Solve Cat Behavior Problems using Cat Obedience Training
Why use Cat Obedience Training?
Cats are often underestimated when it comes to behavior, simply because the average owner has very little need to attempt any sort of training at all.
Unlike with dogs (obedience training for dogs is well documented) there’s no need to train cats in the basics of pet protocol like house training and bathing. Consequently, only a few people are aware of their cat’s abilities in this area. Using Cat Obedience Training is a great way to enrich your cat’s life:
- It builds a strong bond between you and your cat - Because training makes your cat understand who is in charge (he has to do what you want in order to get what he wants)
- It keeps your cat’s mind active and stimulated
- It’s great interactive play, and teaches your cat good social behavioral skills
- Anxious and nervous cats are reassured and calmed down by the repetition and routine of training
So how do I train my cat? There are two common methods of training a cat: target training and clicker training. A brief summary of each:
- Target training is where you attract your cat’s attention and then obtain desired behaviors through the use of a designated tool. For example, during the ‘beg’ command, a particular target training tool called a training wand is used to attract the cat’s attention upwards, and to encourage the cat to rise up on his haunches and ‘beg’.
- Clicker training is a form of operant conditioning (which is where the animal is taught to form a conscious association between a specific behavior and a result.) A small mechanical noise-maker (the ‘clicker’) is used by the trainer to create a short, distinct noise.
The clicker is clicked at the precise moment that the cat performs a desired behavior – for example, during ‘sit’, the clicker is clicked at the very instant that the cat’s bottom touches the ground.
Directly after the click, the cat is fed a small and tasty treat. With repetition, the cat grows to associate the click with the food, and recognizes his own ability to earn treats by performing the desired action on command. The clicker is a particularly valued training tool because it allows the trainer to pinpoint the exact behavior that’s being rewarded: without the clicker, it’s too easy for the cat to form associations between the treat and a completely unrelated behavior (since it’s impossible to feed the cat a treat at the precise moment that he’s performing a trick.)
Some tips for training your cat:
- Remember to be patient. Your cat is unique, with his own abilities and preferences. He will learn some tricks quickly, but may struggle with others. Consider the appropriate obedience training for his personality, and don’t lose your temper if it doesn’t go exactly according to schedule.
- If you’re free-feeding your cat (leaving food out at all times for him to eat as and when he feels like it), stop doing this. Enforcing a feeding schedule has two main benefits: it increases the reward-value of food treats as training devices, and also introduces a semblance of routine into your cat’s life (which, believe it or not, most cats actually prefer.)
- Train smart. If you’re using food treats (which is highly recommended ) then schedule training sessions for just before mealtimes: your cat’s natural desire for food at his regular mealtime will sharpen his focus and increase his desire to obey you.
- Take baby steps. When training your cat, it’s best to build up a solid foundation of the basics before attempting to expand his repertoire. - Cats have pretty short attention spans, and they can be bored easily. Keep the training sessions short and interesting – and always try to end on a positive note.
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Most common Cat behavior problems
Most people think that cats work on their own agenda, not paying much attention to their owner, provided they have clean litter, water, and food. Cats can behave in strange at times, which can easily confuse their owners and make it really hard to figure out what their cat wants. As much as cat behavior can be confusing, there are some ways that you can solve common cat behavior problems.
A common behavior that almost all cats do is push their heads into any type of object that will allow them to do it. You have probably seen your cat do this before, probably against table legs, TV stands, or another object. This can be noticed more when you have other people who own animals or those with allergies over at your house. When a cat notices this, he will rub his head against the person.
By putting his saliva on something, that being either an object or a person will have a familiar odor. Although this can be very annoying, you have to understand that other people in your home are seen as odd or weird to your cat. When a cat does this, he is simply trying to make the visitor belong. When he brushes up against them and puts his saliva on them, he is trying to put his scent on them, which in his mind means that they a part of his territory. Even though marking someone or something with saliva is beneficial to the cat, saliva is one of the most common forms of pet allergies. When someone wipes the saliva off of them, the scent will be gone and the cat will go back and attempt to do it again.
Even though it may appear that cats target those with allergies, cats are actually just trying to make the visitor belong at the house. If the guest simply cannot take the saliva, allow the cat to rub himself on their pants leg a few times. Normally, this is all takes for a cat to leave the person alone.
Those of you who an indoor cat should expect the cat to spend quite a bit of time lying near windows. During this time, you may hear your cat make very strange noises or weird movements. You shouldn't fear though, as he is simply acting out his hunting instincts. Whether it's another cat or object outside moving about, the cat will see it and simply go into his native hunting instinct.
As most people already know, cats love to play. They love to played with, especially with toys. They will pounce on things on occasion, which should always be expected. If you try to prevent this type of behavior, your cat will take a very negative approach and you'll end up with a lot of broken things in your home. You can always play with your cat using a string, as he will love to chase the string around the room.
The longer you own your cat, the more odd behavior you will see him display. Cats behave in strange ways, although they always have a reason for behaving the way they do. If you can understand why your cat behaves like he does, you will have no problems keeping your cat healthy and happy. If you simply pay attention to your cat and the way he behaves at times, you will be able to understand him better.