Category Archives: Feline Behavior
Well, it’s time fur another Service Cat Monday posty. Are ya’ll gettin’ tired of these? We ask cuz we’re not gettin’ many questions, and comments seem to be down.? You know, we blog to keep a journal of our lives, but we also blog to educate and entertain. We recently posted a couple “play date” postys that a lot of ya’ seemed to enjoy, so ifin you’d like to see more of those, or even join us fur a virtual play date, purrlease let us know. Me does wanna let everypawdy know, we are in purrime storm season here in Oklahoma. Those of ya’ that have been with us fur a while knows what that means, but we do have a lot of new furiends that have joined us recently that don’t. Furst, fank you fur joinin’ our furmily. You’re only a visitor once, after that, you’re furmily. Anyways, storm season means lots of thunder, lightnin’, hail, rain, wind, tornadoes, fires and/or floods. And that means mommy won’t let us on the catputer as much, so we may get behind in our visitin’. Just ‘member, even ifin we don’t make it by to visit ya’, we’re thinkin’ ‘bout ya’ and purrayin’ fur ya’. And we’ll be by as soon as weather purrmits.
Now let me get the business pawrt of this posty out of the way, so we can get on with it. Our Service Cat posts aren’t meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition, and Rewards. In other words, it can get kinda borin’ to read ‘bout. All the tips, tricks and techniques described are things mommy has developed or discovered in her many years of training animals, especially cats. As with all our educational posts, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the bottom of this or any Service Cat post.
Today we thought we’d address a couple of things that keep coming up. The first is training cats in general. For many years people really never gave a thought to training a cat to do anything. Cats got and still get a really bad rap. We’re often thought to be aloof, self willed, solitary animals. But that just isn’t true. Most of us love our humans, and like dogs, just want to be a part of the family and please you. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t act out or misbehave to get back at you or out of spite. We can live long, healthy, happy lives and never need to go out side and wander around. Some of us might even enjoy being trained to roll over, play fetch, or shake your hand, but really, we’re so much more talented than that. Looking back over history, there’s one thing that stands out to mommy, as it regards training a kitty. Most of you have seen those toilet training contraptions for kitties, right? Guess what? Mommy even bought one, once. Well, the first time she had to really go and forgot to remove the kitty catcher…yeah, the kitty toilet training contraption went into the trash and the litter box reappeared.
That being said, many kitties around the world have been trained to use the human toilet. We even know a few of them. And until recently, mommy thought that was a great idea, just something she wasn’t interested in training. It certainly deals with the issue of a stinky litter box. And it surely shows that kitties can be trained. However, after watching sis Lexi get weaker that last year of her life, having trouble jumping and start leaning on the side of the litter box to balance herself when she needed to relieve herself; mommy has changed her mind. Altho’ we kitties are very smart, and will no doubt learn to compensate, we weren’t really intended to balance on the side of a toilet to pee. As we have pointed out many times, training should keep in mind and be based on the animal’s natural abilities and instincts. Our massaging mommy, is based on a kitties innate drive to knead. Our calling for help is based on our curiosity drive as is our driving the wheelchair. Mommy can’t explain why we want to help her in the shower, but chalks that one up to our love for her. The bottom line is, kitties can, and want to be trained. Just remember to keep in mind, our size, natural instincts, and think long term. After all, if a kitty’s part of your life, you want him/her to live a long, healthy happy life. Aging and sickness are not always kind to the body.
The next thing we’d like to talk about today is photos, videos and social media. If we’ve been asked once, we’ve been asked a million times, for a video of us driving the wheelchair. Of course before we got our computer, this issue never came up. Now, we get at least one email/comment every week about it. First you need to understand that all this technology is new to mommy, and let’s face it, she’s definitely not a pro. MOL Secondly, we rarely drive the wheelchair without mommy in it. Mommy uses the wheelchair in the morning’s when she can’t walk and her muscles are kind of “locked” up. In the last couple of years, she’s also began to use it to take out the trash and check the mail. But most of the day, it sits parked and usually charging.
So let’s look at when we drive. When mommy wakes up and can’t move, we give her massages to get the blood flowing and start the warming process for her muscles. Her arms wake up first. So once in the chair, mommy puts one hand on our (whoever is driving) back and one under our tummy to stabilize us as we drive. We don’t take a camera to bed, but as you can see, there’s no free hands to work a camera. And think about it, what are you wearing and how do you look when you crawl out of bed in the mornings? Let’s just say that mommy’s totally inappropriate for viewing. We may wake up looking like divas, but mommy…Not. MOL
Now let’s get to the “social media” part of this. How many times have you seen a video or part of a video compiled into one of those “funniest”, “craziest”, or something “est” videos in your social media feeds? Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that continue to steal photos and videos to use as their own and in ways not intended by the original poster/owner. What we do is NOT a trick. And altho’ we sometimes make funnies, it’s not intended to be part of anybody’s funniest video compilation. So altho’ mommy is trying to figure out a way to get us on video, she isn’t thrilled at the aspects of posting such a video. So we can’t say when or if you’ll be seeing a video of us driving mommy in the wheelchair.
Me’s gonna wrap it up fur now. As me said earlier, we decided to cover these things as we do get questions and emails about them from time to time; and mommy says ifin one purrson’s askin’, there’s 10 more wonderin’ the same thing. ‘Member, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series just click the links below to check them out. We welcome any questions, comments or suggestions you might have on any topic including training. We’ll be ‘round to visit as weather purrmits. We hope you’re all enjoyin’ sunshine and daisy’s.
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 Pt. 3 Pt. 4
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling Emergency Help Options Pt. 1
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
Meow Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. Ya’ know, me meowed ‘bout a special graphic fur Service Cat Mondays last week, and then mommy went and let down on the job. She didn’t get anythin’ made up. She did purromiss to work on it this week tho’, so we’ll see. As always, ifin ya’ have any questions, purrlease leave ‘em in the comments section, or send us an email. You can also use our “contact us” page in the menu. It’s purrivate, nopawdy sees it but us. And ifin you’ve missed any post in this series, purrlease click on the links at the bottom of this or any Service Cat posty. The followin’ will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. We also need to say that our training posts are not intended to be a step by step instruction manual, as trainin’ is all about Repetition, Consistency and Rewards. We include tips, tricks and techniques mommy has used/developed through her many years of training animals, cats in purrticular. MeeeeeeeYow Now that the business is outta the way, let’s get to it.
Of all the things we do, calling for help is the one more people ask/comment about. As technology evolves and times change, less and less homes have an actual land line. However, we pointed out in our first post about calling for help, that kitties can not use cell phones. So, are there other options for those that don’t want to pay for a monthly land line phone service? And if so, can kitty be trained to use it? Our latest question about calling for help comes from our sweet friends Robin and Cheddar from Cheshire Loves Karma. The jist of their question was: “How can one train kitty to call for help when their handler is unconscious? It’s one thing to tell kitty to call for help, but how will kitty know to call if nobody tells them too?
The short answer is: Once kitty has been trained to perform a specific task in response to a specific situation; they will perform that task when that situation presents itself whether you tell them too or not. We must remember, kitties’ are very smart. They are capable of assessing a situation and acting appropriately, especially when they’ve been individually trained. We want to remind you that kitties and doggies are completely different animals with differing motivations and abilities. Kitties react from a place of love and devotion. For that reason, kitty must bond with the person/handler they are to help. That person must become kitty’s primary caretaker; in so much as they are able. You can check out our Bonding Tips and Techniques in the links below.
Now, let’s talk about some of the other options available besides a land line. Most people have heard of those Emergency Alert monitors. Technology has come a long way since the introduction of the first Emergency Alert System. They typically come with a base unit, and a necklace or bracelet with a button to be pushed if a person needs help. Most of the units today are about the size of an old fashioned answering machine. Because mommy falls and passes out all the time, her case manager is always trying to get mommy to sign up for one of these devices. Mommy ain’t having it. She says the necklace is ugly, and she doesn’t need yet another item taking up precious outlet and cabinet space. MOL And besides, she has us.
But let’s say you do want to go this route. You need to know that besides the initial cost of the unit, there is a monthly monitoring fee. The charges vary between companies, but all of these units are monitored 24/7/365. They are typically set up to call your emergency contact before alerting 911 authorities. We used to have a neighbor who had one of these units and she would press that button all the time. You could hear the voice come booming out of the base unit calling to her and asking what she had done, and if she wanted them to call her son. Her son was set up as her emergency contact, so they would call him, before alerting an ambulance, the police or fire services. These units are meant to be heard all over the house, so you need to be aware of how loud they will be. This is important as kitty will need to be trained not to be afraid of the noise/voice.
Now, let’s get to the training part. An old answering machine would make a great alternate training device since they would have a large play button, and one could record a voice message that would respond/play after the button is pushed. Of course you can use fingernail polish or a permanent marker to color the “play” button red, but it’s not necessary. There is controversy about whether cats can actually see the color red or not. The one large button is your main focus regardless of color. You will want to simulate the situation as closely as possible during training. Mommy laughs about how much extra time she actually spends on the floor during training.
We’ll use passing out as our example for this training exercise. You’ll start out on the floor and instruct kitty/doggy to push the emergency call button. Pick a short phrase that’s easy to remember during a crisis and that’s only used for this task. You might say something like, “Call for Help”, “Get Help”, “Push Button”, or just “Help”. Be sure you are close enough to the base unit to take kitty’s paws and push the button without getting up. You can also enlist a second person to assist you with kitty if that’s an option available to you. Altho’ at some point you’ll need to be completely alone with kitty to simulate the actual incident. And remember when setting up the unit, kitty must be able to easily get to the base unit. You can also train kitty to push the button on the necklace in the same manner. But decide which action you want kitty to perform and stick to it. In other words, kitty will either be trained to push the button on the base unit or the necklace, but not both. You don’t want to confuse kitty or set kitty up to fail.
While you’re on the floor, tell kitty to push the button and then place kitty’s paw on the button and gently push down. (Remember to use an alternate training device such as an old answering machine with the volume turned all the way up.) The recording should start and say something like, the person’s name, brief silence and then, “Do You Need Help?!” “Are you okay?” “What happened”, and “Do you want me to call someone”. It would also be helpful to record other people for kitty to hear, as monitors can be male or female. Do Not allow kitty to run away when the voice starts talking. And always remember to reward kitty with extra love. Training sessions should be consistent and short. Remember, training is all about repetition and rewards. Training should happen at least once a day for 15 to 20 minutes. If you miss a day, be prepared to start from the beginning. Repeat these steps daily until kitty starts heading for the emergency unit without being told to. We can’t say how long this will take, as all kitties are different, but it will happen so long as you’re consistent.
Once kitty starts heading for the machine on their own, pretend you’re unconscious. Say nothing and do nothing. Kitty may or may not push the button. If kitty does not push the button, rewind a bit and instruct kitty to perform the desired action. Keep at it. One day, the light bulb will go off and kitty will follow through without being told to. Always remember to reward kitty when they get any part of the task right. Do Not reward kitty if they don’t respond at all. You will also have to monitor kitty to be sure they’re not pushing the button just because. Initially kitty may think this is a new game.
Do Not yell at, hit, or drench kitty with a water bottle for “playing”. Instead, use this as a training opportunity. Start a training session. In a calm voice, tell kitty this isn’t a game and remove them from the unit until you’re ready to train. You should also make the monitoring company aware of the fact that a Service Cat is employed in your house. Once kitty is performing consistently, you may contact the monitoring company and set up a training session where they are involved and you’re using the actual medical alert unit. Remember, the closer you can simulate the situation and training props, the better. Always set kitty up to succeed and reward appropriate responses with lots of praise and love.
Well, this has been a rather long posty, but we do hope it has helped someone. Today we covered the Emergency Alert systems. There are other options available, and we will try to cover those soon. Ifin you have any questions about this or anythin’ else, purrlease ‘member to leave them in the comments, or email us. And check out our other Service Cat posts below.
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
Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. Me’s been thinkin’ we need a special graphic fur these postys, what do ya’ll think? It’s still chilly here, and mommy did somethin’ that kinked up her neck. She says every time she moves there’s a jolt of pain that shoots through her body. Looks like we’ll be givin’ her lots of massages today. As always, we welcome your questions and comments ‘bout training and anythin’ in general. So ifin you have a training question, purrlease leave it in the comments or send us an email. We do our bestest to answer them quickly. Our Service Cat posts are not meant to be a step by step training manual, as training is all ‘bout Repetition, Consistency and Rewards; but rather tips, tricks and entertainment. The followin’ will be written in human English fur translation and reader ease. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the bottom of this or any Service Cats post (each link opens in a new window). Okay, the business is outta the way, so let’s get to it.
We first want to address a concern brought to our attention by our dear friend Tucker from Feline Opines. Last week we addressed the issue of kitty begging for human food. Like many of our friends, Tucker, has some health issues and must be careful about the foods he eats. Altho’ we didn’t promote feeding your kitty/doggy from your plate, we did imply that it was okay to give, in limited quantities, some human food to your pets on their own plates in their own space. We did however, fail to say that any human food you feed to your kitty/doggy should be without any spices including salt and pepper, and should be an acceptable food for the particular animal. Here’s a couple of links to appropriate human food for cats: Pet Care RX and Care 2. And of course there’s always the balanced raw food diet that’s totally appropriate. The key word here is “Balanced”. There is a lot of information available as well as recipes for Raw diets, just make sure what you feed is balanced and contains all the necessary ingredients and supplements. Most of you know that we currently eat a commercially prepared freeze dried raw diet with added water or low sodium broths. Me’s not quite ready to sink me’s teeth into completely raw flesh and bone.
Our favorite noms, Primal chicken and salmon and Whole Life duck.
We didn’t get any questions last week so we’re going to check in with Raena’s wheelchair training. We left off with Raena learning about the control panel and how to turn the chair on and off; and how to be comfortable with accidental button pushes including the horn. Let me say, Raena is really smart and not afraid of anything. Those qualities make for a great Service Cat, but they also keep everybody/kitty in the house on their toes. Y, Just the other night mommy decided to run up and check the mail. She was hurting really bad and decided to take the wheelchair instead of trying to walk to the mailboxes. It was close to dinner time, so mommy was in a hurry and decided she’d go alone. We can see her the whole time from the front door. Raena’s never been outside in mommy’s lap in the wheelchair and since it was dinner time, mommy didn’t even give a thought to taking Raena. Big mistake. Raena was prancing around in front of the wheelchair so much, mommy couldn’t even move. Mommy would never run over us ya’ know.
Finally, mommy relented and picked her up. Raena got all harnessed up and off they went. What should have taken 2 minutes, had turned into a full blown lesson and made dinner twenty minutes late. That girl just has no perception of time or that her antics always cause meal time to be late. Me isn’t sure her tummy clock works right. Anyways, harnessed up and positioned on mommy’s lap, Raena and mommy sat at the front door for a few minutes while mommy instructed Raena to turn on the chair. Raena seemed to be a little confused. We don’t normally wear our harnesses to drive the wheelchair in the house, nor is the chair facing the front door. Raena kept looking back at mommy and then the front door. Me was watching from a safe distance down the hall at the doorway of the bedroom. Raena may be smart, but that girl is dangerous for sure.
Mommy finally got tired of waiting, and hearing me meweek for dinner and pulled Raena to her lap. She opened the door and they headed out to the mailboxes. Me moved to the cat tree to watch the events as they unfolded. Mommy had the chair turned up to full speed ahead and before Raena knew it they were sittin’ in front of the mailboxes. Raena must have seen a bug or something because she started chirping and tried to jump down. Observing safely from the cat tree in the house, me thought we were never going to get dinner. Me started squeaking out meows left and right. “Raena, you’re causing dinner to be late!” me meowed. “Raena, me’s starving!” Me added. Did she care? No. Mommy put the mail in the side bag on the chair and repositioned Raena on her lap and told her to turn on the chair.
Raena looked at mommy and at the house. Me’s sure she could see and hear me, so me meowed out again. She slowly moved her paw towards the control panel and a car zoomed past on the highway. Her head turned and her eyes darted towards the highway as she fell back into mommy’s lap. Of course the car was gone by then, but Raena didn’t really understand that. Mommy cooed at Raena and repositioned her yet again, and instructed her to turn on the chair. Mommy began crooning one of her made up praise songs about how smart Raena was and how much mommy loved her. Raena seemed to get a jolt of courage and pawed the power button as well as the horn. By this time me just knew the whole complex was watching. You can’t see them, but let me tell ya’, these old folks are nosier than a nose. If something’s going on in the parking lot, they’re all watching from their doors and windows.
Anyways, mommy gently told Raena to get off the horn and positioned her head over the joystick and told her to bite. They must have spent 47 hours 5 minutes with mommy trying to get Raena to bite the joystick before mommy pulled Raena back into her lap and zoomed back home. The reality is, there are too many distractions outside for a lesson. But anytime kitty is eager to train, you need to take advantage of it. And remember, if kitty gets any part of the training right, they get rewarded. So Raena got lots of extra love. Altho’ she hadn’t bit the joystick or drove the chair, she did turn the chair on and for the most part sat quietly in mommy’s lap. Even tho’ she initially tried to get down to chase whatever she saw, she calmed quickly when mommy told her “No”. And yes, me ran down the hall as they approached the door. Mommy’s pretty dangerous behind the joystick too. And yes, we finally got dinner.
Me’s gonna wrap it up now and go give mommy some of those much needed massages. ‘Member, ifin you have any questions or ideas, let us know. And don’t furget to check out the links below fur other Service Cat stories and/or training tips.
Do you (your cat/dog) get distracted easily?
Can (you) your human easily redirect you if you’re distracted?
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
Welcome. Fank you fur celebratin’ our 3rd Blogoversary with us. Every year we learn a little more ‘bout this wonderful world of bloggin’. Which brings us to the topic fur today…Service Cat Monday. Raena’s trainin’ is movin’ right along, and we’re purrleased to have your purrticipation through questions and comments. As with all our educational postys the followin’ will be in human English fur translation and reader ease. Our Service Cat and Training posts aren’t meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, but rather tips, tricks, and entertainment. ‘Member, trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Ifin you’ve missed any posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links below. Well, the business is done, let’s get to the fun.
We got a great question from awnty Vanessa. She wants to know, “How can I get my cats to stop begging for human food?” We’re guessing there may be quite a few of you out there with this problem. And we know some of our doggy pals are for sure making meal time a real challenge for their peeps. Now we replied to awnty Vanessa by saying that she “oopsied” by giving kitty a bite from the plate. She didn’t respond, but mommy says that in her experience, cats aren’t typically beggars, especially of human food. That is, until they’ve been offered their first tasty bite. As most of you know, sis Lexi was a pizza fanatic, and then me joined the fan club. It’s not because we kitties think pizza smells so delicious we’ve just got to have a bite, it’s because mommy introduced it to us. We don’t have pizza very often, but when we do, we get the pizza first and mommy gets any leftovers. She created pizza monsters. MOL Another human food we’re totally crazy about is turkey. But again, only because mommy gave us our first bite. We’ve not had many turkeys, but we’ve never once tried to jump on the counters to scavenge the bird. But you’re not here to hear about our human food likings.
As with all training, it’s easier to train kitty/doggy “NO” by never allowing them to have that first bite. But you did, so now you want to know how to stop them from begging. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t give kitty/doggy a few bites of their favorite good/okay for them human food. But, it does mean, they don’t get it from your plate while you’re trying to eat. This is one of those training tips that’s good for all anipals to have. The last thing you want is kitty/doggy jumping on the table and swiping food when you have guests. Because this is about food, no treats are allowed as rewards. Love is the only reward allowed.
Raena’s not actually begging here, but alerting. However, this
is often what begging looks like.
Remember, training is repetitious and must be implemented by every one in the household. That cutesy kitten/puppy behavior isn’t so cute when they grow into large adults or you have company. So, you’ve prepared your meal with kitty free counters (see our Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty post), and are ready to eat. We should add that you might want to feed kitty/doggy their meal while you’re preparing yours, or about 30 minutes before your meal. Or, you might want to feed them their food while you eat. Other than a raw food diet, their meal shouldn’t have any of those delicious human foods from your plate.
Let’s take a look at where you eat first. Do you eat at a dining room table, or are you sitting in your favorite chair/sofa in front of the teevee? If you’re at the dining room table, don’t allow kitty to jump on the table. This isn’t often a problem with dogs, but if you have a dog that can/does jump on the table, stop allowing that behavior. The above “Discipline” post applies to you as well. If kitty jumps on the table, remove them while saying “No” in a gentle but firm voice. You may have to get up, because you want to put kitty in an appropriate area and reward them with a little love…”NO TABLE SCRAPS!!!” Mommy says not even if it’s the tastiest whole chicken ever.
Yep, only the kitties eat on the dining room table here.
And remember, Don’t Yell, Hit, Spray with Water/Air, Push, or any other negative reaction you might think of. Positive reinforcement is far more successful than Negative reinforcement. Sitting at your feet staring at you is not an appropriate spot; so remove kitty/doggy from the room altogether. The only exception to this rule would be Service Animals. They should be trained to lay beside your chair or under the table beside your feet (Please remember they are there and don’t kick them). Kitty/Doggy should be trained the simple commands of Lay/Down and Stay. (See the Proper Training Methods pt. 1 and 2 posts below). Remember, kitty/doggy should never be given a bite of human food from your plate. We’ll get to that in a minute. As long as you and everybody in the house follow the rules, kitty/doggy will be totally disinterested in your meal time in no time.
Raena and me eat in the living room so we can keep an eye on mommy.
So, you don’t eat at the table. You prefer to watch teevee while you eat. There’s a couple of different scenarios here. Some of you may have trays, desks or some other small table or you may just use your lap. Treat those trays, desks or small tables just like you would a dinner table. No kitty/doggy allowed especially during your meal time. If you’re using your lap, treat your body and the immediate area around you like the table; no kitty/doggy allowed on the chair or sofa beside you or behind you while you eat. Again, sitting and staring at you is not an appropriate spot. If you have a gate/room divider where you can separate kitty/doggy from you but where they can still see you, you might want to use it at meal times. Mommy does not like moving the anipals to a separate room and closing them behind a door. This doesn’t teach them not to beg. What it does teach them, is that while their family gathers for “fun”, they’re not wanted.
I’s offen lay right here at mommy’s feet while she eats in her
chair and watches teevee.
So how do you keep kitty/doggy out of your plate and off the furniture while you eat? The same simple steps of putting them down while gently but firmly saying “NO”. You may also implement the Lay/Down and Stay commands. Do Not throw any toys to redirect their attention. Dogs especially will see this as a game of fetch. Trust me, you’re not eating in peace if you have to keep throwing the slobbery toy. If you have one of those cool electric toys, you might want to start it up before you sit down with your plate. For the kitties, a Yeowww nip toy might be a welcome distraction before you sit. Just remember, don’t let your pet tempt you into an interactive play session while you try to eat.
Always remove kitty/doggy from your surroundings while you eat. Even if they appear to lie down peacefully on the other end of the sofa. If you allow it, before you know it, they’ll be right back to begging and sticking their paws in your plate. Provide kitty/doggy their own sitting/sleeping spots, such as a Cat Tree, Perch, Bed, etc., so they will have somewhere to go other than next to you. Service Animals should be trained to lay quietly at your feet. DO NOT Yell, Hit, Push or Spray with Water/Air. Always use positive reinforcement in the form of love. A pet on the head along with a little praise is sufficient reward. You do want to get back to your meal before it gets cold, right?. MOL
You can see in the background, me has food and a nip nanna.
Purrlenty to keep me busy while mommy eats.
Training is all about Repetition and everyone has to be on board. Finally, you’re eating in peace with kitty/doggy totally ignoring your plate of delicious goodness. Feels great doesn’t it? Only after 5 consecutive days of eating undisturbed can you reward kitty/doggy with a few bites of that human food they so wanted. Do Not let them eat from your plate!!! Do Not let them lick your plate or utensils!!! Do Not feed them at the table or sofa. After you have finished eating, get up and put those bites into a “special dish” and give to kitty/doggy in their normal dining area. You can also implement a “Special Place” for those “Special Bites”. As soon as they finish, pick up the “special plate” and put it away for the next time. Mommy likes to put our special plates on the counter while she eats. We see her placing them there and know that when she gets finished, we’re getting something special. We’re happy to leave her alone so she can finish faster and we can get our bites.
I’s have a Yeowww toy to keep me busy too.
So to sum up this training post, Don’t start kitty/doggy on human food treats while you eat in the first place. If you did, STOP. Always remove them from the area and reward them with love; No Treats, No Food. Once training has been successful, you may reward them with a few tasty bites on their own plate at their own space. Positive reinforcement and Repetition will always be successful, it just takes time.
We love ya’ll.
We hope this posty has helped ya’. Purrlease ‘member to leave any questions or comments in the comment section below. You may also email us any questions you might have. We try to answer all training questions in a post, cuz mommy says ifin one purrson’s askin’ there are 10 more with the same issue. Purrlease click the links below to check out other training tips and stories. And most of all, have a great week.
Do you (your anipal) beg for human food?
Do you humans feed your anipals human food from your plate while you’re eating?
Is there a particular human food you (your anipal) goes crazy/begs for?
Till the next time……………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Love and Hugs and Kitty Kisses