NDR - Cat behavior books

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Jen
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NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Jen » Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:48 pm

I'm trying to "squeaker-train" Scout to sit on command. (Squeaker instead of clicker so she and Roscoe don't get mixed-up.) The problem is that I know even less about cat behavior than I do dog behavior, so I am finding it hard to block and lure and stuff like that.

Anyone have any cat book recommendations? The only ones I can find at our bookstore are basic "Your cat needs a clean litterbox. You must train your cat to use a scratching post." type books.

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Calypso » Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:24 pm

Have you read Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor yet? That one talks about positive reinforcement in general and I remember her applying it to husbands, children, coworkers, and cats as well as dogs.

I think karenpryor.com also has a Clicker Training Your Cat (or something like that) book. I haven't read it, though.

I tried clicker training my cats a while ago but got frustrated and gave up. Now that I know more about it I should try again.

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Jen » Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:27 pm

It's next on my list as soon as I finish Culture Clash. The training center has it in the library, so I'm checking it out next week.

I guess what I was more looking for is cat behavior things like I know about dog behavior -- opposition reflex, why they jump, what looking away and yawning means. Maybe that isn't totally necessary to get the clicking down, but I thought it would be helpful.

I had a session with Scout today and by the end she was sitting. She always stretches her paws up and climbs in my lap to get at the treat in my hand, and finally I saw her hesitate when she reached up and you could almost see her thinking as she sat down, "Well, I don't know why this works, but I guess I'll give it a try." She did it three times in a row and we stopped.

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Kathleen » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:06 am

I'm pretty sure we have a book on clicker training your cat in the library too.
I've never tried it. My cats wont take tidbits from your hand or eat canned food so they would be tough.
We went to the lecture on clicker critters at the expo and watched a rabbit play basketball and run a little agility course. She said the key with the smaller animals is short short sessions. They will often seem engaged and suddenly just leave. Actually now that I think of it I've worked with some dogs that do the same thing.

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Jen » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:01 am

I'm going to have to look for that book.

And I'd love to see a rabbit play basketball. I really think Scout could be a star once I get better at clicking. She's super-smart and REALLY food & toy motivated.

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Jen » Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:47 am

Scout is a star! LOL! I read Don't Shoot the Dog and Karen Pryor mentioned the fact that the word isn't "copycat" for nothing. She's so right...

I taught Scout "sit" and "target" but I was having issues with "down." I tried the luring under my leg method but she just jumped over the leg. I gave up in frustration and started working with Roscoe, I had him do a few "downs" and next thing I know Scout is lying next to Roscoe in a perfect "down" position!!

So I tried again with the luring, but not under my leg and she got it immediately. So now Scout knows "sit" "target" and "down." She gets voice cues much faster than Roscoe, too. I wonder if it is because she has heard me say them so many times to Roscoe, though I use "touch" with Roscoe instead of "target."

Anyway, just thought I'd share. It cracks up our guests when I make her "sit" for a treat.

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Sabine » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:04 pm

Wow that is too cool! I've been meaning to try and train one of my cats, but I'm too busy with the dog!
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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Jen » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:27 pm

It has only taken a couple weeks of 4-5 SHORT sessions (probably 15 minutes altogether throughout the day) with Scout to get her reliably sitting on cue on a variable reinforcement schedule, mostly targeting on cue, and then of course the down is still in the new stages.

You should do it!

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Sabine » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:35 pm

I do think I will, one of my guys (Monster) is always hanging out when I work with Quigley in the house. Monster has been a great motivator when Quig isn't paying attention, you should see his face when he doesn't listen and the cat gets the treat instead of him.
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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby jones » Sat Mar 04, 2006 4:47 pm

Jen, Stanley Coren's book How to Speak Dog has a chapter about cat behavior/communication. It's just one chapter but it's a pretty good one (with illustrations). He covers the basics of body posture, tail positions, and vocalizations.

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Re: NDR - Cat behavior books

Postby Jen » Sun Mar 05, 2006 7:22 pm

Thanks, jones. That's on my list of "to-read," so I guess I'll move it up to the top of the list.


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