Your Cat Can Learn
It’s a common misconception that cats, unlike their canine counterparts, are autonomous lone wanderers, impervious to the will of their master. If you want to train your clever cat, you can – and this article will teach you the five most basic commands your cat can learn. With a solid training program of two or three sessions per day for a week or so, you will soon find that your cat will respond faithfully to your command without the promise of food at the end! Here are a few universal tips to start with...
a) Start your training sessions just before a meal - your commands will begin with a reward with a tasty snack, so if they’re hungry, they’ll work for it;
b) Crouch down – towering above your cat may send them running;
c) Keeping eye contact holds their attention;
d) Use a positive sound, such as a click of the fingers, to signal that your kitty’s done good – do this immediately and follow it with a reward of their favourite snack.
Place your feline friend on the table in front of you – pet them and make him or her feel at ease before you begin, lest they bolt off the table and out of your training session! Choose your cat’s favourite titbit, show it to them and make sure they know you have it in your grasp. Then, move the treat back over their head, prompting them to sit back as they lean backwards to follow the bait. Finish off with “sit, good, sit”, and immediately reward their sterling effort with a click of the fingers and a treat.
Again, sit your cat on the table top. Place the tasty treat in front of your cat, just out of reach and below the table top , and combine your cat’s name with ‘down’. Your cat will lower his or herself down onto the table, and you will click your fingers, say ‘name, down’ and reward their complicity with the titbit.
Once more, place you cat’s favourite nibble in your hand, letting them see that you have it there in front of them, then closing your fingers over it. Now this next bit takes a little bit of stealth… Remove the treat from your hand with the other, holding it just above his or her face so that they can’t see that you’ve removed it. Instinct will then kick in, and when you open the hand that your cat originally saw their treat in, they will place their paw in it. Reward the handshake with a treat, a finger click, and a friendly ‘good boy/girl’ – get them used to hearing your praise and the tone you use when you’re giving it.
Follow (Heel, Come)
The easiest of all the commands, since when you call your cat for dinner, they come a-running. Begin this session at mealtime when it’s quiet and your cat is nearby. Combine your chosen command (‘follow/heel/come’) with your cat’s name, and when they arrive, praise them with your chosen command and ‘good’ – for example – ‘come, good, come’. You can immediately give him his food as a reward. When your cat has learned the command, move the food somewhere different and repeat the process.
Place a treat on the floor at a distance of around ten feet, and your cat will approach to snap it up. As they do so, put your hand in front of them and firmly say ‘stay’ – if your kitty stops, reward him or her with a click of your fingers the treat in front of them. This nifty trick should be repeated until your cat knows to stop in its tracks, and hey presto – you have a very obedient cat!
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