So you have a cockapoo, or maybe you’re thinking of getting one, but you’re worried about how your current cat and your new dog will get along. You don’t want your cat to scratch up your cockapoo and you don’t need your cockapoo chasing your cat around the house all day. Who does? The concern is justified, as cockapoos are energetic animals and cats, like dogs, can be very territorial. However, it is certainly possible to teach them to become friends, or at least to tolerate and respect each other. Here’s how you do it.
When you bring your new cockapoo home, you need to take things slow. Don’t make them spend lots of time together right away. In fact, no matter how well they seem to be getting on, it is prudent to watch them closely at first, and limit their interactions to a few short periods of time per day. A good idea is to crate or leash the dog when you bring him home, and then bring in the cat from another room to let her explore the concept of having a dog in her home.
The cat may be cautiously curious and want to view the dog closer. Make sure not to let them barrel into each other, keep control through your leash or crate, and let them sniff at each other. Reinforce good behavior for the dog and cat with treats and praise when they are behaving positively toward the interactions, correct them with a sharp no if they become aggressive. Your goal is to make them feel positive, relaxing emotions around each other, which will take some time.
When the dog and cat become accustomed to each other and show only positive interactions, which may take anywhere from several days to several weeks, it is time to let the dog out of the crate and onto a leash, or if leashed, give him more room on the leash. Use the same methods to reward and correct the animals during this process, and maintain watchful control over them at all times.
After a few successful close-up interactions, it is time to remove the leash from the equation. It will still be important to monitor the animals at all times during this stage, and to make sure not to encourage jealousy or rough play. Do not allow them to play excitedly until your cockapoo is showing proper respect to you and to your other pets. Be especially careful at mealtimes, feeding them separately and apart from each other, so that they do not view each other as competitors for their food sources.
Even once your cat and dog are fully integrated and seem like the best of friends, it is best not to allow them to stay in the same area when you will not be around. Separate rooms or crating the dog will provide the most comfort for the animals and prevents any escalation in hostility while you are out.
Training your cockapoo is very important and can help during this process. Make sure to begin training your cockapoo as soon as you bring him home, if not with a professional trainer (which we recommend,) then using methods gleaned from quality literature.