Cats and dogs seem to be natural enemies and can sometimes fight like … well, like proverbial cats and dogs. They do not understand each other’s body language correctly, which can lead to communication problems and, consequently, to fights and even assaults. Nonetheless, well-socialized cats and dogs can live together in harmony and even become good friends. Do you want to bring a dog home with a resident cat or vice versa? Or are you a pet sitter and want to be able to accommodate other animals besides your cat or dog? For this to work, you need to know how to safely meet your furry companions.
Before introducing a kitten to a dog, make sure your dog is calm and tired, take him out for a long walk and let him play a lot. This will be enough to satisfy his hunting instinct and will generally tire him, putting him in a relaxed state of mind for the new acquaintance. Make sure the cat is equally relaxed and peaceful. Let them meet in the cat’s house if possible: cats typically find new environments very stressful and the idea instead is to make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Remember that the house is the private domain of the cat. It prevents the dog from accessing the private realm of the feline, thus guaranteeing an oasis of peace and privacy.
The first hint of friendship
Letting each other smell is an excellent and discreet way to get your cat and dog to get used to each other’s presence. Don’t introduce pets at this point just yet, but rather pat them one at a time and subsequently allow them to smell each other’s smell through your hands. This will be their first meeting.
Once both animals are in the same house, keep them in different rooms so that they are not yet able to see each other, but can explore the space. If that’s okay, try swapping their rooms to allow them to smell each other’s smell. If this step also flows smoothly, reward your pets with their favorite snack so that they associate the new smell with something positive.
Do they both seem calm and curious? Here is the time to introduce them to each other. The safest method is to place your cat in a crate or carrier and place it in a high spot, out of the dog’s reach. Make sure your cat is familiar with the crate and feels comfortable being inside it. Keep the dog on a leash and allow them to observe each other from a distance. If all goes well, give them both a tasty treat as a reward. You will now be ready for the next step:
Keep an eye on the body language of both animals, as it will reveal any signs of irritability or aggression. If the cat’s ears are pinned back and the tail is waving vigorously, then this is clearly a bad sign. If the dog visibly stiffens, points his ears up and fixes his gaze on the cat, he will undoubtedly be in “hunting” mode. If he licks his face or yawns, he is likely to feel stressed and uncomfortable.
As soon as an animal shows signs of exasperation, grab its attention with a treat or toy and take it to another room. Try the intro again later.
Patience and supervision
Start the mutual introduction slowly, letting them meet for a few minutes at a time and repeating the process every day. If, after a few days, everything seems to be going well, you can let the animals get to know each other better. Some cats and dogs never become friends, others simply take longer (weeks, sometimes months) to learn to tolerate each other. Allow them to take their time and, in the meantime, allow them to be together under your supervision, for a few minutes each day, before separating them again. If things don’t improve after a few weeks and the relationship remains contemptuous or aggressive, then break off contact. Give the animals a break or consider support from a behavioral therapist.
The advantage of bringing puppies together is that small animals have no experience with other species yet. Kittens, in particular, tend to be extremely curious and (still) fearless of dogs. And many adult dogs are instinctively friendly towards them. However, the potential danger of introducing puppies into the home is that they can be slightly cheeky. Kittens often don’t realize when a dog wants to chase them and ignore all warning signs and kittens in general tend to engage in rambunctious play and can easily get an unexpected scratch from an adult cat who just wants to quench their enthusiasm. For these reasons, always make sure you are super alert when introducing kittens and puppies.
Are you a dog or cat sitter and want to introduce a new cat or dog to your resident pet? Only do this if your pet is used to other cats or dogs and always consult the owner on this issue beforehand.
The basic rules in general:
- Preventing “hunting” behavior
- Reward calm and friendly conduct
- Don’t force animals to do something they don’t want
- Avoid stress and irritation: distract your four-legged friends
- Let the cat determine its own escape route
- Never allow the dog to go near the cat litter box
Stories that prove that dogs are our closest friends
A dog is a man’s best friend is an expression that hangs on the wall as a blue and white tile in many dog households. Is it really so? Read these five true stories and judge for yourself!
1. The Swansea Jack Story
Swansea Jack was a black retriever who lived in – unsurprisingly – Swansea, Wales during the 1930s. The story goes that Jack once saw a little boy nearly drown in the water near the house of his owner, William Thomas. Without a second thought, Jack sprinted into the river and rescued the boy from what had probably become his death.
Remarkably, two weeks later, more or less the same thing happened. This time a grown man went into drowning – and again Jack came to the rescue. And it didn’t stop there. According to local legend, Jack saved a total of 27 people from a particularly chilly ending. That earned him the title Bravest Dog Of The Year and his own statue.
The Swansea Jack story lives on today. Swansea FC football club still bears the nickname The Swansea Jacks, according to many a reference to the special story.
2. Bobbie The Wonder Dog’s Retreat
Bobbie The Wonder Dog was an American dog who was accidentally abandoned by his owners while on vacation in Indiana. Six sad, Bobbie-less months passed…and then suddenly Bobbie was at the door again. He had found his way home on his own. All 2,800 (!) miles.
The police concluded this on the basis of several people who claimed to have seen Bobbie’s immense hike. It earned him worn legs, but also the more than justified nickname Bobbie The Wonder Dog.
3. The mourning of Capitan
The story of Capitán is still going around in certain circles in South America. The four-legged friend from Argentina turned out to be missing after his owner, Miguel Guzmán, died unexpectedly in an Argentine hospital. Capitan was eventually found.
He had been lying on his owner’s grave for six days. The remarkable thing about this story is that the hospital where Miguel died was nowhere near his house. Capitan nevertheless managed to find the final resting place of his boss. Speaking of loyal friends…
4. Barry .’s Rescues
The Swiss Saint Bernard Barry is known in the Alps as a true rescue dog. Unlike Swansea Jack, this was actually Barry’s job. He and other Saint Bernards were and are being used to help hikers who were buried by snow and ice while walking.
The most extraordinary story has to do with a boy who got stuck between two large ice shelves. Barry reportedly not only rushed to the rescue, but also kept the victim warm and prevented hypothermia. Finally, the boy left his plight on Barry’s back, which was seated so that he could easily climb onto it.
The current rescue squad on the Great St. Bernard Pass, in tribute to the original Barry, always has one dog named Barry in its pack.
Hawkeye made national headlines in 2011, attending the funeral of his owner, Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson. 1,500 other attendees looked up in amazement as Hawkeye walked forward from the back of the room and flopped onto his owner’s coffin. Until the last moment, he showed loyalty to his former friend.
Gluten-free dog food
What most animal lovers among us may not immediately think about is that dogs can also be gluten intolerant. It is important for the health of your dog to recognize this as soon as possible and to purchase special gluten-free dog food.
Since every dog is different, the symptoms can manifest in different ways. These symptoms range from intestinal problems to skin problems. In most cases, the dog will vomit after eating dog food that contains gluten. If this is the case, it is advisable to pay a visit to the vet. The body of a dog with gluten intolerance does not absorb enough nutrients, causing the animal’s health to deteriorate.
If the animal has gluten intolerance, it is important to purchase special gluten-free dog food. But why are there grains in dog food anyway? Grains not only serve to bind the feed, but are also an important building material that provides the animal with the necessary nutrients such as proteins, minerals and fats.
In gluten-free dog food, the grains are replaced by carbohydrate sources such as vegetables and potatoes. In this way you ensure that the animal does not ingest gluten, but that it does receive the important nutrients for maintaining a healthy body.
The nutritional needs of course differ per dog. A large Shepherd will have different nutritional needs than a Chihuahua. The age and lifestyle of the animal also plays a major role in this. For specific advice on gluten-free dog food, you can go to pet stores.
What happens if your dog does ingest gluten?
If your dog does ingest gluten, the intestinal wall can be damaged. If the intestinal wall is damaged, the nutrients that the dog needs are hardly or no longer obtained from the food. In most cases, dogs therefore suffer from a nutritional deficiency, which deteriorates the health of the dog. With special gluten-free dog food, the intestinal wall can recover and the necessary nutrients can be absorbed again.
If your dog suffers from certain physical problems, do not wait too long with a visit to the vet. Because you never know, maybe your dog needs gluten-free dog food! By means of gluten-free dog food you ensure that the animal still receives the important nutrients for maintaining a healthy body. Of course, also think about the snacks that you give to the animal. These will most certainly not be gluten-free.
Potty training puppy
When housetraining your puppy, the most important rule to remember is: if you don’t catch him in the act, don’t punish him for it. Should you come across a mess that was left behind when you were gone, clean it up and let it go. Discipline is useless unless you catch your pup in the act, otherwise he won’t know what he’s being punished for.
The puppy peed and pooped many times before meeting you and no one ever made a fuss about it. Therefore, he will not be able to associate the penalty with something he has done hundreds of times before without incident, especially if he did it more than 30 seconds ago.
Like children, puppies don’t think about what they did before unless it was really fun. They think about what to do next. Young puppies have a very bad memory. Plus, you have to admit it was your fault and not your pup’s.
If you had been keeping an eye on him, you would have noticed that he suddenly started walking around or running in circles, sniffing for the right spot. Your puppy will show the same behavior every time he needs to go to the bathroom. The act can vary a bit from pup to pup, but they will always show their pre-potty pattern.
If you catch your puppy in the act, don’t get mad. Again, it was your fault for not paying attention to the signals. Pick it up quickly but calmly and firmly say “no” without raising your voice. Carry him outside or to his papers. You can push his tail down while carrying your pup to stop him from peeing or pooping. He will get excited when you take him outside or to his papers, but this is part of the learning process. When he’s done with his needs, it’s time to reward him with a sweet tone or a treat.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And this also applies to potty training workouts. If you overreact and startle or frighten your puppy, you will not make much progress. Some people think that rubbing a puppy’s nose in his need will teach him a lesson, but this is definitely not the case. In the puppy’s mind, there’s no difference between rubbing his need at the accident he left in your living room an hour ago and rubbing his nose in the feces the neighbor’s dog left in the park a week ago.
Peeing and pooping are natural instincts and punishment rarely speeds up the potty training process. Instead, it makes the dog nervous or anxious. Punishing your puppy can cause long-term relationship problems. If you punish your puppy for making a mess while you were away, he won’t remember it long after you come home after a few hours.
If you come home and your puppy runs away and hides, he won’t because he’s been in an accident. Instead, he has learned that when you first come home you are always in a bad mood and he is punished. Hence, your pup has decided to avoid you for a while and goes into hiding. Because discipline was misunderstood, your puppy will become scared, which can have a lifelong impact on your relationship.
Regardless of the method you use, spend as much time with the puppy as possible if you want to speed up the housebreaking process. Always keep an eye on your puppy and be there when needed. You will be surprised how much progress can be made in just one week!
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