How Buttons Made Suki More Confident

Catch Cony and Suki in action on TikTok @tukiprrlanchina

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

Suki is a tortie calico kitty that we failed foster. She has Cerebellar Hypoplasia, which makes her movements sometimes wobbly and makes precise movements really hard for her. Despite that she is a trooper, she plays and runs and jumps as any other kitty, just with her own style. Despite being shy around people, she loves to go on adventures to quiet natural trails. She is a treat lover and is eager to train new tricks.

Q. What was your learner's first button?

FluentPet Guide Answer

We had 4 buttons when we first started and we thought the TREAT one would be the one to make it click, but to our surprise, the PLAY button was Suki’s first and favorite.

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

We had the buttons for about 4 months until she was pressing them consistently and on purpose.

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

We always knew she loves to complete things, but we didn’t know that she would enjoy telling us about that. It's so cute when she finishes a puzzle and presses ALL DONE, all proud of herself.

Q. What inspired you to do button teaching?

Billi her madjesty was our inspiration. The fact that she could ask for specific things was such a game changer in our eyes, especially since a lot of times Suki was yelling her little lunges out and we just could not figure out what she wanted.

Q. What challenges have you faced with button teaching?

We were very worried about how Suki would manage to aim and press the buttons. We did a lot of paw targeting previously and the first few months, to help her get a sense of what to do, but she never pressed a button on one of those sessions. Eventually she figured it out on her own.

Q. What’s your funniest button moment?

The multiple times that she has outsmarted us with button responses just shows how much they actually understand what they are saying. Like saying SOON when we say LATER, saying ALL DONE when we say we are doing WORK, and the fact that catdad gets all the LOVE YOU instead of catmom. She also once used a mouse as a button and clicked it multiple times, looking confused as to why this button was not making any sound.

Q. What’s your most surprising button moment?

When we added a button for her clothes we had been modeling for a few weeks already. As soon as I added the button she used it correctly the same day, which honestly was just so impressive.

Q. What’s your favorite button moment?

Anytime that she asks us to go with her to the patio, when she can just go on her own. It just shows how much she loves to hangout where we are instead of being on her own, and that she loves company.

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

Suki has changed a lot since she started using buttons, she has become more confident, has recovered a few traits that she lost for a while, like loving pets and purring, and we just love to see her more happy. We have realized that she has a lot to say and that listening and complying to those requests has strengthened our bond beyond our imagination.

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

Don’t ask yourself too many questions, just try it out! Don’t be scared of the results, no they will not spam the FOOD or TREAT button all the time, maybe just on the spamming phase, which does happen but it also passes. Your furry friends have a lot to say, don’t assume that you can understand them completely already, they can surprise you.

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

We did a lot of paw targeting, we tried to trigger the button on play sessions too, but what eventually made it click was modeling tons and finding the right word that actually makes your learner go I WANT THAT.

Q. How did you address challenges you faced?

Asking! The button community is amazing and is always eager to help out, they have all the tips and tricks to help you through and will love to help you out, don't be shy and ask for help! Suki was just pressing the PLAY buttons and ignoring all the other buttons around the house, since we started out with them in different places. When we were told to put them all together Suki started trying them all out and consistently using all her buttons. If we hadn’t asked for help we would have been staggered waiting to see what happens.