I have many, many books I feel that for one reason or another I should be reading. For one thing, I'm going to a conference at the end of June and want to be ready for it. For another thing, I have around 130 books sitting around here that need reading. But when Gregory Popovich's You CAN Train Your Cat: Secrets of a Master Cat Trainer showed up at work, I sort of dropped everything in order to read it.
First, some back story: several months ago now, I adopted an adorable and super lovable cat. And while I love him so much, it's been a bit frustrating at times trying to keep him off the stove or away from food. And now that it's warmer out, he wants to be outside all the time. And not leashed either. So yeah, it's frustrating as the two of us are trying to negotiate our relationship.
So when I saw Popovich's book at work, I knew I needed to read it. Popovich is the founder of the World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, in which he has cats (and some other pet animals) perform tricks. Now, I'm not interested in making my cat perform tricks. But I was hoping Popovich would have some incite into how to better train my cat around the house.
Popovich's book can pretty much be summed up with the following: patience, positive reinforcement, and a loving attitude will train your cat. It's basically really logical stuff. Cats don't ever forget a bad experience, so negative reinforcement isn't the way to go. And any time your cat isn't behaving, check for other reasons (like are you paying enough attention to him or her?) Have patience with your cat, and they will try to please you as best as they can.
Oh, and if you're trying to get them to do tricks, you have to look at what the cat likes to do, and work with that. And of course, never punish them for NOT doing a trick - they're a cat, not a robot that performs on command.
So basically, for my purposes, Popovich was saying to just keep doing what I'm doing. And that's reassuring in itself. There's no magic secret to training your cat. Just be a loving owner and have patience.