Commonly used as training tools for a wide variety of animals, a clicker will set you back just a couple bucks and help you give positive reinforcement when you’re learning how to train a cat. You can also use a regular pen with a clicky button—the important thing is to have a distinct noise you can make instantly. Most training involves offering your cat a treat it likes following a click to mark the desired behavior. If it obeys a command, hears the click, and then gets a treat, it’s more likely to catch on. Cats can learn to respond to a vocal cue and run your way. Then, encourage this behavior outside of normal feeding times.
Make the noise, use your clicker when your cat comes, and then reward your pet with the treat. Over time, call the cat from longer distances. The ASPCA recommends up to two «training sessions» a day, for five minutes or less, during which you should repeat the behavior up to 20 times. Training a cat to use the toilet definitely takes some work, but think of the benefits: You’ll save on litter and enjoy a cleaner home. First, place a litter box adjacent to your toilet. Then gradually bring it closer and closer to the top of seat—you might need a stool to make the process easier on the cat.
Once your pet is accustomed to using a litter box on top of the toilet, transition to a special litter box that fits within the toilet itself. Buy flushable litter, and expect spillover. Gradually use less and less litter to get your cat accustomed to doing its business without it, and then, remove the litter box entirely. Simpler than you might expect: Get a treat ready, then align yourself to the same level as your cat. Tap your cat’s paw while saying «shake,» and use your clicker when it moves its paw. Repeat training until your cat offers its paw in response to the «shake» command without tapping. Like the «come on command» trick, this can take a few training sessions over the course of a couple of days.
This is similar to the «shake hands» trick. Practice until your cat begs on command without needing a treat dangled overhead. Get a harness with a leash that attaches at the cat’s back, not its neck. You’ll eventually move to securing the harness around the cat without the leash—leave it on your cat for a couple of minutes at first, then increase the time over the course of days. Once your pet is comfortable with the harness, attach the leash to it, and let your cat wander freely inside with it. After a few days, start holding the leash during training.
Then: Ease into the great outdoors! Make sure you let your cat take its time exploring a new area, and start somewhere quiet. 17 things we bet you didn’t know about your cat. Become more interesting every week! We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. And your life’s about to get more interesting.
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