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How to Train Your Cat to Stay In Position

Training

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3 min read

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How to Train Your Cat to Stay In Position
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon4-6 Months
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Our feline friends are notorious for getting into mischief as soon as we turn our heads. Many pet parents wish they could train their kitty to stay in position so they won't step on a laptop, jump on a kitchen counter, or bolt out the back door. 

Training a cat is tricky, but not impossible. "Unfurtunately", training a tiny tiger to stay is one of the trickiest basic commands to master. That said, with a lot of patience and consistency, you can teach your cat this complicated command. Here are a few tips on how to train your cat to stay in position.
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Defining Tasks

The main reason it's challenging to train your cat to stay in position is they'll need to learn a few other basic commands beforehand. It'll be nigh on impossible to teach your little lion to stay in position if they don't already know "sit" and "lie down". 

"Sit" and "lie down" will get your cat into a position where they feel comfortable staying still. If your cat doesn't know these commands, you'll have a lot more difficulty. Training your cat to come when called and to listen is also useful for learning to stay in position. 

While cats aren't as food-motivated as dogs, they'll still do a trick or two for a snack. Treats will be vital to training your cat to stay in position. During your training sessions, pay attention to which treats your cat responds to best.

Or, wait until your cat is hungry and place a few tester treats in front of them and see which one they pick. Don't give your cat too many treats, as it could lead to obesity. You'll also want to check your cat isn't allergic to your chosen treats. 

Training a cat is a multi-step process, so you'll need to ensure your cat is picking up on the association between command, action, and reward. There's no point arbitrarily giving your cat treats and praise just because they happened to do what you wanted. 

A clicker is an excellent tool for getting your cat to understand the association between an action and treats. After a while, your cat will actively look for treats when the clicker sounds, building an association between cause and effect.

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Getting Started

Pet parents should come into each training session with a pocket full of treats and plenty of patience. Training a cat is never easy, so a consistent and patient approach is required. Getting frustrated or angry at your cat will result in setbacks. That said, if your cat has already mastered commands like "sit", you've probably got the right cat training approach already. 

Cats are aloof and easily distracted. Don't force your cat to carry on a training session if they lose interest. Training should be fun for your cat, and forcing them to perform tasks may put them off future cooperation. You'll find most training sessions last less than 10 minutes. To maximize the length of each session, place your cat in a familiar setting with no distractions. 

If possible, you should start training your cat during kittenhood. Like dogs, cats pick up commands quicker when they're young and may be reluctant to learn new tasks as they age. Cats are crepuscular, meaning they're most active around dusk and dawn. 

Try to work on training during the day, when your cat is more docile and less likely to get the zoomies. You should also arrange them for just before a meal so your cat is extra food-motivated.  

To start a training session, you'll need a clicker and treats. You should also keep some toys on standby to test your cat's staying abilities down the line.

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The Clicker Method

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1

Prepare

Ensure your cat knows how to sit and lie down. "Come when called" can also help. Bring along your cat's favorite treats, a clicker, and a toy.

2

Position

Get your cat to sit or lie down in preparation for training.

3

Association

Once your cat is sitting, tell them to stay. If they remain still, mark the behavior with your clicker and give them a treat. If your cat leaves or gets distracted at any point, end the session.

4

Praise

Repeat step 3 several times a session and praise your cat at the end of the session for a job well done.

5

Build

Start by getting your cat to stay for a couple of seconds at a time. with your cat in position, make a slight movement, such as moving your hand or tilting your head. If your cat stays in position and doesn't react, use your clicker and give them a treat.

6

Test

As your cat learns to ignore slight movements, start making each movement more exaggerated. Eventually, you'll want to start taking small steps backward to test if your cat will stay in position.

7

Distract

Once your cat is starting to master the stay command, try throwing a toy to distract them. If your cat ignores the toy and stays in position, use your clicker and reward them.

8

Patience

Cats pick up tricks at different rates, so patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency are key to success. You may find your cat picks up a trick in a few weeks, while others may take a year or more. As long as you keep training fun, your cat should eventually pick up a new skill.

By Adam Lee-Smith

Published: 12/22/2021, edited: 12/22/2021

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