Tag Archive | "Train"

Using Noise Aversion to Train Your Cat

While it is commonly believed that cats are very independent and dogs are much easier to train than cats, it’s not really true. Using the right techniques, cats are easily trained. They may not roll over and sit or lay, but you can deter them from problem behavior with a little persistence. As with all animals, they respond to rewards, but occasionally, some sort of punishment is also necessary. This should not be harsh punishment, but can be as simple as using noise aversion to interrupt bad behavior. Obviously, if you hit a cat, they will stop clawing the carpet or furniture, but that is unnecessary punishment.

Noise aversion is very effective as a deterrent to bad behavior in cats. Some people invest in a clicker and use that to make noise. Others put pennies in a jar and shake it when their cat is misbehaving. Anything that creates a loud, startling noise will work fine.

The loud noise of a clicker or other device will annoy a cat, but doesn’t harm them. You can pick up a clicker in most pet stores, or as previously mentioned, just shake a jar of coins when the cat is misbehaving. The cat will eventually associate the annoying noise with their bad behavior and will think twice about repeating the behavior. In certain shows, clickers have also been used to train cats to perform tricks. They learn that a click represents getting a reward, so when they behave in a desirable way, you click, then reward. They then associate the behavior and the click with getting a reward and will repeat the behavior that is rewarded. This is called operant training.

If you’re going to use a clicker to train your cat with a reward, you should not use it to dissuade them from bad behavior. You should use something with a different sound altogether, like the coins in a jar. Cats have a natural aversion to getting wet, so using a spray bottle with water to divert bad behavior is also highly effective.

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Can You Really Train a Cat?

In the never-ending debate over cats and dogs, a theory frequently advanced by the dog fraternity is that cats are impossible to train, and for this reason dogs are better per se. The attitude is that, because you can find guide dogs and sniffer dogs, while there are no cats employed in these sectors, that dogs are inherently more intelligent and more amenable to training. However, it is nothing more than invention to say that cats are too stupid to be trained, or so independent that they will not respond to training.

It is certainly possible to train a cat to a certain extent. Though the make-up of their character may be such that they will not ever become guide or sniffer animals, they are far from stupid and they can be trained. All that it requires is a modicum of patience and a firm hand. Oh, and some treats may be useful as well. Cats, like dogs – and even humans – will respond better to any kind of training if their performance within that training is suitably rewarded.

In fact, it is precisely because cats are not stupid that it is possible to train them. In the same way as human beings and indeed dogs, if you create the connection in a cat’s mind and instincts between good behavior and good reward, they will naturally behave better. Also like humans and dogs, cats have different levels of taking to training. This means that you need to persist, even if it seems that it’s never going to take.

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