Learn How to Clicker Train Your Cat
Cats, some may argue, are incapable of being trained. Others will disagree. This is not correct. Cats are incredibly trainable, and they are frequently trained through signs rather than spoken instructions. You’ve also most likely already educated your cat to arrive when the right signal is provided to him or her. Consider what occurs when the can opener “whirrs” or when kibble touches the bottom of the dish. Isn’t it true that the cat comes running? It is possible that your cat has learnt a signal (can opener, rattling in the bowl) that corresponds to something the cat like (food), and that your cat gets rewarded for arriving when the signal is used (eating).
If you just begin to use the phrase come every time you fill the dish, your cat will quickly learn what you are attempting to communicate.
Cats may be taught to come when called, to sit when asked, to sit up when asked, to wave a paw, and to walk on a leash.
Clicker training is one of the most efficient and straightforward methods of communicating this lesson.
Buy a Clicker
Clickers may be purchased at pet supply stores, but any distinctive sound will suffice for this purpose. Some cats, for example, prefer the gentler “snick” sound produced by a ballpoint pen over other sounds. It’s possible that your cat will respond to a tongue-click, which eliminates the need for you to look for your clicker. This frees up your hands for other things. Selecting an ordinary item (such as a pen) or a frequent sound should be done with caution to avoid confusing your cat with superfluous noises that are not conveying training cues.
Choose a Special Reward
Clickers are available at pet supply stores, but any distinctive sound will suffice in this situation. The gentler “snick” sound produced by a ballpoint pen, for example, is preferred by certain cats. A tongue-click may be enough to elicit a response from your cat, saving you the trouble of searching for your clicker. As a result, you’ll have more time on your hands! Selecting an ordinary product (such as a pen) or a regular sound should be done with caution so that your cat is not confused by superfluous noises that are not associated with training cues.
Introduce the Clicker
It is necessary to first load the clicker in order for it to function properly. A click sound indicates that something fantastic is about to happen, which explains to the pet what the click sound signifies. On the surface, you’re associating the sound (click) with the benefit (treat or toy). Take a seat with the cat and a saucer full of small, stinky snacks, and begin to CLICK (throw the treats) (THROW THE TREAT) (THROW THE TREAT) (THROW THE TREAT) as many times as the cat shows interest. Then you’ll CLICK (offer the feather) CLICK (offer the feather) CLICK (offer the feather) CLICK (offer the feather) and so on.
You should be aware that cats will not be as interested in training for as long a length of time as dogs. After only a half-dozen repetitions, your kitty may be satisfied. It is more useful to participate in several relatively short training sessions than than a single marathon event.
Identify the Training Behavior
You must first load the clicker in order for it to function properly. A click sound indicates that something fantastic is about to happen, which explains to the pet what the click sound indicates. On the surface, you’re associating the sound (click) with the prize (treat or toy). Sit down with the cat and a saucer full of small, stinky snacks, and proceed to CLICK (toss a treat), CLICK (treat), CLICK (treat) as many times as the cat displays interest until the animal stops showing interest. Then you’ll CLICK (offer the feather), CLICK (offer the feather), CLICK (offer the feather), CLICK (offer the feather), and so on.
You should be aware that cats will not be as interested in training for as long as dogs.
More effective than a single marathon event is a series of extremely short training sessions.
Problems and Proofing Behavior
Please don’t be disheartened if it takes your cat a few days or weeks to respond to clicker training. Try changing out the reward with a toy or a more appealing treat if the treat doesn’t seem to be working for you. A typical error is to expect fast results, although it is usual for cats to take a time to respond to the clicker after it is activated. Also, just because your kitty has responded to the clicker for one activity does not mean that it will respond to the clicker for other behaviors in the future.
How to Train Your Cat Using a Clicker
Never give up if your cat takes a while to respond to the clicker training you’ve done with him. Try changing out the reward with a toy or a more appealing treat if the treat isn’t working for you. While many people expect rapid results, it is frequently necessary to wait a few minutes before the clicker is recognized by a cat. Moreover, just because your kitty has responded to the clicker for one action does not always imply that it will respond to the clicker for all of them in the future.
Why Cat Training Is Important
Cat training has several advantages that extend beyond simply teaching your cat how to sit. In Nofi’s words, “you’re stimulating his body and his intellect, which helps to keep him healthy.” As a result, mental stimulation will keep him feeling enriched and exhausted, resulting in a cat that is less prone to engage in frequent nuisance behaviors as a result of boredom.” If your cat has an annoying tendency of knocking things over and making a lot of noise at night, training may be a good idea for him or her.
Additionally, training can assist your cat in developing a more positive relationship with humans, hence lowering fear and undesirable behaviors like as aggressiveness.
Clicker Training Basics
In the field of positive reinforcement training, clicker training is a type of “second-order” positive reinforcement training that use a sound to convey when an animal is doing something correctly.
If you’ve previously looked for internet videos on cat training, it’s likely that you’ve come across one that uses a clicker.
What’s a Clicker?
A classic clicker is a little plastic box that can be held in the palm of your hand, with a metal tongue that you push swiftly to produce a “click” sound when it is activated. In addition to being frightening to certain cats because of its volume, Nofi argues that the typical box clicker can be frightening to others. According to the manufacturer, “certain clickers offer a gentler sound that may be more enticing to cats.” The use of a clicker allows you to simply and rapidly teach your cat any form of action, ranging from necessary behaviors such as sit and stay to sillier antics such as waving and fetching.
How Does Clicker Training Work?
It is possible to make cat training easier and faster by using a clicker, in part because the click sound indicates the precise time when an animal is doing something correctly. Clicker training begins by teaching your animal to link each click with a rewarding behavior or experience (say, a favorite treat). It won’t take long for him to realize that the click always results in a treat and that specific behaviors will result in his receiving a reward.
Can You Train Without a Clicker?
Yes, without a doubt! The clicker may be replaced with any pen that emits a clicking sound, or it can be replaced with a tongue-click or a one-syllable word such as “yes,” according to Nofi. Clickers are widely employed by trainers, although any distinctive sound can be effective if utilized on a consistent and regular basis. A cat clicker app may even be downloaded to your phone if you don’t already have a physical cat clicker.
Getting Started: Clicker Training for Cats, Step-by-Step
According to Nofi, the first step is to discover a reward that your cat will go wild over. For example, freshly chopped chicken, tuna chunks, typical commercial cat treats, and even any meat-flavored baby food are all fine options. Whatever the reward, Nofi recommends that it be a little amount so that your cat can digest it fast and remain focused on the work at hand.
Introducing Your Cat to the Clicker
Maintaining the attention span of cats is even more difficult than that of dogs, so restrict your training sessions to to a few minutes at a time. After a few sessions, your cat will begin to understand what is going on.
- Sit down with your cat and make sure a dish or saucer of treats is nearby
- As soon as you press the button on the clicker, throw a treat to your cat. Continually repeat this procedure at random intervals as long as your cat remains interested. In time, your cat will learn that each click sound results in a reward, and he will begin to gaze directly at the goodies when he hears the sound, rather than at the clicker itself when he hears the sound.
Behavior Training with a Clicker
Once your cat appears to grasp that each click signifies a “reward,” you may progress to other fundamental actions such as sit.
- First and foremost, ensure that your cat is paying attention to you. Start by putting the treat up to the cat’s nose using the clicker in one hand and a delectable treat in the other
- Then repeat the process. You should carefully transfer the reward from his nose to just between his ears after it has been sniffed by him for a while. With their eyes and nows, your cat will most likely follow this arc motion, and as its chin lifts up and back, its rear will drop
- It’s critical to click and give your cat a treat at the exact moment his bottom hits the floor in order to teach him the proper behavior. This exercise should be repeated multiple times throughout your training session.
Pro Tips for Clicker Training Success
In Nofi’s experience, some cats may try to seize the goodie in your hand when you are attracting them with it. “Another option for these cats is to educate them to touch a target stick,” says the author. Once your cat understands that pressing his nose to a stick will result in a reward, you’ll be able to entice him into a certain location to train for subsequent actions.
Finding the Right Reward
In order to lure cats, Nofi explains that some would attempt to take the goodie in your hand. “Another option is to educate these cats to touch a target stick,” says the author. As soon as your cat learns that pressing his nose to a stick results in a reward, you’ll be able to use that knowledge to entice him into a specific location to train for further actions.
Ensure Your Cat is Incentivized to Work for Each Reward
The possibility that your cat already has easy access to food—all of the time—could explain why he or her does not appear to be responding to training with rewards. As a result, Nofi recommends moving to scheduled mealtimes and scheduling training sessions before mealtimes to encourage your cat to put out effort in exchange for a treat. It is also possible that a cat who is not responding to training is not understanding what you are trying to get him to accomplish.
To assist him, make incentives more freely accessible so that he may gradually progress to other actions. For example, you may praise your cat for merely sniffing your hand in order to train him up to something more difficult, such as sitting.
Clicker Training Multiple Cats at a Time
Nofi asserts that it is entirely possible to clicker teach numerous cats at the same time. It is not necessary to segregate cats or avoid clicking in front of a cat when training another cat since “cats can sense when the click is meant for them,” says the author. When cats fight over rewards, however, it may be necessary to separate them during training sessions.
Training for Good Behavior, and Reducing Unwanted Behavior
With a clicker, you can teach your cat whatever sort of behavior you want—sit, stay, and target touching are all excellent behaviors to start off with. Other entertaining tricks including as fetch, waving, and leaping through a hoop or into their cat carrier may also be beneficial. However, teaching your cat to quit misbehaving involves a multidimensional strategy that teaches them what they can and cannot do in a variety of situations. Using Nofi’s advice, if you want to educate your cat not to scratch your sofa, you should first make the couch a less appealing area to scratch (for example, by placing double-sided sticky tape where he loves to scratch) and then stop him when he attempts to scratch there.
Regardless of the breed or age of your cat, it is feasible to teach him—and doing so will most likely lessen some of the worries your cat may have experienced in the past as well.
How to clicker train your cat – Adventure Cats
With a clicker, you can teach your cat any sort of behavior—sit, stay, and target touching are all excellent habits to begin with. Fun tricks like as fetch and waving as well as leaping through hoops or into their cat carrier may also come in handy at times. Training your cat to quit harmful behavior, on the other hand, necessitates a holistic strategy that teaches them what they can and cannot do. Using Nofi’s advice, if you want to educate your cat not to scratch your sofa, you should first make the couch a less appealing area to scratch (for example, by applying double-sided sticky tape where he loves to scratch) and then stop him when he attempts to scratch there.
If you have a cat, it’s feasible to train him no matter what breed or age he is.
Keep in mind that consistency and frequent training sessions will go a long way when it comes to teaching cats (and other animals).
Why clicker train a cat?
Taking your feline companion into the big outdoors is an adventure in and of itself, and you should be prepared for everything that may come your way. If your cat is startled by a loud noise or is chased away by an eager off-leash dog, what should you do? What happens if she manages to escape out of her harnessordarts and out of the tent? If you can put your faith in your cat to respond to orders that you’ve trained, you’ll be able to sleep a bit better beneath the stars. There are various more advantages of using a clicker for training.
Clicker training can also be beneficial to your pet’s health because it is a type of exercise.
It’s also a good method to interact with your cat and improve your relationship with her. It may also be a great deal of fun. Click on the video below to hear more about clicker training from Dr. Frank of the Best Friend Animal Society of America.
Cats aren’t dogs
However, compared to dogs, who are sociable animals that have been bred to meet our requirements over hundreds of years, cats are independent creatures that have basically domesticated themselves. When humans first started farming, cats went in to prey on the rodents that were drawn to the crops and preyed on them. To put it another way, they came for the meal and stayed because the freebies were appealing. Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozukain argue in “Animal Cognition” that, “historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been tamed to obey human demands.” In reality, experts have decided that cats are only semi-domesticated despite having lived with us for 9,000 years.
What you’ll need
- Use of a clicker (a tiny gadget with a metal strip that produces a clicking sound) or a clicker application
- If your cat is deaf, you may use a penlight or flashlight for the clicker. Some cat treats or food that your cat will adore
- Additional items are optional: a target stick (or the chopstick or wooden stick substitute)
Charge the clicker
If you want to get your cat’s attention, you’ll need to assist him or her make the link between the clicker’s sound and a nice treat. To do this, click the clicker once or twice while giving him or her a little treat or a bite of delicious canned food. The positive outcomes of the desired behavior are reinforced as a result of this. The clicking sound and the reward may be quickly associated with some cats, but you may need to repeat this procedure multiple times with your kitty before he or she understands what is going on.
As soon as your cat recognizes the relationship, you have successfully charged the clicker and it is ready to begin working on specific actions.
Educating your cat to come when the clicker is pressed may be beneficial when starting a training session or if you want to take the clicker on trips with your adventure cat. You may also wish to educate your cat to come when the clicker is pressed. For further information on how to train your cat to come when called, see How to Teach Your Cat to Come When Called. It is necessary to train your cat to follow a target stick or anything similar if you are using one. You may do this by placing the target close to your cat’s nose and, as soon as he sniffs it, clicking and rewarding him for his good behavior.
After that, place the target close enough to your cat that he will have to turn in order to sniff it.
Continually repeat this procedure, pushing the target farther away from your cat with each passing round, until your cat is chasing the target.
Teach your cat to sit
Dogs aren’t the only animals that can be trained to obey vocal instructions. Using the clicker, you may train your cat to sit with or without the need of a target stick once it has been charged. As soon as you’ve finished training with a target that your cat has learnt to follow, lift the target over his head and command him to “sit.” If you don’t have a treat dispenser, simply slide the treat or scoop of delectable kitty food gently over the animal’s head while saying the instruction to it.
Your cat should automatically go into a sitting position if his nose is oriented toward the reward or target you’ve set for him. You may click to indicate the appropriate action as soon as his rump comes close to the floor or surface you’re working on.
Oh, the tricks your kitty could learn!
Having learned the fundamentals of clicker training, you may teach your cat a variety of actions. Eventually, you may not even need to use the clicker anymore, and your cat will just listen to voice orders instead. However, just because you can teach your cat specific skills does not imply that you should do so. We at Adventure Cats like what cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy refers to as the “raw cat,” and we believe it is important to retain the characteristics that distinguish cats from other animals.
” In a video, Galaxy expresses her displeasure with the practice of training cats to do tricks for humans.
Finally, there is a reason why there are more than 90 million cats living in households across the United States: they are beloved by their human owners.
It is my desire that we will have them in our houses since they behave similarly like cats.”
Clicker training tips
- Reduce the length of training sessions to no more than a few minutes at a time
- And To indicate the intended action, click on the appropriate button at the appropriate time. Starting with little steps and rewarding your cat for each step he takes will ensure that your cat learns something new quickly. Suppose you want to train your cat to enter his carrier before you go on a hike. Start by praising him for going toward the carrier, then for standing close to it, and ultimately for entering the carrier. To indicate a preferred activity, you should not click more than once. You should avoid attempting to force your cat into the appropriate position or move him to where you want him to go since many clicks may be confusing to him. All of your cat’s motions should be voluntarily performed. Never hit or otherwise penalize your cat. Despite the fact that cats do not respond to discipline, they do respond when they are rewarded for acceptable behavior. It is possible that punishing a cat will have the opposite effect, causing the cat to feel worried or afraid and resulting in behavioral issues.
More information about clicker training may be found at the ASPCA or the Best Friends Animal Society, respectively. Cody Wellons took all of the photographs.
Kitten Training – Using Clickers
Even though it’s tempting to believe that cats are “untrainable,” the fact is that cats can be trained if you utilize the proper training techniques. Clicker training has been shown to be effective in the training of cats and kittens, and with a little effort, your cat will be able to demonstrate his or her new abilities to friends and family. Cats are intelligent, independent creatures who have successfully integrated themselves into our society through time. Therefore, unlike dogs and other animals, cats do not often react to training in the same manner that dogs and other animals do.
What You’ll Need to Click Train Your Cat
A clicker stick (a training item) or a clicker training software on your smartphone are both recommended. A healthy cat treat requiring a great deal of patience
Begin by creating a connection between the sound of the click and a treat for your feline companion. It may take a few weeks, but if you are consistent, your cat will learn to identify the click with the tasty reward they are enjoying. Make sure the treat is easy to feed so that they can have it as soon as they press the button.
Let the cat training begin!
Once your cat shows an interest in the sound of the click, the true fun may begin to be had by everyone. Make a start with anything as simple as educating your cat to appear when the clicks begin. This is also quite useful in the event that your kitty companion goes lost and you have to go searching for them. You may then train your cat to follow a clicker stick as a target by utilizing it as a training tool. Bring the clicker up to your cat’s nose and wait for them to sniff it before clicking to praise them for their good behavior.
It may also be beneficial to attach a little reward or a sprig of catnip to the end of the stick. As soon as your cat learns to follow the tip of the clicker stick when given the instruction, you will be able to direct his attention to certain points or activities.
Advanced level: Teaching your cat a trick
Raise the end of your clicker stick above and just behind your cat’s head in such a manner that they will want to sit in order to maintain their concentration on the end of the clicker stick. Once your cat has taken a seat, make the clicking noises and give him a treat. It often helps to include a vocal order, such as “sit,” along with your clicking. Persistence and repetition are essential in each aspect of your cat’s training, and this is no exception. With enough practice, your cat will learn to answer to the command “sit” by doing the act of sitting.
It’s important to remember that praise is just as effective as treats.
A good rule of thumb is to never consume more than 10% of one’s recommended daily calorie intake at one sitting.
How To Stop Your Cat’s Unwanted Behavior With Clicker Training
Every few days, a note like this appears in the Instagram messages from myCat School: “Dear Sir or Madam, I enjoy your account; however, I am more interested in training my cat not to do certain things. I’m not interested in teaching my cat new tricks.” It’s understandable that not everyone is as enthusiastic about teaching cats entertaining behaviors as I am. You’ve come to the right place if your only goal is to stop your cat’s unwanted behaviors such as biting, scratching furniture, and waking you up in the middle of the night.
An additional chart details how to deal with some of the most common problem behaviors that cats exhibit, and it is available upon request.
Step 1: Identify The WTF!
WTF is an abbreviation for “What’s The Function” in cat training, which is not what you were expecting! What is the function of the behavior indicates that we need to understand why the cat is acting in the way that they are doing right now. A cat who jumps on the counter in order to steal food will require a different training approach than a cat that jumps on the counter in order to attract attention. Recently, I received an email from a reader who wanted to know how to stop their cat’s continuous meowing around meal time.
The latter was the case, and I recommended that their feeding schedule be adjusted accordingly.
Step 2: Manage The Situation
Once you’ve determined why your cat is misbehaving, it’s time to prevent them from becoming reinforced for their misbehavior. If your cat is leaping on the counter to grab food, we must make certain that there is never any food left on the counter in the first place. Consider the following scenario: your cat hops on the counter while you are preparing supper. You might avoid this by providing your cat with a food puzzle to keep him occupied while you cook. An effective management strategy is crucial to your success since, if your cat engages in inappropriate behavior, you will be reverting to your previous training methods.
When you play slots, you don’t always win every time, but the chance of winning keeps you motivated to keep playing.
The management stage is perhaps the most difficult to put into action since it takes planning ahead of time, watching your cat, and obtaining buy-in from everyone in the family.
Step 3: Clicker Train An Alternative Behavior
Once you have successfully managed the habit, it is time to learn an alternate behavior for the animal. Consider shifting your attention away from what you want your cat to STOP doing and toward what you WANT them to do instead, when dealing with undesirable behaviors such as door-dashing and counter-surfing. For cats that are habitually leaping on the counter because they are starving, one approach is to TRAIN your cat to go to an appropriate location where they may collect their food. Consider the following scenario: you have two parking places accessible to you: parking spot A and parking spot B.
The moment you park in parking place B, absolutely nothing occurs!
The goal is to establish a nicer parking location for your cat than the counter – one where they can locate food and receive rewards every time they park their little furry butt there.
Teach your cat what to do INSTEAD of what not to do
To see a bigger version of the image, please click on it.
Clicker Training Cats – Tips and Advice
Given that cats are accustomed to doing things their own way, you might be surprised at how effectively yours will react to simple clicker training. Our expert walks you through the process, explaining what you need to do and how to get started.
What is clicker training?
With the use of a little plastic clicker device, clicker training is accomplished by producing a characteristic sound that animals such as cats can plainly hear. Clickers are readily available at most pet stores and shouldn’t cost more than a few pounds to purchase — alternatively, you could download a clicker app on your smartphone and use it instead. Using food as an incentive to reinforce and reward the desired behavior is essential when clicker training a cat, just like with any other animal training method.
It is considerably more probable that the desired behavior will be repeated when she realizes that a reward will be delivered immediately after the “click.” It is critical, however, that the prize be of substantial monetary worth.
The benefits of clicker training cats
Because of her predatory tendencies, your cat is programmed to find the process of ‘earning’ her food gratifying. After all, she is likely to continue to stalk the critters in your garden despite the fact that her food dish is full. Kim explains that clicker training cats is enjoyable and interesting for just this reason: It is something she finds inherently fulfilling that she would rather use her intellect to work for food,’ says the veterinarian. Keeping this in mind, it’s simple to see how clicker training your cat may assist to strengthen your relationship by serving as an enrichment activity that you can both participate in together.
You may certainly put your clicker training to good use in this situation as well. The strategy may be used to train your cat to come in from the garden or even to assist her cope with stressful situations such as being placed in a travel basket, according to Kim.
How to clicker train a cat in two simple steps
Keep in mind that you will want patience, rewards, and a cat who is hungry and energetic for all of your sessions before you get started. Make sure that the training session does not go more than five minutes in order to keep it enjoyable for your pet.
- In order to begin, sit on the floor and keep the clicker out of her line of sight while holding a cat treat in the other hand. When your cat comes to you for the treat, call her by name and click your mouse to reward her immediately. For the next week, repeat this process two or three times a day, as needed. Eventually, your cat will learn that the clicker sound indicates that she has completed the proper behavior
- She will then correlate the clicker sound with the prize it delivers. You may begin using the clicker to call your cat in from the garden once she has mastered Step 1 and is dependably returning to you at least nine times out of ten. Begin by calling her back from shorter distances, and gradually increase your distance between her and you. You may also introduce a few additional training tasks, such as ‘give me your paw’ or’sit’, to help your dog become more confident. Call her to you and hold a treat over her head until she naturally settles back into a sitting posture for the latter. As soon as she accomplishes this, press the ‘click’ button and treat her. Throughout the next two weeks, she should repeat the practice numerous times a day to ensure she understands it.
A top training tip
Training sessions should be brief and entertaining, and they should be terminated before your cat loses interest (for example, when she walks away or becomes easily distracted). In order for your cat to only have positive associations with the clicker, it is ideal to finish the session when everything is going smoothly.
Real-life clicker success
Joanna Clarke’s cat clicker training was a success, according to her. When it came to putting into his travel basket, her cat, Jess, was scared of it and would bolt from the room as soon as he laid eyes on it, she recalls. I employed clicker training, though, and now taking him to the vet or cattery is always a peaceful and stress-free experience for both of us. For those whose cats are also terrified of their travel carriers, Kim recommends the following clicker-based solution: In the beginning, praise your cat for any nice movements he makes toward the carrier.
When your cat gains a bit more self-assurance and approaches the carrier, click and treat – but this time, put the treat towards the bottom of the basket instead of the top.
In this method, continue to treat your cat until she is comfortably entering the basket on her own.
For as least a week, repeat this last step until your cat exhibits no indications of discomfort while in the basket and appears entirely comfortable with the door closed.’ What are your best suggestions for training your cat using a clicker?
How to Clicker Train Your Cat
It is possible to teach an ancient cat new skills! Don’t make any adjustments to your screen; you read that correctly. Due to the fact that individuals are spending more time at home these days, it is the ideal moment to discover what your cats are capable of doing. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for a one-of-a-kind bonding experience with friends. I am a professional dog trainer that holds a certification. When dealing with clients’ dogs, as well as my own dog, I choose to employ a positive reinforcement technique known as clicker training.
Steve, our cat, was perched over to the side, keeping a close eye on things.
To begin, we gave each other high fives.
He currently has over 6 tricks in his repertoire. While this post is geared at cats, the information presented here may be applied to dogs as well. A couple of chickens have even been trained by me in my spare time.
So, what is clicker training?
A clicker is a tiny, mechanical box that produces the sound of a “click.” Whenever an animal exhibits a good behavior, you should produce a sound to indicate that behavior, and a reward should be given shortly after. Using this method consistently will allow you to communicate properly with the animal, and it will serve as a common language between you two. There are no tones or sounds that may be misconstrued in any way. There is a fascinating science behind clicker training and why it is beneficial, but when working with clients, I prefer to keep things simple because we only have a limited amount of time in a session to discuss it.
Only press the button when the exact moment you want to record is in front of you.
Wait until their rear has truly reached the ground for a total of two full seconds before continuing.
Things to be mindful of when clicker training
If a pet does not hear the click when doing an activity, he or she may not associate the reward with that particular behavior. Alternatively, he or she may link the reward with another undesirable behavior later in the sequence.
Example 1: counter surfing=treat!
As an illustration, consider the experience of attempting to train a pet to quit leaping on countertops. A cat or dog may leap to its feet and then promptly jump back to its feet. If you reward them for getting down by clicking or saying “good boy/girl,” you have now rewarded them for the entire process – first they jump up, then they jump down, and THEN they are rewarded. In order to motivate them, the objective should be to recognize them for deliberately choosing not to leap up in the first place.
Example 2: sit, sit, sit!
Another example is asking a pet to sit numerous times (since if they don’t do it the first time, it’s safe to assume they didn’t hear us, right?) In order to receive a reward from you after you’ve requested six times, your pet will have learnt that they must first hear their name three times, then the phrase “sit” six times before they can be rewarded. The best way to attract someone’s attention is to state it once forcefully and then give them a time to provide the behavior on their own. If they don’t, simply walk away from the situation.
We could always be positive by just saying “good boy/girl,” but there are several potential drawbacks to doing so in this situation.
Furthermore, by the time you have exclaimed “good boy/girl,” the positive activity may have already ceased, and he/she may have begun doing something different in its place.
Animals are unable to distinguish which of the two actions is the more desirable, and as a result, they get a second mixed signal.
How do you get started with Clicker Training?
The clicker is the most critical piece of equipment you’ll need. (As well as a willing participant, of course!) There are various different types of clickers available to choose from. Some are made of metal and produce a louder sound, while others are made of plastic and provide a gentler “click” for pets that may be sensitive to sounds.
Step 2: Get the reward
The next thing you’ll need is a handful of sweets to satisfy your craving. You will want little, easily swallowed goodies that are really delectable — something that they will find quite appealing. They should eat quickly because this is a high-intensity training session. You don’t want your pet to have to spend a lot of time crunching through huge or chewy treats, do you? Small bits of cooked chicken, soft snacks, or tuna are also suitable options. It is not necessary that it be food! In the event that your cat is motivated to play, a fast string play session or a tossed ball might be just as enjoyable.
Tool aprons from big-box retailers are a good choice.
Step 3: Clicktreat
Now, find a quiet place with as few interruptions as possible to begin. Our initial objective is to demonstrate to the cat what the clicker is for. Place yourself in front of him/her, click once, and quickly give him/her a reward. At this moment, the cat is under no need to perform anything in exchange for their treat. He or she only has to get familiar with the relationship between the ‘click’ and the treat. Then spend a few minutes clicking your heels together. Generally, only one treat is given, although on rare occasions, a ‘jackpot’ of many treats is given.
His/her thoughts will be preoccupied with the possibility of receiving five rewards if they accomplish something really noteworthy.
When they hear the ‘click’ sound, their ears may perk up, and he or she may become thrilled.
Rules to bear in mind are as follows:
- Whenever you click, treat immediately – even if it was an accident. If your cat knows that clicking signifies a treat, he or she must be completely trusting. Allowing tiny toddlers to play with the clicker as a toy is not recommended. Although they may be in another room, your pet will hear you click and will get puzzled and upset if rewards do not follow. Only click ONCE to activate the system. You shouldn’t get overjoyed when he or she does great things and click multiple times. Because of this, the ‘click and reward’ routine loses its constancy, resulting in confusion and displeasure. Training sessions should be reduced to a bare minimum. 5-10 minutes is the ideal amount of time. They should be enjoyable for both of you: enjoyable for your cat since he/she is receiving rewards and using their cognitive abilities, and enjoyable for you because seeing them learn is fulfilling. If you give them any longer time than that, they will grow distracted and bored.
When your cat is responding to the ‘click’ and appears to be anticipating his reward, you are ready to begin targeting him.
Step 4: Targeting
Introduce yourself to your pet by holding a reward against your palm and presenting your hand around six inches away from his or her face level. If your pet begins to walk approach your palm, click and release a treat for him or her. As you repeat this process a few times, you can anticipate your pet to become closer and closer. Wait until they have completed the task before releasing the treat. In no time, they’ll be rubbing the bridge of their nose on your palm.
A stick, spatula, or other similar object can also be used as an aiming tool. The cat may then be guided by your hand or a targeted item to leap through or over obstacles, hop up on tall objects, or go in a certain direction as directed by you.
The most important thing about clicker training is to HAVE FUN!
Karen Pryor’s book, Clicker Training for Cats, is one of my favorite pet-related books. Karen is widely regarded as the inventor of clicker training. She began her professional career by teaching dolphins! Several years ago, while I was developing a feline enrichment program for shelter cats, I was lucky enough to meet her and learn her approach. To my surprise, the clicker seemed about have a magical quality to it! Many timid cats felt more comfortable in their new environment, gained more confidence in their abilities to trust, and became more sociable and interacting with staff, volunteers, and, most importantly, visitors.
Her book clicker training in greater depth, discusses a great deal about cat behavior, and includes some quite entertaining activities.
Yvonne Driscoll, Specialty Department Concierge at Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital, contributed to this article.
How to Clicker Train a Cat
Training animals is not limited to dogs, horses, and odd circus animals; in fact, any animal may theoretically be trained if it has a strong desire for a treat (which can be food or any other type of incentive). Some people make use of toys). You can even clicker teach a goldfish if you want to! You will require the following materials:
- A cat (obviously! )
- Irresistible snacks
- And a lot of time. Patience
- The use of a clicker
You might wonder why a clicker would be necessary. And, more importantly, what is it? A clicker is just a gadget that performs a single simple function: it emits a clicking sound when activated. They are quite affordable (you can purchase them for a low price on eBay) and are available in a variety of forms and sizes to accommodate your needs. However, they all do the same action, which is clicking. It is not that training an animal is impossible without the use of a clicker, but the use of a clicker does provide certain advantages in the training process.
- There’s a clicking sound!
- What do you think you can teach a cat?
- Unless you’re specifically interested in cat-related articles or books (which there aren’t many of), you shouldn’t limit your research to solely them.
- The most significant distinction between training a dog and teaching a cat is most likely the social part of the training process.
A cat, on the other hand, is likely to regard you as a massively inept food supplier, and as a result, cats are unlikely to work for you in the same way that they would labor for a good reward!
Step 1: Introducing the Clicker
The first thing you must educate your cat is that clicking sounds indicate the presence of rewards, and that the clicking sound is not harmful. It’s a rather straightforward process. Give a reward by clicking on it. Repeat. The reward should be given immediately after the click, or at least in a manner that is relatively synchronous with when the cat is eating the treat. When the reward has been provided and eaten, however, it is too late for the cat to develop a proper link with the clicker.
In order to determine whether the cat has made the link, try clicking once and seeing if the cat reacts.
If this is not the case, repeat the process a couple more times.
Step 2: Teach Him His Name
I’ve heard somewhere that the first skill you teach a pet should not be anything physical, as in something it can perform without you explicitly telling it to, but rather something mental. Despite the fact that I do not have any test subjects to back up this claim, I can attest that the fact that my cat’s first trick was giving a high five has caused some complications. Every time he becomes disoriented (which happens frequently), he resorts to frantically flailing his paws around in panic, despite the fact that the trick he is intended to do does not need him to move his paws at all.
- It is entirely up to you where to begin, but teaching your cat its name is a very nice and simple place to begin.
- If your cat doesn’t appear to recognize its own name, you may always use a calling sound to communicate with it.
- Then give him a treat and click your computer mouse.
- Say his name once more, but this time wait for a reaction before continuing.
- Once more, call out his name and watch to see whether he reacts, preferably by staring at you.
- If he does not, go back to the beginning of the step and repeat it several times.
- Once you’ve called his name and let him to come get his reward, press the button.
- In order for him to respond to your call, it is critical that he does not just follow you after you have moved away (although it would be tempting, after all, you have the goodies!).
According on your cat’s personality, you might wish to refrain from teaching more than one trick in a single sitting. If the cat appears to be preoccupied or otherwise uninterested, take smaller steps over a longer period of time.
Step 3: Sit!
This is a typical canine trick. Take a seat on your bum! This skill may be really useful in a variety of scenarios, and it is an excellent way to kick off your cat talent show, which can then be followed up with all of the other cool tricks you teach your cat. Furthermore, it is lovely! When teaching your pet a trick, this form of training may be employed in a variety of situations. It’s what I refer to as the “accidently did the correct thing” strategy, and as you can probably see, it’s not fully dependable in most situations.
- It all boils down to the fact that, if you are patient enough, the cat will ultimately do the proper thing.
- You can help it along a little bit!
- Maintain control of the treat by lifting it over his head and moving the hand back a bit.
- Once he has completed this task, click and give him the treat.
- Repeat this several times.
- Providing a mild pad or push to an animal that has already learned most of the trick is OK, but pushing the animal into a certain posture against its will simply results in the animal developing an adverse connection with the trick and will not aid you in any way – rather the contrary!
- However, as long as he learns to make a link between the instruction and his own actions, he will ultimately come to understand what he has to do to succeed.
If he leaps, then sits, and you click for that behavior, he will most certainly acquire “pigeon superstition,” and will jump up every time you ask him to sit from that point on.
In the case that he has difficulty figuring out how to sit without leaping (or doing something else first), you may click and reward the first few times, and then gradually’shape’ him away from the undesirable component of the task.
If you teach him to sit mostly by holding your hand and waving a reward above his head, he may ultimately learn to use a hand signal to indicate sitting.
It is possible to train the cat to solely respond to spoken commands, but this will need more time and work on your part.
Although cats learn in a similar way to us, they do so in a different way.
My cat does not respond well to spoken orders alone, and I always have to combine them with a hand signal, or exclusively use hand gestures, to get him to obey. Work with what you have, and pay close attention to what sort of learner your cat is and how he learns the most effective way.
Step 4: Walk in a Circle (Shaping)
Shaping is an extremely important component in training animals in general. In fact, one might say that practically every trick centers around the concept of shape in some manner. For animal training purposes, shaping implies gradually encouraging the animal in the direction of what you want it to do, one training session at a time. Obviously, you can’t just tell a cat to “Walk in a circle” and expect him to follow your instructions; you must first demonstrate how to walk in a circle, then gradually integrate a command or hand signal while doing so.
- As you can see, the methods are almost identical, demonstrating that you are not limited to “cat tricks” because there is no such thing.
- Put a treat in your hand and let the cat know you’ve had it in your possession (make it take a sniff, but not be able to eat it).
- If you wish to issue a vocal order, say this word while the wheel is rotating.
- It’s possible that the circle will not be perfect at first, but that’s fine.
- Having determined that the cat understands how to follow your hand in a perfect circle, raise your hand a little higher.
- Simply click and treat.
- Return to the previous stage and repeat a couple more times if the cat isn’t ready for the following phase.
Step 5: Doorbell
This is perhaps one of the most useful tricks you can teach a cat because it is so simple. As an owner of an outdoor cat, you are likely well aware of how irritating it can be when your cat shouts out for attention to let you know that he needs to go outdoors. This attempt to grab your attention might take the form of anything from loud meowing to clawing the furniture or scratching the door open and shut. Anything that will finally cause you to let it all out will suffice. In reality, there are several stories of cats instructing their owners on how to achieve what they desire.
- So, wouldn’t it be nice if you were the one who got to pick how the cat communicated its need to go outside, rather than the other way around?
- To begin, follow these steps: Get yourself a ringing device of some sort.
- It won’t be much use if it doesn’t work properly.
- If you’re very technologically savvy, you could even install an electric doorbell, provided that you’re confident that the cat would be able to hit the button with ease.
- Using a ding’ing motion, introduce the cat to the bell.
- Now, I’ve always had the pleasure of having a cat that, when he’s excited, always prefers to use his paws to express himself, so I could take use of that.
- The most important thing to do here is to educate it how to operate the bell on its own own.
Simply click and treat.
If using paws is not an option, direct the cat’s nose towards the bell while holding a treat in your hand, and ding the bell on the cat’s behalf.
The cat should be clicked and rewarded if it comes close to the bell on its own without being dragged there by another cat.
If it makes an independent attempt to ding the bell (even if it is a long distance away), click and reward it even if it does not create a sound.
Once it has attempted for a sufficient amount of time and has succeeded to ring the bell a few times, only click and treat if the bell rings.
Once the cat has fully grasped how to use the bell, stop feeding it goodies and instead take the cat outside to relieve itself.
Even though it will initially only use the bell for treats, it will ultimately form a new relationship with the bell, which is the link to the outside world.
If the cat doesn’t respond to the bell any more, walk back a step and continue to give it treats when it does so, then take it outdoors again. It will eventually only open the door when the bell is rung.
Step 6: Target Stick
The use of a target stick may be advantageous in a variety of other ways, and it may even assist you in teaching your cat new skills. Teach a cat to utilize a target stick in a very straightforward manner! The idea is simple: have the cat follow a stick around the room. To begin, follow these steps: Find a stick of any sort that you like. I use a telescopic antennae from an old radio since it can be folded up and stored compactly when it is no longer in use. It can be beneficial to have some sort of ‘object’ at the end of it, such as something brightly colored or something similar.
- That ‘object’ might be anything from a little ball to a bunch of elastic bands wrapped around it.
- Introduce the cat to the stick by holding it up to his face.
- When the cat’s face gets close to the tip of the stick, click and reward.
- Increasing the distance between the cat and the stick will cause him to have to stretch a little bit to reach it.
- gradually lengthen the distance till he is forced to travel a few steps to get to the destination.
- Following his initial success, you may gradually lengthen the stick by one or two meters, and instruct him to walk about in a pattern that you have “drawn” with the stick.
- Practise this a few times and gradually increase the length of the path he must travel.
- Don’t put him under any more stress than he can handle.
- Click and treat as you normally would.
Step 7: Knowing When to Stop
Cats, like any other animal, have a limited ability to tolerate discomfort. Don’t become irritated with the cat if you try too hard or if he becomes confused for any reason. It will simply exacerbate the situation. The attention span of cats varies depending on the individual, and it is difficult to predict how long you can expect them to concentrate on a given job. However, most cats may be expected to concentrate for 5 to 10 minutes on average, with some staying focused for longer. If you continue to push your cat despite the fact that it has lost interest or is too confused about the job, the cat will have a poor experience with the training and may find future training much more difficult.
He may lose interest or begin grooming himself as a signal that you should stop, or at the very least take a little break for an hour or two.
A cat that is confused and frustrated will frequently begin grooming itself, and this will be done in a rigorous manner. If your cat refuses to interrupt his grooming routine, the message is clear: leave him alone.
Step 8: Let It Be a Positive Experience!
Make it something enjoyable for both you and your cat! If things are becoming increasingly irritating, it may be time to call a halt. Training your cat is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship with your pet, as well as a fun method to keep your cat active and interested while making him work for his goodies. It’s important to remember that positive reinforcement is key! Motives are created when there is a reward in place. If your pet does not behave as you would want, do not scold him or become enraged; this will just make the experience unpleasant for the pet and make it much more difficult to teach him.
Instead of becoming angry, try to help him understand.
Go online and look for literature on animal training, or visit your local library and browse for books on animal training.