Leash Training Your Bengal Cat
This can be a daunting task with domestic cats as I was relentless in my pursuit to train previous cats Oscar and Felix. The net result was not good. They were constantly getting tangled in the leash, frustrated with the collar, unhappy with walking alongside me so eventually I stopped this practice.
Lucy the Bengal Cat adapted well to the collar, leash and harness. She was defiant in the beginning but I allowed her time to stroll around the yard, sniff the ground, smell the flowers and chase the bugs. In time Lucy became accustom to her leash although I did not try anything fancy just getting her use to walking near me with a leash.
Lucy does not like treats therefore I did not have any incentive to get her to stroll with me. I gave her a lot of days just walking anywhere near me enjoying and exploring the garden. After a month of adjustments to the outdoors, bugs, birds, flowers and people Lucy was comfortable to get a little closer to me when we stepped out the door.
She has a little bench in the back garden which she truly enjoys so I began by training her to walk a few feet with me to the bench and she learned the word up and sprang on the bench within a few days.
Leash training requires patience and cats are much different than dogs. Cats want to examine and investigate whereas dogs are content to walk with their owner. By enabling Lucy to stroll or run at her own pace in the beginning she felt comfortable with the leash. The leash is not a stumbling block for her as any type of tangle in the leash is easily removed by Lucy. She steps over and under and around the leash until she is free and prances around the property like a little princess.
The back garden has a swimming pool and a three foot area surrounding the pool is concrete. I decided this year to teach Lucy a few new tricks and I refer to the concrete area as the track. In order to complete the track successfully Lucy has to glide over the diving board and race around the perimeter of the pool until she reaches her favorite bench. As we approach the bench I continually say "to the bench Lucy, to the bench Lucy", and she dutifully moves like a gazelle and flies through the air and lands silently on her bench.
We had a party a few weeks ago and the guests were discussing different breeds of dogs and cats. One fellow in particular said he wanted a dog he could walk around the neighborhood. I thought of Lucy immediately and raced into the house to get her leash. Lucy came prancing outside and I asked the guests if they would like to see a cat who behaves better than a dog on a leash to which they responded yes.
I start Lucy with a little sound like a horse getting ready to come out of the gates and we began to prance around the track. Little Lucy picked up the pace as I was racing a little and she glided through the air over the diving board, danced happily around the track and toward the end I told her to get up on the bench which she did flawlessly. Everyone started clapping and the fellow who wants a dog said why should I have all the hassle of looking after a dog when I can walk a cat? He said I cannot believe you trained your cat to walk, prance and run on command. Yes Lucy will walk beside me, prance or race in front with her head held high as she loves the attention.
Repetition is the key to the overall success and in order to successfully complete the track I made certain that we began this exercise in June. It was repeated once a day until the end of June at which point Lucy mastered the glides and jumps.
The images clearly depict that she can move effortlessly with the leash and she has begun a little dance routine which I must encourage as she looks adorable moving her feet around the grass.
In summation my tips for proper leash training are:
Purchase a sturdy harness. Make certain the harness is not too tight otherwise it may cause skin irritation and your Bengal Cat will associate pain with the harness. You should be able to get two fingers under the collar and the harness. Be patient and give the Bengal a chance to explore the area. Use words with great repetition as the Bengal Cat will respond, they are very intelligent.
Do not pull hard on the leash as this will scare the Bengal Cat and your efforts will be greatly diminished.
In order to achieve success with a Bengal Cat on a leash you must be calm, speak softly, and be gentle with the leash. Training Lucy to jump and glide was a combination of repetition and watching me jump and glide. Lucy learned the word glide after watching me in front of her numerous times.
Below are a few images of the actual prance around the track. This is the beginning as we always use the bench as a starting point.
We have just completed the glide over the diving board and Lucy is anxious to make the halfway mark.
Lucy is rounding the track and aiming for the bench and yes she flies up on the bench meanwhile I am proud as a peacock that Lucy the little Bengal Cat has successfully learned to walk, sprint and run on her leash.
Here is a video of Lucy the Bengal Cat with harness and leash intact as she completes her track and jumps on the bench.