Kindle is a 3 year old cat who was adopted a couple months ago. Prior to adoption, she had no experience with clicker training. This week I taught her to ring a service bell using food treats, luring, and shaping.
This cat does not use her paws very often, so the first step was teaching her to raise a paw and bat an object. From there, we could focus on touching the bell. The training quickly became a very precise shaping game; the bell button is an extremely small target (no larger than a few millimeters in diameter), and must be pressed downward with enough force for the bell to ring. Each training session focused on very specific aspects of her pawing behavior (e.g., downward swipe motion, sustained press, speed, force) to gradually shape the desired bell ringing. Once she began hitting the bell on her own, the bell sound became the new “clicker”.
The final steps we still need to take to “complete” this behavior are: 1) vary the position of the bell in relation to Kindle so she works harder to find the target, 2) reward only the louder bell sounds, 3) work on the trick in various locations, and 4) add a verbal cue.
I only took a couple cell phone videos of Kindle’s progress, but tried to make this somewhat of a tutorial video so you can be inspired to train your own cat!