January 10, 2014
We have been delighted with the improved behavior in our cat, Sasha, since having one therapy session with head trainer Mark Spivak. We believe Sasha had been poorly treated prior to our rescuing her from a shelter. While she seemed to seek affection, she would snap and actually bite whenever we reached down to pet her. Our friends were afraid of her. Mark gave us advice on how to minimize Sasha’s stress, such as removing her from the room when very active children were present. He also taught us a drill to help Sasha associate being petted with positive outcomes.
We observed a marked improvement in Sasha’s behavior within five days of Mark’s visit. When I came in the door from work and Sasha started wanting attention, she actually allowed me to reach down and pet her! Previously, she hadn’t been happy unless I lay on the floor and let her climb on top of me. Only then would she purr and let me pet her.
I have tried to keep Sasha out of the room when I tutor particularly antsy kids who are in her face all the time. She hasn’t liked being put in the basement, but I think it’s preferable to feeling harassed. I’ve told the students who I do keep around Sasha that she is easily scared and we need to wait for her to come to us. I’ve also asked them not to pet her. This has worked pretty well.
I’m convinced that the pet-click-praise-treat method has made a significant difference in Sasha’s demeanor.
Thank you so much. Your help was worth every penny!