Pet Pro Tip: Cat Training

cat

This week’s Pet Pro Tip is about training your cat. Yes…it can be done!

Find a type of treat or toy that your cat really likes, then choose one specific type of behavior you desire to change. For example, if you want your cat to stop getting on the kitchen counter, chairs or a desk in the home, focus the training on that one task.

Start by approaching your pet and showing them the treat to get their attention. Lead them off the surface with the treat, then give them the treat. Keep repeating the behavior, but never give them the treat until they have completed what you have asked. If they don’t do as expected, they don’t receive anything.

You can also integrate clicker training to support the training process. Clicker training is a system of communication that allows people and animals to get as close to talking as possible. According to Amelia Wieber, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Animal Behavior Consultant, “animals are not very interested in the tone of your voice, so the clicker acts as the bridge.”

The trick with clicker training is to lead your pet in the same way with a treat, get them to perform the desired behavior, then click the clicker before you hand over the treat. Repeat click, treat, click, treat until they figure it out. Over time they know exactly what the clicker means and they shift the behavior.

Cats can be taught to jump on and off of things, to sit and lay down and other “tricks” more associated with dogs. If you are interested in learning more, you can check out the Feline Charm School classes with Wieber through Advanced Animal Care of Colorado. There are also videos available on YouTube if you want to give it a try for yourself — just use the search term “cat clicker training.”

Photo courtesy of Erin Nekervis 

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