create a camaraderie of sorts, too.
Step
3
Leave a scent
Once your cat seems less suspicious and jittery about the presence of a dog in the house, try feeding time when separated by a secure gate so your furry critters are visible to each other. Feed your cat in one room and the dog in the other, with just the gate between them. Discourage your mini-mutt from barking at the cat or lunging at the gate.
Step
4
Relaxation and familiarity
Introduce your feisty four-leggers with the crate. Have your cat in the crate and bring your dog into the room. If you think your dog will be rambunctious, have them on their leash. If they are well trained and have mastered “sit” and “stay”, you can have them off-leash but by your side. Sit at the other side of the room, casually observing.
Step
5
Praise for both animals
Have a family member open the cat’s crate to allow them to come out. Let your cat wander off to wherever they please (even to their retreat room for another long and relaxing nap). Each time you try this crated meeting, increase the amount of time in the room together before opening the crate and keep your mini-pooch by your side. Eventually, the cat should see the dog as less of a threat.
Step
6
A few rules
Remember, after each training session, give your puptastic-behaving dog a treat for their good behavior. You can also take a treat to the cat. If they stay in the room, give them a treat in the room.
Recommend training method?

The Carrier Comfort Method

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Step
1
Use the cat carrier
In preparation for an actual introduction once the soon to be canine BFF arrives, train your cat to get used to the scent of your new small dog. Feed your furry duo at the same time, but in separate rooms, each on one side of the door.
Step
2
Treat time
Give your cat an enticing meal they’ll eat with relish, noticing the scent of the newly-homed pooch on the other side of the door. Feeding the two species at the same time may create a camaraderie of sorts, too.
Step
3
At a distance
Let your cat sniff the dog’s crate or bed when your petite pooch is out for a walk. Place a few irresistible cat treats on the bed and place kitty there. Try this a few times while your dog is out, to familiarize your cat with the canine scent.
Step
4
Test the vibes
Make a slow introduction with your cat in your lap and your dog on the ground. They should be aware of each other’s scent and react calmly around one another.
Step
5
Update your dog's skills
Once your cat seems comfortable with the sounds and smells of the dog, let your cat be the one to do the approaching. Don’t force the issue and praise both the cat and the dog when a peaceful interaction takes place between the two, no matter how short it is.
Recommend training method?

The Feeding Time Method

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Step
1
Another scent scene
Before you put out the welcome mat for your new woofer, bring out your cat’s carrier and get your kitty used to going in and out of it with ease over a few days.
Step
2
Aim for camaraderie
Place yummy cat-approved treats in the carrier throughout the day to entice your cat inside for a no-stress stay. This will allow your furry feline to feel comfortable in the carrier when the cat and doggo introductions are made.
Step
3
Use a gate
Bring the cat in the cozy crate into the room with your small dog. Let your pooch approach the carrier but make sure that they stay calm and unobtrusive. If your dog gets rambunctious, have them sit so your cat doesn’t feel intimidated. Watch your cat’s behavior as an indication of your next step.
Step
4
Observe with the crate
If the dog and cat seem to be sending out friendly vibes toward each other, let the cat out of the crate so they can sniff noses directly. If your cat seems to be tense and ready to lash out at the dog, let the introductions stop for the day.
Step
5
Freedom to meet
You are trying to train your cat to get along with a small dog, but keep in mind that this is the ideal time to work on your deserving dog’s training as well. Work on their listening skills, their “down stay” and other commands that every pupster should know.
Step
6
Treats all around
Remember, after each training session, give your puptastic-behaving dog a treat for their good behavior. You can also take a treat to the cat. If they stay in the room, give them a treat in the room.
Recommend training method?
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Written by a Pugs lover Grace Park

Published: 01/13/2021, edited: 01/21/2021

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