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Old 05-19-2007, 09:31 PM
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Question People who have trained their cats?

I'm working on teaching mine prolonged sitting. (I can walk away and walk back, and they'll still be there) The "sit" command has been mastered by Chili and Emma, and Emma stays in a sit until I tell her to get up. I'm also working with Emma on "down." After several short sessions over the last two days, she is starting to get the concept of me luring her into "down" and knows she will only get the treat if her butt and her elbows are touching the ground.

Once she's mastered down, and I teach Chili it, I'd like to start them both on a "shake" or "wave" command. Something with raised paws. Do I teach this the same way I've been teaching (like you'd teach a dog.. luring them into it w/ small treats) or are there better ways to teach cats?

I've just been thinking about how when someone here posts "oh, I hate cats, they can't learn stuff" several of you always respond with "I've taught my cats this, this, and this." Any tips would be GREAT! I've been using their kibble (EVO) for the training--making them work for their dinner, and they will work for it, but last night using the sausage was a hit.
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Old 05-19-2007, 09:46 PM
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lol my standard response to anyone claiming an animal is stupid or dumb and can't be trained is...................Let me get this right, You can't train the * cat,dog, horse etc* and its stupid??????
I trained one of the barn cats to do some agility, he would do the teeter, a-frame, jump, Dog Walk and tunnels AND in sequences!!!!!!!!
We really should have gotten video's and pics but sadly we didn't before he died. We will certainly miss Smokey the Agility Cat, he certainly provided us with great times and huge lessons in how to motivate.

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Old 05-19-2007, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adojrts View Post
Let me get this right, You can't train the * cat,dog, horse etc* and its stupid??????
LOL! Exactly.

But, did you use the same methods with Smokey as you do with your JRTs? What methods did you use, exactly?
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Old 05-20-2007, 01:48 AM
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One of my cats shakes hands and does the "high 5", but I didn't teach him as quickly as you're trying to. I did it as I was feeding him every morning and it took a few months before he automatically did it, which he still does (he's 10 now). He's not treat motivated the same way most cats are, so that was a little more difficult. Everything he learned, he just learned to please me and knows just basic, functional commands.

When I was teaching him the shake, I would tap behind his leg while he was sitting in front of his food dish. As soon as he started to lift it, I'd grab his little paw and bring it up in a shake. If he only gives me a half-a**ed shake, I make him do it again, and the high 5 is a separate command.

One time after I'd brought another cat home to foster for a while, he was mad and when he lifted his paw to shake, and I reached out to him, he hauled off and swatted me!! LMAO! (no nails, tho)
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:27 AM
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oh, I have a question! How did you teach down? I have been slacking in the training department with them because people tell me they can't be trained and I'm crazy and all that stuff. Seeing that you guys do it ad therefore would not think I'm crazy (hopefully) makes me want to get going again. I trained Neko sit and paw. With paw it will be easy to train high five and wave. What I ws trying to teach was down and was having a really hard time. How did you do it? When I try to lure him he just walks with my hand or stabs me If I try to hold him back from walking he jumps my hand. So how did you do it?

Also training Willie anything is harder than it was with Neko. Willie catches on but has no idea what you are talking about the next session. Maybe because he has never been trained by himself. I always do him and Neko together but Neko got 2 years by himself. I suppose they should each get their own training time.

I have also heard you can never have them do a command with out showing the treat first. Is that true? Or can you wean them away from that just like with a dog. I will always give it to them after but I don't want him only doing the tricks after seeing the treat.
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:37 AM
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and also do you think clicker training is the best way to go or are other methods more effective?
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:53 AM
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You can train cats??? I didn't know that!! lol Good luck! (I would never be able to do that with Lucky, she would walk away!) lol
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:53 PM
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I've had cats all my life, and I've never tried training one, but.......

I was told by trainer that we hired to teach clicker training to us when Spanky was a puppy that he had also clicker trained cats. He was and is also a horse trainer.

I thought it made sense, though, that clicker training would be something that would work with cats. In fact, that's the way that seems to make most sense for me if I were to try it.
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:21 PM
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Although I've only taught one cat to shake hands & stuff, and another to roll over, all my cats (that I've had from kittens) have always been trained in the basic behavoirs like stop, get down, come inside.

I've trained them to my fingers snapping, so like, 1 snap would be a warning to listen to me & be cautious about what they were doing, 2 light snaps would be a casual "come here", 2 sharp snaps & a finger point would be to stop immediately, 3 snaps were "come inside".

When I first started doing this I had 3 of them to train at once and I found it necessary to do teach them to stop destructive or dirty behavoir like being on the kitchen counter or table, or scratching my leather furniture. On the "stop" commands, I used a water bottle after giving the command and I got pretty good at shooting them from 20 feet away!! LOL The first spray would be a body shot; if they ignored that, the second spray would be to the side of their face; if they ignored that, the third spray would hit them inside their ear. I rarely got to the 3rd level and got rid of the water bottle years ago.

On the positive commands, like "come inside", I used tuna to entice them, then treat them after they got there. I had a good sized, fenced-in yard that I would let the 3 of them go out and lounge in, and I didn't want to have to chase them around to get them inside. They got so good at it that I could stand in the middle of the house, snap my fingers 3 times, and they'd be at the door coming in by the time I got there.

They're a bit slower to train than dogs because they're so independent, but with command consistency & repetition they learn, and it stays a permanent learn.
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Disclaimer: I have no formal training in animal behavoir or dog training as some of the other posters here do; these are just my opinions based on my own experiences & self education.

I love my critters to death, thank God for them everyday, and can't live without at least one. I need them as much as they need me, and have found they're much better than husbands!!
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:29 PM
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I guess I trained my last one that I didn't like him on the kitchen counters and tables. Once he learned that I didn't like it, I never caught him on them again. Many times I put the key in the door and opened it, I heard 4 feet hit the kitchen floor, but I NEVER saw him on the kitchen counter tops or table after the first year of his life, and he lived 19 years.

One of my current cats is not as quick to understand. He understands that he will get squirted with a water bottle, but he seems to think it's a game that he doesn't like but will tolerate for us. He will get on the table. We will get the water bottle, and he will squint his eyes waiting on the squirt.

One squirt was enough for the other cat. She's never gotten on the table again.
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