Q: We would like to add a dog to our family, but already have a cat at home. How can we ensure the two get along?
A: With preparation, patience, and supervision. Follow these tips for first introductions:
Start with smell: Confine your dog in a room with a gate; don’t restrict your cat. Let them get used to each other’s smell and presence.
Train with treats: Teach your dog tricks like “Leave it” and “Come.” Teach your cat her name and treat her when she responds.
Think about safety: For the first couple of weeks, trim your cat’s nails frequently and keep your dog on a leash. Keep them separated when unsupervised.
Pace and praise: Let your cat set the pace, and never force an interaction. Offer praise and reward calm, friendly interactions.
Calm and command: If your dog gets too rambunctious, interrupt and calm with commands rather than leash corrections.