Step-By-Step Guide to Teaching Your Cat to Jump Through a Hoop

Raise the bar — or actually, the hoop. Once your cat is willingly moving through the hoop, it’s time to get the hoop off the ground. Go slowly: Raise the hoop only an inch or so at a time and keep it at the new height until you’re sure your cat is comfortable with this change. This may mean that your cat will continue to walk through the hoop for a while before it is high enough to create a need for her to jump. If your cat goes underneath or around the hoop, don’t reward her — instead, reset and try again. You may also need to lower the height until she is once again passing through the hoop.

Add a cue. Once your cat is consistently following the target or lure and jumping through the hoop, it’s time to add a verbal or physical cue. Say the cue — “jump” — or make your chosen hand signal and immediately present the target or lure on the opposite side of the hoop. When your cat is through the hoop, reward her.

Fade the lure. As she begins to learn the cue, wait a few seconds between saying the word or making the hand gesture and presenting the lure; this should teach her to jump through the hoop in response to the cue, not the lure. Continue using the new cue while minimizing the size of the lure or target. Reward your cat for passing through the hoop with a treat from a treat pouch or lick of food from a spoon you have ready nearby, rather than with the lure itself. Eventually, you should be able to remove the lure itself and use just the cue and a follow-up reward to get her to jump through the hoop.

Jumping through a hoop is a fun way to entertain guests; it’s also an easy way to spend time bonding and exercising with your cat. Give it a try today!

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