Behavioral Differences in Cats and Dogs
Cats and dogs are two of the most different animals that can be brought home as pets. Dogs are obedient, social and gregarious creatures that enjoy constant attention, love and care. Cats, on the other hand, are not very friendly, enjoy being alone, and can be very territorial.
Dogs behave the way they do because they are pack creatures. That's why dogs usually develop such a strong attachment to their owners. Unlike cats, dogs are not as concerned with territory as the group or pack tends to take precedence over all else. Cats on the other hand, are solitary hunters. Although they sometimes form packs for mutual gain, cats usually hunt alone; this loner disposition results in the territorial nature that is often seen in cats.
As a result of their territorial nature, cats tend to dislike moving and, consequently, new owners. They are protective of their old space and ways of life and will resist, as much as possible, anything that threatens it. Dogs, on the other hand, go with the pack; this means that where the pack goes, they go. They tend to be more open to change, which is one reason dogs tend to be more obedient than cats.
Raising Cats and Dogs
Depending on whether you have a cat or a dog, the approach used to train your pet may differ. With dogs, it's important for the owner to establish themselves as the leader of the pack. This can be demonstrated through the use of commands such as: come, sit and stay. When reinforced through repetition, these commands will eventually lead to the development of effective communication channels between the dog and owner.
For cat owners, establishing space and boundaries is important. Since cats are very territorial, it makes sense for the cat owner to allow their feline friend to claim their space in the new living environment. This space should be respected and not intruded upon if possible.
When it comes to punishment, cats and dogs couldn't be more different. Cats, being agile hunters, are able to avoid physical danger quite easily. This makes any form of physical punishment ineffective and most likely detrimental to the relationship. Cat owners need to be creative when it comes to dealing with their poorly behaving cats.
Dogs, on the other hand, are quite susceptible to punishment, to the point of appeasement. Some pet owners wrongly interpret the response and continue the punishment. Since dogs are pack animals used to taking orders, the use of declarative commands can be very useful in curbing a dog's poor behavior. However, as with most things, they should be used sparingly. Dogs also respond well to rewards. Telling a dog to sit and then patting them on the head or rubbing them in the tummy reinforces their connection with good behavior and reward.
Whether you own a cat or a dog, the most important thing to remember is that every situation is different. Be attentive and gentle when disciplining your cat or dog. In the long run a pet/owner relationship based on love and respect goes a long way.