Most people are convinced that they can’t train their feline friends, simply because cats don’t seem to naturally respond to many of the methods that are used to train dogs. However, the truth is that cats can respond to training! In fact, one of the very first scientific studies conducted to highlight how important it is to use positive reinforcement when training animals was done using cats.
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The first step in learning how to train your cat, is understanding him. Cats simply aren’t as social as dogs, and they haven’t been bread to work together with people. Cats are independent, and they’re not as easy to motivate, you need to use something that your cat finds truly irresistible, and use a lot of time and patience.
Step 1: Make Time for Sessions Every Day
If you’re very lucky, then your cat will be just as eager to learn as you are to train him, however, there’s a good chance that he’s just going to ignore you. Every cat is different, and some will try your patience. Try to carve out small amounts of time every day that you can spend working with your furry friend, and remember that cats have different personalities, and like to learn differently.
Step 2: Never Punish
No matter how frustrated you get when trying to train your cat, it’s important to remember that these creatures don’t respond positively to punishment. Instead, punishment will just cause your cat to hide from you, and it can also breed health and behavioral problems caused by stress. Encouraging good behaviour with a reward is much more effective.
Step 3: Use your Cat’s Favorite Treats
Rewarding your cat’s behaviour with tasty treats teaches him to associate certain actions with positive results. One of the most common options to try is “clicker” training. For instance, if you’d like to teach your cat how to sit, then you can click the clicker as soon as she sits and give him a treat. With enough repetition, your cat will eventually associate the click with the chosen behaviour.
Step 4: Keep Sessions Short
Finally, remember that your cat has a short attention span and can easily get bored quickly. Focus on giving them one command at a time, and move onto the next command when he has mastered the first. Practice commands in different areas of the home too, so that he gets used to responding in different situations.
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