Make a Good Introduction

Help your cat and dog get along by introducing them properly.

By Tom Schreck

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Larry Lachman, Psy.D., an animal behavior consultant in Carmel, Calif., recommends these five tips to achieve a successful introduction and a lasting friendship between a cat and a dog:

1. Protect the cat's feeding area and litterbox from the dog by elevating them out of the dog's reach or putting them in a room inaccessible to the dog.

2. Crate the dog or puppy when first introduced to the cat. Let the cat investigate its new friend without the fear of being chased or trampled.

3. Offer praise and food treats to the cat in the dog's presence whenever it approaches the dog. These actions help both the dog and cat develop positive associations with in the presence of one another.

4. Allow your crated dog to sniff the cat and be sure to praise and treat the dog for good behavior.

5. After a month, gradually allow the dog a bit more freedom. You can switch the dog from a crate to a short leash. Remember to praise and treat both when they behave positively in each other's company. After a month of consistent behavior under these conditions, you may remove the dog's leash. Should any problems arise, you can back up a step or two in the process to reinforce the importance of appropriate behavior.

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Reader Comments

janet    bethlehem, PA

1/18/2012 4:25:24 AM

good article, thank you very much

Regina    Arden, DE

10/26/2010 12:05:52 PM

My cats have a gate at the bottom of the stairs, dog cant go up, but the cats can. It works out great for us.

Monica    Miami Beach, FL

8/17/2010 9:22:58 PM

I tried that approach and my cat almost died when they finally met without the cage. My dog attacked my cat. Luckly my husband stopped the dog before he could bite my cat in half. My dog is a 200 lb bull mastiff. So this do not always work. My cat now lives in my bedroom.

Cathy    Amelia, OH

8/6/2010 2:49:16 PM

These are very helpful

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