Chloe’s first rat agility course

Chloe, my agouti and white rat, is still pretty new to clicker training. I started training with her this summer and she has learned several simple tricks, including climbing onto a brick, going through a PVC pipe tunnel, and going over a cardboard jump.

This week, I decided to combine the tunnel trick and the jump trick into a simple chain of two behaviors. I recently build my rats an A-frame obstacle and I would love to teach them to do some agility courses with multiple obstacles. This chain of two behaviors isn’t much, but I think Chloe is off to a good start for her rat agility career!

I’ve gotten several requests recently for videos that show the whole process of training a behavior, so I will create a video that shows how I combined these two behaviors. However, I thought for now that I’d post a quick clip of the final product so that you could see what we’ve been working on.

There were a few hiccups, but all in all, we were able to create this chain of two behaviors quickly and smoothly. We combined both behaviors into a chain of one behavior over the course of about half a dozen one-minute training sessions.

Watch on YouTube: Chloe learns a chain of two behaviors

If you liked this post, take a moment to share it!

, ,

Don't miss out on great information about animal training! Subscribe now to the Stale Cheerios newsletter and receive email updates when new posts are published.

Disclaimer: StaleCheerios posts occasionally contain affiliate links. Affiliate links are one way that StaleCheerios can continue providing top-quality content to you completely for free. Thank you for supporting our hard work! Learn more here.


  • Michelle McClelland

    What a great final behavior! Can’t wait to see how you taught it.

    • I’m working on the video!

      I hope to post it early next week. 🙂

      ~Mary

  • christina*

    This is great! What do you use as a reinforcer and do you withhold food from Chloe to make her even more hungry to train? Thanks!

    • Great questions!

      I (almost always) use chocolate Rice Krispies when I am training the rats. The Rice Krispies get broken in half. Occasionally, I use honey nut cheerios, those get broken into 3 or 4 pieces each. They like sweet things, so it doesn’t take much to motivate them!

      I do not withhold food in order to train my rats. They get fed the same amount each night, regardless if I am currently training them or not. They get a nutritious rat pellet, plus fresh fruits and veggies.

      cheers,

      Mary

    • Elerían

      Hello, I love clicker training too (I am still just learning to do it properly) – I train with horses as well as with rats. 🙂 I personally prefer using healthy treats only – so various flakes (no sugar or oil added), unflavoured puffed rice, coconut slices, little seeds, little pieces of nuts or fruits… Of course, a small bit of some processed candy cannot hurt, but I would not use it daily – and especially nothing that contains chocolate, avocado, oranges and other poisonous things. 😉

      And it is true that while the ratties had been still new to clicker, they had been more motivated before the feeding time – but now, as they already are enjoying it quite much, it doesn’t matter whether their bellies are currently full or empty. 🙂

      • Hi Elerían,

        Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I’m glad to hear that you are also clicker training your rats.

        The treats that my rats get during training are only a small part of their diet and, like I said in the previous comment, are always broken up into quite small little pieces. I also weigh my rats weekly to make sure they are staying at a healthy weight.

        Just wanted to add as well, chocolate is not poisonous to rats, as it is to dogs and some other animals. Orange (and orange juice) is fine for female rats, it is only toxic for male rats. And avocado is fine for rats, as long as the rat does not eat the pit, rind, skin, or leaves. Avocado is actually often recommended for rats who need to gain weight.

        cheers,

        Mary