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How to start clicker training a cat

January 29, 2019

How to start clicker training a cat

Training a cat with a clicker

Clicker training is a reinforcement or reward for a cat when training them. Clickers are used most often for support when training a cat for a reward. 

If you clicker train your cat correctly, you can train them to associate the clicker with good behavior. 

A clicker has a sound a cat can hear and associate good behavior. With words, the tones in our voice can change from time to time, which cats can find confusing. That means they can find following spoken commands more difficult, which is why a clicker can be a really helpful training tool.

You can put the clicker away for that behavior or trick once you are confident your cat has learned what you would like them to do, so you shouldn’t need to keep using one forever.

 

Clicker training your cat in 3 easy steps

Behavior training for cats can be tricky, but a clicker can make it so much easier.

You can use a clicker to train cats in 3 simple steps:

1. Show your pet what the clicker means

The first step is to show your cat that the sound of the clicker means they will get a treat. Make the clicking sound and then give your cat a small treat. Repeat this process until you notice that after hearing the clicking sound they automatically approach you for a treat.

Once this happens, that means they have begun to associate the clicking sound with a reward.

2. Introduce the behavior

The next step is to introduce the trick or behavior that you would like your cat to learn. For example, let’s say you want them to jump through a hoop.

You will need to start by giving them the opportunity to touch the hoop. As soon as they touch it, make the clicking sound and give them a treat.

You can break it down into as many steps as you need to, depending on how complicated what you want them to do is (and also how willing they are to play along!).

For example, to teach them to jump through a hoop, you might even want to start with just clicking and giving them a treat once they see the hoop. That way, they will develop a positive association with the hoop and be much more willing to approach it.

3. Reinforce the behavior

Once they’re ready to learn the full behavior, you can show them exactly what you want to do (in our example, jumping through the hoop). As soon as they do the trick or behavior, make sure you immediately make the clicking sound and give them a treat.

Practice this repeatedly with them until they start to readily and confidently do the trick or behavior at your command.

Once you get to this stage, you should be able to stop using the clicker. However, you’ll want to keep rewarding your cat for their good behavior by giving them treats and positive attention.

For a more detailed step-by-step guide to clicker training your cat, check out this article.

 

Our top clicker training tips

1. A cat clicker can work well on the go.

When taking your cat outside for any reason, the clicker is a good item to carry along with you. Cats can get distracted when other people or animals are close by.

Using the clicker will reinforce the behavior that you have taught them. In addition, a clicker can help you to teach your cat to stay close by instead of wandering around. 

2. Take your time when training a cat with a clicker.

Pet clicker training can be fun for both you and the cat. Try not to rush your pet’s training, as they can become confused - especially if they have not fully mastered the previous step.

Even when using a clicker to train cats, the training process still takes time. Patience, love, and rewards will be the key factor in training your cat.

3. Cat clickers are a great way to help your pet to exercise

Cat training clickers can be a good exercise tool. Ideally, you should encourage your cat to actively exercise for at least 10-15 minutes per day.

Exercising opportunities include using a hoop, playing with a toy, climbing a scratching post, or anything else that gets your cat moving.

Not only is physical activity beneficial to your cat’s health, but it can also reduce unwanted behaviors - as these can often be caused by boredom or pent-up energy.

 

We hope you found these clicker training steps helpful. When training your cat, remember that you don’t just need to rely on treats to motivate them. 

We highly recommend using a pet grooming glove to reward your cat with a relaxing massage. Many cats enjoy being groomed too.

If you’re interested in cat behavior, we think you’ll also find this article on cat biting helpful too.

 

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