Even if you're a cat lover and owner...
It seems like a daunting task to train your cat. While they generally aren't as eager to plaease as most dogs (not to play favorites, dogs can be quite difficult to train and very rambunctious), they can be trained, especially if you have a tasty treat or favorite food from your Southeast Michigan pet store Wags to Wiskers in hand!
Here are a few tips to work on while training your kitty!
Find a Reward
The first part of any training activity will involve finding a desirable reward for your feline, probably food. Make sure it’s healthy, safe for cats, and highly coveted by your cat! The team at Wags can help with this! Be sure your cat is hungry before starting training.
Teach Them to Sit
Sitting is a fun way to start, and training isn't too different from what you'd do with a dog. This is an easy task for the cat, and starting off with easy tasks and easy rewards sets a positive standard for future training. Use a treat in your hand over your cat’s head to lure his head up and encourage them to sit. When he sits, you can click (or praise with “good” if you don’t have a clicker) and treat. As he improves, you can start adding the verbal “sit” cue to start the activity.
Dogs aren’t the only ones that can benefit from clicker training. It can be used in training an assortment of behaviors—from sitting to coming when called. You will need those tasty treats to associate the clicker with a positive reward.
Make It Fun
If your cat isn’t interested or wants to run off, let them go! Keep training positive and relaxed, and at their own pace. If it’s not fun and rewarding, they won’t want to participate, much like humans!
Timeouts for Rough Play
Cats sometimes get carried away during playtime—meaning you may end up with some nasty scratches or “love bites” on your arms. When he starts tearing into your hands and arms, gently extract yourself and stop the playtime by leaving the area. Not only will this protect your limbs, but it will teach him that rough play equals no play. You can also equate this with a firm "NO" just as you would a dog.
Another way to stop unwanted behavior is by redirecting the unwanted behavior into desired behavior. If your cat wants to attack your feet, throw a favorite toy off for him to chase (and play with him frequently). If he wants to scratch your bed, sofa, and/or favorite lounge chair, have many scratch pads nearby to place him at when he’s in a scratching mood.
Cats certainly have their own special way about them, but they can be trained! Remember to be patient, gentle, and keep things fun!