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Feline Behavior Solutions: Teaching Foundation Behaviors for Modifying Behavior

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Course Begins: October 18th, 2020
Duration: 5 weeks
Instructor: Katenna Jones, ACAAB, CCBC

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About the Course

Modification of any problematic or unwanted behavior requires mechanical skill, knowledge of species-specific behavior, and experience with a variety of strategies and techniques. This course will provide opportunities for anyone who works with cats to gain all of that, and more. Each of the five weeks is packed with information that can be directly and immediately applied to a variety of cat behavior cases, from aggression to anxiety and from fighting to fear. This course was created for cat behavior consultants who are looking to take on more advanced cases, or cat lovers simply looking to teach cats specific skills. Content is relevant to anyone who works with cats in a professional, volunteer, or personal capacity.

Required Course Materials

  • Access to at least one cat throughout the duration of the course that
    • is social and friendly
    • has not been previously, formally trained
    • is food, touch, praise, or toy motivated
    • **Access to multiple cats is recommended as a “backup” in case your primary isn’t feeling well or isn’t in the mood to train
  • Ability to record, trim, and upload videos with audio of cat training sessions
  • Clicker (iClick recommended)
  • Target stick (to be discussed in week 1, can be made or purchased - check out example here)
  • Cat rewards (to be discussed in week 1)

Weekly Content

Week 1 - Tools, Techniques, and Targets

We begin this course with a review of various tools, techniques, and tips that can be useful when addressing feline behavior problems. Students will establish a baseline understanding of what could be in their toolbox, ideas for determining reinforcers, determining rate of food delivery, and more. This knowledge will be applied as students learn how to target train a cat using clicker training, discuss applications, and practice target training with their cats.

Homework:

- Identify which rewards your cat prefers, the marker your cat is comfortable with, and define that marker for your cat (pair with reward).

- Post a video of one of your training sessions and discuss what you did well and what could use improvement.

- Post a positive comment on at least one fellow student’s training video.

Week #2 - Improving Mechanical Skill

This week students will learn about setting criteria, adjusting rates of reinforcement, assessing progress, DRI/DRO/DRA, and more.

Homework:

- Post video of target training your cat, in which you repeatedly make the same mistake. Discuss the mistake, how you felt when you “caught” it, and how you plan to move forward.

- Post a video of target training your cat, in which you are no longer making the mistake.

- Post a positive comment on at least one fellow student’s training video.

Week #3 - Building Toward Useful Behaviors

This week, students will learn how to take target training to the next level and begin teaching cats skills that can be applied to the real world.

Homework:

- Post a video of you training the skill you selected. Discuss why you chose this behavior and what kinds of problem behaviors you think it might be useful for.

- Review at least one fellow student’s training video and discuss what kinds of problem behaviors you think it might be useful for.

Week #4 - Achieving Fluency

This week, students will learn to assist their cats in becoming fluent in the behaviors they have been working on throughout this course. Focus should be on setting realistic criteria, determining what components of fluency are important, and tackling one component at a time. Components to be considered include the “3 D’s,” “PaLS,” and stimulus control.

Homework:

- Post a “before” video of your cat learning the skill you chose early on, as well as an “after” video of the same skill once you began addressing fluency.

- Review at least one fellow student’s training videos and help come up with ideas for how they might help the cat to become more fluent or comment on a component of the training that impressed you.

Week #5 - Critical Self-Assessment

This week, students will critically self-assess their work throughout this course to identify where they excelled, where they succeeded, and where they could have been done better. It is important for consultants to constantly reassess their process throughout each case to ensure they are working at an appropriate pace for the client AND for the cat, have realistic expectations, are not setting criteria too high nor too low, are able to adjust and adapt as needed.

Homework:

Discuss (in a video or in writing) what you are most proud of having achieved in this course, what you need to work on the most, and what plans you have for being more successful in the future.

Recommended Supplemental Materials

  • What is My Cat Saying? Feline Communication 101 (Munera) DVD
  • Understanding Cat Behavior (Roger Tabor)
  • Clicker Training for Cats (Karen Pryor)
  • Starting from Scratch: How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat (Pam Johnson-Bennett)
  • Twisted Whiskers: Solving Your Cat's Behavior Problems (Pam Johnson-Bennett)

Prerequisites

  • Understanding of and ability to effectively marker train (any species)
  • Understanding of and ability to effectively train “target” or “touch” (any species)

* Experience with cats not required

 

Class Schedule

This five-week course will begin on the specified start date. Students will have access to the course material for 60 days after the course ends.

 

Course Completion/CEU Requirements

Auditors must review all course material. This will be verified in the Learning Management System.

Full Students must complete the homework assignments and participate in forum discussions. Students should expect to spend an average of 4 hours per week on course material and viewing, depending on individual speed of learning and the week's materials.

 

Registration Information

Auditor Full Student
CEUs 5.5 (CCPDT, IAABC, KPA) 9.5 (CCPDT); 12.5 (IAABC, KPA)
Member Cost $159* $249*
Non-Member Cost $199 $324

*IAABC Members - log into your member account for the discount code

 

Online Course Cancellation Policy

  • Full refunds available more than 30 days before program start.
  • 50% refund available 16 - 30 days before program start.
  • No refunds available 15 or fewer days before program start.

 

About the Instructor

Through her business Jones Animal Behavior, Katenna Jones provides private dog and cat behavior consulting services, group classes, and seminars at both local and national events. Katenna is the former Director of Educational Programs for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Animal Behaviorist for the American Humane Association, and Behaviorist and Investigator for the RISPCA.

She has been involved in animal sheltering and rescue since 2000, is a disaster responder, is author of Fetching the Perfect Dog Trainer: Getting the Best for You and Your Dog and has contributed to numerous local and national publications.

Katenna earned her Master's from Brown University where she studied animal behavior, learning and cognition. She is an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Certified Cat and Dog Behavior Consultant, and Certified Pet Dog Trainer.

She shares her RI home with her husband, two adopted cats, and adopted dog.

If you have questions, email us at courses@iaabc.org.

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