Daily Archives: August 7, 2017

Service Cats: What Is Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning & Do They Work With Cats

Welcome, to Service Cat Monday with RaenaBelle. That’s right, in keepin’ with the thought that sis Dezi is off at Summer camp (it’s really virutal, she’s right here), I’s takin’ over the bloggy includin’ Service Cat Monday. You all ‘member to tell her I’s did a good job, K? Anyways, I think I’s s’posed to get the disclaimer stuffs outta the way furst. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step training manual but rather, Tips/Tricks/Techniques that mommy has used/developed throughout her many years of training animals, cats on purrticular. Training is all about Repetition and Rewards and takes time. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease leave them in the comments section or send us an email. Ifin askin’ about behavioral issues, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clicking the links below. Now, let’s get to our question. 

 

 Raena sits on butterfly scratcher in harness

 

Layla, from Cat Wisdom 101 asked, “What are your thoughts on Clicker training and Operant Conditioning?” Well, we explained a bit about Clicker training in a prior post, but we’ll talk a bit about it for those of you that missed that post. First, let me explain what Clicker Training is. The trainer, holds a small clicker in one hand, a treat in the other, and clicks the clicker when the animal performs correctly, immediately followed by a treat as the reward. The hopes are that the animal will eventually learn the behavior and will no longer require the clicker to perform the appropriate action. Operant Conditioning is when behavior is modified based on rewards and punishments.

 

Clicker

Photo courtesy of Petco

 

We can tell you right away, that altho’ mommy believes most actions taken by animals, both of the two legged variety and the four legged, are somewhat a result of Operant Conditioning; it is in NO way a form of training she approves of. The reason for that is the necessity of a Punishment for incorrect behavior. For Operant Conditioning to truly work, there must be the risk of punishment. And as you know, mommy doesn’t like the idea of punishing us. Mommy says there’s a huge difference between Positive Reinforcement Discipline and Punishment. So, that’s our thoughts on Operant Conditioning. Now, what about that Clicker Training? 

 

 Dezi pats Raena on head

Operant Conditioning in action. Altho’ we’re not fighting,

sis Dezi is letting me know, she’s had enough.

 

As we mentioned in a previous post, the idea of Clickers was still very new when mommy began training. She looked into them and found at that time, they were quite costly. While preparing for this post, we looked again, and found they still cost a little more than mommy would pay. And then of course, there’s the treats. When using a clicker, you have to have that tasty reward waiting. If you would prefer to use the clicker method but don’t have the money to buy one, you can always use your fingers to snap, or your mouth to make a click sound. Just don’t forget to do it as soon as the appropriate behavior has occurred, followed by a treat. Also keep in mind, that anytime you use treats during training, meals should be adjusted to account for the extra calories. You don’t want training to result in an overweight kitty or doggy. Because of cost, having to carry treats all the time, and the fact that most of the things we do for mommy occur when she’s not exactly dressed, we’re not fans of Clicker Training either. That being said, it is a great tool if that’s the method you want to use. 

 

 Raena with silvervine on cat tree

Enjoying some silvervine after a training session.

 

So, our thoughts are pretty simple. Clicker Training is a great method for dogs and can be successful with cats as well. But, it’s not a method mommy chooses for numerous reasons. And altho’ we’re probably all acting a bit due to Operant Conditioning, it is NOT a method of training mommy likes or recommends. Please, Do Not Punish your cat or dog, especially during training.

 

 Dezi eats treat atop cat tree

And sissy gets treats even when it’s mine’s training session.

 

Well, I’s sure hope we answered awnty Layla’s question. As most of ya’ know, mommy’s purrfured method of training is the Love Rewards method. It works, needs no extra props and can be successfully used for both cats and dogs. Remember, ifin you have any questions, purrlease leave them in the comments or send us an email. And ifin you missed any posts in this series, click the links below.

 

Till the next time…………………………………..Be Blest!!!

 

 

 

Luvs and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

RaenaBelle and Deztinee 

 

Service Cats

 

What to Look For      Training Foundations      Train Kitty To Massage

Smelling Disease      Do You Need One      Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws & Exceptions      Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies      Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train      Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty      Internal Disputes

Calling Emergency Help      Just What Is Kitty Capable of

Shad: Original Service Cat      Harness, Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & Chest      Round and Round We Go

Tumble & Fall Response      Raena Calls for Help

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4

When to Train      Explaining Rewards & Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling For Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat

Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls

Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat      There’s No Bully Cat Breed

Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair     Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

Surviving A Remodel      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change     Fighting or Porsturing

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