Anyway, back to the cat training post. I currently work at a doggy daycare. A few months ago, my boss (who is very into positive training any animal) convinced me to try to train my cat. I thought that it would be difficult to train Dib to do anything. We always thought my cat was "a circle short of a figure eight" and I figured training a pet rock would be easier than training a cat.
And I was very, very wrong. Training Dib has been as easy as training a dog. He is very smart, motivated, and attentive! So far, Dib has learned "sit", "up", (walk in a) "circle", "wave", and "point" (he will touch his nose to his target on command). So for those of you that may want to train your cat, here are some tips and methods that I found useful.
Clicker Training is Awesome! A clicker is what is known as a "bridge device". It tells the animal that the desired behavior was achieved in that moment, and that a treat is coming to reward it. It is like a little camera that takes a snapshot of the trick. So when I ask my cat to sit, I click as soon as his butt hits the floor. Then he gets a treat. Training is all about communicating with the animal. Clicker training helps make that communication clearer. It is a way of saying, "YES! That right there. That is exactly what I want! Now you get a treat." If you train a cat, I highly recommend using a clicker.
|Clicker (left) and target (right)|
Be Puurrrfectly Positive! Okay, pun aside, you need to understand that positive training is the only way to go here. Positive training methods include things like clicker and treat training (yay!). Negative training methods include things like spray bottles, cans of pennies, and shock collars (yes, they do make shock collars for cats. I was horrified, too). You don't need negative training methods to get your cat to do what you want.
|Salmon jerky and bonito flakes|