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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Training

Wondering if anyone trains their cat - like clicker training or otherwise.

I'd like to be able to do some basic "tricks" mostly Come or to come when I call their name so if there is ever an emergency or they sneak outside I could call them, but also I think high five is pretty cool for a cat. (Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUiFfJOf ... re=related at 56 seconds)

I'm wondering at what age they're old enough to start training. And since I have two - do I shut one in a room while training the other?

Anyone with experience doing this? I don't know if I should buy a clicker kit or go ahead and try it on my own.

Thanks in advance for any replies


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-19-2009, 11:50 PM
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Re: Training

I have tried in the past, I would love to continue but am having a hard time finding treats mine like that are not absolutely disgusting ingredient wise, but I doubt I'll have such luck so I might have to feed nasty treats, oh well.

It's fun to do but a suggestion: The first thing you teach becomes a very strong behavior, teaching something like "sit" is not advisable because if you ever want to move on to training things where they must move or stand it is difficult, they will repeatedly sit while you are trying to get them to do something else. IMO the first behavior all dogs and cats should be taught is "touch" to poke your hand or an object (a touch stick is ideal, this is any long object that the cat pokes the end of like a chop stick or drum stick) of your choice with their nose.

I tried doing the clicker training with cats at the shelter but they were free fed dry food so didn't really have much interest in my treats, it was too bad considering this shelter was full of semi-ferals that this would have benefited heavily.

have you ever clicker trained a dog (or any animal) before?
Here are a lot of videos showing how, several species are shown: http://www.clickertraining.tv/search.ht ... ords=video

Important things to remember with cats is that they tend to bore more quickly than most dogs so keeping sessions short is a must, you want to leave them wanting more not glad it's finally over.

I shut one of mine in a room while I train the other and it works somewhat, the only problem is the one shut away meows making the one I'm training run to the door and fight with the other cat underneath Eventually he finishes and we can continue. Some people train their second cat to sit on a mat (like a door mat) while the other cat is being trained. One cat gets clicks and treat for the training session and the other gets clicks and treats for staying o the mat. Of course the "go to mat" command must already be known for this to be successful.

Good luck with it, there is a clicker training yahoo group for cats you might want to check out too, maybe you'll get some ideas. I'd love to see videos of what you accomplish.

Oh and to answer the question of age, you can start right away, if they are old enough to live with you they are old enough to learn. Just remember to keep sessions nice and short and joyful.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Training

I have never trained anything before (unless you count grad-students )

I went online and found a beginner clicker training kit. When I recently trimmed the kitten's nails I gave them a treat of wet food (which they don't generally get) and it worked. So I think I will use that for now. The kit also comes with liver treats (I'm kind of hoping they don't like those as I don't want to try finding them in a store). Someone in a pet supply store also pointed me toward a treat which is just freeze dried chicken. She says she hasn't met a cat yet who doesn't love the stuff. When the wet food is gone I will try that stuff.

Thanks for the advice.


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 11:52 AM
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Re: Training

Quote:
Originally Posted by salsachick
I have never trained anything before (unless you count grad-students )
LOL! If my adviser ever breaks out a clicker in lab meeting, I'll be truly alarmed.

No advice on cat-training, other than to say good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.
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