Training Tuesday: Brie Meets The Whistle

One of my current training priorities is to teach all of the cats to walk (or run!) to get in the carrier in response to a cue that is not my voice. Nutmeg was introduced to the whistle last week. This week she hasn’t been feeling so well, so Brie and I started whistle lessons.

Brie likes going in the carrier. He and the other Cheeses have been playing carrier games for their entire lives. The whistle itself is likely to be the biggest challenge for Brie. Following the Acrocat training program, we put the carrier on the floor and guided Brie to stay near it. I blew the whistle lightly as he was heading toward the carrier, and tossed a treat through the door.

If you’re an email subscriber, click here to see a video of Brie’s training session.

The first time Brie heard the whistle, it startled him. During the 5-minute training session, he became more comfortable with the whistle. As long as he was comfortable, I blew the whistle a little louder for the next repetition. He went in the carrier and stayed in a few times, giving me the opportunity to reinforce him for duration (that is, for staying in, not just for walking in).

He is really good at targeting on my finger, which we build on for learning other behaviors.

Colby-napping-smlColby and Reggie photobombed our session, but they didn’t distract us too much.

Brie is still doing really well with his inhaler. He has made progress toward accepting his substitute puffer. Last time she visited, Brie rubbed on her and accepted pets with the back of her hand. Since he offered rubbing her, one of his characteristic affectionate gestures, I think we’re heading in the right direction.

Nutmeg spent a night at the vet clinic for observation to determine why she was throwing up. We didn’t get a clear answer. She’s home and eating a bland diet, which is the main reason she didn’t participate in Training Tuesday this week. She stayed quiet in her carrier until she saw that we were going in the car. When she’s better, we’ll work on reinforcing quiet moments in the car.

I’m also not at my best this week. I’m taking pain medication because I burned myself yesterday. All three of us are getting good care. We’ll soon be back in our best training form. For now, I’m going to take a nap with Cheshire. :-)


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