Free Member Webinar
Presented by Beth Adelman
CEUs: PPAB 1, CCPDT 1, IAABC 1
While positive reinforcement is always my first choice in working with cats, many times very frightened/under-socialized cats will not accept food, play, a happy tone of voice, petting, or any interaction at all with humans. If nothing you offer the cat is rewarding in that moment, how do you gain the cat’s trust? I have found a behavior modification protocol using negative reinforcement to be very effective in these situations.
I am using the term “negative reinforcement” in the strict sense of removing something to increase the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated. I do not use aversives in this behavior modification protocol. My goal is always to move the cat as quickly as possible to a state where he or she is able to accept positive reinforcement.
- A very quick review of the four quadrants of negative and positive reinforcement and punishment, as used in discussing operant conditioning.
- Why positive reinforcement might not work for some cats in some situations.
- What kinds of cats/situations might do better with negative reinforcement.
- Why negative reinforcement might work for those cats.
- A step-by-step explanation of a negative reinforcement behavior modification protocol for working with cats in a home environment. I will use the case study of one of my own cats as the framework for describing this protocol.
- I will point out where I customized the protocol for this cat, for clients’ cats, and how it can be customized for each individual cat. Emphasis is on meeting each cat where they are.
- How a negative reinforcement behavior modification protocol is used to lead the cat to a state where he or she can accept positive reinforcement for further behavior modification work.
- If time permits, some tips on other ways to help a frightened/under-socialized cat adapt to a new home.
About the Presenter
Beth has been a cat behavior consultant with an active practice in New York for more than a decade and is a member of the PPG Cat Committee. She has taught the Cat Behavior segment (a six-hour one-day seminar) of Kutztown University’s Canine Training and Management certificate program. She has given seminars at IAABC conferences, and at professional conferences and public events sponsored by Pet Sitters International, the Garden State Cat Club, the Cat Writers Association, Meet the Breeds (a cat and dog breed showcase in New York City co-sponsored by TICA and AKC), and the Winn Feline Foundation, among others. Beth is also the 2011 recipient of the Winn Feline Foundation Media Appreciation award