Friday, August 2, 2013
I decided to start up Thunder’s training, again. We pretty much stopped it a few years ago when we got Maggie the dog, and I began clicker training her. It saved us much misery, but made it complicated when I would clicker train Thunder. Maggie wanted to join in. At first, I would put her outside, but once she figured out what was going on, she started jumping at the door to come in. I tried ignoring her, but Thunder couldn’t. Her noise distracted him.
My next attempt was to take turns. I would ask Thunder to do something, click and treat him. I would then ask Maggie to do something, click and treat her. Thunder would lose his momentum and Maggie would distract him. Keeping a cat’s attention is not as easy as keeping a dog or horse’s attention.
I missed Thunder training, and I needed a new project, so we have started it back up. My new method is to ask Thunder to do something, click and then treat him and Maggie. Maggie is getting the same click as Thunder, and she is being rewarded for sitting still. Of course, she is sitting glued to my side. Thunder is only getting a little distracted with this technique.
The disadvantage is that Maggie gets up if I get up. That makes moving to a different spot tough disrupting to Thunder. I think that in time, she will stay in one spot. She is very food motivated.
We have had just 2 sessions. Right now, Thunder and I are only working on simple things to review his old tricks. I am just trying to get him into the routine of training. We do targeting, moving from box to box and sitting up. We will build up to his more complicated tricks. Thunder is not a very food motivated cat, so that is a challenge. Plus, his tummy fills up quickly. I break his treats in half to fill it up slower. We get about 20-30 clicks, and then we are done.
Maggie could go all day.
Thunder is a very cautious and careful cat. Where a cat might jump onto a box, he slowly steps up. That is his nature, and it is reflected in his tricks. Getting him to jump through a hoop is tough because he will do his best to step through it, first. Hopefully, we will be doing hoop jumping, again, soon.