Moving Forward by Staying Still

Dogs were living with people thousands of years before cats were. Perhaps the difference in the attitude and trainability between the two species is as much about tameness as it is about intelligence. Though it takes longer than with dogs, cats learn things much the same way dogs do, and I taught staying to all three animals the same way.

Once the the dog or cat was on a platform, I rewarded them for being there and for remaining there. At first, the intervals between rewards were just a second or two, then 5 seconds, then 10 seconds, etc. For all three animals, we would only work at it for a few minutes at a time, then do something else, then come back to it. It is very important for dogs, cats, and humans to have fun, and to make training a game. Iggy’s rewards alternated between Charlie Bears, New Balance loaf, freeze dried liver, and verbal praise & affection. For the cats, I used New Balance, liver treats, fish flakes, and cat nip treats. I used the clicker only for the hoop trick and for getting the animals on the platforms. I didn’t click for staying, though many folks do, and that is a fine way to do it, too.

Moving forward by staying still.


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