Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Staff Clicker Trains Animals

Volunteer Sandy Garlick trained a long-haired, gray and white cat named Nicky, normally a bit skittish around people, to respond to the combination of clicking and treats or toys, finding new ways to bond with people. This training is called Clicker training and dozens of shelter animals have learned it. The training involves holding a metal stick with a little red ball at the end. When the animal reaches a paw up to touch the ball, it prompts the staff to press on a clicking device and give the animal a food treat. Then they do it all over again.

Cookie the cat follows the little red ball in “clicker training” with volunteer Sandy Garlick at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

According to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, “Originally used with marine animals, clicker training has become a staple at the AWLA shelter: all dog and cat volunteers learn the technique, and so do many of those who work with other animals. Besides strengthening positive behaviors, clicker training can help improve an animal’s stay by fighting boredom, decreasing stress, increasing confidence, and teaching new tricks and behaviors that help animals get adopted more quickly.”

As per Alexandria Gazette Packet, “The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is a local 501(c)(3) organization. Operating the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, which is Alexandria’s only open-access animal shelter, the AWLA touches the lives of more than 6,000 animals every year, including strays, lost pets, local wildlife, rescued animals and animals surrendered by their owners. The AWLA is committed to addressing animal homelessness, promoting animal welfare and serving as an educational resource for the community. More information can be found at AlexandriaAnimals.org.”

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