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Clicker training?

March 28th, 2009, 04:18 AM
Has anyone been successful with clicker training a cat? Even more importantly, a skittish/feral cat?

I've just recently purchased a clicker training kit and have tried the beginning steps. The problem I'm having is getting my cats to touch the target. When I attempt this with Gizzy, he sniffs it but won't touch it. If I bring it out to him again, he runs away as if terrified of a simple pen. When I attempt it with Forest, he continues to sniff, got a few cheek rubs, but won't follow it. I've tried putting the treat down first and waiting til they get close to put the pen in front of the treat, but Forest tries to dodge it and Gizzy runs away. I'm using Whiskas Temptations treats, as those are the only treats I know both of them really like.

Some background info: Forest is your typical normal cat, really laid back, loves belly rubs, well socialized, 14-15 yrs, you can do almost anything to him (ie sudden moves) and he won't turn on you/get jumpy. Gizzy on the other hand, we've had him for 1 year, he will be 2 years old (in June), very skittish, if you try to pet him he crouches as if he thinks we're going to hurt him, he runs at any sudden movement, he wakes up if one of us sneezes, when we brought him home he hid for 3 weeks, has turned on me once recently, etc, etc... I was giving him Bach drops to correct this behaviour but once I saw results I stopped and he's slowly reverting back. Yes, I'm going to start again. I'm 80% sure he was actually a feral cat and me not researching enough on BYB, I end up with a dysfunctional kitty. BUT everything happens for a reason so maybe my mission is to try to rehab him, we'll see.

For the targeting, I've tried a pen, and a demolished da bird attachment. I thought I was getting somewhere with string attached to a stick but I'm not sure if that would be an appropriate target, because they would view it as prey instead of what I intend it to be.

Anyways, does anyone think clicker training would be possible with my two opposite cats? Does anyone have any ideas with the targeting? Or is it totally hopeless? Any suggestions on changing the treats?

April 1st, 2009, 01:21 AM
Anybody?? :sad:

Margo Kram
April 1st, 2009, 10:33 PM
I've never heard of clicker training for cats. Please keep us updtated on how it goes. Maybe I can train my cats and dog at the same time.

April 2nd, 2009, 01:15 AM
Here are some articles I've come across:
^^ I have this kit

and here's a video:

The step I am having the most with is Targeting. Gizzy thinks my wand is sscary, so he runs away. I'm pretty sure he gets the initial clicking and treating step cuz I click and then wait a few seconds, and he looks at me expectantly as if to say "where's my treat?!" I've tried rubbing catnip on it and he will sniff it at the closest range of 1/2 a cm. I've tried putting the treat down first making him come toward it and then putting the wand in front after a few steps but he anticipates that so he backs off. I have tried to wave it around and drag it but I think that makes him lose focus and thinks its prey. GRR!

Margo Kram
April 2nd, 2009, 09:17 AM
That was a very cool video. Cat doing agility. Very cool.

It looked like the trainer was using a light as a target as well. Maybe try that instead of the wand if your cat is afraid of the wand? It's too bad the video didn't give an indication of how long it took to train the cat with the clicker. Taht would have been good to know just so there's some way to compare.

April 2nd, 2009, 05:40 PM
Ya I think that is what is frustrating me the most, I guess I may be expecting too much too soon? I'll have to try the flashlight idea or I have a laser pointer that might do! I'll keep updating!