Most cat owners have accepted the notion that cats are untrainable and to even try is a waste of time and energy, but this is simply not true. There is a growing trend in the cat world called clicker training that is proving successful at training cats. It takes a bit of patience, but a cat can be trained using this method and the reason it works so well is a very simple matter of voice replacement.
A cat constantly hears the voice of their owners, so much so that they become desensitized to it. The cat doesn’t know what the owner is saying, just that the human is making noise again, and they really do not have any desire to learn to distinguish pertinent words and phrases from those that don’t concern them. This is a cat’s nature. By replacing the human voice with a completely distinct sound, the cat is able to learn that when they hear that distinct sound it’s time for them to listen, and this is where the clicker device comes into play.
The cat clicker device is a small plastic device with a piece of metal inside that puts off a distinct clicking sound each time the plastic piece is pressed. Once the cat learns this sound means they need to listen, promoting good behavior is accomplished quickly and easily.
Charging the Clicker
The first step in the cat training process is to give the cat a reason to listen to the clicker. This is where the treats come into play. By making a habit of clicking the device once and then giving the cat a treat, the cat begins to associate the clicking noise with the administration of a treat. It will eventually get to the point where the cat will come out of hiding running to find their owner at the sound of the clicker. This is the time period called charging the clicker.
The Real Training Begins
Once the clicker is charged, the real training begins. Promoting good behavior should always be the primary function of clicker training, rather than punishing for bad behavior. It may seem convenient to go to town with the clicker if the cat is doing something they shouldn’t be doing just to get their attention, but this should be completely avoided. The clicking sound needs to be associated with treats and goodness or the cat will cease to listen to it.
Each time the cat is displaying good behavior; the owner should click the clicker once (and only once) and then administer the treat. Timing is very crucial. It’s important to note that once the cat hears the click, they’ll probably stop whatever good behavior in which they are engaging and come running for their treat. In addition, if the cat owner waits too long to use the clicker, the cat may not understand for what they are being praised. Below are a few tips to get started.
Cat Training Tips
- Keep training sessions short.
- Do not force the cat to perform a behavior just to give the reward. Be patient and wait for the cat to voluntarily engage in the behavior and then give praise by clicking and treating.
- Start slow and simple by clicking and treating for a good behavior the cat engages in frequently. This will speed up the process of the cat associating good behavior with the reward.
- Once a good behavior is learned, it doesn’t have to be rewarded with a treat, but praise should always follow.
Cats have historically been thought of as independent and untrainable. The benefits definitely outweigh the disadvantages in cat ownership, but even so it’s nice to know a tiny fragment of control has changed hands thanks to the cat clicker.