Video can be a great help in helping me understand the challenging behavior you are experiencing. Once you start working on your training and behavior modification plan, video will let me give you feedback and make sure you are progressing as effectively and efficiently as possible. People who send regular videos typically see greater progress.
Please never purposely trigger your cat’s problem behavior for the purpose of getting a video. In particular, I do not need or want to see aggressive behavior in order to help you.
Tips for Getting Good Video:
Setting up the Camera (Phone)
- Ask a friend or family member to help you
- When possible, this is typically the easiest. Ask them to stand back so they can see all of you and your cat and to pan around to show other important things in the environment when relevant.
- Use a tripod
- Set up either a purchase or homemade tripod or stand to hold your phone/camera.
- Google “homemade cell phone tripod”. Easy options include using a paper or plastic cup, paper clips, or binder clips.
- Whole room/security cameras
- If you have security cameras, pet cameras, or other whole-room cameras, you may be able to pull video from those. In particular, if you are trying to capture behavior that happens infrequently, only when you aren’t present, or interactions between pets, this might be ideal.
- Hold it yourself
- Try to hold it close to your body to get the widest view.
- Not recommended if you are working on an aggression issue or in other situations where you need all of your focus on your cat(s).
With the exception of having another person helping you, you’ll have to do some checks to see where the camera is pointed and what the boundaries of its view are. Do a test video to confirm you can easily be seen. When in doubt, try to work further from the camera and stay toward the middle of the space.
Taking the Most Useful Video
If you are taking video of your training or behavior modification sessions, there are a few ways to help get the most from them.
- Make sure to show your hands if you’re using hand signals or lures. A wider view of the scene is typically more helpful.
- Include the full sequence of your cue or the trigger, your cat’s response, and giving the reward.
- Go through a few repetitions, if working on a specific training behavior.
- Narrate what’s going on. You might include some or all of the following:
- What are you working on or what goals do you have in that moment?
- Are there triggers or distractions in the environment (especially off camera)?
- What are you thinking as you work with your cat?
- What body language do you see?
- What challenges are you having and how are you adjusting?
- What questions do you have about what you are doing?
Ways to Send Video:
- Marco Polo App: This free app allows you to take and send video directly, without worrying about the size of the file or storage on your device. It is often described as a “video walkie-talkie”. It is available on Apple and Google. Learn more here: https://www.marcopolo.me/
- Open the app and search for me at 831-313-4888 (Jessica Char, logo with two gears).
- Take video directly in the app and send it. I will respond through the app as well.
- Note: If you have already taken a video, outside of the app, you would need the paid version of the app to send it. Try one of the other options.
- Google Photos: Either individual videos or a folder can be shared. General link sharing, rather than sharing with a specific person, works smoothest.
- Email: Send video by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Size restrictions vary by email provider. Typically Gmail and Apple Mail automatically turn large files into downloads, which is fine. Make sure you give appropriate permissions, if that happens.
- DropBox: Please send a shared link, rather than sharing a folder directly. Note: DropBox has more limited space in their free accounts than Google.
- YouTube: Upload videos as “unlisted” to share them with me but not have them publicly searchable. You can add them all to a playlist for easy organization.