We'll be using one of these. A clicker is a simple device that makes a click sound when you press the button. We use this click instead of saying "good boy!"
Why use a clicker? Humans make a bunch of irrelevant noises that all sound the same to cats. The clicker is distinct and short: Perfect to accurately mark specific behavior.
RULES: Click ALWAYS means treat, no matter what. Yes, that means if your cat is with you now, watch the videos with headphones! 🐱 NEVER EVER scold or hit or do anything at all negative. 🚫
The treat does not have to be delivered simultaneously. That's the point. Click means "whatever you just did was awesome, you win! I'll deliver your prize in a moment..."
Let your cat choose when to end the training sessions. Do not stop him from leaving, do not move him. In fact, keep touching/petting/speaking to a minimum. Let him make his own choices. 🐈
Gather your supplies :)
No brush yet. We want him to learn that his actions can cause a click & treat. Hold out a finger, click/treat for any interaction. Most cats will at least sniff it, especially if it smells of treats.
Gradually increase the distance. IMPORTANT: sometimes, surprise him by click/treating sooner than expected. Cats will notice if it's only ever getting harder, but they do like to gamble.
You can take it a lot further- this is optional but it is fun. Just move in small incremental steps & be sure your cat is getting to succeed often enough so he does not lose interest. Patience.
Surprise him: Click for other desirable or just plain cute behavior. You can make a click with your mouth if you're empty handed, then go find a treat. This helps reduce bad behavior too!
Once he understands the concept, we can get the brush out. Click for any interaction. Same thing you did for finger targeting, only this time he will catch on quicker.
Got that? Ok, so he targets the brush, expecting a click- instead, touch his back with the brush. Then you Click and treat.
build it up so you’re brushing more and more. Stop brushing when you click. Do NOT brush unless he has sniffed/pawed the brush first. That's his way of consenting. "Brush me so I can get a treat"
now and then, click for just targeting the brush, or just brushing once. Like I said, cats can't resist gambling. “Will I get brushed first or hit the instant jackpot?”
Notice I am not specifying how quickly you can progress. It’s up to you and your cat. Don’t rush it. Trouble? Common solutions: backtrack, tastier treats, don’t overfeed your cat the rest of the day.
Don't say "Thats no ordinary cat; mine won't do that". This will work on almost every cat. Here's my friends new kitten and a former housemates cat demonstrating high-five and finger targeting.
She started high-fiving everything- "If I paw at this, will it make a click? No.. Then how about this?" Adorable :) She wanted play more than food, so for her it was Click = 10 second play session.
Q: Do I always have to click now? A: No. Click tells the cat what it's getting rewarded for. Once a trick is well learned, you don't necessarily need it... but it is helpful to reinforce the click :)
Q: do I always give treats now? A: Yes, during brushing, you might still want to stop and treat once or twice. Deliver a jackpot of treats at the end. Also, hide the brush when you're not using it.
Q: Why isn't he going for the treats? A: He tried. Cover them with your hand & let him figure out: No work, no click, no treat, no stealing unearned treats. Helps to have a friend guard them. Patience