2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
How To Walk A Cat
It requires a plan, patience and little bits of time. "Cats, in particular, can make excellent progress in training sessions that last a few minutes," Crawmer says.
To start, you need a collar that fits snugly and about a 20-ft. cord.
Then you need to find a bite-size "treat" your cat really likes. If nothing else, Crawmer recommends small pieces of raw stew beef. The key is to give a treat at the exact moment your cat does what you want. Next, pick a noise such as a whistle, a spoken letter or a clicker toy - anything that's quick and single-toned. The noise is the Pavlovian trigger for the cat. Noise = treat. Practice with the noise and treats until the cat comes running when it hears the noise.
When you first put the leash on the cat's collar, keep a little pressure on the lead at all times. As the cat moves away, keep increasing pressure on the lead until it's about 10 ft. away. Don't let the cat move any further. Then wait until it slackens the lead. At that moment, make the noise and reward the cat. The noise is now the bridge between the cat's action and treat.
In each short lesson, get one to three favorable responses from the cat. A short lesson with a little progress is a lot better than a long lesson.
As the cat becomes comfortable loosening the lead, he will start moving toward you because treats come faster. Then you can start moving him forward and rewarding him. While every animal progresses at different rates, keeping expectations low can be beneficial. "Cats remember very well and it's not unusual for them to make giant leaps forward when the animal figures out that he can do something that will result in a positive occurrence for him."
Crawmer sells a book called "Here Kitty Kitty" for those who want to learn more about training cats for $29.95 plus $5 S&H.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Catherine J. Crawmer, P.O. Box 364, West Sand Lake, N.Y. 12196 (ph 518 477-8230; email: TrainEmAll@aol.com; website: www.cattrainingbook.com).
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