Cat training can seem like an impossible challenge. Cats are strong-willed, independent, and can often seem stubborn. However, when we know how they think and have the right tips and tools, we can have any cat happily jumping through hoops and sitting pretty in no time. In Cat Training - It's Possible With These Three Tips, Part-One, we shared the three essential tips and tools every cat guardian should know and use. In this article, we’re sharing cat training fundamentals and basic commands to jump-start the best possible relationship with Miss Kitty Fantastico.
Three Tips For The Best Results
Recall the three most important facts, tips, and tools we all need to train our cats.
- Positive reinforcement - Always reward cats and redirect bad behaviors. Negative reinforcement like saying no, scaring them, or other punishments will only make our felines fearful. It also breaks their trust, which will have to be built all over again before we can begin a productive training process again.
- Use treats to motivate - Unlike other pets and many humans who respond to praise and other motivators, cats respond to treats. Choose all-natural, premium, USA-sourced EcoTreats™ Wild-Caught Sockeye Salmon Filets. Cats love them so much, they’ll do backflips and more.
- Patience for the best long-term results - Cats need time. We need to work on a schedule that keeps them interested and engaged. They need to want to listen and learn. If we want to make strides and keep a happy, healthy relationship with Mr. Whiskers, patience is the key to training.
Training Basics & Best Practices
When we are first starting out, it can be tough to gauge our cat’s responses and whether we are making headway. If we’re lucky, we’ll have an eager cat who’s easy to train. Either way, there are some basics to remember as we set out to earn Mr. Socks’ trust and keep him engaged.
We need to carve out time each and every day to work on training. If we are training her for a basic command, five minutes twice a day is best. If we are correcting a behavior, we’ll need to address it as the behavior happens, but we can work with some of the positive associations we want our feline friend to have with the behavior we want her to have a positive association with.
It’s also important to remember that every cat is different. They have different levels of interest, different personalities, and a different way to process the information we’re trying to get across. That means they’ll need to be taught a little differently to adjust for their needs, the pace with which they learn, and the enthusiasm they may or may not have.
For those feline friends who don’t seem motivated, try choosing treats they’ll love. Don’t use kibble or treats with additives that will upset Mrs. Fuzzy’s stomach. EcoTreats™ Wild-Caught Sockeye Salmon Filets are premium, 100% natural freeze-dried wild-caught sockeye salmon filets kitties can’t resist!
Basic Commands for Every Cat
There are countless commands, behaviors, and tricks we can teach our cats, but there are some basics that are useful for every feline family. The following are also great building block commands that are simple to teach and help lay the foundation for future training sessions.
Teach Them Their Name
Every cat and dog should know their name. It’s useful for training. It’s necessary when we have a multi-fur-baby household. And it’s just part of being a family. There isn’t a whole lot of science to this one. Start by saying their name a lot. Every time we make eye contact, we should say Mrs. Snuggles name so she associates the word with interactions with us.
Next, use her name when talking to her. For example, when we call out that it’s dinner time, we can say, “Mrs. Snuggles, dinnertime!” We don’t want her to think her name actually means dinner time, so when it’s cuddle time or playtime, or any other time, do the same. This way her name is reinforced as a set of sounds she hears when she is being addressed directly, but it won’t be limited to one or two activities.
Getting a kitty to come when called is one of the easiest commands to reinforce. If she already knows her name, it will be even easier. The come here command is also great for safety, should we need to call Garfield away from the dangers of the great outdoors or get him to come out from hiding in an emergency.
We’ll begin by standing two to three feet away. Call Mr. Whiskers by name and say the word “come.” By holding a treat we know our cat loves, he will be more likely to come. Hold it at arm’s length and the next you call him, hold the treat closer to your body. You might want to bring the treat closer to your body as your feline friend gets closer to emphasize that the action you are reinforcing is that of walking toward you.
Do this several times a day for as long as it takes. One word of caution: make sure treats are associated with different times of the day and different activities or training exercises. The point is to use the treat to reinforce positive behaviors. We don’t want our cats getting confused about whether they are being put on a treat schedule, or whether they are learning new things.
For more about cat training, please watch for the next in our article series on cat training. We’ll share more tips and trick as well as many more cat commands and behavior corrections. For the bookworms, consider The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat by John Bradshaw.