Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Utilizing the Scientific Method to train your pet

Hello feline friends,

It's rare that I address my letters to only one side of my beloved friendship tree, but today, as I have been inspired by both Scooby (Beans Training 101) and The Empress Kukka-Maria (Open Letter to My Mother--I'm Tired of Training You), I decided to share my personal experiences with training my beloved homo sapien.

This is my homo sapien pet. That picture was taken while she was at The Work. My human is what some might call a Teacher, and she teaches little homo sapiens who cannot hear. My human pet can be difficult at times as she will not always readily respond to my attempts to communicate with her, and it's times like those that make me wonder if she is like her pupils.

I have noted that when working with the human pet, it is best to follow a tried and true schematic: The Scientific Method. Now, feline friends, if you're not familiar with this, I'll go through it step-by-step and provide you with examples so that you can try it at home with your own pet.

Step 1: Observation and description of the phenomenon: What is it you wish to set about accomplishing? Do you want more food? Do you want to go to The City of Outside? Do you long for a relaxing belly rub? Consider the environment and different factors that might influence your human pet to not succumb to your will. Such factors might include (but are certainly not limited to): the flashy-loud box (in homo sapien, television), the humanip (P-L-A-Y-S-T-A-T-I-O-N), the speak-into-bone (telephone), or even the flashy-type-type box (computer). Note all these factors so you can account for them in the next step.

Step 2: Form a hypothesis: After figuring out all of the factors that may be prohibiting you from reaching your goal with your human pet, then make what the homo sapiens call "a hypothesis". Basically, take a guess at what you think you could do to change the behavior. Let's look at a situation that happened to me the other day as an example. I was extremely hungry, and it was 6:00 a.m. My human pet had let my food bowl become empty. I "hypothesized" that my human pet not only needed a wake-up call but also a reminder to go make my breakfast on time. Both the wake-up call and the reminder would take the form of a swift jump on the head followed by smothering of the face with my tummy, otherwise known as "Cover and Smother". This led to...

Step 3: Use hypothesis to predict new observations: With this hypothesis in mind, I predicted that "Cover and Smother" would get the human up and into the kitchen to fill my bowl. The only thing left to do was...

Step 4: Perform experimental tests of the predictions: I jumped on top of the bed and belly-flopped right on my human pet's face. She began to spat and wave at me, but I kept the motor running and pressed my tummy down harder on her face. She would only be left with two choices: Continue wearing me as a face-mask, or get up to fill the food bowl. In the end, I was triumphant, and the food was prepared on time according to my specifications.

This process takes some practice, but with enough time, any feline can become skilled at this. In time, everything you ever wanted from a refreshing spa-like litter box to bottled water with a spritz of lemon can be (and should be!) your's!

Sincerely,

20 comments:

PrincessMia said...

Well done Zeus! I shall be practicing this technique and will post my results.

Georgia said...

It's a good system, but it's a bit more difficult when the humans are distracted and running around. The other thing that distracts my humans are the other cats. I find that standing in front of them and looking cute can help but it's not 100%. I need another way to slow them down.

The Meezers said...

Zeus, you are truly awsome.

George, Tipper, Max & Misty said...

Zeus - I wonder how you can have accomplished so much training in so little time and wonder if you would mind telling us all your age. I know it's not polite to ask a lady, but just between us guys? I've been training my beans for 9 years and feel I still have so much work ahead of me!

George
The Crew

Zeus said...

George: I am five years old, but I definitely have too much time on my hands as I have gone through my homo sapien's intense library while she made the greenbacks with being The Teacher and The Coach.

While the humans are away, the felines will play...or study in my case I suppose.

Kukka-Maria said...

Zeus, your brilliance inspires me! I try your simple, four-step system--thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experience. While I am a bit older than you (I'll be 7 in August), I must admit, you have had greater success in training your human.

I am sure it's not because I'm completely self-absorbed, but that you have a better human specimen with which to work...

William said...

Wow, finally! Something concrete to work with!

Luna said...

Zeus...you are special!and so smart! =^^=

Scooby, Shaggy & Scout said...

Zeus this is a remarkable procedure! Well thought out and with a positive outcome. A+

Fat Eric said...

Zeus, I stand in awe of your great kitty wisdom and knowledge. You are definitely one of the intellectual giants of the kitty world. I have also had success with the Cover and Smother method to hurry up breakfast. My dad can't stand having his head licked when he is trying to sleep and will almost always get up and serve breakfast quickly to get me to stop licking!!

Kelly Cat said...

Thank you for the mini-seminar, Dr. Zeus. I believe we can all learn from you.

Knightly, Lizzie, & Firenze said...

Zeus, we must try this but our Mom has been notoriously hard to train. We'll let you know how it goes and you should definitely write a book!

The Monsters

Knightly, Lizzie, & Firenze said...

PS. we are going to add you to our list of friends. We would love for you to add us too.

Lizzie

Gemini said...

Why thank you Zeus for the offer of talking to a big Ginger Tabby. You know I found my current human because of a ginger tabby so I am very fond of you guys.

Cruxley said...

You are wise for one so young. Now if you have more than one human, you must learn to play them against each other. The possibilities are endless.

Derby said...

Hmmm, sounds like stuff that mum does, doing the hypo thingy. But mum is pretty well trained. I gets my foods on time and such.

Beau Beau & Angie said...

Zeus, your scientific insight is brilliant and you are a truly generous teacher by giving us such a well thought out lesson.
Now, we are going to hypothesize about getting Mom to give us stinky goodness instead of these strange dark brown pellets we's been eating. We've started already by acting crazier than normal and racing around the house at all times.

DEBRA said...

Zeus

Your knowledge and wisdom truly inspire. Love your insights into human behavior and training techniques. Well done. Thankfully my human is totally devoted to my every whim so she is at my beck and call. (BTW I put a magic potion in one of her beverages when I first came and ever since she has been under my secret spell)

*ABBY

Victor Tabbycat said...

Dr. Zeus, PhD. Can we hire you for on-site training? We find sum of our beans has special needs an require different training. Also, does your mom talk to her students wif her hands?

Zeus said...

My human pet speaks the English gibber-jabber, but I wish she would learn Meowese. We have found common ground by her moving of the hands to communicate with one another.

Both Isis and I understand some of the human pet's moving of the hands.