Training my 3-year-old cat to give little handshakes

Vivi18

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I've begun this yesterday, so obviously no real progress. I use her favourite treats to motivate her and I take her paw and shake it right before rewarding her. She has begun to understand that there's something related to her paw, because she kind of instinctively raises her paw a little bit before I even do anything if she sees a treat in my hand. But I don't want her to get the wrong idea. How do I slowly make her raise her own paw by herself, but towards me? Also, would there be any extra exercises I could do with her to make her more perceptive? I do talk to her and repeat certain words with the idea that they'd bind better to her mind. I haven't trained any animals before and Nemi doesn't have a malleable personality lol
 

corvidae

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I highly recommend clicker training! If you don’t have a clicker or a way to get one right now, there are apps- what you’re looking for is a sound that will be the same every time. First you want to “charge” the clicker, which means teaching your animal the click means they get a treat! You do this by clicking and then treating repeatedly. Next, you mark behaviour that you’re looking for by clicking/treating. So, for me when I started teaching my cat to high five I would hold a treat in my closed hand and click when he pawed at my hand. You also want to associate this with a cue, a clear set of words. For me this was saying “high five!” As I extended my hand, then clicking and treating after he touched my hand. Once he had touching my closed, treat containing hand down I worked towards opening my hand, “shaping” the trick by rewarding for the behaviour I was looking for. Training is great mental stimulation for your cat and clicker training is really useful- it’s also used for animals of all kinds! With clicker training I’ve taught Jem to high five, sit, stand, and jump up, and it’s really rewarding! Right now we are working on recall/coming when called.
Best of luck to you and your cat!
 
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Vivi18

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I highly recommend clicker training! If you don’t have a clicker or a way to get one right now, there are apps- what you’re looking for is a sound that will be the same every time. First you want to “charge” the clicker, which means teaching your animal the click means they get a treat! You do this by clicking and then treating repeatedly. Next, you mark behaviour that you’re looking for by clicking/treating. So, for me when I started teaching my cat to high five I would hold a treat in my closed hand and click when he pawed at my hand. You also want to associate this with a cue, a clear set of words. For me this was saying “high five!” As I extended my hand, then clicking and treating after he touched my hand. Once he had touching my closed, treat containing hand down I worked towards opening my hand, “shaping” the trick by rewarding for the behaviour I was looking for. Training is great mental stimulation for your cat and clicker training is really useful- it’s also used for animals of all kinds! With clicker training I’ve taught Jem to high five, sit, stand, and jump up, and it’s really rewarding! Right now we are working on recall/coming when called.
Best of luck to you and your cat!
Thank you very much! I will see what clicker apps there are on the google app store, because I don't have one and we're in quarantine. Do you think I should keep taking her paw in my hand right before giving her a treat and saying the command? She got angry at me once yesterday when I tried to take her paw, but now she seems to get it, kinda.
 

Caspers Human

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Yes, you can use a clicker. They are very cool! :D

You don't necessarily need to use a clicker. You can use anything that makes a sound. You could use a bell, for instance.

Having grown up with dogs and other animals, I just made a clicking sound with my mouth, like the way you make a click to urge a horse. Just about every dog or cat that I have ever had knew that when their humans made that click sound it means to "come here" or "pay attention."

When we taught our dogs to shake hands, we would get a treat ready, make a click sound, say "shake" then tap them on the paw.

It doesn't take very long, at all, if you are consistent in the way you teach an animal to obey a command.
You just have to keep at it and do the same thing every time.
 
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Vivi18

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Yes, you can use a clicker. They are very cool! :D

You don't necessarily need to use a clicker. You can use anything that makes a sound. You could use a bell, for instance.

Having grown up with dogs and other animals, I just made a clicking sound with my mouth, like the way you make a click to urge a horse. Just about every dog or cat that I have ever had knew that when their humans made that click sound it means to "come here" or "pay attention."

When we taught our dogs to shake hands, we would get a treat ready, make a click sound, say "shake" then tap them on the paw.

It doesn't take very long, at all, if you are consistent in the way you teach an animal to obey a command.
You just have to keep at it and do the same thing every time.
Thank you! I do think I have a bell somewhere buried in my house. Maybe she'll react better to that.
 

maggie101

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I used clickers I bought online. 3 pack. Start close then step back. Eventually you will not need the clicker. I used a pill cutter and cut the treats in quarters
Click,command,treat. Search online and you will find videos on how to do it. A bell might be too loud and scare her. Doesn't hurt to try!
 

kitkatgurl

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Check online at Cat School. There should be tons of training videos.
I got my clicker at the pet store so if you have someone picking up cat food for you, get them to pick one up.
I clicker trained Maisie at 4 months- and although we didn’t attain to any great tricks- she knows her basics such as sit, paw, other paw, then we went to high five after she had paw down pat. We also can do down command.
Try to Keep sessions brief for best results

to the poster that recommended the pill cutter, what a fab idea!!!! I have been using my nails to tear into smaller pieces.

also the goal is to get where they get one treat every two tricks and then further apart so that they never know when the treat comes - it’s not being mean- but the treats can lack on a lot of extra calories if you do a lot of training - just my opinion 😃
good luck!!!!!
 

pipperoo

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I've taught my cat several tricks without a clicker (sit, shake, high five, high five other paw, patty cake and kiss!)

I did exactly what you are doing Vivi18 - I would say the command and manoeuver her into position, then reward with a treat while repeating the command word (sort of like a verbal clicker!!). So for sit, I would say "sit" while gently pushing her bum down. For "high five" I would hold up my palm and use my other hand to lift her paw to my palm. As soon as she did the action, I would IMMEDIATELY repeat the command word while giving the treat so that she associated the words not just with the action, but with the treat.

Like Corvidae says, teaching them tricks is great mental stimulation. My cat loves the one-on-one time and very much likes me talking to her, so I'm lucky. So lucky in fact, that teaching her to sit took 10 minutes. High five was a couple of hours. I never would have even thought to train her but for a vet she saw once. He walked into the exam room, and as a way to ease her into the exam, he spent a few gentle get-to-know me minutes. He got her to follow his hand, asked her to "jump" on to the counter and she obeyed. It seemed like a natural response to me, but the vet said, this cat is smart, she wants to learn, teach her tricks.

You are off to a great start - good luck!
 

maggie101

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I guess it depends on what you're trying to teach. Maggie never comes when called. She pesters Peaches. Now I can call her and she comes running over. Pretty cool!
 

shebaa

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i trained my cat to do this!
i first got a clicker, got her used to the sound. that whenever i clicked, she gets a treat.
then i would say "paw", grab her paw, click, and then treat. i did that for a day
then i did the same thing but waited a couple seconds before i grabbed her paw, did that for another day
after that she started to get it. she wouldnt raise her paw all the way but even with a little paw movement, i would reward her.
by the 4th or 5th my cat got it.
 

Krienze

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I told Jasper "Give me paw"

He shoved his face in my hand as if saying "LOL human, no. Just pet me."

On a serious note, I'm dying to see how this goes with you! I wish you the best of luck, will be following to read!
 
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Vivi18

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I told Jasper "Give me paw"

He shoved his face in my hand as if saying "LOL human, no. Just pet me."

On a serious note, I'm dying to see how this goes with you! I wish you the best of luck, will be following to read!
Thank you! For now, no real progress. But I will surely keep you updated!
 
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