Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. Grab your coffee, tea, coke (soda pop) or whatever your purrfered drink is and pull up a chair. Today we’re gonna be lookin’ at leash trainin’ and basic commands from a different purr-spective. Befur we move on tho’, we’d like to reiterate a sentiment from our last Service Cat Monday posty. After readin’ some of the comments, we wondered ifin some had actually read the post?. So again, THERE IS NO BAD CAT!!! CATS DO NOT ACT OUT OF SPITE!!! NOT ALL CATS OF A SPECIFIC COLOR PATTERN ACT THE SAME WAY!!!
Now, as with all our Service Cat Monday postys, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our posts are not meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Our posts consist of Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/or developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purr-ticular. 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.
MeOW, Our disclaimer seems to get longer and longer each week?. Anyways, we got a question from a puppy owner that we felt needed to be addressed before the puppy became a full grown untrained/misbehaving dog. The question was: “How do you train a puppy/dog to heel while on crutches or in a wheelchair? How do you keep said puppy/dog from running into the wheelchair’s wheels and getting tangled up?” Being disabled and using a cane/wheelchair herself, mommy realized she had been remiss in dealing with training issues for a fairly large part of the population; the disabled. Mommy says you don’t realize how tricky every day living can be when you lose a basic ability/motor function. The whole world is set up for fully functional people. However, as medicine improves, both humans and animals are living longer. And, as technology advances, there becomes more ways people can have accidents and/or become disabled, even if only temporarily; such as after a surgery. Fur the purr-puss of this post, we’re assuming kitty or doggy is already trained to wear a harness or collar with a leash attached. If not, please see our post “Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing”.
Just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to have a pet. That being said, All kittens and puppies need some basic training. As anyone who has ever had their life blest with a kitten or puppy knows, they are full of energy and into everything. It’s the nature of youth. For their safety and yours, they need to learn the rules and at least a few basic commands. Before we proceed, we’d like to remind everyone that there are often puppy classes offered for free or a small fee by some of the local pet stores or humane societies. These classes help you bond with puppy and learn how to teach them to sit, stay, heel and usually a few tricks, along with socialization techniques. These classes are usually very beneficial, and you can find out what’s offered in your area by calling around or looking online. Your VET might even be a great resource in finding a puppy class.
But, let’s say the classes didn’t work for you; or due to your disability or lack of classes in your area, you need to train puppy yourself. And of course, everybody knows, there are few if any kitten training classes; so training kitty is all up to you. We stated last week, that one should NEVER walk a puppy or kitten while on crutches. That’s an accident waiting to happen. Crutches are very often a temporary situation, so we would highly recommend having someone else walk puppy until you’re off the crutches or at the very least can get by with a cane. Clicker training is very effective for puppies and dogs, and even some cats. Before you start training, you need to decide which Reward system you want to use. Mommy highly recommends “Love Rewards” because it’s simple and you don’t have to remember to have treats on you all the time.
Raena in a “Sit & Stay”
Because we don’t recommend walking a kitten/puppy while on crutches, we’re not even going to address it further. However, if you’re on a cane or in a wheelchair, there’s no reason you can’t train a kitten or puppy to behave properly. Of course you want to start with the “Scent Me Up” game with kittens, and you can even do it with puppies. They don’t have the same scent glands, but will enjoy the time and love you spend with them. The next step is “Sit”. If using treats as rewards, show the animal the treat, let them sniff it and then say “Sit”. Move the treat over the animals head. As the treat moves further back, the animal should respond by sitting and tilting their head to follow the treat. Have them hold that position for 5 seconds before giving them the treat. DO NOT give the treat if puppy/kitty stands back up; instead, start over from, the beginning. If you choose “Love Rewards”, move the empty hand over the animal’s head and after 5 seconds slowly drop the hand to pet the animal and tell them how good they are/proud you are/how much you love them, etc.. If the behind doesn’t go down, gently push the animal’s behind down with your free hand as your other hand goes over the head, while saying “Sit”. Repeat these steps until kitty/puppy sits every time.
The next step is “Stay”. While the animal is sitting, put your hand in front of their face and say “Stay”. Don’t leave the room, but walk a few feet away while repeating “Stay”. After 5 seconds, reward kitten/puppy and continue to repeat until “Sit and Stay” are performed every time. “Heel” is basically the “Sit and Stay” command performed together while on a walk, where the animal sits by your feet. However, if you’re in a wheelchair, you don’t want kitty/puppy by the wheels where they can get tangled up and choke or get run over. We recommend a retractable leash so the animal can get far enough in front of you in order to avoid the leash getting caught in the wheels (3 to 4 feet should be sufficient to keep the animal safe and allow you to have control of the animal). Mommy also prefers the animal to walk in front of a cane as well. This will help keep the animal from winding around the cane and tripping you. Anytime the animal gets excited and runs back to you, STOP and repeat the “Sit and Stay” command. Mommy prefers the animal to “Sit and Stay” directly in front of your feet or the foot rest on a wheelchair. Again, this keeps the animal away from the cane or wheels. Don’t forget to offer Rewards and then begin your walk again. Remember to Reward any successful walk.
When starting the walk, Do Not allow kitty/doggy to rush out the door, but Do let them calmly exit in front of you. Start at the door with the “Sit and Stay” command and then say, “Walk”. This of course only works if you’re on a cane or an electric wheelchair. If you’re in a manual wheelchair, we don’t recommend walking an untrained kitten/puppy. Unless you have help, we would highly recommend adopting an older kitten/puppy that already has some experience with basic commands and walking on a leash. If you’re in a manual wheelchair, you’ll need to get an appropriate lead harness that can be tethered to the frame of the wheelchair. This is not a first time training harness! Puppy should already be comfortable walking on a leash and performing the “Sit and Stay” commands because it is hands free and you have very little actual control over the animal. DO NOT expect any cat, small dog or puppy to be able to pull you in the wheelchair. But, this type of harness will allow the dog to walk safely in front of you while allowing you to keep your hands free to propel the chair forward yourself. The above link is just an example. We’ve not used or tried the harness and therefor cannot endorse it.
Well, we’re gonna wrap it up. We do hope this helps some of you. Being disabled doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pet ownership, you just have to be more aware of the added dangers to you and your pet. Take precautions to keep your pet safe around any medical equipment you might have while making sure they’re comfortable with it. We know this post was more tailored to the doggies, but as you can see from the fotos, more and more kitties are goin’ fur walks these days, so we hope to hear some of you kitties are enjoyin’ your leash time with your humans. We’ll be addressin’ some aggression issues next week, so stay tuned. And ifin you have any trainin’ questions, general questions, or suggestions, leave them in the comments or send us an email. And ‘member, ifin you’ve missed any of our Service Cat Monday postys you can ketch up by clickin’ the links 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
Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty Internal Disputes
The Rest of the Story Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4
Stop Kitty’s Begging Calling For Help Options Pt. 1
Meowllo and welcome to another Service Cat Monday. It’s cold and windy here, but fur the moment, we have sunshine and shadows. Mommy wanted me to let everypawdy know, that we might be writin’ a couple things today that will upset a few folks; but ifin you’ll stick with us, we purromiss you’ll unnerstand our point. We welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions. The only thing we ask, is that when askin’ a trainin’ or behavioral question, purrlease try to be as specific as pawssible. We’re not mind readers, and do wanna try to help ya’ out. But without specifics (you can even include an example) we can’t be sure ifin we’re actually givin’ ya’ the right tips. You can leave those questions/suggestions in the comments or send us an email. As with all our Service Cat postys, the followin’ will be written in Human English fur translator and reader ease. Our Trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step manual as trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. Our Trainin’ posts include tips, tricks and techniques used/developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ on the links at the end of this or any Service cat post. We’ve got some great questions to address, so let’s get to them.
The question we’re gonna address today, was left last week. We’re not sure if this is an ongoing situation, or one from the past. Never the less, it’s weighed heavy on our minds since it was posted and we feel we just have to address it. The thought of it has haunted mommy all week, because there are currently breed laws in effect in many States against certain dogs because of misconceptions. And mommy couldn’t live with the thought of that happening to kitties. We’ll sum up the example given fur you: A person adopted a female Tuxedo kitty as well as an 8 year old human boy from a chaotic, violent, drug filled environment. Said kitty was terrified of the human boy and retreated to live in cabinets in the basement. Whether or not kitty had been abused, is/was truly unknown to the adopter. It also appeared that the adopter already had a resident Tuxedo male kitty in the home, possibly her littermate (the comment wasn’t specific). When the female Tuxie finally started to venture out of the basement she was bullied by the resident Tuxie male to the point that the adopter had to pen him so that he couldn’t get to her. And here is the question that was asked: Do you think it’s normal for some breeds to just be bullies and pick on those kitties who didn’t have such a good start in life?
Me’s not a bad kitty, me’s just assertin’ me’s claim.
The short answer is NO!!! Absolutely Not!!! First, let’s take a look at Cat Breeds in particular. ALL cats are descended from the Middle Eastern Wildcat. That’s right, those smooshed faced Persians, Color Pointed cross eyed Siamese, Floofy, floppy Ragdolls, and every other breed descended from the Felis Silvestris. Through natural gene mutation, cats adapted to their environments. Until that is, humans got involved. Breeders started cross breeding, inbreeding, and manipulating nature to create more desirable traits so they could make money. Don’t you go and hit that unfollow button. Me has a point to make. The results are not always in the best interest of the cat species. Now don’t nobody get angry with us, we’re only presenting the truth. And you know it too. Let’s keep going here. There’s conflicting evidence as to exactly when cats became domesticated, but for sure we’ve been part of human’s lives for at least 9000 years.
Now let’s take a look at a cat’s natural behavior. Yes, we have a point for all of this, so just bear with us. A cat has four basic functions bred into each and every one of us, wild or domesticated, naturally evolved or with breeder interference. We are born to hunt, eat, sleep and procreate. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on our innate nature to HUNT. Cats are preprogrammed to hunt prey to survive. Yes, even the adorable kitty purring in your lap. Cats have amazing smell receptors. The thing that makes us great Service Cats is our ability to smell the changes in mommy’s chemical make up before she passes out. That ability also lets us smell fear, other animals (prey and/or appropriate mates), changes in the weather, and other scents we encounter.
As most people know, cats are very territorial. Because of our need to defend and claim our territory, unaltered cats, especially males can exhibit unwanted/undesirable behavior such as marking or fighting. Spaying and Neutering goes a long way to alleviate this behavior. However, defending our territory is still paramount. The smell of fear often signals prey; and the scent of another cat, signals a possible change in the hierarchy. That innate need to hunt may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat, as we see them as prey. Cats desire live prey. Chasing is part of the hunt. A scared cat with it’s tail tucked between it’s legs and running away is a sure sign of prey. And that instinctual desire to chase, catch and kill kicks in. We can’t fight it, it’s part of our nature.
And the need to be “King of our jungle” may cause us to attack a scared or weaker cat. In the wild, only the strong survive to procreate and pass along their genes to the next generation. For these reasons it’s important for our humans to take appropriate steps to introduce new kitties to resident cats. A cat that exhibits fear, requires extra attention from his/her humans in order to rebuild his/her confidence.
The person who left this question stated that the young boy hadn’t abused the scared cat, but was unsure about the adults in the previous home, yet the cat was fearful of the child initially. We’d like to take a minute not to suggest that the boy had abused the cat, but to relate that children don’t know how to treat animals until they’re taught. Children often approach animals wrongly. It’s not uncommon to hear of a child or even adult who’s been scratched after pulling a tail or trying to restrain a kitty to hard or for too long. Cats can acclimate to chaotic surroundings, but they are generally happier in more structured surroundings.
When Raena came to live here, me was unsure about the whole thing. Sis Lexi had left abruptly, mommy and me had been alone for a couple of months and suddenly there was a new smell with an attitude in me’s house. Her innate drive to hunt caused her to chase anything, including me, that ran from her. It wasn’t till me’s tail went up and me stopped running and turned to face her, that she stopped treating me like prey. Because of me’s uncertainty and confusion about everything that had happened, me no doubt smelled like fear, and weakness. One of the most desirable traits of the Ragdoll, is the laid back nature we have. None the less, Raena initially presented as a “bully”. However, she was and is not a “bully”. She was only acting on her feline instincts.
In conclusion, we say again, NO cat or breed of cat are born “bullies”. Rather, we have an instinctual need to hunt and survive. Some cats have a stronger drive than others, but we all have it. We realize this isn’t much of a training post, but we have several questions about aggressive cat behavior, so we decided to address this issue by introducing the back story to where cats came from and what drives a cat’s existence first. And to stop the perception that any cat is a natural born “bully”. Since we all have the same DNA, that argument would mean that all cats are bullies, and we know that isn’t true.
As me just said, we have an aggressive issue comin’ up. But next week, we’re goin’ to meow a bit ‘bout leash trainin’ do’s and don’t’s and include a question from one of our doggy furiends. In the meantime, mommy wants to stress that you don’t walk a puppy while on crutches…EVER!!! That’s an accident waitin’ to happen. ‘Member you can get caught up on any trainin’ posty you missed by clickin’ the links below.
Till the next time………………………………………Be Blest!!!
Additional Resources: National Geographic (link above)
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 for Help Options Pt. 1
MeeeeeOW Welcome to another Service Cat Monday. We’re really excited today. We got some great questions last week, so we’ll be addressin’ some issues that can happen in any household includin’ those with Service Cats. So far, the sun is shinin’ here, so we’re gonna try to get our visitin’ caught up today. We welcome all your questions, comments and suggestions, so purrlease leave ‘em in the comments section, or send us an email. As with all our Service Cat postys, the followin’ will be written in human English fur translator and reader ease. Our trainin’ posts aren’t meant to be a step by step trainin’ manual, but rather tips, tricks and techniques used and/or developed by mommy throughout her many years of trainin’ animals, cats in purrticular. Trainin’ is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards. And remember, Rewards don’t always have to come in the form of food. Mommy purrfurs the Love reward system when training any animal, including food motivated dogs. 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 the questions.
First, because it’ll only take a few sentences, we’ve been asked why mommy prefers “Love Rewards” over “Treats”. The answer is pretty simple. Mommy realized she might not always have a treat handy, when she needed the animal to perform a certain command, but wanted to be able to reward the animal just the same. And when she started training cats, she learned really quick that not all cats are food motivated. In fact, for every one cat that is, there are nine more that aren’t. Those of you in multiple cat households have probably experienced this yourselves. And besides, who doesn’t want a little extra loving?.
Our second question today comes from our sweet friends, The Tribe of Five at Feline Opines.net. Their sweet Jasmine had been bullied by a previous kitty in the home. Because of that bullying, she lives sequestered in her own part of the house now. When we read that comment, it made us all cry. We know several kitties that live sequestered for a variety of reasons, and it always makes us sad. Let me be clear!!! We know these kitties are well loved in their respective homes and aren’t being “locked away” or sequestered out of meanness or to punish them. Kitties should NEVER be locked in a room for punishment!!! For that matter, Kitties should NEVER be punished. Never the less, it makes us sad to hear about a kitty who doesn’t have the run of the house, and the companionship of all their family members whenever they want. Jasmine’s lady human is really sad about this too. The bully kitty is no longer in their home, but Jasmine is still terrified and when brought out of sequestering, fearfully runs back to her “safe place”. Some of the kitties go and visit with Jasmine in her “Safe Place”, but she doesn’t want to join them out in the rest of the house.
Their question was, Would our training help Jasmine reintegrate back into the family and the whole house? In a word, YES!!! But of course, anybody who has ever been owned by a kitty knows, nothing is ever that simple in a kitty’s mind. So, what and how can they help Jasmine? Mommy says the first thing humans should remember, is that kitties can smell about 14 times better than humans; and scent lingers. No matter how long “bully kitty” has been gone from the home, it is possible for his/her scent to still be present in the house. Mommy recommends deep cleaning everything possible to neutralize the scents in the home. It’ll be kind of like starting fresh. Mommy loves steam, because it’s basically free, can be used on most surfaces and also kills bacteria. Now that you’re starting over, you go back to the beginning and play lots of “Scent Me Up” with all the kitties.
Do Not wash your hands, face, hair or clothes until after you’ve spread your scent as well as all the kitties scents on everybody/kitty in the house. Mommy also recommends wearing something you can live without for a while, because you’ll want to leave those heavily scented clothes with the sequestered kitty afterwards. We love the “Scent Me Up” game and play it several times a day. This helps to form a stronger bond with everybody/kitty involved. Now we’ll be honest and tell you, we’ve not had any luck with those Pheromone plug ins, sprays, collars or drops, but many people have, so if you’d like to implement their use, feel free to try them out. We would be interested in learning in how they work if you choose to use them. Mommy did find a spot on called Beaphar Calming Spot On that worked somewhat on me. They come 3 spot ons to a box and each one lasts a month. (We’re not being paid for mentioning Beaphar, we’re just trying to offer helpful ideas).
The true goal here is to boost the self confidence of the bullied kitty. Mommy says you should make a small out of the way “Den/Hidey Hole” in the Living room, or whatever room the family traditionally congregates in your home. A carrier with the door off/open and towel over the top, is great. A closed box with a small opening cut out is also a good choice. A second “cubby” should also be placed in the sequestered area. Don’t forget to continue to play the “Scent Me Up” game every day. You can’t over play “Scent Me Up”, so have fun. Next you’re gonna want to swap sites and kitties. If at all possible, move the scared kitty in their “Cubby” to the open area and put the rest of the kitties in the “Sequestered” area. Don’t forget to close that area off, so scared kitty can’t get back in. Altho’ it sounds kinda mean, you’re forcing scared kitty to recognize there is nothing to be afraid of (anymore). The big bonus is that the other kitties are spreading their scent all over the “Sequestered” area.
A well adjusted, self assured kitty will have no fear
being in the middle of a room.
Whether scared kitty comes out of their “Cubby” or not, talk to them as if they were right in your lap. Hopefully, they’ll be there soon enough. Start with an hour and work your way up from there. If scared kitty likes treats or some kind of special food, or nip toy, give it to them while they’re in the congregation spot. If kitty’s still inside their “Cubby”, place the treats or food right in front of the “Cubby”, so they’ll have to at least stick their head out to eat. Same with the toy, place it right in front of the “Cubby”. And when allowed, give them lots of extra love. Do Not intrude on kitty’s “Safe Space” to pet them. Gradually allow one kitty at a time to join Scared kitty in the congregating spot. Mommy recommends when possible, that the first kitty should be laid back. Change out the scented clothing at least once a week.
Once scared kitty starts coming out of the “Cubby”, give them love and engage them with interactive play. Wand toys, feathers, mice, or whatever toy is preferred by kitty should be used. We’ve gotta tell you, those nip bubbles are great fun. Each kitty is different, so we can’t tell you how long this will actually take. But, remember, you must be consistent and do this every day. Work your way up to more and more play and feeding in the congregating spot and less and less fun and food in the “Sequestered” spot. If scared kitty hates getting their claws trimmed or brushing, make those the things you only do in the “Sequestered” area, so kitty associates the congregating spot with nothing but good things. And always remember, training is all about Repetition and Rewards. The pay off will be a smart, self assured happy kitty and home. We meowed a lot about the “Scent Me Up” game today. You can find the explanation/instructions in our Training Foundations post (link below).
Close da box so I’s can hide. MOL
We’re gonna call this a wrap. We do hope this helps some of you. And ‘member, you can ketch up on any posts you may have missed by clickin’ the links below. We’ve got some great things comin’ up fur ya’ this week, so stay tuned. We’ll be addressing another reader question next week, so mark your calendars. You don’t wanna miss it.
Till the next time……………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses
Deztinee and RaenaBelle