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30 September 2008


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Barbara Saunders

Linked above is an interesting article, which explores the "ethology" vs. "behaviorism" controversy that persists today.

It's from the American Psychologist: "The Misbehavior of Organisms", Breland & Breland, 1961.


Here's the link:


And one of the "Brelands" is Marion Breland Bailey - years before she married Bob Bailey and they started the Chicken Training Camp (among countless other accomplishments).

Gina Spadafori

I'm guessing it has to do with the first comment on the piece over on SFGate.com, that you're trying to make a dog out of a cat.

Which is, of course, nonsense. My cats do a couple of things they've learned through clicker-training. They're still very much cats. :)


I always wonder this when we get yet another cat in at work to declaw because he's scratching the furniture. We don't de-tooth dogs when they chew stuff- we train them. Why is it different for cats?


Fantastic! I sent the article to my brother who has a rescue cat who's afraid of him.

Gina Spadafori

Not only the cats, but also the parrot. Of course, the parrot is EASY!

Parrots are so smart:


I also like this video, teaching a cat to hit a light switch:


Rabbit clicking, beginning:


Lamb clicking:


It's way fun!


Yep! But I used a retractable pen for a different sound from the dogs' clicker, so as not to confuse everyone.

Gina Spadafori

Oh sure, I know Teri Ryan uses chickens in her clicker bootcamp up in Sequim.

I haven't tried clicking with the chickens, though. Sure, I could do it, but ... why?

I just want them to get along and lay eggs. :)


Bob Bailey and his late wife, Marian, started Chicken Training Camps a number of years ago as a means to provide really demanding training sessions for clicker trainers who wanted to hone their skills. Here is one account:



BTW, Gina: chicken clicking???

Diana L Guerrero

I started training big cats with bike buzzers back in the late 1970s and began training domestic cats sometime after. In professional training circles this is nothing new. It began to gain speed in the mid-1990s when clicker training started hitting the mainstream. Many people still frown on it--but I see it as enrichment--highly stimulating and fun for the animal.


Why would anyone frown on it?

Sarah K Andrew

I have done a little clicker training with Bryan the Cat. I taught him to target Post-Its. I stick 'em on the wall, on the floor, etc.

He can also do the basic cat stuff- sit, sit up, follow me.

His favorite behavior is the makeshift cat agility course, aka the living room. He leaps from couch to chairs with the greatest of ease. Cats rock.


There's a yahoo cat clicker group that's been around since 1999. 2746 members :)

My younger cats, who came after the dog, are somewhat trained. I found myself handling them differently from day one, more 'dog like'. They have good recall, sit, sit up, up/down on furniture/objects and are crate/harness trained. They are easier to interrupt unwanted behaviors with, as they tend to listen better than the older cats. I should work with them more. At one point I could get the 3 youngest to all sit and then individually sit up for treats when they were called on. One has food issues and I used positive training to get her to have acceptable behavior around the the community food area. She used to be downright scary when it came to guarding food!


I have taught cats to be leash trained, to fetch, and to "beg"- not all the same cat, and not by using clickers. Rascal the cat was happy to play fetch naturally, as well as leash walk. Fetching was more of him training me, and we just agreeing on the proper toys to use. Leashed walking we did one step at a time, more akin to gently breaking a horse. Wear the halter for a little, play and fuss in ways he likes while he did, and extend the period, then add a leash, and then slowly add things done with the leash and time. He was very happy to walk around the block with me with the leash on, at the end of a month. If he hadn't had FELV, I can't imagine what we have done together.

Miss Spider learned to beg and come when called simply with food motivators. She learned to stand on the back legs and curl a paw around my pointed finger (her cue) for a treat within 15 minutes. I taught her on a dare. She still does it- 13 years later. What's more, her example taught our other cats how to beg, and they all do it.

I believe cats are trainable- but it depends on the temperament of the cat. The more independently minded may not be amenable to us training them, and more inclined to train us.

Gina Spadafori

Oops, my bad. You're right. I know that Bob has offered Chicken Camps at T-Ryan's training center, and my feeble brain was taking a short-cut.


Sure. But I just used rewards and "yes" - using the clicker meant my dog expected treats too.

But it's not us - cats are SMART. I taught Dickens sit, paw, hand, wave and to use the toilet. He taught himself open the cupboard door, open the bifold door, open the screen door...


Years ago we kept a semi wild kitten found in the garage. My gram taught her to fetch a little golf ball sized nerf ball. She loved to play games.


Question about using clicker training to mor easily tame feral (wild) kittens?? I've got several that I'm socializing so they can be adopted, and they're fine once in hand, purring and cuddly, but are afraid of being approached; will run and hide when I walk toward them. Any suggestions? Other articles specifically about this?? Thanks!

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