How to train a cat?
Even though cats have been human companions for thousands of years, they are still described as ‘semi-domesticated’ because of their independent spirit. This can make training and teaching a cat tricks rather difficult. But one of the most effective ways is through a technique called ‘clicker training’ and it involves positive reinforcement of desired behaviour. Here’s some tips to get you started.
Clicker training tips
- You will need to buy a clicker and some tasty cat treats as rewards.
- Start by allowing your cat to associate the noise of the clicker with an immediate tasty treat as a reward.
- Be patient
- Keep training sessions to no more than a few minutes at a time
- Click at precisely the right moment to indicate the desired behaviour
- When teaching your cat something new, start at the beginning and reward him for small steps toward the act you want him to do. For example, if you want to teach your cat to go into his cat carrier before going to the vets, begin by rewarding him for moving toward the carrier, then for sniffing it, standing next to it, rubbing against it and eventually he will go in it, each step along the way receives click and reward and the cat will soon learn to experiment with new acts in the pursuit of a click and treat.
- Don’t click more than once to indicate a desired behaviour. Multiple clicks are confusing.
- Don’t try to push your cat into the desired position or move him where you want him to go. Your cat’s movements must always be voluntary.
- You must be patient, calm and quiet and your cat should respond well to being rewarded for desirable behaviour. Never punish a cat that takes longer to learn as it is likely to be frightened and confused.