The idea of training a cat is slightly humorous, especially since we commonly associate tricks with dogs. Can you imagine teaching a cat to roll over? Despite feeling like our efforts would be futile when used on a feline, it’s actually not impossible. The future is bright, and our iPhones are eager to capture the best photos and videos of our cats—especially when they’re finally following directions. Introducing clicker training.
So, what is clicker training?
It’s a positive reinforcement training method used to reward cats for their good behavior. All you need is a special clicker and some amazing treats (like Smalls Freeze-Dried Chicken Giblets). The sound of the clicker will signify a reward, and your cat will learn to understand that when they do something right, a treat will follow. We also recommend initially [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]using a clicker[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Where can I find a clicker?[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]You can purchase a clicker in pet stores or on Amazon for as low as $3.50[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#] instead of a phrase (i.e. “hey,” “come,” “sit”) because your cat could get confused by different voices and inflections. The more reliable and consistent the sound and treats, the more likely they are to associate good behavior with it.
Cool, how do I start?
First thing to remember is that you have to be patient. Learning is gradual—even for cats—and practice makes purrfect (sorry). Go easy and give your cat a target, like your hand. How about we start by training them to come over? Cool? Let’s do it.
Here’s How To Train Your Cat To Come When Called
Step 1: Find a quiet, open space to train your cat. Click once (just not too close to their ears and don’t point it at them) and immediately give them a treat. Repeat until they are alert to the noise and look at you, expecting the treat. [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]Once they’ve learned the association between the clicker and the treat[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Noise Level[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]It’s best if you don’t talk during this time. Let the clicker do all the work.[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#], you can move on to the good stuff.
Step 2: Sit a few feet away from your cat and place your right fist out in front of you. When your cat approaches, click and give treats. You want to reward them for their progress, not just the end goal. It’s all about the Smalls steps.
Step 3: When your cat touches your fist, immediately click and give them extra treats. They need to know they are superior beings who have accomplished a great feat!
The more reliable and consistent the sound and treats, the more likely they are to associate good behavior with it.
Step 4: Eventually your cat will understand that your first is a target and they will go straight to it. When this happens, you can begin incorporating a word that labels the action (such as “come”). So if your cat comes to boop your fist, say “come,” then click and treat.
Step 5: Repeat this method over the next week and your cat will learn to follow your directions with the cue. If your cat touches your fist without you gesturing for them to do so, don’t click and treat (they need to learn to do it on cue). Once your cat touches your fist only when you ask them, you can phase out the click and treat. Just make sure you still acknowledge their behavior with good head scratches and pets.
Step 6: Record their learnings, upload it to Instagram stories, and tag @smallsforcats and #MySmalls. [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]We’ll share your cat’s excellent training behaviors[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Share Your Photos With Us[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]We love our cats, and we know you love yours. We're always willing to share customer photos, not just training videos. Send one, send all —we'll re-gram and give you credit.[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#]—the internet deserves to know.
Smalls customers can now add Smalls Treats to their subscription box. Made simple with only fresh, whole, single-sourced USDA chicken. All the protein + zero additives = one happy cat. New to Smalls? Try Smalls at home today.
[#BeginTLDR#]Training your cat is easier than you think—all you need is a clicker and delicious Smalls treats.[#SplitTLDR#]Cats respond well to positive reinforcement and consistency.[#SplitTLDR#]You'll eventually be able to phase out the clicker and train your cat to come when called.[#EndTLDR#]