Tips for leash training your cat – Part 1

Cat Training the Easy Way: Training to halter and lead

Think your cat can’t be as well trained as your dog? You have been brainwashed. Certainly you have been brain washed by those cat owners who do not know the difference in handling a dog and a cat, but you have also probably been brainwashed by your cat. Who seems smarter: the dog who leaves his nice warm bed to fetch the paper out of the snow or Fluffy, who eyes you disdainfully, sticks a delicate paw into the edge of the snow, flips her tail to let you know exactly what she thinks of the whole deal, and goes back to bed? Cats are smart enough not to work if they can help it.

Dogs want to be trained. They are pack animals and need structure and an alpha-person to follow. Cat want to do what cats want to do, and there in lies the secret of training a cat. You have to find a way for the cat to like it.

Leash training for cats is very rewarding. They can go with you more places more easily. They are easier to move in a real emergency. It gives the indoor cat more opportunities to safely cruise the great outdoors.

To train a cat to the leash, you should have first at least completed Kitty Nursery School. Your cat is litter trained, understands a few commands, and has come to trust you for you are about to ask her to do something very different.

The first task is to find a good halter. Those Figure 8 shaped halters, made out of thin plastic, in the pet stores will not hold a panicked cat and you don’t want her heading across pasture from the Rest Stop, or worse, into the parking lot. A command to be teaching along with leash training is “Stop.” It may not penetrate real panic, but more than a few times when I have shouted “Stop” at a cat in panic, and he has dropped to the ground to see what happens next. It is a good thing for all pets to have a stop and sit command.

You don’t have to wait, though, until your cat has those commands perfected before you leash train. Just start with a good, escape proof halter that he cannot get out of no matter what. I get mine on line. They fit from 12 weeks kittens of most breeds to 20 pound Main Coons.

Training starts in the house.

When you get the halter, throw in on the floor. Right. On the floor. And later on the coffee table. The chair. Anywhere your cat goes. Let her sniff it and paw at it and get used to its smell. Don’t use it as a play toy. You want the cat to know he’s working when he puts on the halter, but if he plays

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