Service Cats: Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 3
MeOW and welcome to Service Cat Monday. We purreciate your patience and understandin’ fur lettin’ us take last Monday off. It’s been another week and mommy still hasn’t gotten us a special graphic. Can you believe it? Anyways, we haven’t gotten any new questions, so we’ll be tellin’ a Raena trainin’ story today. We welcome any and all trainin’/behavioral/health questions. Altho’ mommy has spent the last 30 years trainin’ kitties, she started out trainin’ doggies. And most of our tips will work fur both cats and dogs, as well as a few other species. You can ask your questions in the comments section or send us an email. A little known fact is that mommy has also trained a pig and broke horses. Yep, mommy has a purretty colorful past. MOL As with all our trainin’ posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translation and reader ease. Our trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can click the links at the bottom of this or any Service Cat Monday post. Alrighty then, business is outta the way, so let’s check in on Raena and the wheelchair.
Me should tell ya’ first, that Raena, is so attached to mommy, she doesn’t like it when mommy tries to do anything without her. And me means anything. We have a pawsum cat tree that sits right in front of the living room window and a small perch that mommy puts in front of the door every day so we can look out if we want to. From the tree and the perch, we can clearly see the whole parking lot, trash can and mailboxes. But when mommy takes out the trash or checks the mail, Raena sits at the door and meows at the top of her lungs. Mommy says, she sees a lot of the traits that made sis Lexi such a good Service Cat in Raena. Now me wants to say, Raena is NOT sis Lexi, and we’re not looking for her to be. And while any and all kitties/doggies can be trained, some are more prone to be Service Animals due to their personalities.
Anyways, we left off with mommy teaching Raena all about the wheelchair’s control panel and the buttons. Raena has a real good handle on the power button and horn. She can successfully power the chair on and off; and stays put when she honks the horn. The next lesson is to get Raena to bite the joystick and move the chair. Initially, mommy isn’t looking for her to drive through the house; she just needs Raena to be comfortable biting the joystick and staying in place when the chair moves. That sounds easy peasy doesn’t it? It might be for a human who can understand the concept, but us kitties like stability. It’s very important that Raena not get scared and try to jump down when the chair is moving. Most of these electric wheelchairs weigh a couple hundred pounds and could literally kill a kitty if they were to get run over. It would for sure cause damage. Most chairs continue to roll slightly even after the joystick isn’t being pushed.
So, every day mommy picks up Raena and they head for the wheelchair for a lesson. Me heads to higher ground for safety and to watch the show. Mommy sits Raena in her lap, gives her a few extra hugs and “scent me ups” and then positions her with her front paws on the arm of the wheelchair and her behind sitting on mommy’s right leg. Mommy puts one hand under Raena to offer support and puts her other hand on Raena’s head so she can gently guide her. Mommy then tells Raena to “Power On”. This is the cue for turning on the chair. We did cover this part of the training in Raena and the wheelchair Pt. 1, so we won’t repeat all those steps, and just move on. Raena pushes the power button, and usually the horn too. That girl does love to make noise. Mommy gives her praise and gently rubs her chin for a few seconds. Then mommy gently positions Raena’s head over the joystick and tells her “Bite”.
Now let me tell ya’, it doesn’t take much coercing to get Raena to bite anything, so the training here is to have her continue to hold on to the joystick without chewing on it. Once Raena has a hold of the joystick, mommy gently pushes her head down and says “Hold” to ensure she doesn’t let go. Mommy then praises Raena, and uses the hand positioned under Raena’s belly to rub her for a few seconds. Then, mommy releases Raena’s head and let’s her take her mouth off the joystick. These steps are repeated off and on for the whole session. Raena’s pretty smart and seems to enjoy training so her training sessions can last up to 30 minutes at a time. Remember, training sessions must be repeated at least once daily, and shouldn’t last more than about 15 minutes a session. But, you know your kitty/doggy, and if they are genuinely engaged, you may go over the 15 minutes. Mommy recommends only increasing sessions by 5 minute increments. It’s better to stop a session with kitty/doggy still wanting to perform than to go too long and have them run from you when it’s time for another training session. Training is serious business, but it should be seen as fun for kitty/doggy.
Never move on to the next step until kitty/doggy can repeat the previous steps successfully at least 98% of the time. Raena is performing Bite and Hold at about 95%, so mommy is still focusing on this step. Mommy keeps the wheelchair on the lowest speed setting for these training sessions so that the chair doesn’t move even if Raena accidentally pushes or pulls the joystick. However, remember those speed buttons are on the control panel right beside the power button and horn button; and we are kitties with big paws. Just the other day, mommy and Raena sat down for a training session and unbeknownst to mommy, Raena pushed the speed button before settling back in for the joystick Bite. Needless to say, mommy and Raena were both surprised when the chair started moving when Raena bit down on the joystick. Thankfully, Raena isn’t afraid of anything, and her response was to let go of the joystick and sit back in mommy’s lap. And thankfully, Raena had only pushed the speed button twice, so they didn’t move too far or fast. Me had thought for sure they were gonna run right into the cat tree, but they didn’t.
Me’s gonna wrap it up fur today. As you can see, Training sessions are laborious and Repetitive. But in the end, kitty/doggy will be happy and well trained. All kitties/doggies can benefit from some training. While you might not need a Service Cat, there are simple commands that can increase your bond with kitty and keep your home happy and everyone getting along and knowing and respectin’ the boundaries. Mommy says that Raena should be ready fur her furst actual driving lesson by next week. Altho’ that estimate was made before we knew she would be going to the dentist on Fursday; so it may be another week or so, but we’ll keep you updated with her progress. And no, mommy still hasn’t figured out how to take fotos/videos durin’ the actual trainin session. ‘Member to leave your comments or questions below, and check out our previous posts fur tips and tricks fur many trainin’ points fur kitty/doggy.
Don’t furget to enter our LumaSoothe give away by clickin’ the Entry foto below. And ifin ya’ missed it, check out our review here.
Till the next time…………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle
When the Handler Dies Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
The Rest of the Story Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling For Emergency Help Options Pt. 1
Posted on March 27, 2017, in Educational, Feline Behavior, Human Speak, Service Cats, Training and tagged #RagdollCats, #ServiceCats, #TrainingTechniques, #TrainingTips, #WorkingCat, Deztinee, Educational, Human speak, RaenaBelle, Wheelchair. Bookmark the permalink. 58 Comments.