Cat Training With A Clicker
When training a cat, clicker training serves as a reward or reinforcement. They are mostly used while training a cat as support. Cats associate food with the clicker sound (classical conditioning) and perform movements to receive the food (operant conditioning).
What is so special about the clicker? Why not just tell the cat what you want it to do? Cats associate good behavior to the sound of the clicker. Unlike our voice and words which have varying tones and can confuse the cat, the clicker has a constant tone and thus the command is clear to the cat. You can use the clicker to teach the cat a new behavior and when it has learnt the behavior, you can put away the clicker.
When going on a trip, or a walk, it is good to take along the clicker. This will prevent the cat from straying or getting distracted by other people or animals and ensure it walks with you. It will also help them remember behaviors you have taught them.
There are three easy steps to training a cat with a clicker. These are; get a behavior, mark the behavior and lastly, reinforce the behavior. The first step is getting a behavior, for example, jumping a hoop. Using a treat to coerce the cat is a good idea. Each time you click, hand him a treat. Soon he will learn to associate the click with a treat. Next, mark the behavior. Here, you introduce the hoop. When he touches the hoop, click and give him a treat. Later, show him how to go through the hoop. Once he goes through, click and hand the treat. Do these a few times until he starts going through the hoop on your command or on his own. To reinforce this behavior, keep snacks handy so you can always reward him when he does go through the hoop.
Clicker training is fun and rewarding, both to the cat and the owner. It is important not to rush the cats’ training. To train your cat efficiently, you need to be loving, patient and generous with treats. Training takes time and should be done in steps so the cat does not get confused and take longer time to learn.
Cats need to exercise for at least 10-15 minutes a day. This is more easily achieved with a clicker and simple exercises like playing with a toy, climbing a scratching post or using a hoop. Exercise keeps your cat away from mischief and keeps him physically fit.
There is a lot of information on clickers and how to use them in training available in accompanying books, internet sites and pet stores. Clickers exist in a range of sizes and colors, so be sure to do your research on the companies that make them, and get all additional information on their use in the training of your cat before you purchase them. Talking to someone who has used them, you veterinary doctor checking out articles on training with a clicker can also be of immense help.
Cats that use clickers will definitely be healthy, thanks to the daily exercise, and thus happier. The new behaviors you have taught your cat will also make you a happy cat owner. Remember, in training your cat, all you need is the clicker, love and patience.