Want to Learn How to Clicker Train Your Cat?
If you thought clicker training was only for dogs, think again! Clicker training for cats is a powerful skill that cat owners can use to help teach their feline friend those all important manners.
Not only does it encourage better behaviour, it will strengthen the bond between you and your cat.
Read on to discover how clicker training for cats works wonders when trying to shape your cat’s behaviour.
What is a CLICKER?
A clicker is a small handheld device used for training animals. They are typically about the size of a garage remote and are available at most pet stores.
They come with a button which when pressed, emits an audible clicking sound. This sound can be used to pinpoint the exact moment of desired behaviour, such as when training a pet to sit or stay.
By utilizing these clicks in conjunction with other forms of reinforcement such as treats or praise, cats can be trained to act on command.
What Commands Can be Taught?
Clicker training your cat can allow you to teach basic commands such as sit, stay, come, lay down or go to bed. Cats can also learn how to perform tricks such as shaking hands or playing fetch with their owners.
Clicker training for cats provides an excellent opportunity for mental stimulation as well as physical exercise that is essential for cats overall health and wellbeing.
HOW TO GET STARTED
To begin the process you will need a clicker device and some high value treats your cat loves.
You can then introduce the clicker to your cat. Hold the clicker in front of your cat and press it once so they can hear the sound, then immediately offer a treat.
After doing this several times, your cat should begin to associate the click sound with something good. You can then begin the fun task of training your cat some tricks!
4 EASY CLICK TRAINING TRICKS
Begin by placing treats near your cat’s nose and then slowly move them up and away from their head while saying the command “sit”.
When they begin to sit down, press the clicker while repeating the command. As soon as their bottom touches the floor, release the treat from your hand into their mouth so they understand that sitting was what you were asking them to do.
Start by having them in an area where they feel comfortable and safe, then hold up the clicker and say the word “stay”.
When they remain still and don’t move their feet, use the clicker and give them a treat as soon as possible – they’ll associate staying with a positive reward! Slowly increase the amount of time that they must stay before being rewarded.
Select a command you will use when you want your cat to come to you. Calling their name is a great idea. Each time they respond to your call and come, press the clicker and reward with a treat.
Gently lift your cat’s paw, then say the command “shake”. With your other hand, click and reward with a treat.
Repeat this several times using the same paw. Eventually, say the command “shake” without lifting their paw. As soon as they raise their paw towards your hand, press the clicker and reward with a treat.
As your clicker training sessions progress, you can begin removing the treats each time they complete your command. Eventually, once your cat has learnt a new command you can remove the clicker completely.
TARGET STICK TRAINING
After mastering the basics of clicker training, you can then add in the use of a target stick to learn new skills such as moving from one point to another, or agility training.
To begin, you will need a target stick. A pencil or ruler will work, or you can purchase a specialised target training stick from a pet store. Hold the stick about an inch away from the cat’s nose as it gets used to this new object. When your cat touches the target with its nose, click and reward with a treat.
Guide your cat with the target stick around obstacles or furniture until they follow what you want them to do – like jumping over hurdles or onto cat trees. Reward them by using the clicker along with praise or treats.
TOP CLICKER TRAINING TIPS
- Make your clicker training for cats sessions short. That way, your cat won’t get bored, or frustrated.
- Only use the clicker when you are training or when they exhibit a positive behaviour. If you use it too often, your cat might no longer react or respond to the clicker.
- Never punish your cat if they do not respond. It is best that you use positive reinforcement and reward when they respond to your commands.
- Be consistent, try to train your cat daily at the same time if possible.
- If you find your cat is struggling to pay attention, have training sessions before meal times as their desire for food will be higher.