WOULDN’T IT BE NICE if all it took to introduce a new cat to your resident pet were a brief handshake and a couple of “HELLO, My Name Is…” name-tags? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple, which means you’ll need to have some realistic expectations from the outset.
What are realistic expectations? First, it’s recognizing and accepting that your pets may never be best buddies but will usually come to at least tolerate each other. Second, it’s understanding the need to move slowly during the introduction process to increase your chances for success.
Although some people think a cat’s scratching behavior is a reflection of her distaste for a couch’s upholstery, a not-so-subtle hint to open the drapes, or a poorly conceived Zorro impersonation, the fact is that cats scratch objects in their environment for many perfectly normal reasons.
Specifically, that dog’s incisors and molars. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore the world, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work.
Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn’t destroying items you value or jeopardizing his own safety. Until he’s learned what he can and can’t chew, however, you need to manage the situation as much as possible so he doesn’t have the opportunity to chew on unacceptable objects.
If so, a training technique called “nothing in life is free” may be just the solution you’re looking for. “Nothing in life is free” is not a magic pill that will solve a specific behavior problem. Instead, it’s a way of living with your dog that will help him behave better because he trusts and accepts you as his leader and is confident knowing his place in the family.