Here’s a video of Georgie’s latest trick—jumping over a small jump! Our elegant jump is constructed out of several toilet tissue rolls.
Watch on YouTube: Georgie Learns to Jump
Georgie learned this trick incredibly fast. She had about 15 clicks (treats) before I took this video. I have several ideas about how to expand on this trick. I’d love to teach her to jump several jumps in a row. We could probably even progress to a whole course of jumps! I’ve seen videos online of mice and rats doing small agility courses with half a dozen to a dozen different obstacles. I’d love to work on something like that with Georgie in the new year.
Stringing multiple objects together involves creating what is called a chain of behaviors. The animal learns how to do the behaviors in a certain order and knows there will be a reward at the end for completing the entire chain in the correct order. Chaining is a useful concept to work on with animals because it greatly expands the complexity and length of the behaviors we can teach.
Also, while my toilet tissue rolls are pretty snazzy, I’d like to figure out a way to make some even classier jumps. I’ve seen some neat ones in other people’s videos made out of Popsicle sticks, then painted. I think there would also be lots of possibilities for making rat (and mouse) jumps and agility equipment out of kids toys, such as Lincoln logs, tinker toys or Legos. So stay tuned, Georgie and I have lots of ideas for new tricks and behaviors to train in 2012!