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Service Cats: Going For A Walk When You’re In A Wheelchair

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!!! 

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

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.

 

 Dezi outside in walking harness

 

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”.

 

 Raena goes for a walk outside

 

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 goes for a walk outside

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.

 

 Dezi walks outside in her harness on a leash

 

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.

 

 Dezi lays on Liberty cat tree

 

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

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           

Service Cats: Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls

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.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

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.

 

Raena in tiger kitty holster cat harness

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.

 

 Raena lays on the shower chair

 

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.

 

 Raena lays in the wheelchair

 

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.

 

 Raena lays in wheelchair

 

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 

 

 Dezi lays in the wheelchair

 

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.

 

 Dezi laying in 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

 

Service Cats

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost 

Housing Laws and Exceptions     Accommodations and 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 or Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & the 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 Emergency Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty    

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

Service Cats: A Loopy Training Session

MeOW It’s Service Cat Monday. And as purromissed, you all are in fur a loopy training session today. Me doesn’t know who was funnier, mommy or Raena. As me tells you every week, training is all ‘bout consistency. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Oh yeah, and Rewards. Don’t furget those rewards. Anyhow, ya’ don’t start training something ifin ya’ don’t plan to see it thru. Mommy says the only reason to skip a training session is death. So, let me get this business stuffs outta the way, so we can get on with it. The following will be written in human English fur reader and translation ease. As always, we welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. We try to answer all questions in a timely manner; and you can post them in the comments section or send us an email. Our training posts aren’t intended to be a step by step manual as training can be boring due to the Repetitive nature. Instead they are tips, tricks and techniques mommy has developed over the many years she has spent training animals, cats in purrticular. And 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 training post. MeeeeeeeeYeow

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

So, as most of you know, mommy’s training sis Raena on driving the wheelchair. Her training has been going well, and she’s getting more and more comfortable every day. As most of you also know, mommy had dental surgery last week and was a little loopy for a few days afterwards. Some of you assumed Raena’s training would be put on hold till mommy recovered. We know that, because we got a few emails about just that. Oh Contraire Mon Cher. As me said earlier, mommy says the only excuse for skipping a training session is death. And just because mommy felt like she was, she was still breathing, so no skipping training. Mommy says the no skipping rule exists because often the result of one skipped session turns into more, and/or the animal, especially cats, tend to “forget” what they’ve learned and you have to start over from the beginning.

 

 Raena lays in wheelchair

 

The morning of mommy’s surgery, she got ready and then decided to have a short training session while she waited on her ride. Everything went pretty much according to plan. Raena was a bit over stimulated because she knew something was up, but she wants to please mommy so much she happily went along with about a 10 minute training session. Mommy says when kitty is over stimulated 10 minutes is better than nothing. We all spent the rest of the time till mommy’s ride arrived getting and giving extra love.  It was a little after dinner time when mommy got home, so feeding us was the top priority, after a short welcome home love session of course. At this point, mommy was totally alert and aware of everything, including her pain. While we ate, she busied herself reading about the medicines she was to take and what she could and couldn’t do, to keep her mind alert. Mommy knew, that once she slowed down, the anesthetic would kick back in and make her tired and loopy.

 

 Raena chews on the wheelchair bag

 

Shortly after our dinner, Raena and mommy headed back to the wheelchair for another short training session which went well. Mommy had nothing in the house, that was on her list of acceptable foods, and all the stores in town were already closed. Me tells you this, because it’s important, in explaining why mommy stays loopy for so long. She wasn’t allowed to eat or drink for 8 hours before the surgery and other than a scoop of ice cream she ate on the way home, she had nothing to eat for 36 hours after her surgery. So all that medicine was still coursing through her veins and making her a little loopy with her totally empty stomach. 

 

Dezi lays on top of cat tree ledge

 

The next day, mommy was feeling no pain. She had a bit of a headache, but she couldn’t have walked a straight line if her life had depended on it. But training doesn’t stop for loopy mommies. Of course Raena and me were on guard, keeping a close eye on mommy. She had fallen at some point and smashed me’s cat scouts cardwood derby entry, so we knew we needed to watch her. When mommy went to the wheelchair and called for Raena, me headed to the top of the Liberty cat tree in record time. This wasn’t me’s first loopy training session, and me knew what could happen. Of course, Raena loves mommy so much, she cautiously ran over and jumped in mommy’s lap when she was called. Mommy positioned Raena on her right leg and reached up to make sure the speed was turned all the way down. 

 

Raena lays in the wheelchair

But, in mommy’s hazy state, instead of turning the chair down, she turned the speed up full blast. Mommy then told Raena to turn on the chair. Raena pawed at the power button, the horn and then the speed controls. We do have some big paws, ya know. The chair began to beep uncontrollably. Mommy softly told Raena to stop pawing all the buttons, she had already turned the speed down. (The wheelchair will continually beep if it’s already at top speed or low speed and you continue to push the speed button.) So mommy assumed Raena was pushing the zero speed button because that’s the button she thought she had pushed. Anyways, Raena sat back and mommy gave her a small pet and hug for turning the chair on. Remember, you always reward proper actions. Mommy then repositioned Raena again, and told her to “Bite” the joystick. Mommy was talking really funny. (She says it’s because some of the teeth that help the tongue form words are now missing.) Apparantly, Raena didn’t understand the command, because she turned and looked at mommy and sat back down. 

 

 Raena lays in wheelchair

 

Mommy repositioned Raena yet again, and repeated the command, “Bite”. Raena looked up at me atop the Liberty cat tree, and then back at mommy, who sat waiting with her eyes glazed over. Mommy took her hand and went to put it on Raena’s head to gently guide her, and instead, hit the joystick. Mommy and Raena jolted forward. Raena was pushed back into mommy’s chest by the force of the jolt. Raena’s eyes got as big as saucers and mommy giggled. She apologized to Raena, and repositioned her yet again. “Power on” and then “Bite” were her next commands. Raena complied.

 

When she bit the joystick she also turned her head just enough to pull the joystick backwards. Mommy, Raena and the wheelchair all jolted backwards and right into our brown cat tree. The tree shook and stopped the chair, and Raena jumped from mommy’s lap to the tree. She had released the joystick as soon as the chair started moving. Mommy started petting air and apologizing to air Raena. Real Raena was looking on from the brown cat tree right behind mommy. Mommy finally realized Raena was no longer sitting in her lap and looked around for her. Mommy can’t turn her head to see behind her, so she couldn’t see Raena sitting right behind her. Of course, we’re not so sure mommy could see anything with her hazy eyes.

 

Dezi leaves the top of the Liberty cat tree

Anyways, not one to give up, mommy called for Raena and the little stinker jumped right back into mommy’s lap. Mommy gave Raena big hugs and me took the opportunity to shinny down the Liberty tree and run down the hall to the bedroom. Once again, mommy positioned Raena and instructed her to “Power On” the chair and “Bite” the joystick. Mommy reached around Raena and pushed at the control panel in an attempt to turn the chair speed down. Raena bit down on the joystick and held still. Mommy rewarded her with lots of hugs, and then told her to “Release” the joystick. Apparantly, Raena likes jolting, because during the love fest and command to “Release“,  she pushed the joystick forward before releasing it. You guessed it, mommy hadn’t gotten the speed turned down and her and Raena jolted forward yet again right into the Liberty cat tree. Thank the cats, mommy had the “bumper pads” on the chair. The good news is that Raena sat back in mommy’s lap after releasing the joystick and jolting forward. Raena got lots of Loving rewards for performing her duties “correctly”. Yep, even though they jolted forwards and backwards, Raena had “Powered On”, “Bit”, “Held” and “Released” the joystick like an old pro.

 

Dezi lays on Liberty tree and looks out the front door

When mommy announced the training session was over, me headed back up the hall to get in on some of that loving and some treats. That’s right, we both got treats. After all, me’s been driving the chair now for a while, all by meself. That evening the training session went pretty much the same way. It took a couple of days for the anesthetic to completely wear off, and training sessions to get back to normal. Altho’, even un-loopy this training session is about par for the course. Mommy says there’s nothing wrong with making training fun. Training might be serious business, but don’t make it so serious, you take the joy out of it for everybody/kitty/doggy. 

 

 Raena lays on the Liberty cat tree

 

Me’s gonna wrap it up now. It’s time fur another training session for Raena and the wheelchair. ‘Member, ifin you have any questions, suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section, or send us an email. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, click on the links below.

 

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

 

Service Cats

 

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws and Exceptions     Accommodations and 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 or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi the Wheelchair and the Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble and Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help 

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

When to train     Explaining Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings

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

Medicating Kitty    

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

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.

 

Dezi lays on Liberty Tree in her harness

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.

 

Raena looks out the door while laying on the small perch

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.

 

Dezi lays in the wheelchair

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”.

 

 Raena lays in the wheelchair

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.

 

 Raena lays in wheelchair

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.

 

 Raena bathes while laying in the wheelchair

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.

Give away entry graphic

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

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

Service Cats

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Training Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost 

Housing Laws and Exceptions     Accommodations and 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 or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & the Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble and Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help 

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

When to Train     Explaining Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings

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

Medicating Kitty 

Service Cats: Raena and the Wheelchair Part 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.

 

 Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

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.

 

 Raena checks out the noms awnty Anonymous sent.

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.

 

 Raena lays in the wheelchair

 

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.

 

 Raena lays in the wheelchair

 

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.

 

 Dezi lays in the wheelchair

 

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.

 

Raena lays in wheelchair

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.

 

Raena in tiger kitty holster

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

 

Service Cats  

What to Look For     Training Foundations     Train Kitty to Massage

Smelling Disease     Do You Need One     Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws and Exceptions     Accommodations and 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 or Vest Leash or Stroller

Dezi the Wheelchair and the Chest     Round and Round We Go

Tumble and Fall Response     Raena Calls for Help

The Rest of the Story     Raena and the Wheelchair Pt. 1

When to Train     Explaing Rewards and Kitty’s Feelings 

Stop Kitty’s Begging 

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