Not that I’m trying to starve them, but a hungry subject is a motivated subject.  We have been feeding as much of their wet food as we can for training, but had been giving them dry food in between.  After all, they’re growing kitties.  But, after having Treat wander away during a training session again I decided to keep a container of dry food on the end table and feed it to him only when he came up to interact with me.  Sort of an “offered focus” exercise.  I would then let him eat a bit from the container or hand feed a few pieces (he’s getting better about grabbing the food & not the fingers). 

It worked really fast!  Now he walks in the room, sees me, and comes running over, purring.  I pet him and give him access to some of his dry food.  He wolfs it down like a starving tiger.  I will still leave food for them when I’m gone at work during the day, but just a couple days of controlling the dry food made a huge difference in his motivation level.  He’s definitely connecting me with all the important resources. 

We also keep their favorite toys, like the racetrack and all the fishing line type toys, put up and only let them play with those when we are around.  Again, that makes us more important to them, which matters a lot in training.