Clicker training a cat uses a clicker to encourage or reward the cat when it responds as you wish. A clicker is generally more successful that voice commands because the sound of a clicker is heard more clearly and doesn’t change tone as a human voice will. The click is also short and to the point whereas words or sentences of praise take far longer from the cat’s point of view.
Clicker training a cat is most effective when the training is carried out with a view to the following:
- making the cat behave as you wish
- taking notice of its behaviour
- emphasising its behaviour
Guidelines when clicker training a cat:
- Click the clicker and give the cat a treat.
- Encourage the behaviour your want and click when he does it but not afterwards.
- Only click once as an expression of enthusiasm and give another treat.
- Only get your cat to practice the behaviour for short periods. Three five minute training sessions daily are far more effective than hours of repetition.
- If the cat misbehaves, ignore him but click and treat when he behaves as you want. For example click and treat your kitten when he uses his litter tray or scratching post but not when he wees on the floor or scratches the furniture.
- Click when your cat accidentally does as you want as well as when you ask him to. Encourage him to perform the behaviour but don’t position him or hold him down.
- Click and treat when the cat more or less gets it right. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Lying down instead of sitting is fine.
- Make sure that you always have the clicker and some treats with you when you are clicker training a cat so that you can swiftly react to good behaviour.
- If you need to tell your cat off, make sure that the clicker is out of sight.
Cats react far more positively to encouragement and don’t understand rage and shouting as a dog might which is why the completely non-emotional use of a clicker works so well for cats.
Don’t forget to pet your cat too; the clicker should never take the place of a loving relationship with your pet, it is just a training method, nothing else.
Clicker training a cat is perfectly possible with perseverance and patience and it will be to both your benefits in the years to come.