How to stop dog aggression toward cats? Both dogs and cats make wonderful companions, but it can be difficult for them to coexist under the same roof without fighting due to behavioral differences. Many pet owners are unaware that both species have evolved differently and have different relationships with humans, affecting how they interact with one another. However, you can bring peace to your dog and cat with patience and persistence.
A few factors contribute to dog aggression toward cats in the home, most of which are simple to address. These can range from a fearful or abused dog acting out to improper introductions. Because there are so many causes, it’s critical to figure out what’s causing the aggression so you can deal with it more effectively.
What Does Aggression Towards Cats Look Like?
If your dog chases or attacks any feline that crosses its path, it’s likely aggressive toward cats. However, there are other, more subtle signs that cat aggression is becoming a problem. If your dog exhibits any of the following behaviours, it’s time to start obedience training to teach him how to coexist with a cat. While you work on proper dog training, keep an eye on your two pets when they’re together to avoid an unpleasant situation.
- Attempting to separate you and the cat physically
- Stopping eating when a cat appears
- A strong prey drive to chase small objects or animals
- Refusal to share sleeping or living areas with cats
10 (Realistic) Ways on How to Stop Dog Aggression towards Cats
Buy your pets at the same time.
How to stop dog aggression toward cats? Buying your puppy and kitten simultaneously is the best way to avoid aggression toward your cat. The benefit of this is that they will be fairly evenly matched in terms of size, speed, and strength while they are young, which means your dog will be more likely to regard your cat as an equal rather than a small creature to be chased toyed with.
Pets raised together to have a much higher chance of getting along than those placed together as adults. Your cat will feel less threatened by your dog, and your dog will likely settle down after the initial excitement of meeting a new friend. They will most likely become inseparable friends who will snuggle up together for a nap within a few months.
Socialize your dog when they are young
Dogs, regardless of breed, must be socialized from a young age to get along with people and other animals, including cats. Socialization usually begins at puppy school, when dogs are introduced to other people and animals for the first time, and it is also a good idea to ensure that your puppy spends time with cats. If you don’t already have a cat, the best way to do this is to take your puppy to a friend who has a well-socialized adult cat, as adult cats are usually fine with excited puppies for a short time. Just be ready to intervene if the cat fleas and your dog begins to chase it because the last thing you want is for your puppy to think chasing a cat is fun.
Properly introduce them to each other.
The lack of proper introduction is sometimes the main reason your dog is aggressive toward your cat. Bring order to the chaos by combining cats and dogs. Begin by giving them a proper introduction. When you bring a new cat home, dogs that smell new scents may mistake it for an intruder.
You’re giving your dog time to adjust by doing a proper introduction. Make a tall barrier between the two animals that your cat won’t be able to climb over. Separation via gates is also beneficial. It allows your dog to see and smell the cat without putting them in danger of fighting. The more they see each other and get used to their scents, the less aggressive your dog will be toward cats.
Watch out for warning signs.
Keep an eye out for warning signs when your dog plays with the cat. You should be able to tell the difference between play-based territorial aggression and real territorial aggression. That way, your dog will not injure or even kill your cat. Also, if you think your dog and cat are getting along, keep in mind that large breeds, even if tolerated, can cause injury to a small cat.
When your dog refuses to stop responding to your commands, he displays true aggression. Your dog’s aggressive behaviour could be triggered by specific problems in the house or stressful situations. As a result, before allowing your dog or cat to engage in predatory aggression, make sure they’re both in the right frame of mind.
It’s critical to establish your authority as the dog’s owner. Your pets must regard you as a person who must be obeyed. Even if you are not a professional dog trainer, it is critical to establish rules and policies in your home. You must, for example, be able to tell your dog what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. That way, your dog will know how to act around cats and stop chasing them every time they get a chance.
Dogs and cats can be best friends if they are properly trained. It may take some time for your dog to accept that he will be living with a cat. It’s not easy to change his attitude toward your cats. However, over time, with patience and authority, you will be able to train your dog to be less aggressive toward cats.
While many of us do not consider our canine companions a predator, dogs are predators by nature. When something small and furry enters their field of vision, their biological, hard-wired instinct (i.e., their lizard brain, based on evolution) tells them to chase it down and “destroy” it to protect their territory. It’s not their fault that some dogs have a harder time resisting this urge than others.
Use a single command.
According to dog training experts, one of the most effective ways to train your dog is to use single control. The phrase “Leave it!” is a good place to start. Whether you let your dog loose, make sure you command him every time he bares his fangs to a cat. Create a barrier between them so that both of your pets can live in peace.
Use this command as often as possible, especially if a feline is nearby. Your dog will learn to leave them alone in this manner. They will become accustomed to the idea of a cat and its scent over time.
Control your dog
Aggressive dogs can be hard to control. If you want to correct his behaviour around a resident cat:
- Start putting him on a leash.
- Look for a place, say a yard, and bring some treats.
- Show your adult dog a cat and see how he reacts. If he ignores the cat’s presence, give him a doggie treat.
But if he lunges towards the feline aggression as soon as he sees it, pull him on a leash and repeat the command. You should consider putting her inside a protective carrier for the cat’s protection. You may repeat this process until your dog gets used to the presence of cats.
Keeping Playtime Safer
Keeping interactions between the two pets to a few minutes at a time will help reduce the chances of hostilities. The two animals should be able to play together without seeing each other as threats. Always make sure you keep a close watch on them, regardless of the length of their play. As the furry friends play nicely, you can gradually increase the amount of time they spend playing. At the first sign of aggression from the dog, separate them and give the dog a “time out.” Being consistent about discipline will help your pet understand what they can and cannot do.
Always be ready to intervene even if the cat gets rough first because this situation can make the dog reactive. A cat scratch is very painful for a dog and likely makes your pet more defensive. You also don’t want your dog to see the cat as a threat that triggers a fearful or defensive reaction.
Keeping Safe Spaces for Your Pets
How to stop dog aggression toward cats? Having areas that are only for the dog and ensuring that the cat has high places or other spaces that are otherwise inaccessible to the dog is one way to reduce aggression. Many dogs’ aggression toward cats is motivated by a desire to protect their territory. Your dog will be less likely to attack the cat if they do not perceive its territory as being threatened.
If your dog has ever been abused or is naturally fearful, other pets, including cats, may be perceived as threats. You’ll want to make sure the dog’s surroundings are as stress-free as possible. Separating the dog and the cat is a great way to solve this issue.
If you don’t trust your cat’s hiding places to keep them safe, keep them separated overnight or when you’re not at home. When aggressive behaviour arises, you must be able to intervene, which is difficult or impossible to do in these situations. Making sure your dog has no opportunity to act out like this will help to discourage aggressive behaviour further.
How to stop dog aggression toward cats? It may appear that teaching your dog to be a less aggressive cat to a feline is a difficult task. It is, however, your responsibility to see that they get along. It’s critical, especially if they share a residence. You must train them to live together if you do not want to end up with an injured cat or a jealous dog. As a result, experiment with the methods to see what works best for your dog. It may take some time, but you will notice a difference in your dog’s behaviour when encountering a feline.