Cats, contrary to common perception, are equally as enjoyable to train as dogs! Cat training is an excellent way to bond with your cat while also teaching her the meaning of a few essential phrases.
As an equal opportunity pet lover, dare I argue that cats are equally as enjoyable to train as dogs? Your cat will enjoy learning simple commands, and most kittens respond well to leash training if you combine it with food and fun. “Many cats like training if it is done correctly, with patience and rewards,” explains Katenna Jones, ACAAB, director of Jones Animal Behavior in Rhode Island. You receive out what you put in, just like in any other relationship!
While cats cannot be trained to perform the wide range of jobs for which dogs are bred, basic training comes readily to them. Cats will use a litter box automatically, while common dog behavior issues like as play biting are simple to prevent.
Training a cat not to do anything, such as bite or pull on a leash, sometimes boils down to avoiding encouraging that behavior in the first place. If you’re leash training, use a harness rather than a training collar, which might cause wild oppositional reflexes and even suffocate your cat. If your cat bites, divert her predatory tendencies to a feathery toy.
Cat training has several advantages. Jones explains that “training gives mental and physical stimulation as well as beneficial social contact.” “Just the act of training is extremely useful for dissatisfied, bored, timid, and scared cats.”
Before you begin cat training, take a minute to walk in her paws. Cats, unlike dogs, are more like teens when it comes to family relationships, according to behaviorist Stanley Coren, PhD, DSc, FRSC. While dogs would comply in exchange for a few pleasant words, cats are driven by monetary rewards. Cats, despite our gushing enthusiasm, will only participate in training games if the benefits are good.
7 Practical Tricks You Can Teach Your Cat
Cat training is an excellent method to bond with your cat while also teaching them the meaning of a few essential phrases. “It’s vital to allow your cat have the last say in what you teach them; not all cats want to do everything,” explains Ingrid Johnson, CCBC, director of Fundamentally Feline in Georgia. “Before attempting to teach your cat a new habit, choose behaviors that come easily to him.”
“Stay positive,” she urges. “Clicker training is a very efficient approach to identify the times when your cat exhibits the desired behavior.”
In a nutshell, cat training is just attaching words to normal behaviour and rewarding your cat for obeying. Here are seven words and activities for your cat to learn:
Cat practicing “gentle” instruction by licking man’s knuckles
Encourage your cats to think of their hands as constantly rewarding. Dab a little homemade or store-bought treat paste on your knuckles or the back of your hand to avoid biting. As your cat or kitten licks your hand, say “gentle,” and remove your hand away calmly if she begins to nip or bite.
2. Locate It
Toss high-value goodies at your cat’s paws, and once your cat has figured out how to follow the toss, add the words “Find It.” Yes, it’s that easy. The shell game may then be played using Tupperware containers or even your hands. If she claws or bites your hand, say “gentle,” and use a dab of cat paste to promote licking. After she licks or touches your palm lightly with her paw, reveal the treat.
You may use a homemade or store-bought target wand, or simply your finger. Teach your cat to be aware of the target by placing it two inches in front of his nose. Click and reward her as soon as she touches it. When your cat consistently moves to the target, mention the word “target” to trigger this behavior.
When your cat sits naturally, click and praise her. Soon, you’ll notice your cat sitting to signal you when it’s time to bring out the treats. Once you’ve predicted her behavior, add the word “sit.” Then, using a target wand or pointing signal, try coaxing her into place. Click to acknowledge and reward this pose. Using the clicker and rewards sporadically, gradually phase out clicking on every correct response.
5. Stay on Your Mat
Lay a flat mat, towel, or cloth napkin on the counter, sofa, or tabletop to make a cat mat. Curiosity may not kill your cat, but it will consume her! Click when she steps onto the mat. Then, toss a treat slightly away from the mat, forcing your cat to return for the next round. Introduce the cue “on your mat” gradually. Introduce the “stay” cue once your cat goes to her mat freely and stays there. Use the mat to entice your cat to remain in a certain spot, such as her cat tree, while you dine or prepare. You may also take your cat-mat on vacation or to the vet to keep your cat calm during check-ups.
Cats can learn to come when they first enter your home. Combine pleasant memories and the shaking of a treat cup with the phrase “coming.” Put goodies in a cup or container and shake and praise your cat until he learns the sound. When your kitty comes, click and reward her. Increase the time between saying “come” and shaking the rewards gradually until she arrives on cue. Gradually remove the clicker and sporadically reward her.
7. Inside the Box (or Cat Carrier)
Most cats would gladly hop into a box or investigate a bag. When it comes time to draw out the cat carrier, having a guideline for this activity is important. In fact, bring out the cat carrier well before you need it, and hide goodies and even feed your cat or kitten portions of her food in it. Click and reward your cat when he jumps into the carrier or a box. Add the cue “in the box” when your cat urges you. Carry her about in her box/carrier gradually, praising her after each ride.
Lessons typically need tremendous concentration, so make them brief and lively. Finish each one with a game of fun with a feather flyer or stuffed toy, letting your cat take it away triumphantly.
Don’t in Cat Training
Discipline has little effect on cats, and they do not learn from it. Swatting, spraying, or frightening your cat may stop it from doing a specific behavior with you, but it will not stop the behavior in general. Your simple presence will create a cautious cat who is frightened of your closeness. This is why positive reinforcement training with your pet is essential.
“The behaviors we observe, particularly those we dislike, are how cats communicate,” Jones explains. “Any punitive or behavioral modification strategy merely shuts down dialogue.” Instead, practice for what you want rather than what you don’t want.”
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