Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I brought home a couple of cat harnesses and leashes from PetSmart on
Monday night, and harness training has commenced. Basically, my intent
is to get the cats used to wearing harnesses, and then add the leashes.
Once they're leash-trained, as they will have to be if they're to
become therapy animals, then we can go exploring and socializing in
places like PetSmart.

In the meantime, every day I'm going to spend some time letting them
wear the harnesses and having a ROUSING play session. I want them to
get the impression that harness time = play time, so they'll know that
there are new, fun things in store when the harnesses ae brought out.

And as I discovered during their first harness/play session on Monday
night, the radio-controlled Flyers Zamboni is a big hit with the cats. :o) They haven't
attacked it yet, but they follow it around and never stop watching it.
Sometimes they follow it along while trotting out in the open, and
other times, they're observing it from behind cover. But the moment it
rolls out of their line of sight, ZIP! they quickly head to a new
vantage point where they can see it again. :o)

They also love chasing their "toy on a fishing pole" cat toys, so I
make sure they have plenty of THAT game while the harnesses are on.
Basically, they pretty much forget all ABOUT the harnesses once the
fishing pole toys come out. They're too interested in stalking the toys
to notice that they're wearing anything new.

Oh, and I also make sure they have a good dose of Lap Time pets and
skritches when the harnesses are on. If they're going to be visiting
any hospital, nursing home, etc, they're going to be getting doted on
while wearing the harnesses, so they might as well get used to it ASAP.
Plus, they LO-O-O-O-OVE attention, so this is just one more way to
reinforce the connection between wearing a harness and good things
happening.

At this rate, I think I can get them to graduate to having the leashes
on within a few more days. Maybe over the weekend will be good, since
I'll have more time to work with them then.

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