Copyright © 2005/2007 by Cadmos Verlag GmbH, Brunsbek, Germany

Copyright of this edition © 2009 by Cadmos Books, Great Britain

Design and Layout: Ravenstein + Partner, Verden

Translation: Andrea Höfling

Editorial of this edition: Christopher Long, Dr. Sarah Binns

Photos: Urs Preisig


All rights reserved: No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library.


ISBN: 978-0-85788-632-3


Datenkonvertierung eBook:

Kreutzfeldt digital, Hamburg Print Web Software GmbH, Saarbrücken




How does the cat get to know the clicker?


Classical conditioning

The clicker works for all cats

Does it have to be a clicker?


The first steps: of firming and naming

spontaneous behaviour



‘Lie down!’

Changing locations


Operant conditioning

The shaping of behaviour


Speedy execution

Grooming and other inconveniences

Avoiding mistakes creeping in

‘Come home!’


The handshake and household chores

Playing rough and ‘without claws’


Developing chains of behaviour


Developing of behaviour sequences

The rewards



Going for walks together

Problems with fear

Fear of strangers

Fear of objects

Fear of being touched


Moving away from the reward, in order to get a reward

Aggressive behaviour towards humans,

dogs and other cats

Scratching the furniture


Special questions

Clicker training involving several cats

Clicker training without a clicker

Problems with the litter tray


At a glance: What is being trained and how?


Further reading




The fact of having picked up this book suggests that you are an open-minded person who is willing to experiment. Regardless of all the scepticism regarding the training of cats, you have let yourself in for the adventure of getting to know what working with a clicker is like, and entering a closer relationship with your cat at the same time. I can assure you of this: you will not regret it. The clicker is more than a learning aid; it is a tool which enables us humans to enter into a multi-layered, completely new kind of communication with our cats. Maybe you will employ the clicker in order to teach your cat things that you find desirable for your life together, or perhaps you want your cat to ‘unlearn’ some unpleasant habits, or just want to use the clicker for fun and entertainment: the possibilities are endless!



Left: Pretending to be a dangerous tiger – Mowgli does this to perfection by following the target stick with his paws.

Right: Getting there is not that difficult at all! With the aid of the target stick, even the slightest indication of spontaneous behaviour is affirmed.


I’m very pleased to be able to guide you across the tip of an iceberg, to be able to show you its hills and hollows, nooks and crannies. It is up to you how deep you want to delve to discover what else is slumbering under the surface. There need be no limits to your imagination. I promise not to bore you with theory for too long, but please allow me just one remark regarding the term ‘upbringing’. To me, ‘upbringing’ implies hard work: it requires effort to ‘bring someone up’. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It is exactly for this reason that, in my view, the word is not appropriate. You will find that with a clicker, no effort is required to teach your cat ‘sit’ or ‘go into the cat basket’. The animal acts on his own accord. All you need is patience in order to allow the cat to try out for himself what is desired and what isn’t, a keen eye for the cat’s reactions and the behaviour he is offering to you, and the understanding that there are a few differences between the training of cats and the training of dogs.

Dealing with a dog you can say: ‘Right Bonzo, I have a bit of time to spare, let’s do some clicker exercises.’ With a cat, the cat will say: ‘Well, my dear tin-opener, I think I can spare you a little time now. You may get the clicker out for me.’