Cats are very intelligent animals, and have a special sensitivity to certain types of sounds. Most people are unaware of just how precise a cat’s hearing is, and fail to recognize the use of clicker training as a valuable training program. However, clicker training can be effectively used as a way to shape a cat to practice good behavior. If you are having trouble training your cat, you may be able to use clicker training as a successful training method.
Cats are very responsible to sounds, especially sounds that are relatively high in pitch. Clicker training utilizes this sensitivity in order to maintain your cat’s attention through a training program. The goal of clicker training is to teach your cat to associate the behavioral methods you are teaching with the sound of the clicker. If done correctly, clicker training can be used to teach your cat a significant number of tricks, actions and reinforced good behavior.
Before you begin clicker training, you will need to purchase a clicker training device. These devices are usually small, and may be made of plastic or metal. They are relatively inexpensive and are usually available in the pet training section of most pet care supply stores.
Here are some simple steps that you can follow in order to properly clicker train your cat.
First, choose a quiet room in your house for your training session. The lack of ambient noise will help your cat to focus on the sound of the clicker. Catching your cat’s attention can be slightly difficult, so you may need to utilize food items, catnip or cat treats to help your training to be successful.
The next step is to start by reinforcing the behavior or action that you want your cat to associate with both the sound of the clicker, and a treat reward. It may be tricky to identify this behavior in your cat’s mind, so try to be patient. For example, if you are trying to teach your cat to sit, begin by observing your cat’s behavior. As soon as they sit down, say the command “Sit!” followed by a click, and a treat reward. Repeat this as many times as possible, in order to reinforce the connection of the clicker with the action you are reinforcing.
It is best if you use this training method once or twice per day, keeping the training sessions only long enough so that you still have your cat’s attention. Using treats to reinforce your cat’s behavior is a great way to make clicker training more effective, since your cat will also associate the sound of the clicker with a treat reward.
When using clicker training to train your cat, it is best to only use positive reinforcement. Most cats will not understand punishment, which can backfire and lead to more behavioral problems. Be patient with your cat, as they may require a week (or longer) of training in order to properly learn a behavioral action.