Are you making cat training mistakes with your felines? Here are five common cat training mistakes for pet owners to avoid:
- Assuming that it takes large blocks of time to train your cat. Cats are intelligent animals and learn best in short training sessions that are spread periodically throughout the day. Large blocks of training time are overwhelming and unnecessary for both you and your feline.
- Acknowledging bad behavior and ignoring good behavior. Cats like to receive attention from their owners. If they realize that you give them attention every time they climb an indoor tree or scratch furniture, they will continue the bad behavior. The way to reverse your cats' behavior is instead of scolding them whenever they misbehave, either ignore the behavior or distract them with something else. By contrast, praise your felines whenever they demonstrate good behavior, such as using their scratching post instead of your sofa.
- Punishing instictive behavior. Natural cat behaviors, such as climing, jumping, clawing, pouncing, etc., are behaviors that pet owners may find inappropriate and may respond by punishing their cat's natural instincts. To encourage your cat towards good behavior, invest in shelving, perches, cat trees, etc., for your cat to explore and quench his or her thirst for climbing and jumping. Toys, boxes and laundry baskets are also great alternatives to keep your cat entertained. Finally, play with your cats, and encourage them to use their cat trees, boxes and other toys as this will help to curb their interest in jumping onto your kitchen table and countertops.
- Expecting your feline to understand you without any training. Your cat does not instinctually understand what "no" means. For example, if you need your cat to get off he counter, instead of punishing the bad behavior and yelling "No!", encourage future good behavior by immediately placing your cat on his or her cat tree after he or she was being naughty. Use positive reinforcement with your cat always and in time, they will learn with consistent training what "no" means.
- Setting unrealistic training goals for your cat. Don't push your feline to learn so much so fast as this can be overwhelming for both you and your cat. Remember that not all cats are the same as some will receive training and changes in their environment better than others. Above all, remember to have patience with your cat -- the rewards will be long-lasting.