From Mara Windstar: I have been clicker training my service dog "Freely," a golden retriever, for about one year. While we were coming home from a walk last week, a white cat whose house we pass daily lept at me and grabbed onto my side... CLAWS EXTENDED! It was terrifying.. I looked at the cat for an instant and it screamed and showed its pointy teeth--and that was it for me! I looked away immediately! I was trying not to panic... Freely started barking and lunging but he was not trying to attack the cat back. Fortunately the owner saw and heard the commotion and came running over and screamed to the cat and it lept off me.
Clicker training is fun and easy to learn, for animals and people both. The clicker is a consistent signal, giving the animal confidence, no matter who is clicking. From a click and treat here and there shelter dogs can learn desirable behavior such as sitting instead of jumping up at the kennel door, or being quiet instead of barking. Dogs that have learned how to "make people click" tend to become calmer and more confident, and thus more adoptable. Even two or three extra minutes spent clicking and treating an individual animal can be time well spent.
From Deborah Lutz: My cat, Esme, is around two years old. I adopted her at 5 months from Bide-a-Wee Shelter here in NYC. She is a Snowshoe Siamese, so I am told, and has a wide range of 'personality attributes'. She is smart, feisty, vocal,affectionate and energetic!!! and I enjoy her immensely...for the most part. Unfortunately she does bite and nip at me, particularly at my face. She has awakened me often this way. What concerns me most is that she goes for my face without warning even when I am holding her and she appears to be comfortable in my arms. She also takes swipes at me, aiming towards my face if she is angry. She has broken the skin with her teeth and claws but thus far superficially.
'Declawing' is not the answer. The process sounds innocuous but what they really do is amputate the top joint of all ten phalanges on the front paws. It is exactly as if somebody did that to all ten of your fingers. It is excruciating, takes a long time to heal, and cats sometimes die of shock.
Clicker Training for Cats, Karen Pryor's popular and indispensible book, was awarded the TidyCat Feline Behavior Award at the Cat Writers Association 2001 annual meeting. The award, sponsored by Ralston Purina, honors work that is both skillfully written, technically accurate and educates readers while promoting a positive approach to understanding and dealing with feline behavior.