As many cats live their entire lives indoors, clicker training can provide valuable mental and physical stimulation. But where to begin? Training a cat to touch a target is not only fun and easy, but it can serve as the foundation for more complicated behaviors.
Bringing a new cat into a home with other cats? Let’s face it: cats are territorial, so you will want to be sure to introduce your cats slowly to minimize fearful or aggressive interactions. In the beginning, you will want to confine the new cat to a separate room to encourage them to get used to one another’s scent. Eventually, you will be able to progress to a controlled face-to-face meeting, allowing visual contact through a barrier, such as a pet gate, baby gate, or screen door. But how do you progress to visual contact while avoiding a stare down or confrontation? Try training!
Does your cat beg or swat at you while you are fixing his/her food? Station training, teaching your cat to relax on a designated spot, keeps your cat (and your appendages!) safely out of the way while you prepare your cat’s meal. Station training is also a wonderful way to engage with your kitty and strengthen your bond.
Despite popular belief, cats can be trained. Training any animal, the key is finding the right reinforcement and reinforcement delivery! Many cats devour small training treats or kibble from a pouch.
Imagine if you could teach your cat to go into or out of a carrier effortlessly, without physical manipulation. How about getting on or off furniture? What if you could dazzle your friends by teaching your cat to spin, rollover, or jump through a hoop? These behaviors can all be achieved by teaching your cat to follow a target stick—one of the easiest and most useful behaviors to teach!
Kittens are highly intelligent animals that, just like their canine counterparts, are capable of learning a variety of behaviors. Beginning your training as soon as you bring your kitten home will help prevent unwanted behaviors and ensure that your kitten will grow up to be a well-adjusted member of your family.
Do you struggle with giving your cat medication? You aren’t alone. Getting cats to take medication can be a challenge, even for veterinarians! Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. In this video, Tabitha Kucera, KPA CTP, RVT, and her cat Jellybean (aka Bean) demonstrate how to get a cat to take medication willingly!
How do you celebrate National Cat Day? At Karen Pryor Academy (KPA), we celebrate by teaching our cats new behaviors, of course! Cats can be trained easily with shaping, the process of using a series of gradual steps to build toward a final behavior. With shaping, you can teach a cat any behavior that the cat is physically capable of doing, from sitting, spinning, and stationing on a mat to riding on a skateboard!
One of the most useful (and easy) behaviors that you can teach your cat is to sit on cue. Not only will the sit behavior impress your friends, but teaching a sit helps manage unwanted behaviors, like being underfoot when you are preparing dinner (his or yours!) or begging at the dinner table.
Although it is National Train Your Dog Month, dogs shouldn’t have all the fun! Try training your cat to provide much-needed enrichment, manage unwanted behaviors, and add fun new tricks the cat’s behavior list. In this video, KPA Associate Director Gretchen Carey and her cat Frankie demonstrate one fun trick: wave!
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