Have you ever heard of clicker-training a cat? This method is popular for dogs, but it works well for cats too! How exactly to do it? Read on to find out.
What is a clicker? Why should I use it?
A clicker is a very inexpensive simple device that is the main essence of this training—the clicker makes a clicking sound. It comes in various shapes and sizes, so you have a lot of options to choose from.
The training does not necessarily mean that it would not work in the absence of a clicker. However, a clicker does the job when your voice to praise your pet lacks consistency. The consistent clicking sound along with positive reinforcement will surely be of help throughout the learning process of any pet.
Are the tricks that I can teach limited? What tricks can I teach my cat?
No, the limit does not exist when training a cat. Your cat can be taught just as many tricks as you can teach a dog.
What is the difference between clicker-training a dog and a cat?
The social aspect is the main difference. A dog will most likely view you as a member of his pack, whilst a cat might see you only as a food provider. So cats might not think about working for you but would rather work only to get their paws on that scrumptious treat.
You will need:
- A clicker
- You can also try to look for a clicker app on your mobile device.
- If your cat is deaf, a penlight is a good alternative for a clicker.
- Good old patience
Introduce the clicker
In this step, you want your cat to associate the clicking sound with the treat, therefore, click is equal to treat. You can do this by clicking the clicker, then immediately hand out the treat. Repetition may be a big help in this step if your cat is not able to see the connection right away.
Teach her her name
To achieve this, sit next to your cat and call her name. Then immediately give her a treat and click. Repeat.
Next is to say her name again, but this time you have to wait for a reaction. If your cat is too excited for the treat, wait for her to calm down before you say her name again. This time, if your cat reacts, especially if her eyes are on you, give her a treat, then click. If it did not work, repeat the entire process from the beginning a few more times.
Teach your cat to sit
This trick is not restricted to dogs alone. Voice commands are possible for cats as well. You can teach your cat to sit even without a target stick, especially if you have established the clicker.
You can do this by moving the treat slowly over your cat’s head, then saying the command. With your cat’s nose pointed towards the treat, she should naturally be able to move in a sitting position. When your cat’s rump is near the floor, click; this is to show that her performance is desired.
Check out this video to see clicker training a cat at home:
Tips for clicker training
- Click on time. Timing is the key to clicker training.
- Do not click more than once as it might confuse the cat.
- Do not force your cat to do certain desired positions. Her moves should be voluntary.
- Cats do not naturally respond to being disciplined, so never try to punish your cat. Punishing them may cause them stress, which may lead to further behavioural concerns. (Read: Why Is My Cat Hissing? All Your Questions Answered)
- Cats respond to rewards for desirable behaviour. Especially when you are teaching your cat something new, reward your cat for each step she successfully executes.
- Keep the training session’s time consistent; doit for a few minutes each time.