Sunday, November 16, 2008

Care and Feeding of Humans Part 2; Training

As any feline will tell you, training humans can be a time-consuming yet rewarding task. In general, humans respond best to positive reinforcement. Take tonight for example. It was past dinner time but my tummy required an extra helping of tuna. Miss R. was busy making lesson plans for Monday morning. Her lesson plan book was open and she had her laptop turned on as she checked the curriculum web. Purring loudly, I jumped on the table and stretched out completely covering her lesson plan book. She ignored me at first and tried to slide her book out from under my humungous tummy. I moved on to plan B. I hid behind the monitor of her laptop and swiped out her typing fingers with my paws, claws extended. Humans love this. "Oliver, stop playing," Miss R. scolded but I knew that meant I was that much closer to my second helping of tuna. Next, I jumped on Miss R.'s lap and turned and twisted multiple times before I stretched out and snoozed with one eye open. Miss R. pretended to ignore me as she tried to continue her work. I decided to voice my appreciation for Miss R.'s servitude by meowing, she calls it caterwauling, very loudly. "All right, Boy," she said trying to stand up. "Let's see what you want." I leaped to the ground and ran as fast as my chubby legs would carry me to the kitchen where I purred loudly in front of the fridge. Miss R. patted my head then opened the door to remove my tuna. She scooped some into my bowl, patted me on the head again, and returned to her work. I'd like to say that this kind of positive reinforcement works all the time, but alas that is not the case. Next time, we'll take a look at how to set boundaries with your humans.

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