Video: Can A Cat Be Taught Circus Tricks?
Many owners feel that cats cannot or do not want to learn to perform tricks. But one has only to look at cats in TV commercials or circus shows to see if this is a misconception. Cats can be taught to jump through a hoop, from a pedestal to a pedestal, bring small objects, give a paw, and much more.
One elderly man taught his cat how to take a toy out of a drawer and fetch it when it was time to play. Some cats can eat canned food with their paws. Also recently, there has been a fashion for training cats using a clicker.
When working with cats, the method that trainers call "shaping" and use when working with wild animals works most effectively. The learning process is broken down into small steps, each of which the animal can easily cope with. Since it is very easy to demotivate a cat, training should be organized in such a way that the cat performs the desired trick, even if by accident. First, you need to observe the animal to determine what natural tendencies it has and how they can be shaped into the desired behavior.
In this step-by-step method, for example, you can teach a cat to jump over a stick. At first, the cat was given a treat when she simply stepped over a stick lying on the floor. When the cat realized that this action was connected with getting a tidbit, the stick was raised a few centimeters. Each time, when the cat coped with a new task, the stick was raised higher and higher until she had to jump over it. If you use a hoop instead of a stick, the trick will look very impressive.
Similarly, in order to teach a cat to jump from pedestal to pedestal, at first it is taught to simply step over. Then one pedestal moves back a little, and, in the end, the cat has to jump.
In the same way, a cat can be taught to do tricks that dogs usually do, such as pawing or rolling over on its back.
To teach the cat to roll over, the training process is also broken down into steps that the cat can do the first time. First, she is taught to lie down, gently pressing between the shoulder blades. Gradually, the pressure turns into a light touch, and then just a hand sign, which is given along with the voice command. After a while, the cat will simply respond to a voice command. When the cat has mastered the command to "lie down", you need to move on to the next stage and turn it over on its back. The cat receives a treat only when she performs this action. It is necessary to repeat the action over and over again, slightly helping the cat with touches, until she learns to lie down and roll over in one motion at the voice command.
Every time the cat is offered the next step in training, she has to choose - do it and get a reward, or skip and get nothing. Since the steps are very small, the cat has little chance of making the wrong choice. Fixing a trick is successful if the award is given on an occasional basis, after several successful repetitions of the trick in a row at indefinite intervals.
Cats can be taught very difficult tricks. For example, the cats of the famous Russian trainer Yuri Kuklachev show a whole performance: they walk on their hind legs, make a stand on the front ones, climb a rope, walk on parallel bars, etc.
Cats and their larger relatives, like dogs, can be taught to jump over a burning hoop and balance on a rolling cylinder. Great agility of cats and their claws allow them to do such tricks that dogs are not capable of. There are cats, whose owners taught them to drink from a beaker, which the animal holds with its front paws, and eat sticks tied to its paws. Small kittens, which are hand-fed, quickly master a very useful trick - lying on their back, drinking milk from a bottle, supporting it with their hind legs and hugging their front legs.
In the USA there are agility competitions not only for dogs, but also for cats, and cats like to perform there as much as dogs!
Using the toilet is one of the tricks that owners teach their pets. There are many articles on this topic, and there are various accessories on the market, mainly round trays that fit under the toilet seat. All methods of teaching cats this wisdom are based on the gradual modification of the natural behavior of the cat. Some cats can use the toilet without training, while at the other end of the scale there are animals that are so afraid of this that they cannot be trained.
The teaching method itself is as follows. First, the cat is taught to walk on the litter box next to the toilet. It is then raised to the level of the toilet seat so that the cat gets used to that height. Then the tray is placed on the toilet lid, and then she is taught to use the toilet itself. The most popular way is to fix a flat tray or sheet of waxed cardboard under the toilet seat. After a while, parts of the tray are gradually removed, until finally it remains completely without a bottom.
It is very convenient to use special commercial kits for cat toilet training, as there you can gradually disassemble the bottom, while using ordinary cardboard there is a risk that it will get wet and tear under the cat's weight.
As a rule, they start from the central part, which gradually increases in diameter. By the time this center hole is large enough, the cat is already able to climb onto the toilet seat itself, not least because the litter box becomes unstable. It happens that the cat slides off the seat and into the toilet, they have to repeat the training course to restore her confidence.
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