Sunday, March 16, 2008


I used to think that a cat could not learn tricks. I mean, they are usually loaners, and like to keep by themselves. Most of the cat I have met, seem to love doing the opposite of what you want them to do. You want them off the counter, so they jump on it. You want them to scratch the scratching post, so they scratch the couch. Ugh! Can anyone out there relate to what I'm writing? They are stubborn, and not as willing to perform, as say most dogs. They do not seem to get as excited about praise and petting as dogs. Lets face it, if it wasn't for the fact s/he relies on you for food/water and a clean litter box, a cat can seem more like a roommate, than a pet.

However, as I stated above I used to think cats could not learn tricks, but since I adopted my newest cat, Taz, two years ago, I have learned quite a bit about cat training. I found that clicker training, that is often used for dogs, also works well for cats! Clicker training is gaining popularity as a human way to train dogs in tricks and obedience. However, there is also a smaller movement that is starting to use this technique with cats. BTW clicker training has been around for awhile, but was used in other type of animal training, such as the dolphins you see at a zoo, before it was popular with dogs or cats. Anyhow, since I started learning about clicker training, I have taught my cat how to come when called, give me a "kiss" (bump my nose with his) and a couple of other things, such as the command "get down" when he is up on the counter/bookshelf. With others I have talked to on the cat clicker yahoo group, training is also helpful to get a cat to stop unwanted behaviors. Some of the member have trained their cats to balance and walk on a ball, play fetch/retrieve, and jump through a hoop. If you want to learn more, you can visit the yahoo site. One other great resource is the book "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor. It goes into the basics of animal training. Don't let the title fool you, it is not just about dogs! ;-)

What is your experiences with animal training, cats or otherwise? What about training up you kids? Please leave your "thoughts" below, and thanks for reading! -Dawn

Added 3/18/2008:
To see more made from scratch ideas, be sure to visit the Made From Scratch Carnival, starting March 25th at the host website "Applehead".