A lot of thought has gone into deciphering animal behavior. One of the most common myths is that cats and dogs cannot live together without fighting. This is not true. puppies and kittens have been known to live peacefully together, and indeed to become friends. Raising kittens and puppies to get along just requires a little more diligence.
But why, you may ask, do these animals’ personalities appear to clash? Firstly, their genetic makeup is different. This causes dogs to behave as predators to cats. Also, they have the “survival of the fittest” instinct, which makes them want to triumph over their perceived competition. In the wild, animals must defend their territories in order to ensure enough food to meet their needs. The environment of the home has a major role in the behavior of cats and dogs. When an animal lives among its own species and then encounters another species, it will feel the need to protect its territory. For example, a home that has had only cats in it, but introduces a dog into the mix will create friction because the cats will see the dog as an interloper and a threat.
So, how is it possible for cats and dogs to get along? The animals have to be conditioned to the presence of one another. Acquiring a cat and a dog while both are young will allow them to grow up accustomed to each other without the negative perception that attaches to a new animal introduced into an existing group. It is sometimes possible to introduce a young animal into an existing group because the young animal will not try to dominate the other animals, but this does not always work. A nursing mother will often accept a baby of another species if she feels that it will not endanger he own young to do so.
You can use positive reinforcement to encourage the animals to get along together. This means rewarding good behavior, with treats and praise, as opposed to punishing bad behavior. They come to associate the rewards with the behavior required to get them. This can also be used to encourage appropriate behavior in general. You must be sure to give the rewards immediately to ensure that the animal can connect it to the behavior that won it. Their memories are short, so you must be prompt.
You should also remember to provide separate feeding stations, to avoid competition and fighting. Cats can be fed at a higher location to prevent the dog from reaching their food. As long as you feed them in different places, you can feed them at the same time.
In conclusion, it is possible for cats and dogs to live together without fighting. Animals will take their cues from their owner in how they treat one another, and you must be aware of the signals you give out. Expecting and rewarding appropriate behavior is the surest way to achieve it. Remember that you play a part in their relationships.