Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cat Training 101

Yes, you can train a cat.  It takes lots of patience, time and treats but it can be done. There's just a couple things you must remember.

First, cats are all about what's in it for them. You have to find something your cat really, really wants.  So much that he's willing to perform to get it. Mine love turkey from the deli. I tried the normal cat treats but those were turned down flat.

Second, this is not an over night thing. It may takes weeks of daily practice to get your cat to do these things.

Third, stop on a positive note. Stop before you or your cat become frustrated. Just a few minutes, several times a day is enough.

Fourth, cats are cats and just when you think you have them trained, they'll let you know you don't.

Lastly, this is just for fun. For you and him.Don't force your cat.

After you have that special item your cat will work for, find a place you both are comfortable.  I'm using the kitchen table for these pictures but I don't normally let them on the table. (Not that they care where they are or aren't allowed.) With your cat standing, show him the treat. Let him have a taste.

This is Rumple.

I started with "Sit." It's something they do on their own, don't mind doing and is an easy behavior to link to getting a treat.

Once he's interested in what you're offering, raise it higher so he has to stretch a bit. You'll notice his backside is getting lower. Tell him to "sit" in a firm tone.

This is Skittles.  As you can see, he's seated nicely, checking out his treat.

I like to reinforce the connection between the behavior (sitting) and the command (sit) by saying "Good sit" as he's eating his reward.

Again, this may take many repetitions before they obey reliably. And sometimes, depending on mood of cat, they may not no matter what you entice them with.

Once you have "sit" down, you can raise the treat higher and have them sit up.  I use the command "up" and repeat the process of teaching the sit.

Remember, this is just for fun and spending some time with your pet. I'm not a "cat whisperer" by any means, just someone who likes a challenge.

Next time, teaching your cat to "come" when called.

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