The Energetic Flounder Meatloaf on Pressing Buttons

The Energetic Flounder Meatloaf on Pressing Buttons

Catch Flounder and Nina in action on Instagram and TikTok.

Q. So Nina, who is this learner of yours?

Flounder Meatloaf is a border collie in a cat body. She has all of the energy! She loves to do kitty ballet, paddle board, swim, go on leash walks, runs, and backpack rides on the bike, and she could do puzzles all day.

Q. What was your learner's first button?

FluentPet Guide Answer

I started her with 2 buttons: PLAY and OUTSIDE.

Q. How long did it take for them to press their first button?

It took her about 2 weeks to begin pressing on her own, unprompted.

Q. What have the buttons revealed about your learner that you wouldn’t have known without the buttons?

I’ve learned a lot about the way that she thinks and the way she perceives her world. Example: She was watching me boil water to make pasta and when I told her I was making mom food, she asked FOOD, WATER, HMM because she only saw water in the pot. Things I would never think of, she likes to bring up to me.

Q. What inspired you to do button teaching?

When Flounder was younger, I really struggled with how to deal with all of her energy, so I began researching enrichment ideas and found buttons. I decided to give it a try, even if she was just pressing them because she thought it was fun and not to communicate, I was literally willing to try anything. Turns out, she caught onto the communication aspect of buttons pretty quickly and it grew from there.

Q. What challenges have you faced with button teaching?

Most of the challenges I face involve being surrounded by nay-sayers. I was honestly skeptical at the beginning as well, but until you live with a talking pet and experience it for yourself, it’s difficult to understand. She is constantly proving to me in different scenarios that she understands what she’s saying, so I just have to ignore the nay-sayers and keep improving on the communication between me and Flounder.

Q. What’s your funniest button moment?

I was drinking a glass of wine. Flounder came over and sniffed the wine, then walked over to her soundboard and pressed MOM, WATER.

Q. What’s your most surprising button moment?

Definitely after she watched the Little Mermaid and told me she was a fish. When I told her she was a cat, she asked WHY and then still continues to tell me that she is a fish.

Q. What’s your favorite button moment?

My favorites are always when she tells me that she loves me. I recently told her that I love her and she pressed LOVE YOU, MORE in response, which melted my heart instantly.

Q. How have buttons changed your relationship with your learner?

Where to even start? In SO many ways. Flounder was incredibly difficult to live with prior to introducing buttons. She had a lot of behavior issues, and I genuinely didn’t understand some aspects of what she was going though as well. Since we started with buttons, we have both had a better understanding of each other. This time of year, I am super tired all the time and we have been working on her understanding of what “tired” is, so when I tell her I’m tired now, she will rest next to me and give me a breather which I never had before. It’s remarkable.

Q. What advice would you give to others who are interested in teaching their learners to use buttons?

Do IT! It has improved the relationship I have with Flounder so much! I have 0 regrets about starting our button journey, and I highly recommend it! I would definitely go into it with low expectations, though, so there is no pressure on your learner. Having low expectations and then watching her exceed them was a very rewarding part of the process.

Q. How did you go about teaching your learner to press their first button?

I just started modeling the buttons after paw target training her, and she picked it up pretty quickly from there.