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Off topic: What tricks have you managed to teach your pet?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:55
English to French
+ ...
Dec 6, 2007

As we are all aware, many of us have little pet companions who keep us company while we work. Although they like to disrupt our concentration once in a while (cat pretending to be a part-time shredder, anyone?), they are generally a joy to have around. Since we spend lots of time with our pets, as opposed to people who go to work every day outside of the house, we probably tend to teach them more tricks as well.

I am interested in finding out about the tricks you have managed to teach your pet, or even tricks they taught themselves just by being around.

My cat - Monsieur Émile - doesn't help me at all when I am working. He just likes to attack me once in a while (I guess it's his way of saying "You've worked enough already, come play with me now!") and bite my fingers. But when it is time to feed him, he is really funny. I taught him not to touch his food until I tell him he can eat. I put the cat food in the bowl, and instead of starting to stuff his face right away, he follows me around. He knows the food is served, but he will not touch it until I say the word OK. I can talk to him, tell him how pretty he is, pet him, etc., but he is able to distinguish the word OK from other words, and until I utter it, he will not touch his bowl (although he circles it a lot).

Any tricks like this that your pet has learned? Also, what tricks would you like to teach your pet if he was smarter? I would have my cat proofread my translations overnight...


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:55
Italian to English
+ ...
More like what tricks have they taught me... Dec 6, 2007

You've actually managed to teach your cat to obey you?

I've more or less successfully managed to stop my cat, HRH Prince Widget, from lying between the keyboard and the monitor. It used to be possible, but a desk rearrangement means that there is now a literally compact-cat-sized space left, which is fine until I want to use the mouse (the presumption!) or he wants to move his tail or stretch out, as he invariably does... and it all ends in a big hissy fit (him) and bloodshed (mine). Getting a larger desk so he can take back his rightful position is a priority.

As my other cat, Tindaro, takes possession of my desk chair when I'm not on it, it'd be nice if he got through a few pages while he was at it. Not a chance though. He sleeps all morning, sleeps all afternoon, sleeps all night and only wakes up when he hears the munchies rattling into his bowl.

[Edited at 2007-12-06 20:21]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:55
English to German
+ ...
"Do the Burrito!" Dec 6, 2007

Cats do a lot of stupid stuff to get attention..

"Do the Burrito!" was the command, on which our former cat (male, named Jazzbo) would do his famous shoulder-flop on his personal little carpet - a simple doormat - and wrap himself up until the entire thing looked like a certain Mexican dish, less appetizing, but much cuter. Worked every time.


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:55
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Dog dancing Dec 6, 2007

Hi Victoria,
I guess it's a lot more difficult to teach cats as they are very good at organizing their time themselves - so chapeau bas for you!

My dog is actually constantly expecting that we do something together (stress on together!) so I took inspiration from the great video of a dancing dog and.. we started dancing. Here is this video - really enjoyable stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqbVbPvlDoM

Of course we are nowhere near the performance of such great stars as Carolyne and Rookie, but - we do well Most importantly - my dog just loves every second of it and for me it's a very needed 10 minutes break from the computer!

If I ever forgot our daily routine or I'm too busy - he has his ways to remind me

Best,
Magda



[Edited at 2007-12-06 19:32]


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:55
French to Spanish
+ ...
Only cats? Dec 6, 2007

With my 2 cats, no teaching at all... just: "Shhhh, shhhh, get out of my keyboard... wrewiut tqoehtq oqit q eroeth doesn't mean anything and now the machine is frozen!" But they never attack the mouse. Strange. For "pii" and "poo", cats are very clever: they have their own bathroom in the garden, thanks God, and know how to use it by instinct, or by their genes, dunno, very soon.
The dog requieres more education: simple... pii or poo in the house, a big slam in the face with a newspaper. They understand quite quickly. And some "Stop, get here... don't cross the goddam street like that, don't poo on my neighbor front door for God sake, leave that pretty white poodle alone, please, you're embarrasing me in front of everybody, don't run away, here's the soap for your bath!, etc."
Well, I love them a lot.


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Wish all my pets would do this... Dec 6, 2007

I once had a cat (Cashew, picked up from a shelter) who would jump up on the toilet and pee. I didn't teach her to do it, she just did. Never could get her to flush, though.

Another cat, Sweeney Tom, would lick my eyelids in the morning to get me out of bed. And in the evenings when I was paying more attention to the TV than to him he would run full pelt at the back of my armchair, take a leap and swipe me across the back of the head with his paw. Typical male...can't handle competition!

But I've never taught a cat anything...well haven't really attempted to. Aren't they above all that...unashamed felinity etc..

The present cat, Beba, is just 6 months old and when she isn't playing with our one-eyed dog, she chases my daughter around the house biting her feet.

Paty


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:55
Italian to English
+ ...
Great link Magda! Dec 6, 2007

Here's the cat's take on life...

http://www.funnieststuff.net/viewmovie.php?id=614


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Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:55
Japanese to English
+ ...
Ciaran Dec 6, 2007

When our tuxedo cat Ciaran used the scratching post, my wife and I would get ourselves all excited, say "Good boy" repeatedly, and pet him. Now, when he wants attention, he starts using the scratching post. If we don't respond right away, he turns his head back and loos at us as if to say, "I'm doing my part, what's taking you?"

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:55
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Like a dog Dec 6, 2007

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

You've actually managed to teach your cat to obey you?


Yup! I know, cats that obey their masters are few and far between. My cat is much like a dog - he is very smart, and since he was castrated a bit early, he didn't have time to develop his own personality, so he is easier to condition. Because of these two qualities, he learns things easily. The one thing he never will, simply because he openly refuses to, is to respect the fact that the bedroom is the only place he is not allowed to go. Of course, he doesn't do it in front of us - we just find him lying down on our bed when we get home. Then he runs and hides in the basement (you can tell he knows he did something wrong). He also uses bedroom trespassing to attract attention - when he wants to eat, he pushes the bedroom door open - he knows I always react to that, so as an attention-grabber, it works perfectly for him. He also likes walking on the kitchen counter at night, when we sleep tight - I almost always find his footprints on the ceramic stovetop the next day, and it gets to me every time (I don't like cleaning stovetops day after day).

My cat also does the burrito - but he does it spontaneously, especially when I get up in the morning. I think it's his way of greeting me. My cat is very expressive and although he doesn't have facial expressions like humans do, he "smiles" at us a lot. He lies down on his back, with hindlegs wide apart, and twists in all directions until someone decides to pet him. I guess Nicole also has a dog-like cat, since she was able to teach the cat to do something on command (most of those who tried failed at this - cats are not eager students).

Paty, your post made me laugh out loud! The eyelid licking is sooooo cute! I once had a cat, a long time ago, who liked to lick my forehead. Don't ask me why, I didn't ask for it. But I sure appreciated the exfoliation - a cat's tongue is the best for that purpose! A cat who learns, by itself, to use the toilet? Your cat must have an exceptionally high IQ! I wish my cat could do that - no more litter cleaning! Does your cat also do number two's as well? That would be the best!

Magda, the video you link to summarizes very well why I keep regretting that pets have much shorter life expectancies than humans. Boy, that dog is happy - look at the tail wagging! Also, Marie-Hélène's video resumes is quite well - good thing I don't have a baseball bat! I will send that one to my boyfriend - Monsieur Émile is my cat, but my boyfriend has developed such an intimate and respectful relationship with him that I keep telling him that he is really his cat and not mine. Sad but true - I feed him, clean his litter, brush him, take him to the vet's - and Monsieur Émile decided that I am but a provider, and it is my boyfriend who is the mommy...

[Edited at 2007-12-06 20:17]


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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
He does the raw translations... Dec 6, 2007

and I just have to clean up after him a little when he's done. It's a mutually acceptable agreement.

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Liliana Roman-Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
English to Italian
"working dog" Dec 6, 2007

I have an adorable Golden Retriever, he's 7 y.o., his name is Captain Tony (from a Jimmy Buffett's song), but we call him Tony. He follows me around like a duckling, hoping to get some attention, fondling, teasing or some playing with one of his stuffed toys.

As a Retriever he's pretty good in bringing back any sort of thing you toss around, but some years ago I started to teach him little things like taking out the trash bags. Of course not the huge, heavy ones from the kitchen bin, just the office trash, mostly waste paper which I put into a grocery bag and I tie tightly on top. So I give him the little bundle, he trots around the house oh so very proud of himself, then I let him out, he runs around me in circles several times (still with the bag in his mouth) while I pretend to scold him and eventually he ends up near the trash container, where he drops the bag waiting for me to discharge it. Then he dashes inside, into the kitchen and waits for me to give him a little cookie. Every time it's this little circus!

As he knows perfectly that he gets a reward every time he does such things, now whenever he sees me with something in my hand he tries to take it, be it the laundry (socks, t-shirts, which he takes near the hamper in the bathroom), mail (envelopes, boxes), groceries (empty soda boxes, cereal boxes, shoe boxes) and he does the little "show" for a while.

And yes, he is very spoiled.

I guess dogs can be trained more easily than cats to do tricks. I once had a cat, but for the life of me, I could not teach her anything, she would just eat, sleep and mind her own business.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:55
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A trick I tried - but gave up Dec 6, 2007

I tried to teach my cat to say mama - hey, if others have succeeded, why wouldn't I? But my cat can't make any sense of it, so I abandoned the project.

See the example here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVzJj9Bio5g

Surprising how little cats with brains the size of an egg can be really smart!


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:55
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Not sure if it can be called a trick Dec 6, 2007

I somehow taught our weimaraner, Ivor The Royal Hunter, to drool profusely when I peel an orange. At some stage in his life he even liked to share an orange with me. But now he just drools in some atavistic conditional reflex.

In the morning we often join in a barbershop song. Ivor makes me very jealous by switching between the bass and tenor parts without any effort at all. To the joy of my friends, I just have to align my nose with Ivor's nose and break into After dark, when everything is still... Ivor will accompany me for sure.

Regards,
Gerard


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
Crossing the road Dec 7, 2007

Our chocolate lab, Brian, only knows one trick really well. There are usually a lot of cars parked up where we live so crossing the road could be a nightmare. I taught him how to sit and wait till I said Cross before crossing. Now he just sits down when we reach the corner. I can cross on my own, stand there for ten minutes, do whatever but he will continue to sit till I tell him to cross. He has even taken it a step further. When he wishes to cross a road, he will turn facing the opposite side, sit down and look at me. Usually it's because one of his pals is on the other side. It is very funny to watch.

He also understands No pretty well but does not pay much heed. I don't think it's part of what he thinks are life skills.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 13:55
English to Russian
+ ...
Walking with me Dec 7, 2007

In the courtyard or along the lake shore under our balcony. No leashes, and they know it when I say "wrong way, we are going this way". They return home with me after 30 min or so. Masha stays home often, she is happy with the balcony, but Kuzya loves these walks.

The rest of the tricks they taught me. When Kuzya feels that I've been ignoring him for too long he starts drooling and makes me feed him from the palm of my hand. He loves it. Should I keep ignoring him for whatever reason he would bitch loudly for a little while and then go for his nasty trick - he would start terrorizing his sister, Masha, and he knows for sure that I will have to get up to settle the dispute so he'd get my attention.

Masha says mama so clearly it's scary:-).

They are very talkative and Masha never ceases to respond when I ask "Masha, aren't you beautiful?" She goes - meowyeah!

She used to be a mean little sister - whenever Kuzya did some mischief like knocking something down she would run to me and peach him. I guess that's when he learned to straighten her up once in a while.

Masha got lost once, many years ago, in the heart of Houston. After having her photos all over, checking all the shelters and even calling a road kill pickup!!!! I nearly lost hope but in 2 weeks she was sitting under my car of all cars on the lot. Kuzya was waiting for me every evening and would walk with me much farther and much longer than usual, calling and looking for her. He would jump on me like a dog the moment I showed up at the door after work and we'd set off on our rescue mission. I swear I could hear him asking where she is. Anyway, when she came back home he greeted her first and then, all of a sudden, gave her a real beating for all his trouble. After that they slept curled together for nearly 24 hours - both were exhausted.


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