Georgie Learns to Spin

Georgie’s latest trick is spinning in a circle. We’ve been working on this over several days and she’s really starting to get the hang of it! Check out the video clip below.

Now, the interesting thing about training is that sometimes what the animal learns is slightly different from what we are teaching. I was going to teach her to spin counter-clockwise. So, I started by clicking and providing a treat whenever she turned a little bit that ways. She got it pretty quickly. But, not only that, she started offering a spin in both directions!

She offers the counter-clockwise spin much more often than the clockwise spin. But, in each session, she’ll offer the clockwise spin at least a couple of times. She’s definitely one smart rat!

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  • Radal16

    Wow, she can generalize!

    I've been trying to teach my mare leg lifts. I started on the left and she's pretty good now at picking her leg up when I tap her foreleg, but when I move to the right she thinks she needs to pick up the left first and then the right. It's very interesting.

    • I like your comment on this post about teaching the leg lifts.

      I think it's really interesting how sometimes one skill makes it easier to teach the next thing (or makes it easier for the animal to generalize).
      Then, however, with other things, teaching one thing can sometimes get in the way of the next thing. I've found this a bit with teaching horses to pick up their feet for cleaning, which is a bit similar to the leg lifts.
      One thing about the leg lifts–when you're teaching the left, the horse is learning to pick up the left, but also to shift most of the weight onto the right. This weight shift response probably ends up competing with picking up the right, when we move to that.

      It can also sometimes be easy to create accidental chains–where the animal thinks they have to do two things to get the click, when in reality only the second is required for the click.

      Now, I wonder if I could teach leg lifts to the rat? 🙂

      cheers,

      Mary

  • Too cool!  She is very smart.  😀  She looks like a lot of fun to work with.

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