The Mindful Puppy Blog
By PAPIA ROWE
Here Kitty, Kitty!
Puppy socialisation takes all shapes and sizes. We are lucky enough to have two beautiful cats that are around 6 years old now. One cat is quite a stand offish cat who has never wanted anything to do with the dogs even though he grew up with them. From the age of a kitten he never interacted with the dogs and completely avoided them. The other cat has always been obsessed with the dogs and I sought of think that maybe she thinks she is a bit of a canine? For example, where we used to live, it was a dead end rural gravel road and we used to go for a walk with our dogs.
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Without fail, this little cat would join us and the dogs for that walk! I wish we had been able to capture that as a photo at the time as now, we live on a busy main road so no more idyllic walks with the dogs and cats. So back to the main focus – cats and dogs. So many people are surprised that we have cats as well as dogs and that they get on.
I think that old Tom and Jerry cartoon has a lot to answer for in terms of people’s expectations. Just like with human children and dogs and cats, human children will be pretty mean and horrendous to dogs and cats unless the senior supervising human reinforces and maintains respectful behaviours and rewards them. The picture/ video highlights a key strategy that we employ to help build a respectful bond between a young puppy and a cat. By having a shared treat time, it reinforced to both puppies and the cat a sense of equality and community as they were all being treated equally in terms of being able to gain a food reward i.e. being calm and attentive and responding to their name. We will keep doing this at regular intervals over the next year to ensure we reinforce this same message with our growing puppies. Since we have a cat who quite likes dogs, it’s also a safe way for her to be introduced to the dogs as puppies and set the foundation for her to build a respectful relationship.
At the moment the puppies are so excited about treats that the learning has only just begun! We will really need to keep catching or creating this same moment to ensure that the learning is deeply embedded.
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