Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Clicking cats and dogs.

I worked a little with clicker last night with Maggie the Dog and Thunder the Cat. Maggie has mastered spin. I just need to move my hand in a small circular motion, and she does a slow spin. I introduced the other direction, and she got totally confused and laid down. We quit at turning her head.

I put her outside and worked with Thunder. We had been playing a lot of Throw (I throw pieces of dry cat food all around the living room and he chases it.) His belly was fairly full. With cats, you get the best training when they are hungry—unlike dogs or horses who never get tired of eating. We did manage to get a little done. Where he used to carefully stretch from his pedestal to the top of his scratching post, he is now jumping to them. We do it with targeting. He follows his target toy. (It is just a pencil with a feather taped to the end.) He did it a few times and walked away to see if there was something else to play.

About 4:00 this morning, I woke up when I heard a sound that I couldn’t identify. I laid there a minute and then I heard Thunder crying. It was a plaintive cry I didn’t recognize, so I ran downstairs to see what was the matter. There was his target toy laying on the floor. When I reached him, he started purring! I guess me coming to see him was better than a treat. He somehow got it off the shelf. After a couple minutes of purring and petting, I brought him back upstairs and we had a good cuddle until he fell asleep—I was wide awake by then, so I just kept petting him until I fell asleep.

He is such a silly guy.
I put his target toy where he couldn’t reach it.


achieve1dream said...

He is so cute!! I need to work with a cat and other animals to broaden my clicker abilities. I think my biggest hold ups are fear of messing up and patience. Each time I start working with a new animal (Jackal and then Chrome and then Zep) I go through this stage of being afraid to even try. Once we get past that I've done fairly well adjusting to their vastly different learning styles. I just don't know if I'm ready to try teaching a cat hehe. :) I love clicker!

Judi said...

Oh, you should try with your cat. It is quite a learning experience to work with an animal, that if he isn't hungry or gets confused--will just walk away!

Anyway, give it a try because it won't do any harm to your cat. Just start with targetting. As long as you have a good treat, a cat will figure it out in a few minutes. Then, you teach them to follow the target--that's when it gets fun.

achieve1dream said...

Okay! I'll give it a shot. :)