Cat Clicking

Bond with your cat while teaching fun tricks

Cat Clicking

Monday, October 12, 2015 | NHS Behavior Department

Training can be a great way to spend time and bond with your cat. Pairing a clicker with reward-based training can help teach your cat fun tricks or to change unwanted behavior.     

What You Will Need

  • Clicker: A store-bought clicker or the click of a pen will work well.
  • Tasty treats: Every cat has his or her own preference when it comes to treats, so try a variety of different options to find out what motivates your cat. Small treats the size of a pea or a lick of wet food on a spoon is all they need to train.
  • A cat: Any cat can enjoy the benefits of training. The key is to make it fun and never force the cat to participate. If you have a hard time getting your cat to train, try switching the treat you’re using or see if your cat is more motivated by toys or petting.

Getting started

  • Before you start training, you have to teach your cat that the click means she gets a treat. 
  • Simply click, toss a small treat, let her eat it – then repeat. It may take a few repetitions, but you will know she understands the link when you click and she looks at you expecting a treat to appear. Once she gets it, your clicker will be a powerful communication tool. 

Now what?

  • Training your cat has endless possibilities. Cats can learn fun tricks, such as sit, high five and come, or more complicated ones, like jumping through a hoop. You can also use it with management techniques to help stop unwanted behaviors, like counter surfing or door dashing.

Try this one

  • Target is a fun and easy behavior to teach and can be used to train other behaviors. To begin,select a target, such as a small ball on a pole. 
  • Hold the target close to the cat’s face and when she moves to investigate it, click and treat. Once she’s comfortable with the target, wait for her to touch it with her nose, then click and treat. When she reliably touches her nose to the target, work on holding it further away, having her hold her nose on it or following the target.

Tips

  • When you first start training, keep your sessions short to help your cat stay motivated. As her attention span increases, you can train for longer. Keep sessions fun and always end with a success so that both of you will want to train again.

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