A lot of cats and dogs can be the best of friends. However, the hardest part in getting to that friendship is the first introduction. It isn’t that different than dogs meeting new dogs and/or cats meeting new cats, but it does take a little more finesse and effort.
The Pre- Meeting
Get to know your dog well. Be able to interpret his or her body language and sense your dog’s moods. Your dog should be well-trained, and respond to commands to come, stay, and sit.
The cat owner also needs to know his or her cat well. Know your cat’s behavior pattern so you can sense your feline’s response and redirect your cat’s behavior if necessary. You should also know how to blend mild discipline to influence your cat's behavior.
Try to exercise your dog and feed him a nice meal; put him in a relaxed mood. Put your dog on a short leash or in his crate.
Put your cat in her carrier if she's a timid cat by nature; otherwise let her walk around. Make sure to have lots of treats handy for good behavior.
Let the dog and cat check each other out at a distance. Talk to your dog in a soothing tone. Give your dog and cat some treats and praise as rewards. If your dog bolts toward your cat, correct him with the leash. If he shows any signs of excessive excitability, calm him. If this doesn't do the trick, cut the visit short and try again later.
Repeat these short visits several times a day, gradually giving your dog more of his or leash as appropriate.
The real meet
Once your dog and cat consistently get along during leashed visits, you're ready for the next step. Take your leash off your dog and supervise the two closely. If you see that they are not getting along and they don’t stop with a few simple voice commands, back up to the previous phase for a few days. Gradually make the no-leash sessions longer.
If your dog chases your cat, try to interrupt him or her in a calm way. Redirect your dog to a more appropriate behavior, such as chewing on a toy, coming to you, or lying down. If your dog barks or lunges at your cat, remove him from the room temporarily.
Don’t leave the cat and dog alone until you're sure they're both fully comfortable with each other and there will be no trouble. Make sure your cat has places she can jump to for safety.
Make some private space in your home for each animal. Use cat doors or pet gates if practical, as well as gentle discipline and rewards to enforce the rules. Keep your cat's litter box and food bowl out of your dog's reach.
Sometimes they just don’t get along
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it wasn't meant to be. Some dogs are simply not meant to be around cats (occasionally the reverse is true). If your gut is telling you that this isn't working out, respect that message. But, I truly believe with time and patience, it is a rare occasion when it doesn’t work out. Good luck!
Most dogs love to dig holes. In fact, it is part of their behavioral make- up as they don’t see digging holes as a bad behavior. And invariably the first place a dog will start digging a hole is in your back yard. It is necessary for you to get this behavior under control as soon as he or she starts digging or it will likely continue.
Below are some steps to help stop the digging.
Determine why your dog is digging
Try to determine why your dog is digging in the first place. Your dog may just like it or he might be bored and looking for attention. He could also be trying to dig his way out of the yard. Dogs can be attracted to digging in fresh dirt, mulched dirt or fertilized dirt. He could be trying to dig a den a hole for shelter, especially in hot weather. He could also be using the hole he digs as food storage. If you find out the cause, it is easier to determine how to stop your dog from doing so.
Always be consistent in stopping the digging
Be consistent in your training and encourage everyone in your family to do the same. Use positive reinforcement for good behavior, rather than punishment, which is not a useful training technique for dogs. If your dog starts to dig a hole, make sure to give him a warning that this is not the accepted behavior. Bring him inside and if your dog goes outside again and does not dig, reward him ore her with a treat.
Avoid dog bones
If your dog likes to chew bones and then heads outside to dig them in your yard, it might be time to give up the bones. At least temporarily. Try giving your dog a chew toy instead. Once he stops the digging, you can give him bones, which is he allowed to only eat inside your home.
Keep your dog inside if you work on the garden
If your work outside in the garden, try keeping your dog inside so that he or she does not think this an acceptable behavior. Dogs tend to want to be near their owners and there is a chance that he or she will mimic the behavior.
Give your dog an area where he’s allowed to dig
If you can give your dog an area where he's allowed to dig, this will be your dog's favorite option. Add soft sand to the designated area. Bury toys and treats in the sand and encourage your dog to dig there. Praise him when he digs in the right spot. Some dogs dig to avoid the heat. If this is your dog's reason for digging, move your dog to a shaded area where he can escape the sun and cool down.
I hope these tips help. However, if your dog continues to dig after trying all of the above, you might think of hiring a dog trainer or a dog behavioral specialist.
We all know that cats lick themselves as part of their grooming (which we love) but sometimes it is difficult to decipher why our cats lick us. When your cat licks you, she’s doing what her or his mother did when she was a kitten… providing a good cleaning that also speaks of caring and belonging. You’ve seen cats licking each other, helping in the grooming, especially around the hard-to-reach ears and top of the head.
Below are some reasons why your cat licks you!
Cats Lick out of Necessity and Kindness
Some experts believe that orphaned kittens or those weaned too early from their mothers and litter mates develop oral behaviors such as sucking and licking, and exhibit these babyish habits into adulthood. But as with so much about cats, that’s a generalization. Licking is a comforting, soothing sensation to cats and it feels like the gentle stroking of your hands petting them. If a cat licks you, she’s returning that favor: She figures, who wouldn’t enjoy being petted and assured of affection?
Being licked is the first tactile experience your cat remembers as her mom had done so by rubbing her coat, ears and every part of her little body. A mother cat initially washes her babies to remove the afterbirth fluids and to stimulate the kittens’ breathing. She’ll also clean them whenever they return to her as the mother firmly re-establishes her scent on them.
For cats both male and female, licking is a social exchange as well as a rite of cleanliness. Cats groom each other to remove dirt and share scents, just as cats scratch in a favorite place where the scent glands of their paw pads will mark the territory as their own. When your cat licks you, she’s cleaning you up and claiming you, just as she would for a feline friend or litter mate.
If you have an older cat that has never shown his or her affection and your feline friend begins licking you or your clothing, pay close attention to this change in behavior. Cats that start vigorously licking themselves may be seeking relief from a skin irritation, fleas, an insect bite or an infection. Help soothe your kitten by examining her skin and fur for problems and, of course, ask your vet to recommend the right treatment.
If your cat’s licking is not related to an illness and it bothers you, (such as constantly on your face) do not punish your feline friend for this normal behavior. Try gently discouraging your cat by moving away from her or him away when she starts licking. If you put lemon juice on your arms or hands, this is an immediate turn-off. Better yet, offer your cat a toy to lavish her affection or just pet your cat continuously assuring her that you love her even if you don’t like the licking.
Personally, I love the feeling of being licked, as it shows me that my Sammy really cares!
We love our cats, even if they don’t always ‘meow’ their affection but they certainly show it.
If you are heading on a vacation and you can’t bring your dog with you, there are numerous boarding facilities where you can bring your dog while you’re away. In fact, every day a new pet ‘hotel’ or pet care center is opening and the choices are sometimes overwhelming. So the next question is invariably how to choose the BEST home for your dog while you are away. Below are some tips.
Do a search on the internet and then call the facility. Many boarding facilities will have reviews written about them on Yelp and/or Google. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few places, contact them and ask about taking a tour to see where the dogs sleep, stay, and play.
Ask Friends who have dogs
I always think that a personal reference of any product, doctor or vet is the best way to get a recommendation. In this case, ask your dog park friends or anyone who has a dog if they know of a great place to board your dog. I always like to hear from someone who I actually know about their dog’s experience.
Make sure to tour the Home for your Dog
Take a tour and note the cleanliness, the smell and the staff that work there. Ask to see the play area, the food storage area, and where your dog would sleep. Observe the dogs and note if they seem comfortable and happy. Do they have easy access to food and water? Where do they sleep? Ask questions and also take note of the security of the facility in order to prevent pets from escaping.
Talk to the Staff
Here are some possible questions to ask the staff: How much play time do the dogs have throughout the day? Where do they go to the bathroom? What is the feeding schedule? Does the staff know how to administer medications? Is there an on-site staff 24/7? Is it climate controlled? What are the procedures for emergencies? What can you bring for your dog?
Make sure to find a place that suits your dog’s needs
If your dog is more comfortable around other dogs and likes to play, ask about an option for a ‘play date’ with the other dogs. See if they will schedule it ahead of time. Or, conversely, maybe your dog isn’t that social; then, you want to be sure that only the staff plays with him or her.
Drop your dog off for a day before you leave
You might want to drop your dog off a day or two before you leave, so you can truly assess how your dog feels in the facility. And, when he or she sees you visit, it can decrease both you and your dog’s stress level.
After the dog’s initial stay, you can see how he or she behaves. Is he tired? Is he forgetting all his commands? Has he been eating? It’s not unusual for your dog to be tired and/or a little hungrier than usual. Changes in routine and exercise can bring about some body changes.
However, if your dog seems nervous or unhappy and just not himself, it might not be the place for him or her. Only you can judge where you think your dog will be happy; but have faith, your dog will adjust. Go on that vacation and trust your instincts. More often than not, your dog is in good hands.
A friend of mine has a cat named Oscar and was worried about her beloved feline because he started hissing suddenly and she could not figure out why. As it turned out, there was a stray cat outside her door and Oscar was scared. She never did see the stray cat again, but I felt there was a need to explain this behavior.
Below are some reasons a cat might hiss.
Cats hiss and growl when they feel threatened.
Cats hiss and growl when they're either feeling disturbed or threatened by something. It's a type of verbal warning that your cat emits before he or she takes further action. While it may appear that your cat has no reason to hiss and growl, most cats only do so when there is a problem. So while you might wonder what's wrong or search for the source of a problem, it's important to know that these actions could be provoked by a variety of things and aren't necessarily directed at you.
If your cat is hissing and growling, but appears to be staring off into space, check to see if he or she might be looking out a window at something outside. Often it is something like a bird, squirrel or even as my friend encountered a stray cat that either interests or scares the cat.
Your Cat is Upset
Cats aren't typically perceived as socialanimals, at least to the extent that dogs are. But cats need love too. One reason why a cat might hiss or growl is because it's upset with his or her owner. This could happen after a pet owner returns fromvacation, for example, and the cat is angry that he or she has been left alone in the house. Hissing and growling could be the cat’s way of voicing its displeasure. But, in a little time and with a lot of love, your cat will come around.
Reaction to Pain
If your cat hisses or growls when you pick him or her up or pet him, this is a sign that your cat could be in pain. Your cat might even hiss or growl when you approach him or her in anticipation of being handled. If this is the case, take your cat to your veterinarian immediately to find out if there is a physical condition that is causing your cat to lash out.
If you've just adopted a new cat, any existing cats might not be happy about it (at least at first). Hissing and growling is a way for the existing cat to show the newcomer exactly who is boss. This may escalate beyond hissing and growling into cat fights, until boundaries are established. But, just give them time to duke it out and settle the score on their own terms. And, they usually will.
How to Handle a Cat that is hissing
If your cat is hissing, he or she is usually just scared. If your cat is in this mode, try to find out why your cat is hissing. But, make sure to leave your cat alone and don’t approach him or her. Also, try to speak to your cat in a soft, sweet voice. Once your cat has stopped hissing, you can approach your feline friend and use the above tips to find out the “why”.
For most cats, the threat is temporary and they will come around once the distraction or situation changes back to the norm. I hope the above helps and your cat is back to his or her normal self soon.