Thursday, June 9, 2011

when animal psychologists go bad

I think I'm destroying one of my cat's sanity. I'm not doing it on purpose.
I haven't figured out a way to get him to understand English, is all.
I've tried click training him, I've tried keywords, but the main issue is this: he doesn't want the treat as his reward, he wants to chase it down the hall, crashing into anything in his way.

He's started swatting it more, sometimes chasing it around corners and tokyo drifting his way around it.

There's no method to the madness, though.-It was easy for him to get where being picked up didn't mean punishment. Now we can pick him up without fear he turns into a lashing ball of teeth and claws - he had issues when we got him. I'd pick him up, he'd bristle into attack mode, his mouth would start working, and I'd pop a treat in there. He started to LOVE being picked up.

Then I threw one down the hall. Joyous ecstasy. He's no longer the same cat. He used to tolerate me and love Andrea. He still loves Andrea, but I've become his pusher man. I've associated "the flop" with triggering treats. But Sylvester's been busy creating his own triggers.
For some totally insane reason, me taking a dump in the bathroom downstairs is one of them. What follows is a series of pics of him hearing me in the bathroom, and his treat attempts.

That's him waiting patienly while I do the paperwork.
And again, this time making enough noise that I opened the door to see what was happening:

Sometimes if it takes a while (and lord knows sometimes it takes a while) he'll come in and pretend to pass out from the fumes:

Any way you look at it, it's not normal behavior. I've been rewarding him for not swatting our other cat, Lady. . . she's a bitch and likes to start fights, and he gets treats for not retaliating. I don't know if he's figured that out; he does know if he lays down near her, about 50% of the time he gets a treat.
That's opened up a whole new can of worms because of the hatred she has for him. He sidles up, lays down near her, then looks at me, expectantly.
I think I missed my calling in life.

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