Creating kinder, gentler experiences for pets


     

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Leash Walking Step 2

    

 Cat Behavior Library  


Leash Walking

Where to begin?

Let your cat get use to wearing a nylon harness or collar first. Your first adventure begins with meandering around the house. Once your cat is comfortable and calm ignoring the collar or harness, it is time to attach a soft, light nylon leash and let your cat drag it through the house. 

Plan leash training before feeding and use food as a distraction. Always supervise your cat closely in case the leash catches on something. You want to avoid any negative experience when your cat is on leash. 

If you decide to take your cat outside, go out at the same time every day. This routine helps prevent your from begging for kitty adventures throughout the day or night. .

Slow but sure...

Attach the leash before feeding your cat and lure your cat around the house with the food bowl in hand.  Stop and offer bites to keep your cat's interest in this new exercise. After a few minutes put the food down in the normal feeding area and remove the leash.  

Repeat this exercise for one week or until your cat follows you around the house for food unconcerned about the attached leash. Try to increase the time your cat spends on leash daily. Any time your cat shows resistance, ignore this behavior but make a note to progress more slowly. You are almost ready for the first paw outdoors.

Tug - release - praise

Now attach the leash before feeding time, hold on to the food bowl and lead your cat around the house, only now gentle add a little resistance on the leash. Any time your cat backs up or turns toward you in response, put the food down and praise.

Your cat will learn a gentle tug is your way of communicating, "We are going this way." You will soon be in control of where your two go. Repeat this process over and over until your cat understands and is very comfortable with this new way to gain rewards and affection.

Never jerk, pull, drag or do anything that gives your cat a bad feeling about being on leash.

Never jerk, pull, drag or do anything that gives your cat a bad feeling about being on leash. Your goal is to build trust and comfort in this new exercise of cooperation. You do not want to discourage your cat or risk causing your cat injuries.

Leash = treats

You want your cat to associate being on leash with getting treats and having fun experiences with you. When your cat is on leash, say lots of, "goooood kitty-kitty" and offer periodic treats.

When can I take my cat outside on leash?

Once your cat is comfortable walking on leash indoors, you can try a short adventure out doors in a safe area such as your backyard.

Keep the first few trips outside short and positive.  Make sure your cat is hungry.  Coax your cat into this new area by offering tasty treats. ay simply sit in one place and look around.  Allow your cat to explore the yard. Be close and keep your cat out of trouble. 

Your goal is to protect your cat from any loose dogs or other sources of potential harm or panic.  Always be prepared to pick you your cat at a moments notice.

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