How to Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks

How to Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks

Have you ever wanted to train a Bengal cat to do tricks? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

Bengal cats are great at learning a wide variety of tricks, like sitting, shaking, and spinning in a circle. Bengal cats are much more trainable than many people may realize, so with the right motivation and some patience, you can teach your Bengal cat to do tricks!

In this post, we’re going to cover the following:

  • Why Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks
  • When Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks
  • Clicker Training for Bengal Cats
  • Tricks to Teach to a Bengal Cat
  • Additional Tips to Training a Bengal Cat
  • Tools You Need to Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks

Why Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks

Bengal cats are incredibly smart, and if they’re not using their intelligence to learn tricks from you, they may use it to get themselves into other types of mischief, which may mean trouble for you. Also, when you establish clicker training, it can be used to quickly break other bad habits your Bengal cat may have.

They’re also high-energy cats, which can also get them into trouble if they don’t have a good outlet, like a big collection of cat toys to choose from or a fancy cat jungle gym to play on. Teaching them tricks will give them something to do to burn off some of that wild Bengal energy.

Taking time to train your Bengal cat to do tricks is also a good bonding time between you and your cat, and they will love you more for the time you put into teaching them something as they love pleasing and interacting with their humans.

Last but not least, having a cat that can do tricks is awesome! There’s no faster way to impress visitors than breaking out the treat jar and showing off what your cat can do. They’ll undoubtedly be surprised as cats are not known for doing tricks.

Here’s a Bengal cat named Kaiser having a trick competition with his canine sibling Nana:

When Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks

When it comes to age, the best time to start training a Bengal cat to do tricks is as soon as possible. Younger cats are much more trainable than older cats, although it is certainly possible to start training your Bengal at any age. The earliest you’ll want to start is around 3 months, since that’s when your cat is developed enough to understand you well.

As far as time of day goes, the best time to train your Bengal is right before a meal. Feeding your Bengal cat at certain times of the day rather than free-feeding has a number of benefits, and one of them is that they’re easier to train. Training before you feed them ensures that they’re hungry and therefore more motivated to get the treats you’re offering them.

You also want to make sure that you’re training your Bengal cat at a time when they are awake but relaxed. Waking your Bengal up to train may have you facing a sleepy cat that doesn’t really want to learn, but trying to train them when they are active and playing may mean trying to work with a cat that’s not really focused on what you’re teaching and will make your job nearly impossible.

Clicker Training for Bengal Cats

The best way to train Bengal cats to do tricks is to use clicker training. Once you’ve established this method, you can use it to teach them to do a number of tricks. Getting started with clicker training is easy and only requires using a clicker and a target stick.

  1. Associate the clicker with food.

The first thing you’ll need to do to clicker train your Bengal cat is to get them to associate the sound of the click with getting a treat. To do this, sit down with your cat and be ready with a handful of treats. If you’re worried about your cat getting fat, you may also use their regular food for training and then feed them less at their actual meal.

Begin by clicking the clicker. At the same exact time, give your cat a treat. Do this at least 10 times and your cat will begin to make the connection that the sound of the clicker means food. To test this, try clicking and then wait a second before giving them the treat. They should respond to the sound of the click by looking eagerly to your hand for a treat or may even reach out with their paw to get the treat.

It should take 2 to 3 sessions of this to firmly establish this connection before you can add in the target stick.

  1. Introduce the target stick.

Using a target stick will help you guide your Bengal cat to do tricks more easily and having a longer reach will also make things easier for you. If you’re using a target stick that has a clicker attached, be sure that you use that clicker for the clicker-association part of training in case the sound is too different which could confuse your cat.

Begin by adding a bit of tuna or canned cat food onto the end of the target stick. Hold the stick about six inches from your Bengal. As soon as they touch the stick to investigate the treats, click the clicker and let them enjoy their snack. Then, move the stick away from them, add more tuna or cat food, and repeat several times.

Then, start to hold the stick further away from the cat so they have to actually get up and move to reach the stick. Continue clicking when they touch it with their nose and letting them lick the treat from the end of the stick. Soon, they’ll be eagerly following the target stick around everywhere. Like with the clicker association, you’ll need to do this activity 2 – 3 days in a row for just a few minutes a day.

Next, you need to wipe the target stick clean and get your cat to follow it without a treat. Since they’ve gotten used to it having a treat, they will likely go to it immediately, so be ready to quickly click and then give a treat that you have in your hand. After a few sessions of doing this, they will understand that simply touching the target stick means good things happen.

To start pushing your Bengal farther, move the stick over a couch or chair so they have to jump to get to it. As always, be sure to reward them with a click and then a treat as soon as they touch the target stick.

Now that your Bengal cat has clicker training down, they’re ready to learn lots of tricks!

Tricks to Teach to a Bengal Cat

If you watched the video above, you can see that anything a dog can do, a cat can do too! Although you and your Bengal may not be quite ready to tackle some of the tricks Kaiser was able to do, here are a few easy tricks that anybody can teach their Bengal to do.

Sit

This is a very simple, basic trick that is easy for a Bengal cat to learn. You’ll need to start them off standing, so you may need to get them to take a step or two toward the target stick before you can then teach them to sit.

Hold the target stick near their nose but don’t reward them for touching it just yet. Then, tell them to sit while you move the target stick backwards and slightly above their head. They should naturally move to a sitting position to follow the target stick. As soon as their butt touches the ground, click the clicker and give them a treat.

Sit Up

Unless your Bengal automatically sits when it’s training time, you’ll first need to get them to sit in order to teach them to sit up. Once they’re following the command to sit well, you can tell them to sit and then hold the target stick above their head so they have to lift their paws off the ground to touch it. To avoid confusing them, you may want to use the command “up” for this trick rather than “sit up.”

Because you’ve already established that following the target stick is a good thing, this trick is possibly the easiest to teach because they will naturally want to get to the stick so they can get their treat.

Lay Down

This is another easy trick to teach your Bengal. Once you have them in a sitting position, you’ll simply need to start the target stick around their nose and then lower it slowly towards the ground and away from them until they lay on the ground to reach it. As soon as they have moved both paws forward, click the clicker and give them their reward!

Some cats will try to stretch their necks to reach the target stick or may even paw at it instead, so sometimes you can use your other hand to apply gentle pressure on their shoulders to encourage them to lie down rather than just reach.

Shake

Be aware that teaching a Bengal cat to shake can be difficult if they don’t like their paws being touched. Because Bengal cat paws are very sensitive, not all of them will take to this trick, so it’s ok if your Bengal decides they don’t want to do this one. Don’t force them since that will make training in general a bad experience for them.

The first thing you want to do is pick up one of their paws with your hand, then click and give them a treat. Keep doing this until they are totally fine with you picking up their paw, and they will eventually figure out that when their paw touches your hand, it’s a good thing.

Start holding out your hand and saying “paw” or “shake” until they put their paw in your hand. Sometimes, you may need to touch your hand to their leg to get them to lift it up and they’ll soon have it figured out and be excited about getting to shake with you.

Spin in a Circle

If you’ve ever seen your cat spin in a circle because they were excited about getting food, you’ll know that this is another easy trick to teach since it plays off of their natural instinct. To get them to spin, give the command word (“spin” or “dance” work well) and lead them in a circle with the target stick. At first, you may need to go very slowly to get them to follow all the way around.

Eventually, your Bengal will get the hang out it and you can start getting them to spin by simply moving the target stick in a small circle for them to spin in a circle for you. Like people, cats have a paw that the prefer and it will be easier for them to spin in one direction compared to the other. With time, however, you can get them to spin just as easily in both directions.

Here’s a video on how to train your cat to fetch:

Additional Tips to Training a Bengal Cat

When you first move to teaching your Bengal cat to do tricks from clicker and target stick training, they may have a hard time figuring out that they need to actually do something to get a treat beyond following the stick. However, it usually doesn’t take them long to figure out what you expect and they will soon settle down and focus on learning what it takes to get a treat.

You always want to end your training session on a high note, even if they really didn’t get the trick you were trying to teach them because you don’t want them to be frustrated with training time. Sometimes, that may mean that you let them just follow the stick to get a few treats at the end.

Try to use hand signals as much as or even more than words for giving commands for the tricks. Cats are more visual and tend to understand motions better than specific words. If you do want to use voice commands, make sure you are consistent with the pitch and level of your voice as well as the word itself to make it clear to your cat what you’re asking.

Never repeat the same trick more than 3 times in a row, especially when you’re first teaching it to them. They may end up getting bored and won’t want to try anymore. This gets easier as you add more tricks as you can do each trick a couple of times and then go back to the ones they’re struggling with after they’ve had some positive experiences with the tricks they know well.

Keep your training sessions short as cats generally don’t have a long attention span. You should try to devote at least 5 minutes to training once they have plenty of tricks to do, but never go for more than 10 minutes to avoid your cat getting bored or frustrated.

The key to having a happy trained cat is patience. The more patient you are with them, the more easily they’ll learn. Remember that this is just for fun, so don’t get frustrated or try to force your cat to learn something that they’re struggling too much with.

Tools You Need to Train a Bengal Cat to do Tricks

Here are the only tools you need to train a Bengal cat to do tricks:

Treats – These are what will motivate your cat to do well, so pick a kind that they like. This cat treat variety pack will help you figure out exactly what your Bengal cat likes. For putting incentives on the target stick, you’ll also want to have some tuna or canned cat food on hand.

Clicker – This is what makes the unique sound that cats associate with food. It’s important because it’s easy and straightforward so you can use it to quickly identify that your cat has done something well.

Target Stick – This will make training your cat significantly easier because they associate it with good things like the clicker, and it’s unique to training times so they’ll know what to expect when they see you approach them with the target stick. Plus, ones like this one have a clicker built into them, making it even easier to get started.

And that’s it! That’s all you need to start training your Bengal cat to do tricks!

 

What tricks do you plan on teaching your Bengal cat? Have you ever used clicker training with a pet before? Share your experiences in the comments below!