It has always been believed that the rivalry between dogs and cats is something natural. Surely more than once you’ve heard the expression » cat and dog fight » to mention people who don’t have a good relationship, but is the myth that the two species hate each other really true? Is it part of your nature?
When two animals as different as dogs and cats live in the same environment, certain tensions and conflicts can arise between them. However, there is also the possibility that they develop a strong bond and become great friends. After all, why don’t dogs like cats? In this AnimalWised article we tell you if this is true or not. Keep reading!
Is it true that dogs and cats don’t get along?
Have you ever wondered why dogs don’t like cats? In fact, no animal species gets along with another intrinsically, because the relationship that is established between two individuals depends on many factors and not only on the species to which they belong. Therefore, it is wrong to generalize and say that dogs and cats hate each other and cannot live peacefully in the same place.
The truth is that both animals are similar in many ways, but they also have differences that can interfere in the relationship between them. Dogs are gregarious mammals , they live in groups (of which humans are a part), they establish social norms and, in a way, depend on each other to survive and have quality of life. However, cats are much more independent and, even if they occasionally form stable coexistence groups, they do not show much codependency with each other or with other species.
The differences that they have, by nature, to communicate and interact with their counterparts makes it difficult for dogs and cats to understand and interpret each other’s intentions, generating a certain distrust and fear. But, does that mean that dogs and cats could never accept each other and live together? No way! Because we do the same with people, they can learn to tolerate each other’s presence , communicate effectively and respect each other, even reaching a true friendship relationship in many cases.
Why does my dog not like cats and chase them?
If you wonder why dogs chase cats, bark, growl, or change themselves every time they see one, it doesn’t mean you hate them for the simple fact that they’re cats! There are several causes that can explain these behaviors. If it is the case of the dog that lives with you, keep reading as we show you the most frequent reasons that can explain why dogs « hate » cats:
1. Never socialized with cats or not used to them
If a dog has never had contact with cats during its sensitive socialization phase (from three weeks to three months of age) or has not had moments of coexistence with them at any time in its life, it is possible that it reacts disproportionately every time it appears. a cat in its environment. Sometimes the dog’s behavior is simply a product of his curiosity for this animal that he is not used to seeing, but on many occasions it is related to a feeling of fear and insecurity towards the unknown . Not all dogs express fear in the same way, some are paralyzed, others run away, hide and a large number bark, growl, bristle and even chase the threat, trying to drive it away.
2. Had a bad experience with cats
Another possible reason that a dog seems to hate cats is that it has experienced a traumatic or unpleasant episode when bonding with one. Often, dogs that are more used to the presence of cats or those with a more curious personality, are « overconfident » with the felines that pass their way, approaching them in an invasive way, sniffing or trying to play with them. If the cat in question feels threatened, it can attack the dog with its claws or teeth , getting or causing some injury. As a consequence of this, it is possible that the dog, from that moment on, associates the presence of cats as a negative experience and begins to react in an unwanted way with them.
3. Has a marked hunting/prey instinct
All dogs, regardless of breed, have a certain hunting instinct, as they are mainly carnivorous animals .with a common ancestor: the wolf. A complete hunting sequence is composed of several behaviors that are always carried out in the same order and that seek a goal, the pursuit of it and, finally, bite the prey. Due to human interests, selective breeding has been enhancing and polishing over the years these instincts in certain breeds, achieving, for example, dogs with super-smells specialized in tracking, others that have innate pursuit behaviors capable of catching a rabbit in full race. Thus, genetics is also an aspect to consider if your dog tends to chase or hunt cats. Therefore, if your dog kills cats, chases them and attacks them brutally, it is likely that genetics is a determining factor in this case.
How to make cat and dog get along?
To change the behavior of the dog, the first thing to do is to identify the cause of its behavior , understand the emotion that is hidden behind it and learn to quantify it. So, if the cause of your dog’s behavior is, in part, genetics, there are exercises you can do with the furry that will help you increase your tolerance level with cats, whether you find them on the street or when they live together. House.
In this article we will teach you some methods to start working with your dog, but as always, if you are concerned about this or any other behavior, we recommend that you look for a specialized professional or canine educator who works with a respectful method and studies each case in depth.
How to make my dog not hate cats on the street?
The relationship that a dog establishes with each individual is unique and different, which explains why a dog can live without problems with a cat in its house and then react explosively to the unknown cats it encounters on the street. Whether this is the case for you or not, you should get your dog used to the presence of cats , especially if you live in an area where it is easy to find them during walks. To do this, start by keeping the maximum distance from the cats you find, even if you have to change the path. Getting your dog used to cats and ignoring them will be more difficult if they are within your reach.
And when your dog sees a cat, slow down and, before he overreacts, divert his attention to you by saying his name or through some command like « look at me », which you will have to teach him beforehand. The moment the dog turns his eyes to you, or his ears, say « well done »! and reinforce this behavior. Continuing, invite him to follow you or turn around and keep a distance that respects the cat.
With this exercise, the aim is to gradually create an association between the cats and the reinforcements, leading the dog to ignore the feline in exchange for getting something he likes. Of course, we must be aware that on many occasions, especially dogs with great hunting instincts, the pursuit and pursuit of cats is reinforcing and is much more potent than any food we can offer them. For this reason, in the case of these dogs, it is a good option to use as a reinforcer a game that also allows them to use their hunting instinct, such as shaking or throwing a toy in the opposite direction.
Never punish or yell at the dog if it reacts with a cat and avoid pulling the leash abruptly, as this can make the situation worse. Remember that behavior modification is a slow process that requires patience and it is normal for there to be some relapses.
How to make cat and dog get along?
For a dog, starting to live with a cat is a big change in his life and not all dogs can be comfortable with that. Conflicts often arise that tutors do not understand or cannot resolve and, in most cases, this can be prevented by making a good presentation between both animals.
The adaptation process for animals can be long and difficult, but you should avoid forcing any kind of interaction between them if one of them doesn’t feel comfortable. Continuing, we give you some tips to facilitate coexistence:
- During the first days, delimit the spaces of both animals by means of physical barriers and that both have a place where they can rest peacefully.
- Give each one objects impregnated with the other’s scent so that they begin to get used to it. Gradually allow them to see each other or get closer if they are calm, always maintaining safety measures.
- Keep calm during your interactions, try not to raise your voice or make sudden movements.
- Make sure the cat has access to high places, it will feel safer.
- Pay equal attention to both and reinforce all positive interactions between them.
- Train the dog in self-control exercises to prevent him from constantly chasing the cat around the house, provide sufficient physical and environmental enrichment, and play with him to satiate his hunting instinct.
If, even practicing all these tips, you realize that your dog hates cats, including your housemate, again, we recommend that you look for a dog ethologist or educator.