Almost all dog handlers have already tried to teach their pet a few tricks. It’s a different story among the owners of felines, to whom this idea usually simply does not come to mind. Normal, you will tell me: cats have the reputation of being proud and independent animals, moreover not receptive to orders that could be given to them. And yet, it is quite possible (and even rather easy) to train your cat. We explain how.
- Cat Training: why train your cat?
- How to train a cat: which method to use?
- Cat training: a school of patience
Cat Training: why train your cat?
Even trained, cats are not able to perform the same exercises as dogs (forget the idea of frisbee games with kitty!). Nevertheless, they can quite learn simple tricks, such as rolling on themselves, giving the paw, jumping into a hoop or standing on their hind legs. But the point of training should not be to make your cat a circus beast.
Training is especially useful for a more harmonious relationship between you and your pet. It will thus be able to improve your feline’s behavior (if he is very shy or anxious for example) or allow him to better tolerate situations that are sometimes painful for him (entering his basket to go to the vet, letting himself be examined or cleaned, taking a medicine…). The icing on the cake: these exercises performed together are also a very good way to strengthen the relationship between yourself and your cat!
How to train a cat: which method to use?
Training the cat is a little more difficult than with his canine colleagues, and he obeys somewhat different principles. This is especially the case for motivation for learning: where a dog will accept his master’s orders just to please him, a cat will need a reward, say… more substantial. So, if kitty agrees to lend herself to the game, it will mainly be in exchange for food!
The methods to be used, on the other hand, are identical. In particular, positive reinforcement will be used. Because with cats even more than with dogs, using punishment turns out to be particularly counterproductive. “Clicker training” has also proven itself well with felines. It is about clearly signaling to your pet the behavior that has earned a reward by a distinctive sound (which can be a “click”, but also the tinkling of a bell, a mouth noise…).
Cat training: a school of patience
Are you ready to start training your cat? First, get the absolute weapon: the super reward! It will be a treat that your cat loves and that you will have to reserve for your training sessions from now on. If it depends on the tastes of your cat, we still advise you to give preference to 100% protein (dried meat, chicken pieces, tuna crumbs, etc.).
The actual training will then require patience, because for more efficiency it will be better not to exceed one session per day lasting 5 to 10 minutes. When you feel that your cat is in a cooperative mood and he is a little hungry, you can start training. Start by attracting his attention, and then give him a simple order (to sit down, for example, by placing your hand above his head). Reward him with a treat when he succeeds, and then gradually complicate the exercise. If everything goes well, you should manage to achieve results in just a few days!