Dogs and cats under one roof
I just adopted a two-and-a-half-month-old Blue Nose pit bull. She is pure-bred and very gentle but still a puppy. My challenge is I have two one-year-old cats, and they have been hiding since the dog came into our household.
The dog lunges at them to play, and it freaks them out. I think the dog just wants to play with them. What should I do to get them to all live together peacefully?
Generally, the reason dogs--or any animal--will hide is because they sense the energy from a newcomer is not stable enough. A complicating factor is that because the reaction of the cats is to run away from the dog, it makes sense for the dog to go into predator mode. Dogs are natural predators, so you can count on your puppy to keep tapping into his preys' weakness. Although, a puppy's desire is to play only, if you don’t start correcting him right now, this playful behavior can turn into hunting behavior, or worse, dominant, territorial, or even aggressive behavior.
The cats don’t see your dog as a “scary pit bull”; they see him as the unstable energy he projects, so you have to make sure to empower the cats by lowering the energy of the dog. That means that whenever the puppy is around the cats, he is in a low-level energy state. That means the puppy has to be vigorously exercised before he comes and meets and greets the cats. That way, the cats will begin to sense a softer energy coming from the puppy.
The cats are already overwhelmed, and they are clearly telling you they don’t trust this dog. It’s your responsibility to keep the family balanced by keeping the dog at the highest level of calm-submissive behavior, allowing the cats to become calm-assertive in front of him. If you do this consistently, eventually the cats will tell the dog what to do. Then, the cats will be safe with the dog.
Of course, cats can bully a dog too, so you may experience a 180 degrees turn in your predicament to where the dog will be hiding from the cats, if you empower the cats too much. Hence, it is important to seek balance. As the Pack Leader you should be able to direct the energy of your animals, so no matter what species you choose your whole household will always remain balanced and peaceful.
Stay calm and assertive,
Do you own dogs and cats? What’s your pack like?