Cat Training Can You Do IT
HOW TO TRAIN A CAT Training anyone to do anything whether human or animal consists largely of modifying behavior. The idea is that either you want a behavior to take place or you want a behavior to stop. If you want a certain behavior to recur whenever that behavior does occur, the subject should be immediately rewarded. There needs to be an association with doing a particular thing and feeling good. Generally speaking a household pet can learn what it is that they are not allowed to do. In terms of cats it may be easiest to keep their training at this level. Co-existing with a well behaved cat entails the cat knowing which behaviors you disapprove of and which behaviors are ok. This should be conveyed through tone of voice. A little reinforcement either positive or negative just helps things along. Another example might be that every time your cat does something you like, you scratch him in a way that you know is appreciated or you feed him immediately. You close off the room to the cat when you are not there. When you are there with the water bottle by your side you let the cat into that room. Every time that the cat begins to scratch the furniture you spray water ta the cat. He or she will eventually associate scratching that couch with being sprayed with water. If a behavior is wished to be stopped there must be a negative reinforcement. It is not necessary that the negative reinforcement consist of pain but it should be unpleasant. It can be something irritating, annoying or even shocking. For example if you want to train your cat not to scratch furniture, you could keep a spray water bottle near the couch.
CAN DOMESTIC CATS BE TRAINED? Cats are always being compared to dogs. Cats are often perceived to be independent wild creatures while dogs have a reputation of being eager to please and trainable. It is true that all animals can be trained to do circus tricks with enough positive and negative reinforcements. Whether or not this is ethical is another story. Training an animal to do certain things at home can be done much the same way that a circus animal is taught. However training an animal not to scratch furniture is much less extreme than training it to jump through hoops of fire so the conditioning required is less extreme. MAKING A CAT DO SOMETHING IT DOES NOT WANT TO DO Unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals. They hunt independently and as a result act more independent. They do not have the social hierarchy that dogs have therefore do not care about being submissive and pleasing the alpha dog. In the cat world there is no alpha “top dog.” The natural way for cats is that they all take care of themselves. Because of this a cat will not want to rely on his owner for security. If an aggressive dog approaches, he will not trust that a human can protect him and will not look to his master for protection. The claws will come out, he might growl, he’ll make himself look bigger than he is but he will not run behind his master. This characteristic shows how the cat thinks that he knows best. In the dog world the alpha dog gets that position because it is the smartest. The other dogs look for the message about what they should do from him. A cat does not come from this system and therefore will never look to someone else to be told what to do. A cat will always make up its own mind. So if you have succeeded to train a cat to do certain things, you can be sure that it has been the cat’s decision that this is worth while doing. The cat must obviously think that the reward is worth it and he has decided to do it. This is why the term dog training is heard so much more than cat training.
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