Cats make good dog trainers


My cat Charlie is fascinated by dogs. When he met Ardbeg for the first time, he was so terrified we hardly saw him for two days. But then, he was very young and inexperienced. He quickly learnt that Ardbeg was scared of him more. This knowledge was priceless. He has been the Dog Master since.


Charlie also missed Ardbeg most. He slept in ‘Ardbeg’s spot’ for six weeks, he followed me and Lily on our walks looking for his dog, he sniffed at Ardbeg’s harnesses and toys.

He was happy when we got Brian. But, this silly little chap needed training. He was just too bouncy and he didn’t have any idea of personal space.

Brian inspecting the cats beds.

So, for five weeks now I’ve been watching Charlie training his dog. I’m impressed, I don’t think I’ve seen many people doing the job that well. When Brian gets too excited Charlie stops all interaction and just walks away ignoring the overly enthusiastic dog. He comes back when all the whining and attempts to encourage him to come down and play stop.


Charlie could, of course, use his claws. But he wants a playmate and a friend, not a dog who is just scared of him. The results are exceptionally good: Brian is careful with Charlie, watches his body language and tries to copy him (shoulder rubbing). Reluctantly, he stopped jumping into the cats beds when the cats are there. He’s learnt how to be more patient and more considerate with them.


So, by persistently rewarding Brian’s good behaviour and withdrawing the reward when the behaviour was not desirable, Charlie’s trained Brian to be an ideal dog for him. Easy, isn’t it?


29 thoughts on “Cats make good dog trainers

  1. Confess: do you have Skinner’s Operational Conditioning lying about the house where Charlie had gotten a hold of it? Cats rule, it’s axiomatic. They rule better then most human leaders, too, because they rule by positive reinforcement, rather than fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ardbeg is the reason why I write this blog, but he passed away 3 months ago. But it’s his blog, really, it wouldn’t exist without him. He was my most challenging and most wonderful rescue. When I brought him home, my sister said he smelled like my whisky, so he became Ardbeg, the name suited him perfectly, because he was not for everyone. But once you fell in love with him, he was the best, the only one worth loving (like my favourite whisky) πŸ™‚

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      1. I’ve done a lot of courses, but I’ve been volunteering for various charities and shelters for some 18 years and I think you can learn most from the animals (though it helps to have some information on how animals think and react to various situations). I wouldn’t call it wisdom, though-and I definitely don’t consider myself to be an expert!

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      1. Silly Human–birds are for us Cats. We understand that Woofies generally lack the reflexes to hunt them successfully. Woofies are better at taking care of larger game, like squirrels and rabbits. Purrs, Quicksilver

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  2. I used to always want a cat and a dog. So cute when they get a long. I am unlike you, I cannot have 8 pets. Two is enough for me and at present they are cats! It is nice that you have a helper in training Brian.,

    Liked by 1 person

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