If your dog is afraid of your cat, this post will show you likely reasons why and what you can do about it.
So, why is my dog afraid of my cat? Likely reasons why your dog is afraid of your cat are that your dog is unfamiliar with the cat, your cat was aggressive towards your dog, another cat was aggressive towards your dog in the past or you have encouraged the behavior.
There are a number of possible reasons why your dog might be afraid of your cat. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about them.
Why is my dog afraid of my cat?
Below are likely causes and what would make each of them more likely.
Consider if your dog is actually afraid of your cat
First, it is important to consider if your dog is actually afraid of the cat. It could be the case that your dog is not actually afraid of your cat. Rather, your dog might be trying not to hurt your cat or your dog might be unsure of how to interact with your cat. If your dog is afraid of your cat, your dog would likely be doing things such as trying to avoid your cat or hiding from your cat.
Cats are quite different from their canine counterparts. Dogs, like people, usually fear new things. If your dog has no experience with cats, they will likely be afraid until they become familiar with them.
If it’s your dog’s first cat encounter, it’s essential to make it a pleasant experience. They will develop an association, and how the meeting goes will determine if the association is positive or negative.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by rewarding it. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when they are afraid of your cat, they will think the behavior is justified and will do it more.
Your cat was aggressive
Your cute cuddly cat can be a formidable adversary. When a cat is scared, it will often act aggressively to defend themselves.
It starts by raising its hair. Cats can raise the hair on most areas of their body. This makes them look bigger, and more dangerous. Their posture may be slightly crouched, prepared to pounce.
Cats have very sharp claws and teeth, and they can move very quickly. An angry cat can cause injury to a person or a dog. They pounce on their enemy and slash with their claws and bite with their teeth.
Other cats were aggressive in the past
If your dog has had a fight with a cat in the past, it’s not surprising for them to fear them. Dogs have a strong associative memory. This means they remember the feeling associated with a situation, but not exactly what happened.
Positive association helps your dog bond with you and learn commands. When your dog sits, they get praise. This creates a positive association. When they develop a negative association, they will fear or try to avoid the situation.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
If your dog has always been afraid of your cat
If your dog was not always afraid of your cat, it would help to consider what else happened when the behavior first started. If it started suddenly, it might be due to things such as your cat being violent towards your dog.
The timing of when your dog became afraid of your cat
If your dog is not always afraid of your cat, it would also help to consider the timing. For example, if your dog tends to do it more when your cat is in their spot, the cause could be that your dog does not want your cat to attack it.
What to do about my dog being afraid of cats?
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging the behaviors you want to see by rewarding signs of them and not rewarding your dog when they behave in a way you don’t like. To use it to get your dog to be less scared of your cat, it would help to reward your dog whenever they show signs of not being afraid and to try to avoid giving your dog things such as extra attention when they are afraid.
Give your dog another spot to go to
Another option would be to simply give your dog another spot that they can go to so that they do not have to interact with your cat. One way to do so would be to put a dog bed down somewhere else for them.
If your dog has been being very afraid of your cat, another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and what you can do about it.