In a previous guide, I described how to start training your cat using a clicker. If you started basic clicker training, by now your kitty should know very well that the sound of the click means a reward is coming!
You may have even started rewarding your kitty for behaviors you want, by clicking and treating him whenever he does something you want him to repeat.
Now, we’ll go over how to teach your cat the “sit” command, because – though clicker training is a wonderful tool to train a cat to do things like use a scratching post, use a litter box, and teach other wanted ‘cat-behaviors’- it’s also fun to have a kitty that will actually sit when you tell him to!
Less is more. Keep your training sessions to no more than 5 minutes at a time. Your cat will lose interest with anything longer than that.
Teaching a cat to sit is very much like teaching a dog to sit, only you have to be much more consistent and quicker to react & reward the behavior. This is why we use the clicker – it’s the most consistent form of communication we have! Assuming your cat has already learned that the click sound means they get a reward, we’re ready to move on to more advanced training:
Reward the Action First.
Our first step in clicker training to sit is to click and reward your cat when he sits. At this point, don’t say the word, “sit.” Baby steps! Use a high-reward treat – like freeze dried chicken treats, baby food, bits of lunch meat, or tuna – something kitty only gets during training sessions. Start with kitty in a standing position. When you’ve got your cat’s attention and want to make him sit, hold the treat above his head, just out of his reach, and slowly move it past his head. His natural reaction will be to lower his butt. At first, the moment you see your cat start to lower his butt you will want to click and give the treat. As he quickly learns that he’ll get a treat for starting to sit, move on to only treating him when his butt actually touches the ground.
Note: Don’t try pushing your cat down like you would with a dog. This will not work and it’ll confuse your cat!
Depending on your cat, this may take a few minutes or a few days. Remember to only work on training in 4-5 minute sessions or you will lose your cat’s attention.
Assign a Name to the Action.
So you’ve finished a few sessions of getting your cat to sit and rewarding his behavior. It’s time to add the word “sit” because, ultimately, our goal is for your kitty to sit without the clicker or the reward to entice him!
Now, every time you get your cat to sit, say the word, “sit,” click the clicker and reward. Do this consistently as often as necessary until you can say “sit” without using the reward over your cat’s head to make him go into the sit position. When you’ve reached that point, you can stop using the clicker and simply say, “sit” and then give the reward.
That’s it! Now your cat has learned to sit on command! To help you, there are several books available, all about clicker training your cat.
What else would you like to train your cat to do? Tell us by leaving a comment below!