Sylvia B. asked:
How should I introduce my dog to the cat?
As with all animal to animal introduction, it is most important to be absolutely safe.
A good way is to put the cat in a wire crate where they can’t physically interact. The are “introduced”. Now you can observe how they act toward each other without taking a chance of chasing- and perhaps hurting each other. If the cat is acting aggressive, it is most likely because the cat is scared and defensive. He/ she will just have to get used to the dog’s presents over time being presented with the dog while in the cage. This prevents the cat from hurting the dog or running away and attracting the dog to chase after the cat.
If the dog is showing aggressive or highly active behaviors seeing the cat in the cage, he/she can be corrected without you having to handle both at the same time. You can easily control the situation effectively. As the correction for bad behavior is applied effectively, the behavior has changed to something different but interacting with the cat. Reward should immediately provided. Not just one treat, really reinforce the right behavior very generously after a correction has been applied and behavior changed to the better.
The next step should be to have the cat in your lap and the dog on the leash being held by a second person. So that both are completely under control. By now cat and dog should be somewhat accustomed to each other, going through the procedure.
Last step is to let the cat roam around freely and perhaps have a long rope attached to the dog to be able to control him from a distance if necessary. It is highly recommended that good behaviors should be rewarded to make them stronger.
Do not wait until behavior has to be corrected if good behavior is displayed.