Clicker Training for Shelter Rescues ?

GranolaLouise

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 26, 2022
Messages
1,959
Purraise
1,670
Location
Massachusetts
I would LOVE to have my cats come to me when I want them to. They always give me that cold shoulder: I call them, they look at me, turn that head away very slowly, and IGNORE me. Then 30 seconds later when THEY want, they come to me as if to show me who is in control! Typical cat behavior. I had to gather the 2 little darlings into their carrier for a vet trip and it took me 15 minutes of chasing them down the other day. I think they rather enjoyed the chase. LAST STRAW
1. Has anyone had success with clicker training for shelter cats around 1.5years and younger ?
2. Any TRIED and PROVEN-TO-WORK courses that you can recommend? (I realize there are different approaches on youtube)
 

iPappy

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 1, 2022
Messages
5,499
Purraise
17,314
Do they know their names, and at least look at you when you say their name?
The way I've done it with cats (and, now, the puppy) is I keep their favorite treats and a clicker on me whenever I am home. Whenever they voluntarily come to me, I click and give them a few treats. Anytime they come to me on their own, I click and give them some treats. I've found that some do well with the click, and others don't need it as much and the treats are enough. The goal is for them to realize racing to you is the best thing in the world.
After a few days of this, I ditch the clicker and replace the click with the word I want to use when I see them running towards me. I also reserve these favorite treats for training only and don't tend to hand them out "just because".
After they're really good at this, the reward for voluntarily checking in is petting, or maybe a less exciting treat, but the word you use to call the to you is reserved for those special treats. It's worked for me (but I'll admit, Balki is giving me a run for my money on this!)

Note....with two cats, it might be more difficult using a clicker. If you click one cat for coming to you and the other cat hears the click while walking away from you, you've essentially marked that cat walking away from you, which could be very confusing for everyone. So if you find it to be that way, I'd just omit the clicker for now and reward them individually for voluntarily checking in with you.
Are the cats incredibly bonded to one another?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

GranolaLouise

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 26, 2022
Messages
1,959
Purraise
1,670
Location
Massachusetts
Do they know their names, and at least look at you when you say their name?
The way I've done it with cats (and, now, the puppy) is I keep their favorite treats and a clicker on me whenever I am home. Whenever they voluntarily come to me, I click and give them a few treats. Anytime they come to me on their own, I click and give them some treats. I've found that some do well with the click, and others don't need it as much and the treats are enough. The goal is for them to realize racing to you is the best thing in the world.
After a few days of this, I ditch the clicker and replace the click with the word I want to use when I see them running towards me. I also reserve these favorite treats for training only and don't tend to hand them out "just because".
After they're really good at this, the reward for voluntarily checking in is petting, or maybe a less exciting treat, but the word you use to call the to you is reserved for those special treats. It's worked for me (but I'll admit, Balki is giving me a run for my money on this!)

Note....with two cats, it might be more difficult using a clicker. If you click one cat for coming to you and the other cat hears the click while walking away from you, you've essentially marked that cat walking away from you, which could be very confusing for everyone. So if you find it to be that way, I'd just omit the clicker for now and reward them individually for voluntarily checking in with you.
Are the cats incredibly bonded to one another?
These are Mom and daughter and stick together like glue, mimic each other and know their names.
I would love to have them be somewhat trained..the only time they 'listen' is when they want food! Mischief is their middle name.
If they are on the table, they KNOW they aren't allowed, yet they will look right at me and wait until I chase them off!
I would love to have curtains w/o runs in them this summer. LOL I can't imagine wearing nylons either now.
 

iPappy

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 1, 2022
Messages
5,499
Purraise
17,314
I would probably start with the rewarding whoever voluntarily comes over to see you and use their names and treats as rewards, and if the other cat doesn't follow they'll see the other getting a free hand out and might decide it would be good to mimic that.
My cats are not allowed on the counters, but, the second I leave the room I know they're up there. I'd come home and they'd hear the door, and I'd hear feet hitting the floor and see them slink out of the kitchen. I'd find black hairs on the countertops. They seemed to know they weren't supposed to be up there, but decided it was OK if I was out of the house :lol:
 
Top