Friday, August 2, 2013

Cat Training

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.


CATachresis said...

Thunder is a very interesting name for a cat!! I know some cats do well with the clicker, but I think you have to start when they are quite young! Good luck :)

Judi said...

Thunder was started when he was around 2, and he took to it quickly.

I don't think age makes much difference. My boyfriend's cat, Arbez, was about 5 when I did some clicker with her to teach her to allow me to pet her. It only took a couple of lessons. Other than my boyfriend, I am the only person she likes.

I named him Thunder because the day I got him, he purred and purred like the thunder that was happening from a storm that night.

He still purrs like thunder, so the name fits him purrfectly.

Meg & Quill said...

Hi Judi! So nice of you to drop by our place. Thunder is a handsome boy. His temperament sounds a lot like Quill. He too is very smart and very thoughtful. Please come by anytime!

Judi said...

Yes, Thunder is much like Quill, but half the size! You wouldn't hurt your back picking him up. I like to think of him as a Mini Maine Coon.

I love your blog with your floofy cats. They are simply adorable.

achieve1dream said...

I love that picture of Thunder. He is soooo handsome!

I'm glad you've found a possible solution for training them together. I hope it continues to work better and better with practice.