Cat training is not always easy, but it is possible. Though your cat may seem too independent and stubborn to change its behavior, you can get the job done if you make a commitment to the right strategies.
There are a few basic tents of successful training about whichever cat owner should be aware. Let us look at three of those cat training fundamentals:
The Need for Immediacy
Cats are incredibly smart animals, but they do not necessarily make the same kind of connections people do with respect to cause and effect. That is why it is essential to take action immediately when you observe inappropriate behavior. If your response is delayed by even a few seconds, it will lose a great deal of its effectiveness.
Never assume that your cat will remember what it did earlier in a day or that the cat will make any connection between your discipline and past behavior. Rarely, if ever, will that happen. If you correct your pet for something it did earlier, it will have no idea of why it is being corrected and may incorrectly link your actions to the behavior displayed immediately before you took action.
Encouraging Alternative Behaviors
One of the best ways to teach your cat not to engage in an undesirable behavior is to encourage the animal to do something else instead. This strategy works even better when the encouraged behavior is completely incompatible with the undesired action. This technique works because cats, like all animals, are more responsive to positive reinforcement.
You will have greater success encouraging and rewarding what you would like to see than you will by trying to stop what you do not. Instead of discouraging your cat from scratching a table leg, encourage your pet to exercise that instinct on its scratching post!
Avoiding Physical Discipline
Physical punishment will not contribute to successful cat training. Negative reinforcements do not work well for cats and hitting or otherwise physically reprimanding your pet will only make your relationship more difficult while inspiring unnecessary fear in the animal.
Cats are not always the easiest animals to train, but if one approaches the project with the right attitude and strategies, it is possible to direct a cat’s behavior. The three elements of cat training we’ve discussed all share features common to all successful techniques–they are all based on the understanding that positive reinforcement offers the greatest chance of success and that cat owners should always use the least aggressive means of correcting behavior.
Those three rules of thumb are at the very core of smart cat training.