Wed, 06/01/2011 - 16:04 — Dr. Whitaker
Some of the most common and most frustrating cases that I see are cats with behavior problems. Why is that? Often it's because I lack quality resources to share with clients on the topic. Happily, there's some news to report in this area. Feline behaviorist, Marilyn Krieger, has written a new book, titled Naughty No More, which offers insight on correcting problem behaviors.
In my opinion, Marilyn's book is well-organized, well-written, and very easy-to-read. It offers practical suggestions to solve big problems including aggression, inappropriate elimination, furniture scratching, and counter surfing (just to name a few).
The author begins by familiarizing the reader with clicker training
techniques. These methods are essential for setting the foundation on which she builds her behavioral solutions. I found her descriptions of how to teach cats the basics using this technique very informative and easy-to-follow. I had to make myself stay on the couch and keep reading, resisting the urge to jump up and start training my cat.
After she has provided a solid background that will enable you to master the clicker basics with your cat, Marilyn moves forward building on those principles in the chapters that follow. She also includes great case examples from her experiences as a feline behaviorist. While this may sound potentially tedious, I can tell you that I found this to be very helpful, and entertaining!
In my veterinary practice, the most common feline behavior complaint that I deal with is inappropriate elimination. As you might expect, I made a beeline for this chapter and feel that it provides the best example of the effectiveness of Marilyn’s techniques.
She starts by recommending a visit to the vet to rule out medical issues that could be contributing to the problem. Then she provides a list of factors in the cat's environment that should be addressed to ensure optimal litter box habits. Marilyn then describes the use of clicker training to build confidence, and refocus the cat away from the problem areas. I really appreciate her emphasis on a positive approach, and feel that we all need to remember this when dealing with such frustrating problems.
I highly recommend Marilyn Krieger’s Naughty No More. Whether you and your cat have a specific problem, or you just want to enrich both of your lives with fun, interactive techniques, this book provides great information.