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  1. #1
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    um...cats...

    Agree or disagree, a few of the things you learned training your dog you found out you could apply to your cat, especially if you started training early...

    Let's keep the conversation civil...

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    Re: um...cats...

    Haha, now my imagination is running in circles trying to figure out how this conversation could turn uncivil. . . .

    Basic positive reinforcement techniques can be customized for use with cats or any other animal. You do need to respect the animal's basic nature---cats haven't been bred to work closely with humans so they don't have the long-term tolerance for something like drug sniffing or search-and-rescue---but you can teach a cat pretty much anything as long as you find that cat's motivator. Cats are complicated so finding their motivation can be difficult, lol.
    "Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

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    Re: um...cats...

    They are pretty stubborn, especially when it's something they don't want to do. I agree and doubt there will ever be search-and-rescue cats. I get the impression that they kind of know they don't need us, so anything they do has to be their choice and on their terms. Oddly, though, they seem to know how to conduct themselves in a house and know the rules of animal etiquette by instinct. There's very little that goes into house training a cat, maybe a scratching post and some catnip toys to keep them off of the furniture...

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    Re: um...cats...

    erm.... not sure what happened to my post?

    For now, a quick answer,

    https://youtu.be/5c7rmU-6o0o

    Cats doing agility.
    SONIC--Street Dog Extraordinaire (from the West Indies).
    Rainbow Bridge Dogs: Dynamo (GSD), Misha (GSD), Zandor (GSD-mix)
    I also have three lovely cats.

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    Senior Member MosinMom91's Avatar
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    Re: um...cats...

    My cat is extremely food motivated, as most cats are, so through the use of treats he will come and sit for me at least. He also knows "off" for counters and furniture, though he rarely has ever gotten on a counter. He also knows his name and will come in from the outside if I call him. I don't think I could ever get him to do more than that, but it's definitely a combination of positive techniques that got us to where we are.

  8. #6
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    Re: um...cats...

    Tuna will motivate most cats.
    Cats lack the physical stamina to do what dogs do.
    I used to take them hiking (dumb idea, please don't do this), and 5 km was the max for my siamese and my domestic long-hair needed a good bit of carrying, BUT they were very willing to stick around and follow off-lead in the woods (no training required).
    Toy-play rewards would tire a cat out much quicker than foods rewards, so even with a very motivated cat, training sessions would need to be tiny...so it would seem like they learn slower, but really they just are not built for endurance the way dogs are.
    My current cat fetches for the sheer pleasure of getting the chase the toy again. Sometimes he throws the toy at me.
    While briefly 'between dogs--dogless' I clicker trained said cat. He was targeting and generalizing the 'game' in 3 short sessions, and learning to spin in a short 'shaping' session.
    What I learned from that is what a joy it is to start with a blank slate. All of my dogs have been someone elses dog for large chunks of life, and there's a history there which can get in the way of learning new things.
    My current cats are skittish, so they get privileges previous cats would never have gotten away with--I haven't bothered with clicker training an 'alternate behaviour' for counter surfing--I just look the other way and close my ears...
    SONIC--Street Dog Extraordinaire (from the West Indies).
    Rainbow Bridge Dogs: Dynamo (GSD), Misha (GSD), Zandor (GSD-mix)
    I also have three lovely cats.

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    Re: um...cats...

    i'm actually okay with most silly cat behaviors, so I've never really found cats an issue to own. Even really annoying behavior issues, like refusing to use the litter box, are remedied fairly easy (if they are remedied at all. I've heard that spraying is sometimes an issue with cats, but either I'm used to the smell or I've never encountered it.).

    I'm excited. I signed up for some online dog training courses (that lead to dog trainer certification with additional courses) and I'm ready to apply what I'm going to learn to dogs and cats I interact with. Is there a way to get a certification as a "cat trainer" (or maybe small animal trainer in general)? I would assume you would need to be a dog trainer first, but that's something to look forward to.
    Last edited by aspiringdogtrainer; 01-11-2017 at 07:05 PM.

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    Re: um...cats...

    Most people who want to hire a "trainer" for their cat aren't actually looking for trained behaviors, but for behavioral modification. Like fixing litterbox problems or aggression. So focusing on actual training would mean that you probably wouldn't get hired by many cat owners.

    I think people who want to hire someone to help with their cats aren't as likely to look for certification. They just want someone who understands cats, like Jackson Galaxy . But a veterinary behaviorist certification wouldn't hurt.
    "Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

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    Re: um...cats...

    We've taught some of our cats to walk on leash, with the dogs (or solo and we'd get all sorts of strange looks). It seems the cats with a more out-going personality (they like people, even strangers) were the ones who were the most successful and responded to praise, rather than treats. One of our late cats, Brando, was leash-trained, would also fetch, was happiest in a big crowd, and liked to sit on top of open doors. The Siamese we had when I was a child walked on a leash, and also knew who didn't like or feared cats. He once leaped straight up to eye level with a friend of my mother's as she was walking out of the kitchen - he didn't touch her - but he scared the bejesus out of her. He would choose the cat-haters among dinner guests and spend the entire night following them around and staring at them. He would also lurk under beds and grab unsuspecting ankles (as children, we perfected the long jump into bed). He did have a sense of humor and I suspect he did a better job of training us than we did of training him.

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    Re: um...cats...

    I didn't know this when I signed up for those dog training classes, but there are cat training classes, too. I'm really thinking that might be a skill more up my alley. I haven't owned and had success with many pet dogs, but I've almost never had trouble with a pet cat; there was one or two that didn't behave that well, but for the most part, I had a pretty easy time with my cats. I don't think cat training school would teach much more than dog training school, though. I mean, I've owned cats most of my life, so I think I understand them pretty well already.

    On TV, they make it look easy. Some of the stuff I've seen on My Cat from Hell with Jackson Galaxy are very rookie mistakes, like people trying to pet and handle the cat when it doesn't want to be handled, people putting too many cats in a household without the proper amount of litter boxes, people treating cats like dogs--playing rough and rubbing bellies, people not considering the territorial nature of cats, people not taking possible injuries or illnesses into consideration when trying to prevent cat aggression, people not reading body language, etc. I'm guessing you probably need a college degree in animal behavior science to work as a professional in that field, though. I don't see too many cat behavior experts, so it must be a difficult field to get into.

    I'm interested in doing some reading on the subject, though, so if anyone could recommend some methods-based reading, that would be great.
    Last edited by aspiringdogtrainer; 01-14-2017 at 01:53 PM.

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    Re: um...cats...

    Jackson Galaxy doesn't have any degrees in behavioral science (that I could find anyway). He just found that he had a talent for understanding cats, and people need someone like that. As I said, I think people who hire cat behaviorists are just looking for results and aren't very likely to require credentials. A good reputation would be all you need.

    The Karen Pryor cat clicker training books are good, those by Pam Johnson-Bennett and Jackson Galaxy too .
    Last edited by Willowy; 01-14-2017 at 06:52 PM.
    "Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

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    Re: um...cats...

    Do you think these dog training courses will help me understand how to train cats? I mean, I'm familiar enough with cat psychology from being a pet owner, but my understanding of general animal training probably needs some work.

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    Senior Member Crantastic's Avatar
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    Re: um...cats...

    If the courses use clicker/marker training, then yes. That kind of training can be used to train everything from chickens to whales.

    http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/the...r-free-shaping

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g2rxtWu_FM
    Last edited by Crantastic; 01-14-2017 at 07:34 PM.

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    Re: um...cats...

    Let me be a bit more specific. Do you think these dog training courses will give me a good grasp on how to help people with cat behavior problems? Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit, but I grew up raising cats and feel like I can relate to them pretty well. I don't even think I would have a problem with feral cats, to be honest. I understand them, and I even know how to get along with wild animals well enough. I've dealt with cats that had litter box issues, and, for me, it's not a big deal to retrain the proper habits. I've encountered seemingly feral kittens who supposedly had problems with aggression, but all they needed was space and socializing. Spraying cats have never been an issue for me, although I've owned males that were not neutered.

    Many of the problem behaviors I've heard that people deal with in cats, I think I know how to handle, so would it make sense to start training unwanted behaviors out of cats instead of working with dogs after I finish this dog training program since I have way more positive experience with cats?

    I honestly don't feel like I have a strong animal behavior science background to back me up, but I have years of experience working with cats as my own pets.
    Last edited by aspiringdogtrainer; 01-14-2017 at 08:12 PM.

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