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Kitty Clicker Training?

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  • Kitty Clicker Training?

    I am on the brink of the decision to keep one of my foster kittens, a big yellow boy we named Walter (although his littermates call him Binky because they all use his poor little armpits as a pacifier). Anyway, I have so enjoyed this past year of training with my puppy (now dog), I am thinking of embarking on similar training for the new kitty.

    I'd like said kitty to walk on a lead and be a good traveler, and hopefully be amenable to some clicker training. Tricks would be fun, useful things like a recall would be nice too.

    Anyone had experience with somewhat "formal" training of kittens? Thanks in advance for any input .

  • #2
    I have formally trained all 3 of our cats to come when called, get on a station and stay there and am in the process of teaching Newest Kitty to walk on a lead. Clicker training works for cats, but their responses are very different than dogs. The sessions for my kitten have to be WAY shorter (like 5 treats worth) and I have to be very patient while waiting for her to make up her mind if she will do the behavior.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
      I have formally trained all 3 of our cats to come when called, get on a station and stay there and am in the process of teaching Newest Kitty to walk on a lead. Clicker training works for cats, but their responses are very different than dogs. The sessions for my kitten have to be WAY shorter (like 5 treats worth) and I have to be very patient while waiting for her to make up her mind if she will do the behavior.
      Thanks 3dp! I appreciate the input. I am still on the fence about the new kitty but my 15 year old cat is fading fast (as in probably going over the Bridge this weekend ) and the yellow boy caught my eye as soon as I saw him (3 week old litter of five dropped off at a feed store, thin, dirty and frantically hungry...they are all doing fine now). Yellow boy plays with Paisley and she is very good with him (all of them really, but he actually goes to her) so I think they will be buds.

      Speaking of Miss Paisley...she is doing great. Still a little bit of a "bubble dog" but much more forgiving than a few months ago. I have used, and continue to use, a lot of your suggestions (thank you again SO much!) and it has helped a lot! She is still in classes, she gets A's in tricks, flyball and agility, and B's in Obedience. Her CGC is a work in progress, she still gets antsy for the friendly stranger touching her (although if it is an instructor that she likes it is happy wiggles that escalate to "I. Just. Can't. Stay. Sitting....LOL) All other CGC tasks are solid. She has been trail riding with me a few times now and she seems to love that! Next Monday we are going to a place where we can try her on herding sheep. I think she will really like that, she herds everything! I was talking to an SAR handler who runs Cattle Dogs, she has a female ACD who sounds very much like Paisley in personality. She said that when she allowed the dog to herd as an activity (as opposed to unstructured herding behavior) the dog was much better, as though she realized what the urge was about and when it was okay to use...so she wasn't as prone to using it in the wrong situations. Who knows? I figure Paisley will have fun with it, if it helps her confidence etc that will be gravy.

      Thanks again...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 2Jakes View Post
        she still gets antsy for the friendly stranger touching her (although if it is an instructor that she likes it is happy wiggles that escalate to "I. Just. Can't. Stay. Sitting....LOL)
        I am so glad. I have an enormous soft spot for ACDs. My Meg never went into the OB ring becuase of the happy wiggles and licking. She'd never pass the stand for exam, but she's still an outstanding dog and I love her for who she is, just like you love your Paisley for who she is.

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        • #5
          I clicker trained mine to use the toilet (along with the Citi Kitty kit).

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          • #6
            Note - do not teach a cat to flush. They will sit on the toilet all day flushing just to watch the water swirl around!!

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Lauren12 View Post
              Note - do not teach a cat to flush. They will sit on the toilet all day flushing just to watch the water swirl around!!
              Good to know!

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              • #8
                I have done some easy tricks with mine. Sit, beg, high-five.

                With horses and dogs, that live in/work in groups, we don't realize how much of the basic training nature has already done for us. Cats are smart and can learn quickly, so long as you understand that the "take direction from others" and "work cooperatively" modules don't come pre-installed.

                Short sessions with high-value treats, break any behavior down into itty bitty bits - and then break it down more.

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