Dogs and cats are often seen as enemies, but in reality, it’s perfectly possible for them to get along well with each other.
One issue that dogs and cats can have, however, is that dogs sometimes love chasing cats. They might chase the cats they live with, or try to chase cats they pass on walks. For dogs, it’s often just a way of trying to play – dogs enjoy playing chase with other canines too – but cats can perceive it as a threat. They just want to lie in one of the best cat beds in peace and quiet, not be disturbed by a rambunctious new friend.
So, what can you do to stop your dog from chasing cats? Certified dog trainer San Choi, from Ruff Roll Academy, has shared some advice in a recent Instagram post.
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First, Choi explains that it’s a good idea to teach your dog to sit or stand on a mat, and settle nicely. Have your dog on a leash, and walk around them while they’re on the mat, rewarding them for staying settled.
Next, encourage your dog to do the same behavior, but in a different setting. In Choi’s video, he moves the mat, to the entrance of a room where there’s a cat in by the window on the other side. He rewards the dog he’s training for sitting on the mat and staying settled, even while he can see the cat. Gradually decrease your dog’s distance from the cats when you’re training, but always make sure their leash is attached so that even if they do get tempted to chase, they won’t be able to.
Remember, too, that all dogs are different, and some dogs may have an easier time learning this skill than others. “Due to certain breeds having a partially intact predatory sequence, we have to be mindful of how we approach training,” explains Choi in the caption. “This is why every dog’s path to training is unique … Regardless of how natural it is for our dogs to chase prey like cats and squirrels, it is possible to even teach a dog with stronger prey drive to learn alternative behavior.”
Dogs and cats living together can be totally fine, and many pet parents have both at home without any major issues. Sure, maybe your dog and your cat will never be best friends, but with some careful training, there’s no reason why they can’t live together happily.
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.