Clicker training which is a form of Operant Conditioning allows us to teach almost anything to our cats. It's simple and can be taught in 3 easy steps:
- Stop Free Feeding
- Charging the Clicker
- Rewarding behaviors that we wanna see more often
In simple words: is the combination of positive reinforcement and a clicker, which is nothing more than a noise maker.
We use the noise maker as a marker to indicate to our cats that they performed a behavior that is going to get rewarded.
Cat Tricks that You Should Teach First
Despite you can teach your cat to "sit", "high five" or "spin", there are tricks that will serve you better than others when it comes to living and improving your life with a cat companion.
The tricks that will make your and your cat's life easier are tricks that:
- Will help you recall them
- Prevent behaviors you don't like
- Encourage behaviors that you like
- Keep your cat safe
When I work with cat parents, there's one trick that I always recommend starting with, finger targetting.
This trick is based on luring (using treats to get your cat to go places). If taught right will serve you to lure your cat to places you want your cat to be, even to get your cat to snuggle with you.
You can learn the trick by watching the video below, or you can keep on reading:
Is Your Clicker Charged?
Charging the clicker is priming your cat with the knowledge that after a click comes a reward. If you skip this process, your cat is not gonig to learn clicker training.
To charge the clicker we are going to click, then reward multiple times. After a few repetitions, the cat is going to start anticipating that after a click comes a reward.
This process should not take longer than 10 to 15 times. Some cats might need a little less, some might even need days.
How to a Cat to Go Where You Want
There's a 3 step process to teach the trick:
- Put a treat between your middle finger and the thumb
- Move the index finger up and down
- When your cat gets close enough to your finger, touch their nose and click. Then reward.
After repeating this several times, you are going to notice how your cat it's going to be attracted to your index finger moving up and down even when there's no treat.
You can now get creative and start luring your cat to or out off places. This is the first trick of many you can teach. Check this other article if you want to know what to teach next!
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Albert & Mia