Promoting responsible German Shepherd Dog ownership
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I've always heard how independent cats are. I'm not saying Mandy and George Frederick were dependent. They weren't. They were indoor cats, so we were around them all the time. George Frederick wanted to be in the same room we were in -- or my wife was in. He wanted to be close. He had us trained to pet him or hold him on command -- and his little kitty pocket watch was amazingly accurate at suppertime.
Mandy's not quite as interested in being where we are, but she wants her loving and also has us trained to respond to her demands -- and they are very clear. With both cats, the training is or was mutual. They learn our habits and respond accordingly. I've never seen the independence people talk about. I've always seen close, mutual relationships in which both parties were active and involved participants.
You did mention both on the other forum.
I know cats can be trained. I’ve never done it.
They're surprisingly trainable. They do a lot of it themselves as a response to their humans habits. The other day the cleaning ladies (and man) had the vacuums going in the room off the family room. Mandy, like most cats, is terrified of vacuums. She was on her chair with her heating pad beginning to get panicky. At my desk, I said "come over here Mandy and hide under Daddy's feet." And she did! I don't think it was what I said; I think it was because that appeared to be a good place to hide -- between my left foot and the board which holds the desk up. She knew that I was going to stay there and provide her with a shelter -- she responded to a human's habit. And she stayed there until they finished in the bedroom and I could take her there.
Dogs learn to take hand signals. They respond to a repeated human pattern. It's pretty much the same. Dogs have larger brains, so they can take in more, but it would surprise you to see how responsive Mandy is to my habits. George Frederick was even more so. As was Merlin. Merlin knew before I did what I was going to do next and would meet me there. They are just as aware of their people as dogs. Their behaviors are just not as complex because of the smaller brain.
I feel that undervalues cats a bit. They aren’t dogs and so you can’t compare them outright. They’re different species with entirely different purposes and behavioral patterns. We’ve selectively bred dogs dogs for certain tasks for centuries, cats are on a different spectrum and most still easily revert to successful feral animals whereas dogs are generally more dependent on people. There are people that train cats to do some pretty cool tricks.
I never tried to teach like sit and such but did teach my cats they had to stand up on their hind paws against the door and tap my hand to be let outside. We have one cat that’s potty trained kind of like a dog and asks to be let outside to do her business rather than using a litter box.
I feel that undervalues cats a bit
I agree. I am not a trainer, just a person who had not had a pet until 20 years ago. After George Frederick came to live with us, I discovered that I absolutely adore cats. I lack the knowledge and the vocabulary to talk about the trainability of cats because I've never done it. I have just watched George Frederick, Merlin, and Mandy train me and themselves and have been amazed at what they do -- and by extension, what they are able to get me to do.
When he was young, George Frederick would go to the door and reach up for the doorknob to let us know that he wanted to go out. Of course, he was an indoor kitty and could not go out, but he continued that for quite a while -- several months -- before he realized that it was useless. When we moved into this house, he would go to the top of the stairs anytime the door (to the garage) opened in hopes that he could go downstairs and outside. Once or twice he managed to get downstairs.
Only once did he get outside, and that is another story about the way cats train themselves and us.
There was a cable TV show about training cats. They trained them to climb complicated towers. The cats were very smart.
I would have enjoyed that. I don't have a tv. When I have a little time, I will look up training cats on the internet and see what videos there are.
I agree that cats are very smart, but that is purely from observation over the past 20 years.