Service Cats: When To Train: Before or After a Meal
Hey, is anypawdy there? It’s Service Cat Monday, and guess who it’s all about? That’s right, Me, RaenaBelle.
RaenaBelle Mayce!!! Get off the catputer!!! Me’s writin’ the Service Cat posty. Even ifin it’s ‘bout you. Me wants to remind you all that ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can click on the links at the bottom of this post. As with all our educational posts the following will be written in human English. Ifin you have any questions, purrlease leave them in the comments or you can send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our posts are not meant to be a training manual, but to entertain and educate; as training is all about repetition. We can cover in one post what might take weeks or even months of actual training time. Me thinks mes hit all the high points and disclaimers, so let’s get to it.
When we left off last, mommy was training Raena in the wheelchair. Now, it’s not all that important that we know how to turn on the wheelchair unless we’re going to drive it without mommy in it. Sis Lexi had that mastered. Me? Me prefers to drive from mommy’s lap. It’s much safer and me gets extra loving. That being said, mommy realizes that Raena is very smart, and just might be the next solo driver. But even if she isn’t, the reason mommy trains us on this is that the power button, horn and speed buttons are all very close to the joystick. On more than one occasion me has hit those buttons while driving; so mommy thinks it’s important for us to be comfortable with the beeping sounds so we don’t get scared and get hurt trying to escape. The joystick requires only the slightest push or pull to move the chair. So you can imagine the dangers of a 200 pound moving machine against a small kitty. Yes, even at our size, we are by comparison, small.
We did get another good question from our dear Weim brofur Da Phenny from the blog EasyWeimaraner. You know sweet Easy ran off to heaven like sis Lexi and Phenny, like Raena is full of piss and vinegar and needs a little training. He and his mommy asked if mommy recommends training before or after a meal. This is where it gets a bit tricky. Mommy prefers training after the meal because she doesn’t like to train with treats. So a full kitty/doggy isn’t constantly looking for treats and can easily focus. That being said, if you do want to use treats as a reward, mommy recommends training before the meal. But don’t forget to adjust the meal portion to account for any treats given. And keep the training session short. A hungry animal is going to be a bit more erratic and unfocused. Mommy likes to train about an hour or so after the meal. Kitty/doggy has bathed, the food has settled, they may even have had a little nap and are more focused and ready to pay attention. Another thing on treats, if you choose that option. Pick a treat that isn’t given at other times and is an absolute favorite. That treat should only be given during training sessions or when asking the animal to do a trained task. Hope that helps.
Anyways, every day for approximately fifteen minutes, mommy and Raena head to the wheelchair for a training session. Even me gets bored after the first few lessons and have taken to the bedroom for an afternoon nap during these times. Me can still hear them. Mommy gently and lovingly talking to Raena and telling her how proud she is and how smart Raena is. And me can hear the constant beep beep of the chairs power button. Occasionally me hears the annoying horn. Ya’ know those cars/trucks/vans that beep when they back up? Well that’s the horn on the wheelchair. It’s piercing for a poor kitty’s ears, but Raena doesn’t seem to be affected by it. She loves the horn button. Ever patient, mommy gently tells her no and redirects her paw to the power button. For those of you wondering why she isn’t hitting the joystick and making the chair move, mommy has learned to keep a close eye on where that paw lands, and has the speed turned to 0. Obviously the chair doesn’t move on 0. Just wait till Raena figures this out. MOL
So mommy’s still working with Raena on the power on and off thing. But Raena is getting better. Mommy thinks she likes the beeping of the horn so much that she doesn’t focus. But one day, it’ll click and the lessons will move forward. That’s how training works. So if you’re feeling frustrated and don’t think your training is working, stick with it. It is working and the worse thing you can do is give up.
Let me take you through one of Raena’s lessons. Mommy and Raena sit in the chair. Mommy adjusts Raena and sits her on her right leg closest to the control panel. She now tells Raena “Up”. That means to put her front paws on the arm of the chair. Raena’s really good at this part. Mommy supports Raena by firmly but gently holding her in place. Raena could easily jump down. Mommy’s grip is for support and protection, not forced submission. Mommy then places Raena’s paw on the power button on the control panel and says, “Push on” or “Push off”. Raena seems to be right pawed. Generally the first time, mommy has to gently push Raena’s paw down till she hears the beep. The remainder of the 15 minutes goes pretty much the same. With Raena occasionally getting excited and standing on the horn. When this happens, mommy gently pulls her paw away and says “No” and refocuses her (lots of hugs and praise about how smart she is). Throughout the session mommy gently praises Raena and gives her extra love. This is very important if you’re not using treats. If you are using treats, you would reward by giving a small treat each time you get the correct action/outcome. They wrap up a training session with lots of hugs and a good brushing.
Well we’re gonna wrap it up fur today. We hope we’ve offured you some insight into training in general and specifically a Service cat. Remember, if you have any questions, just let us know. We do hope to be further along in Raena’s training next week, but you’ll just have to tune in and see. We’ve got mommy’s helper that’s supposed to start today, so mommy’s gonna be busy training them. Hmmmmm Mommy seems to be doing a lot of training lately. MOL Wonder ifin she’s gonna train them to drive the chair? MOL Anyways, we hope you all have a pawsum day.
Till the next time…………………………………..Be Blest!!!
Dezi: Vibrant Blue
Raena: Navy Blue
Mommy A: Black
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Posted on January 30, 2017, in Educational, Human Speak, Service Cats, Training and tagged #RagdollCats, #ServiceCats, Deztinee, Educational, Human speak, RaenaBelle, Wheelchair. Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.