Can Cats Be Trained?

Can Cats Be Trained?
Can Cats Be Trained?

Video: Can Cats Be Trained?

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Video: Can You Train Cats? We'll Find Out! It’s not what you think! 2023, January
Anonim

Killer whales, dogs, and some pinnipeds are known to be easily trained. What about cats? There are apparently several reasons why a trained cat is so rare. Firstly, there is no immediate need to train a cat to make it a pleasant companion, while all dogs require at least some minimal training, so to speak, to ensure their control.

Another reason is the low activity of an adult cat: most of the time it does absolutely nothing, so training opportunities are limited. And, thirdly, she is not greedy for awards, she will not work for handouts, as the same dog does. Dogs see in their owners the dominant, that is, standing on a higher hierarchical level, members of the pack, and consider as a reward the loving attitude of the owners towards themselves. How cats evaluate us is a subject of special conversation, but stroking or patting it is clearly not enough motivation to train and consolidate the desired skill …

Jumping kitten, cat photo photo
Jumping kitten, cat photo photo

Especially tasty food is the only reward commonly used when training cats. Kittens can be rewarded by opening up new opportunities for exploring the world around them, but at home this technique is difficult to use, and therefore dry cat food is often the most convenient reward.

Getting your cat to do unusual tricks is difficult., it is best if it is something from her usual repertoire. When training, you can use the shaping method, highlighting a separate movement, even if the cat rarely performs it spontaneously. She should first be rewarded for doing things that resemble or involve the desired trick. A verbal command can be a signal for implementation. The work is efficient if the reward immediately follows the correct movement; at the slightest interval, learning slows down dramatically. Gradually, the cat begins to respond to the conditioned signal, and then only the target movement is encouraged, until the animal learns to perform only this movement separately. 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.This method can be used for different animals in all types of training.

In this way, the cat can be taught to jump over a stick. Both cats and dogs, if necessary, jump over obstacles, but dogs do it willingly, if a reward awaits them from the owner's hands, the cat will simply bypass the obstacle (or simply go in the other direction), so the trick should be done in several stages.

First, the stick is placed on the ground, and the cat receives a reward if it simply steps over it. After a few lessons, she begins to change the direction of her walk to step over the stick if she receives a reward immediately after her fourth paw is on the other side of the stick. Once this skill is established, the stick can be lifted off the ground, very slowly, just before the cat approaches it. If she oversteps the stick, she gets a reward, if not, she gets nothing.

Thai cat looks at you from above, cat photo photo
Thai cat looks at you from above, cat photo photo

Punishment for wrong actions can discourage her from learning, so only rewards are allowed. By gradually increasing the height, they force the cat to jump and reward it only for the jump. If the jump is high enough to be called a trick, reinforce it by giving a reward for every third or fourth jump - then the lesson will be remembered for a long time. However, if signs of forgetfulness appear, return to the reward for each jump you complete.

More complex tricks, or those in the process of performing which the owner of the cat is at a considerable distance from her, is based on a method called "second order reinforcement". It is widely used in the training of marine mammals, when the trainer stands on the shore of the reservoir and cannot immediately reward the animal for a trick performed under water: it takes too much time before the dolphin emerges, when the dolphin receives the earned fish. First of all, the animal must develop a reflex to the trainer's signal, which will necessarily be followed by food - this can be a snap of fingers or a signal from a sound device under water. During training, this sound will be perceived as a reward, since it is associated with food in animals.

In this way, you can teach the cat to bring objects. To get the cat's attention, the item is first given the smell of delicious food. As soon as she touches him with her teeth, the trainer snaps her fingers and immediately gives her a reward. The same shaping method is used to get the cat to bring you the item, and for more complex tricks, such as placing it in a specific box. Success will depend not only on strict adherence to the described technique, but mainly on the patience and perseverance of the trainer.

A trick consisting of a complex chain of actions should be practiced starting with the last movement. When it is mastered, they begin the next movement from the end, connecting it to the already finished last, and the award is given after the execution of the last movement. In this way, complex, almost circus tricks can be performed. But because cats are still difficult to train, this technology is more commonly used to train dogs.

H. Nepomniachtchi "Cat maintenance"

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