I've been reading articles and books on clicker training for many years now since I had a very agressive dog in my household. Later on I had tried teaching the sit to other dogs, sometimes with success, but I felt at a loss. Ok i have the sit, what now.. the dog did not move (I did not know how to reset the behavior by tossing a treat a bit far)
In October of this year, I found a feral kitten and took him home. My terrier mutt Fifi loves to hunt moving things that are smaller than she is. She has killed mice, birds and the all time favorite a rat. So this little guy was in danger and I really wanted to keep him.
I had a copy of clicker training for cats I had bought for my cousin and never gave it to her, so I started reading it. There was this wonderful story about a terrier Twitchet and a burmese cat Mimi, which gave me hope. I could train fifi with the clicker to tolerate the cat. So I started training rigurously and have been for the past 48 days. It has not been easy, I have made so many mistakes and I have wanted to quit so many times.. BUT.. there is one undeniable truth, many of the concepts I thought I knew by just reading in the books, have become so much clearer in practice.
I have been mixing normal behaviors, like sit and down on morning sessions, then at night I do what I call Neko training (Neko is the cat). I click for calm behavior in the presence of the cat. the truth is, with Fifi we are still very far of..however, in the beginning, she would not even notice my clicks on the brief moments she paused..and would ignore the treats completely barking madly. Now, she can get up to 4 feet from the cat, sit mostly silent and even on ocassion look at me.. she takes her treats now... but if we get too close to the cat, though, she will go bezerk. but I know we are making progress, which keeps me going
I will be honest, l still avoid Neko training sometimes, because it is so stressful for me to do. My cat might die because of my beloved dog. He is getting bigger though and that is a relief to me.. so I have to keep reminding myself that practice indeed does make perfect.. and that doing nothing would make life unbereable for all of us.
Now on to solve the cat scratching and biting! (Ive never had a cat before so did not know about this!) but as Karen Pryor says in that book.. "everyone should have a cat". It is true.