The Carrot Is Better Than The Stick

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

When a cat owner looks for the first time to train their cat – or at least, to correct certain problem behaviors – they will often find themselves asking the same question that is asked by trainers all over the world. Do I take the disciplinarian attitude that my rules must be followed (or there will be trouble), or do I decide that my cat will behave like it is supposed to (because it will be rewarded if it does)? This is a philosophical question – do you prefer to punish or reward?

In reality, it is probably a lot better to take the second way in this question, because cats are like people in that they react better to the promise of something good than the threat of something bad. Many people will tell you that cats simply don’t think in this way, but a simple little test will be all you need to see how a cat responds to repetitive actions. When you go to the cupboard where its food is stored, you will notice that the cat often runs over to you and either miaows or starts rubbing against you. The reason for this is that it has learned from habit that when you go to that spot, good things follow.
When you train a cat, a dog, or even a human being, by always having the threat of harsh treatment hanging over them you will only get one result. A timid being who is not free with their affections, and who may eventually turn on you in a most unpleasant manner.

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