Clicker Training a Cat
Some of you might do a double take at the title. Clicker training a cat? Yes it is actually possible, although more difficult than clicker training a dog. Most of the time, when working with a cat, get them when they are willing to play and are alert. Usually before a meal or right after. I like before a meal because Isis responds better to the treats I offer after she completes the trick. I am also teaching her to take treats from chopsticks. We are at about 40% learned right now.
Clicker training not only gives the cat something to do, it can help curb undesirable behavior such as soiling in the house, scratching and help reduce stress, as well as many other behaviors.
Make sure to figure out what is a good reward when clicker training your cat. What do they love? What do they desire most? Since each cat is different, each will have a different motivator.
The second thing you need is a clicker. You can pick one up cheap at your local pet store for about a dollar, or you can get more professional ones that can cost about $20. They all seem to work the same and have the same general idea.
Basically what you do is try to teach the trick, once the cat performs what you are asking them to, click your clicker so that they associate the click with the “desired” behavior. The most basic thing to start with is getting the cat to associate the clicker with a treat. So, click your clicker and immediately give the cat a treat. Then wait until you get eye contact from the cat and repeat the cycle. Your first sessions should be short. Sometimes only 5 or 6 repetitions will be long enough and the cat will tire of learning.
Once the cat has associated the clicker with something positive (the treat), and has learned that comfortably, move on to getting the cat to touch a target. You can use the word “touch” and have the target ready for the cat to touch. Once they perform the desired behavior, click your clicker and immediately give them a treat. Do repetitions for a while and give the cat a break. Kind of leave the cat always wanting more, then they will be more apt to do what you want them to.
There is a great website to show you how to clicker train a cat. There is a book that is recommended if you are interested in reading a book, rather than just a website to teach you how to clicker train your cat. I have not read the book, but I am sure it would be worth it if you are serious about clicker training your cat.
Once your cat gets more advanced, they can learn so many other great tricks. Here is a video to show you just what some cats are capable of!