The Catahoula is a working dog who has tons of energy to spare. As a result, many owners wonder whether they can take their new canine companion to the dog park to burn off excess energy.
A lot of dogs come to enjoy their time frolicking with other canines in a big open field, but does the Catahoula breed get along well with other dogs?
The Catahoula can be territorial and independent. These traits often lead to them not being good with other dogs. Proper socialization as puppies is essential to teach the Catahoula how to properly interact with other dogs. It can be very difficult to train an adult dog who is already set in their ways.
Can you train your Catahoula to be good with other dogs? Here is everything you need to know about their temperament and training!
Catahoula Behavior and Temperament
Understanding whether your Catahoula will be good around other dogs means taking a deep dive into their behavior and temperament. It should come as no surprise to diligent owners that their dog requires a firm hand. They thrive on consistency and need owners with firm expectations for their behavior.
Historically, the Catahoula was used as a working dog in swamps and forests. Despite how closely they worked with their owners, these dogs are still fiercely independent. They prefer to do their own thing and to follow their own set of rules.
This can be problematic for owners who want to curb bad behavior. However, it can also mean disaster for the Catahoula’s relationships with other dogs.
In addition to their independence, Catahoulas tend to be territorial and protective. Interacting with other dogs can spell problems because of these traits. They may be too eager and serious about protecting their personal space to get along well with other dogs.
Keep in mind that the Catahoula is quite strong and can cause a lot of damage to a dog that they feel is threatening their territory. This is why many Catahoula owners will steer clear of taking their dog to unpredictable places like the dog park.
Are Catahoulas Good with Other Dogs?
Because of their temperament and behavior, many owners are hesitant to say that their pup is good with other dogs. Their behavior can be a bit impulsive, and owners may never know exactly what sets them off.
If you want your Catahoula to be good with other dogs, you must start the socialization process when they are a puppy. Spend lots of time teaching them that there is nothing to fear when around other dogs, and they will slowly start to understand that it can actually be fun to play with their canine friends whether at home in the backyard or at the park.
One of the issues that presents itself when interacting with other dogs is eye contact. If another dog makes eye contact with them, your Catahoula may believe that they are challenging their authority and leadership. This can lead to disastrous consequences for everyone involved.
Males are more likely to fight with other males, whereas mixed gender pairs tend to get along better.
If you aren’t sure how the dynamics between your dog and a new four-legged friend are going to play out, then you should keep your Catahoula on a leash when you make an introduction and allow them to play in a controlled way before giving them total freedom.
How to Introduce Catahoulas to Other Dogs
The best thing to do to ensure that your Catahoula is going to be good with other dogs is to start them off young. Socialize them with lots of other four-legged friends (cats included) to teach them what is and is not acceptable behavior.
Puppies can learn quickly that other dogs don’t always pose a threat to their independence, but adult dogs may have a harder time learning this same lesson.
Regardless of how old your dog is, always start by taking things slow. Put both dogs on leash so that you can have more control over your Catahoula and their playmate. Make sure that there is lots of distance between the two dogs at first, giving them an opportunity to get curious about the other dog.
While they are still on leash, keep a close eye on the body language of both dogs. Sniffing is a great greeting, but be wary if your dog raises his hackles or becomes tense. Warning signs like growling or snarling should be taken seriously.
This could be a sign that a fight is about to ensue.
Good signs of a positive interaction include relaxed posture and play bows. These indicate that your Catahoula is feeling comfortable in the situation at hand and is interested in playing with their new friend. Be sure to keep them on leash for a while longer to ensure that no one is going to switch to being aggressive mid-play.
If your Catahoula interacts with the other dog well, then it may be time to consider giving them some more freedom. Drop the leash, but keep it attached to your dog so that you can pick it back up again if you need to.
This is how you would introduce your dog to a new playmate, but what about if you are bringing home a new puppy? At first, you need to keep the dogs separated whenever you are not able to take all of these precautions and give both dogs your undivided attention.
They should have their own spaces to sleep, play, and eat until the dogs become more comfortable with one another.
Keep in mind that some Catahoulas do best in single-pet families. Always try a test scenario with your Catahoula before making the decision to bring another dog into the family.
How to Train Catahoulas to Be Good with Other Dogs
The best way to train your Catahoula to be good with other dogs is to start them off as young as possible. Adult dogs are more likely to be set in their ways and can have a much harder time with socialization and getting comfortable with other dogs.
As a result, if you get a Catahoula as an adult, you may have your work cut out for you if they have never been socialized.
As puppies, it is best to start exposing them to other dogs of all sizes right away. Always make sure that each meeting is completely controlled with both dogs on leash. It helps to have another person there to hold the other dog while you hold your Catahoula.
If something goes awry, it will be nearly impossible for you to separate the dogs if you are responsible for holding both leashes at the same time.
Make sure to bring in plenty of positive reinforcement to teach your Catahoula that interacting with other dogs is a good thing. Every few minutes, slip each dog a tasty morsel for proper play. Both dogs should get something to prevent jealousy and fighting over resources.
This is also a great time to work on generalizing some of your obedience commands. To take control over the situation, you may want your dog to sit or stay when in the presence of a new dog.
Keep in mind that this may be a challenge for them at first, as they are not used to doing their commands in high distraction environments, especially if the other dog is not doing likewise.
If possible, try to teach your dog some basic commands before introducing them to a new dog. Sit and down are common commands that your dog should have a solid grip on. This allows you to put your dog in a calmer frame of mind while also giving you greater control over the situation at hand.
One way to socialize your dog and teach basic obedience at the same time is to enroll in a puppy kindergarten class at your local pet store. This is a great opportunity to enrich your dog’s life, teach them new skills, and socialize them with other pets and people.
Even if you are capable of training your dog at home on your own, the environment of a puppy class can be a good experience for your Catahoula and can inspire them to be good with other dogs in a low-stress environment.
Are Catahoulas Good with Small Dogs?
While these precautions mostly apply to introducing your Catahoula to large-breed dogs, many people wonder how they will do with smaller pets. Will the Catahoula get along with small dogs or cats? Unfortunately, the answer is often no unless they have been raised and introduced to these smaller animals from the time they first come home as puppies.
The Catahoula has a strong instinct to chase things that interest him. Small dogs and cats can be seen as play things, making your Catahoula eager to hunt them down. This prey drive is very hard to control, and it will be next to impossible to train your dog out of it. It is their natural tendency to want to chase other objects, including small dogs.
If you notice your Catahoula engaging in chasing after your small dog, you need to pay close attention. When they actually catch your small dog (and it is likely that they will), they may respond aggressively and cause serious damage to your small dog.
Catahoulas are powerful and can be quite aggressive. It may be difficult to separate the two canines once your Catahoula has determined that your small dog is a play thing or something to hunt.
Do Catahoulas Need to Be in Single-Pet Families?
One of the main questions that come up when dealing with the Catahoula is the idea that they may do better in single-pet families. If you have an adult Catahoula who has never been exposed to other dogs or has limited experience with them, bringing in a puppy or another adult dog might be a recipe for disaster.
In this scenario, it may be best to keep your Catahoula as the only dog in the home since they are used to being the one in control and in charge in the house – second to their owners, of course.
The exception to this is if you already have a dog in the home and intend to bring home a Catahoula puppy. As long as you are diligent about monitoring their interaction with your current dog and never leave them unattended, you might be able to get away with having multiple pets in the home.
It will require a lot of training and effort on your part to teach your Catahoula not to respond aggressively to other dogs.
Remember that two males are likely to fight more than a male and a female will. Keep this in mind when deciding to bring home a new puppy.
Be prepared for the fact that your Catahoula may not respond well to other dogs, even if they are exposed to them as puppies. While the odds are greater that they will understand how to have healthy social interactions with exposure as young puppies, it is not a guarantee that you will be able to have multiple dogs or other pets in the home.
Some Catahoulas simply must be the only pet in the family, and they should never be taken to the dog park. Likewise, they should always be kept on leash when out in public just in case you were to run into another four-legged friend. The trick is to always ensure that you have control over your dog at any given time when they around other animals or pets.
In short, the answer depends on the socialization of your Catahoula as a puppy. Puppies who are exposed to other dogs from the very beginning are more likely to view other canines as friends instead of foes.
You must take the time to train them and monitor their interactions with other dogs closely, regardless of socialization. The Catahoula can still sometimes be aggressive toward other dogs, particularly smaller breeds. Be cautious when exposing your Catahoula to new dogs!