Cats don’t need the same amount of training as dogs do, but they can still benefit from you praising good behaviour when it occurs. Training through positive reinforcement and treats can help a cat or kitten figure out the house rules and guide them of what you consider to be good behaviour. For an owner, it could mean the difference between a cat using the litterbox and going to the toilet in your shoes instead.
Below we have listed some handy tips on the best ways to praise good behaviour in your cat, as well as how to distinguish between good and bad behaviour in the first place. Once you start praising your cat, you’ll find that with enough repetition, they will start to understand how you want them to behave, and you’ll be left with a very obedient kitty!
What is good behaviour?
This may sound obvious, but it’s worth establishing in your house what you consider to be good behaviour. For instance, you may want your cat to use the litter tray correctly, or perhaps start using a scratching post, rather than your poor couch. Make sure you have a clear idea about what behaviour you want your cat to adopt, as praising them for anything and everything could leave them repeating behaviours you don’t want, such as meowing a lot.
Once you know what good behaviour you would like to encourage, start using positive reinforcement and treats to keep that behaviour going. Try and choose a flavour of treat your cat seems particularly keen on, as this will be more desirable for them. In addition, make sure to lavish them with praise if they do something correctly, as they will associate this action with being positive, given enough repetition.
The most important aspect of praising your cat is timing, as you need to ensure they understand that they are being praised for performing a specific action. This means lavishing praise and giving them their favourite treat within seconds of them performing good behaviour, any more and they may not realise why they are being treated. In addition, try and be as consistent as possible in rewarding treats, ensuring your cat understands what is good behaviour.
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