Most people tend to believe that cats can't be trained but in fact cats can be made to learn helpful behaviors and innovative tricks. They can even be trained for participating in competitive tournament to demonstrate their alertness.
Well, there are certain differences between training dogs and cats. Usually, cats don't get as motivated as dogs are by praise. Moreover, cats aren't impulsively motivated to work with humans. That shouldn't discourage you from imparting them some training. On using the correct method and a bit of your creativity, you'll be surprised by the learning capabilities of your cat.
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Remember: Cats react to positive treatment, not to penalties
You should keep in mind that cats can be made to learn new activities through positive and reward based exercises. It is unhealthy to reprimand or dominate. These are the steps for you to get started:
1. The best back ups you may employ are treats – but find the best ones.
Cats like to have soft, stinky and gooey treats. Some may require a special item for motivation. It means you have to try different foods to know the kind of food your cat adores. Some may like diced chicken, turkey or commercially available cat food while other may prefer having tuna or baby food with a flavor of meat. Personal preferences vary with the cat.
2. Let the cat get used to getting rewarded in response to specified activities
In the beginning go for easy tricks so that the cat become aware that nice things take place while the training session is going on.
3. Practice, practice, and more practice… but avoid being excessive
Keep repeating the process of training consecutively, prompting the cat to learn why it is being rewarded. The idea is not to bore your cat or make it get tired. You want it to appreciate the connection between an assigned activity and reward along with the command connected to that activity.
4. Try utilizing a clicker to back up timing and – finally reduce treats.
It is imperative that you reward your cat soon after it has performed the desired activity. However, you may find it difficult to time the reward just at the precise moment, meaning immediately after it has performed the expected act. In such cases it is good to employ a clicker that releases a sound to tell the cat that what it just did was great. You can train the cat to appreciate clicker by just clicking it and awarding the cat without asking it to perform any action. Soon, after a couple of times the cat would understand that the noise from clicker indicates that something good is on the way. That's how you can perfect the timing for rewarding your cat.
5. After the cat has completely mastered its first trick, proceed to others.
On using your clicker in association with treats, you may initiate the cat to perform simple activities like “stay”, “down and “come.” However, you should be creative and may consider schooling the cat for other activities such as walking with a strap.