Clicker Training For Cats – The Playful Education

Even if cats are among the most popular pets par excellence, keeping them should not be underestimated. Again, there is a lot of responsibility on the cat owner, which should never be underestimated.

In addition to good food and suitable cat accessories, there are many other points that are very important when keeping these sensitive animals. Cats are among the animals that want to be physically and mentally exercised.

If this is not the case, cats can quickly start the protest. Be it scratching wallpaper and furniture, marking or even urinating on clothes, bed, and Co., there are many ways in which a cat can show that it is dissatisfied.

Clicker training is a particularly good way to teach a cat a little about how to use its brains and have fun together.

In this article, we not only want to inform you about this special training, but also give you tips on how joint clickers work best and what you should pay attention to.

Clickers simply explained

The purpose of clickers is to either break the cat’s habit or train it to do something. Because asking cats or giving them a strict admonition, including a bad look, is simply not enough here.

When clicking with cats, only positive stimuli are used. This means that your cat’s positive behavior will be rewarded with the click and a small treat. However, the negative behavior is ignored and not punished or rewarded. Cats now learn they did something right when you click.

So call your cat and reward your darling when he comes with a treat and a click. So cats quickly notice “If I show the behavior that master or
mistress, I will be rewarded”. Due to the fact that cats are both curious and quite gluttonous, there are so many great tricks to teach them and lots of fun to be had.

It is important, however, that the cat first has to understand that a certain behavior is accompanied by a reward. As soon as the animals have understood this, you can train them and use signs to provoke the desired behavior. For the cat, the click means “reward”.

The preparation before the first clicker training

Clicking can be done with a special clicker, as well as with a click of the tongue, a code word, or some other sound. It is important, however, that the noise is always the same, so that experts really recommend the product specially developed for training.

In addition to the clicker itself, small rewards are of course needed. Here you should reach for really great things that your cat doesn’t get too often. These should be small snacks that are easy to chew and not too sticky or too big.

In addition, it is not wrong if you keep the treats in a small bag. The advantage of this is that your hands don’t smell like the treat, which could quickly distract the cat.

In addition, the snacks are within easy reach, but only for you and not for your cat. Even changing the training location is no problem at all. Last but not least, by using a small bag, you have both hands free for training, which of course is an advantage for some tricks, such as jumping through a hoop.

In addition, there is the possibility of using colored cushions, which should indicate to the cats both the start and the end of the training and can be used for the training of several cats. We will go into more detail about this special clicker training further down in the article.

You can also get toys that can be used to perform the individual tricks. For example tires, balls or target sticks.

For cats that are already in the advanced area, you can also use different colored cards, ropes and other accessories to make the training more exciting and to increase the level of difficulty more and more. There are no limits to the imagination here. The important thing is that you and your animals enjoy it.

Important tools for clicker training:

  • clickers;
  • treats;
  • Bag for treats;
  • pillow;
  • cards;
  • target rod;
  • balls and other accessories.

The training begins

Clicker training can be started at any time. However, it is important that you take your time and be patient, because it will not work 100 percent right from the start.

Furthermore, clicker training is suitable for cats of all ages and there are no exceptions due to breed. The cat itself should feel like it and be curious, then with patience and the right training it will work out.

At the very beginning, you and your cat should get acquainted with the clicker, learn about the sound, and become comfortable with it. So the cat now needs the opportunity to perceive this whole new thing and also to take in the smell and the sound that is caused by the clicker. You should also take a close look in advance at how the clicker is to be used and familiarize yourself with its handling. Once you’ve both gotten used to it, move on.

Now the cat has to understand that there is a reward associated with the clicker click. So this unmistakable sound means something really great and is therefore positive. So always associate the click with a treat, which you can now give the cat. There is a fairly simple way to do this.

As soon as you have equipped yourself with the appropriate treats, you can call the cat over to you. If she comes running, trigger the click and give your cat the treat straight away. Please do this even if the cat does not come immediately but reacts to your call later. Now the location is changed again and again, then the cat is called, when it comes, it is clicked and it is immediately rewarded with a treat. After a few repetitions, every cat will understand the principle.

However, the first training session should never be overdone. Ten repetitions, for example, are completely sufficient. You can now repeat this exercise either later in the day, the following day or at another point in time, whereby the interval between the next training session should of course not be too far away, otherwise you may have to start all over again.

This is how clicker training with the cat works

As soon as the cat has understood the connection between the click and the treat or the immediately following reward, you can deepen the training and work out the first tricks. Always begin training in a quiet environment where there are no distractions. This allows you and your cat to concentrate fully on the training and work together more efficiently. Furthermore, there should also be time available in order not to put yourself under any time pressure.

Many cat owners also choose to mark the training with other objects or rituals. For example, many cat owners train with their animals on a specific carpet.

Furthermore, it is always important that you give calm movements and clear instructions, because these also help your cats to understand them and then to implement them. With clickers you now have the opportunity to slowly and playfully get your cat to do the tricks and to achieve the behavior that you want from your cat.

Use the natural behavior and actions of a cat, because great tricks can be derived from them, which of course also makes it easier to get started and means that initial successes can be achieved.

  • First, understand the connection between clickers and rewards;
  • Slowly work out the first tricks;
  • Choose only easy tricks in the beginning;
  • Possibly choose fixed times of the day to create rituals;
  • Quiet movements;
  • clear instructions.

Examples of individual training sessions

There are many different things that cats can be taught with clicker training. Here are some examples:

Exercises with the target stick

A simple example of this is the target rod. If you want to train with this accessory, then you should always hold it close to the ground and always directly in front of the cat. Out of sheer curiosity alone, the cat now becomes aware of the staff. Sooner or later your darling will touch the target stick with his paw. At that moment, click again and reward your cat with a treat. You can now hold the stick higher and higher until the animal has to stretch to touch it and get the treat.

Bowing the cat

Furthermore, constructive behavior can of course also be trained with the clickers. This means that tricks can also be trained that the cat does not naturally perform. Of course, it can be observed that cats also like to stretch in order to stretch their own muscles or to get hold of different things, but it is still stretching itself. This means that the cat does not lower its head, as would be typical when bowing. The reason for this is that the cat wants to have everything in view even when stretching. When training, the trick should therefore be divided into several sub-areas in order to achieve the desired result.

To start, you need to get your cat to place its front paws on your leg, arm, or other elevated object. The first exercise consists of your cat mastering this exercise completely and thus easily on command. The next step would be for your cat to tilt its face down. However, it is important that your cat’s paws do not move, but continue to rest in an elevated position. The best way to train your cat is to lure her with a treat or other way of getting her attention and getting her knees lower and lower. The last step is to teach the cat this exercise with the front paws outstretched.

Teach the cat to sit with clickers

The trick seat is suitable for both beginners and advanced users, as this trick is based on the natural behavior of cats. This exercise does not have to be divided into sub-exercises and is therefore quite easy for the animal to implement. So it’s logical that every cat will sit down at some point. Especially if something above the cat catches their eye.

The easiest method is to sit in front of the cat and hold your hand or a treat over it. Cats now usually sit down to first see what it is about. Once your cat is fully seated, the click will be heard and a reward will follow. Now change location and repeat this exercise several times. Only when your cat has understood what you expect from it should you work with a hand signal or a code word so that the cat reacts to this by sitting down.

Cat clicker code words and hand signals

Code words and hand signals can also be used in clickers. These make it easier for the cat to follow the tricks and recognize exactly what you are expecting from your darling at that moment. However, as mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to wait until your cat has mastered the exercise before introducing the code words and hand signals. If you work with these words and signs beforehand, it can quickly happen that you overwhelm your cat and cause too many parallel stimuli. In the worst case, your cat would eventually lose interest in clicking.

So once your cat has mastered an exercise, you can either come up with a hand signal or a code word for that exercise. So you should now either give the hand signal or say the word before the respective trick. With regular practice, your cat will quickly notice that this sign or movement is related to the trick itself, and soon this stimulus alone will be enough to signal the cat to perform the trick.

Change situations and conditions

Always make sure that the respective exercises are not only performed in one place or in one specific situation. Vary this constantly, because otherwise it can quickly happen that these signals are also linked to the tricks and the cat only performs the respective exercises in certain places. For example, if you only train the “sit” exercise in a blue shirt, it is possible that the cat associates this with it and no longer follows the seat when training in a red blouse.

For this reason, it is important to keep changing props, clothing, locations, etc. and to make sure that the cat only needs the code word or the hand signal to carry out an exercise. Furthermore, it is not wrong to change your voice and posture from time to time.

Tips and tricks for clicker training with the cat

When it comes to clicker training with the cat, there are no limits to the imagination when it comes to exercises and tricks. Anything that pleases you and your cat is really allowed here. It can also happen, for example, that your cat will not be challenged enough to only perform easy tricks in the long run. Furthermore, the preferences of the cats are of course very different, so some like the use of props such as rods, balls or bowls, while others do not want to have anything to do with these accessories at all. Here you should always keep an eye on your cat’s needs to see which exercises are particularly popular and which people like to do.

We now want to give you some inspiration as to what you can work out with your cat and show directly what level of difficulty these tricks belong to.

exercise difficulty level
Seat Simple – also suitable for beginners
give paw Simple – also suitable for beginners
Meow on command Simple – also suitable for beginners
lying down Simple – also suitable for beginners
give kisses Middle
Jump through a hoop Middle
Go into a box, the transport box or the basket Middle
Spin once in a circle Middle
roll Middle
” High five” or “Give five” Middle
Differentiating Colors Middle
Distinguish cats with different letters, patterns and numbers Difficult – only suitable for advanced cats
Simulate blood draw (especially good for vet visits Difficult – only suitable for advanced cats

The training diary

It is always advisable to record training successes more precisely. A training diary can help to analyze the clicker training with the cat in more detail afterwards. Here you can record which tricks your cat has mastered particularly well and which means there is a need for more training.

The clicker with several cats

Every cat owner should be aware that keeping social animals individually is never the best solution. For this reason, it is usually the case that a household consists of more than just one cat. Of course, all cats want to participate equally, so clicker training with multiple cats can be a difficult task, especially in the beginning. In the following, we would like to give you some tips on how you can master this challenge together.

Separate the cats

Many cat owners only want to carry out clicker training with one cat alone, especially at the beginning, and separate them during training. So only leave the cat you want to clicker with in the room. However, once the other cats have noticed what you are doing there and what fun and great rewards clickers bring, it can quickly happen that they start rampaging in front of the door and want to get in too. The rest that is so important is quickly over. This means that the cat you want to train with has a hard time concentrating, which means that the training is anything but efficient.

Different clicker sounds

There are many different clickers. As mentioned at the beginning, you can use different sounds for clicker training with cats. This also means that you could use a unique sound for each of your cats as well. Once the cats have learned which noise is intended for them, training with several cats is a lot of fun and also offers the possibility of performing tricks at the same time or building on one another so that a trick can also be performed by both cats.

Create fixed places and speeches

Of course you can also work with names and always address the cat directly before the respective exercise. The cats notice the difference after a while and react accordingly when you speak to them. So if you have 2 cats, Pebbels and Percy, and you want one of them to sit in the seat, just say “Pebbels seat” and the named cat will sit down while Percy should now remain standing.

Get rid of behavioral problems with clickers?

It’s not uncommon to see cats that feel underwhelmed and therefore bored doing things that we owners don’t think are great at all. And even anxious cats can clearly benefit from clicker training. Cats need to use their brains, concentrate and stay alert. Furthermore, with the training you can gain the trust of a shy and rather anxious cat, since these are exclusively positive moments, which the cuties only experience with their cat owner.

Are there problems with clickers with cats?

Of course, there are also some problems with clicker training with cats that can quickly lead to frustration on both sides. However, most problems arise in connection with wrong signals, incorrect behavior and exercises that are too difficult. There is no cat that is too stupid to click.

Note that there may be problems understanding or regression. Now it is important that you slow down the pace of the training or repeat exercises that you have already completed in order to internalize them. Furthermore, it always makes sense to consider other approaches to the respective exercises and to always try something new, because cats are very different here too. A simple structure of the exercises is particularly important.

There are also cats that get distracted after a while or snatch greedily for the treats. In this situation, it is best to give your animals a break. Furthermore, there are of course always tricks that are uninteresting for some cats. Always make sure that the animals enjoy it too. In this case, it makes sense not to pursue this exercise any further, but to think of something else. In addition, always make sure that the cat is rested and interested. The right time for training also plays a particularly important role in clicker training with cats.

Of course, you should also be involved and have the time for the upcoming training session. The desire, the calm and the energy should be there. It is best to think in advance about what today’s training should look like and what exercises are on the schedule. Your cats quickly notice when you are tired and not in the mood or even make an annoyed impression.

Problems to avoid:

  • Force the cat to do something;
  • Be loud or scold;
  • Choose exercises that are too difficult;
  • have time pressure;
  • Currently not in the mood;
  • Cat becomes restless and jumps;
  • Cat is greedy and only wants treats;
  • Wrong signals or commands.

Particularly important rules of conduct when clicking with cats

Of course, there are also different criteria for clicker training with cats, with one’s own behavior being the decisive factor. In order for the cooperation with the cat to work, it is important to stick to a few rules. In the following, we would like to present some behavioral criteria in more detail:

Little speaking

During clicker training with the cat, you should speak as little as possible so as not to confuse your cat. Short code words are always sufficient for the “commands”, which should also always remain the same.

No negative experiences

Make your cat always feel comfortable during exercise. Negative experiences should therefore not be part of clickers with cats. This also means that you should always speak lovingly to your animals, so the yelling must not take place.

Have patience

Patience is especially important when clicking with cats. Your cat needs time to learn and implement each trick. Of course, the tricks don’t work right from the start and some cats take a little longer than others. So please never push your cats.

Practice understandably

Cats have a different perspective than humans. The exercises and tricks should therefore be presented in a particularly simple manner and not too complicated. She needs clear and understandable instructions, so it also makes sense to break down slightly more difficult exercises into several steps or to leave something out completely if the cat absolutely does not understand it.

The right time

Your cat should always be well rested for training. Not right after a meal and not before bed. This way your cat feels like working, can concentrate and of course the treats are more interesting, even if there is a little hunger. Of course, your cat should not be too hungry either.

Exercise regularly

Clicker training with the cat should always be done regularly. So don’t wait too long between training sessions or your cat may forget what has already been achieved and you will have to start over, which can be very frustrating for both of you.

Our conclusion – clicker training with cats works wonders

All cat owners should think about how best to fully utilize their own cat. Clicker training is an excellent method for this and can work real miracles. Even if most people think that such tricks are more for dogs, you will soon realize that cats are really good at it too. In addition, the animals are no longer so bored, and playing together strengthens the bond and creates wonderful moments together. Furthermore, the clicker training is easy to implement and the accessories are also available for little money.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *