Techniques for Obedience Training Your Kitten
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Keep training sessions short. Focus on one command at a time, once mastered, move on to the next. Practise the commands in lots of different places around the house so that your kitten gets used to responding to you in all sorts of situations. You can use the clicker technique to help with other aspects of your kitten's training, such as encouraging them to stand still for grooming and getting used to travelling by car.
We all know that dogs can be taught to obey basic commands, but what about your cat? Cats are more independent and less social than dogs, so they don’t desire praise in the same way dogs do. But as you already know, cats are highly intelligent animals, and they have the ability to learn a variety of behaviours and tricks.
Training a Kitten
It’s important to begin training your kitten as soon as possible so they’ll be able to grow up to learn and respect the boundaries of your home. You don’t want your cat to be digging in the rubbish, tearing up your furniture or constantly jumping up on the kitchen counter. Kitten obedience training will help keep their mind and body active, teach good social skills, behaviours and strengthen the bond with you.
When training your kitten, it is essential to have plenty of toys. If your kitten starts doing something they’re not supposed to, redirect their attention to the toys. Provide them as a reward for avoiding bad behaviours. Having toys to play with will keep your kitten mentally and physically occupied. You can also sprinkle them with catnip for further enticement to play.
Common Cat Behavioural Problems
There are several common cat behaviours that can be addressed through obedience training, saving you a world of headaches and keeping you in tune with your cat’s needs.
- Furniture scratching
- Spraying and urinating
- Avoiding the litter box
- Aggression toward people or other animals
- Fear or anxiety
- Compulsive behaviours, such as over-grooming or excessively scratching or biting
How to Train a kitten
If you’re lucky, your kitten will be willing and eager to learn your commands. However, there’s a chance you’ll be ignored. Every kitten is different, and training can be extremely trying on your patience. Carve out small amounts of time each day to spend on training. If you have other kittens in your home, remember that they each have different personalities and have to be taught differently.
Be aware that cats do not understand or respond well to punishment. Punishment will often cause your kitten to run away and hide from you, and can lead to stress, which can also breed behavioural and health problems. Encouraging good behaviour with a reward is much more effective, and that reward can come in the form of praise and/or a tasty treat. This reward based training teaches your kitten to associate good behaviour with positive results.
One of the most common kitten training techniques is clicker training, which is another form of reward based training. For instance, if you’d like to teach your kitten to sit, click the clicker as soon as they sit down and give a small treat. Eventually, with enough repetition, the click will be associated with the behaviour and the reward.
Keep training sessions short—cats have short attention spans and can get bored fast. Focus on one command at a time and move on to the next when it’s been mastered. Practise the commands in different areas of the house so that your kitten gets used to responding to you in different situations.
How to Address Bad Behaviour in Your Cat
There could be several reasons why your cat is acting out—stressed over a new change in your home, a medical condition or simply may not understand that the behaviour is wrong. While you may think that your cat is misbehaving because they’re upset or being spiteful towards you, this is usually not the case.
Redirecting the behaviour instead of punishing is more likely to get your kitten back on track. By punishing they may feel threatened by you, which can ultimately lead to even more stress and bad habits. If fearful of you, this will also damage your bond with one another. However, your kitten should be made aware of unwanted behaviours. One way of doing this is by connecting bad behaviours with something unpleasant. For instance, cats are averse to certain scents like perfume and citrus. You can soak cotton balls in these scents to keep your kitten away from places you don’t want them to go. Always remember to praise your kitten for good behaviours as well. Give a treat for a job well done, and they will learn to associate actions with rewards.