A lot of our Animal Training Academy members work towards being able to take their cats out on walks and/or adventures. And the cool thing is training a cat uses the exact same science of learning [and the tools it provides] as training a dog. Although at the same time, the nuances between cats and other species can make the thought of doing this seem challenging!
Recently, therefore, I was pumped that we got to host the fantastic R+ cat trainer Melissa Millet live within the ATA membership – where one of our members asked about the most important things to focus on when working towards this goal.
Here’s a segment of Melissas’ excellent [paraphrased] input when asked this question;
[ATA member] I wonder if it would be wisest to intensively study animal/cat training before getting a kitten so I don’t potentially mess things up, or if I mess things up, is it salvageable? I’d hate to accidentally make it hate a backpack since I don’t know what I’m doing yet.
[Melissa] Studying animal/cat training before you get the kitten could be beneficial. Because then, you have a plan and can formulate goals and put them in order of importance.
Then, obviously, the cat’s emotional state is the most important thing. So therefore, a priority focus on the animal’s emotional state to be able to go out into the world. So a lot of counter-conditioning to help ensure they have a good time; a lot of the focus is on teaching them to feel safe, teaching them to trust you, separating criteria, and making sure that they really are comfortable with the backpack at home and the leash at home first.
And then I make jumping in the backpack a normal behaviour, so [when needed] you can hide them away before they are exposed to a trigger.
This short discussion was just one of many from the nearly two hours we spent together & the full replay is now available in the ATA membership library. In fact, we now have 130+ live class replays stored in the members-only library! As ATA member Emma Schutt says, it’s the “best membership, I have ever signed up for.”
Registration for full membership is unfortunately currently closed, however, you can be the first to know when we re-open our doors [during our limited enrolment periods] by clicking the button below – we look forward to seeing you on the inside!