Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meet the Newest Additions!

Meet the four newest additions to the family!

I have compiled some footage of these four rascals who were welcomed into the family earlier this fall.

Cash and Mortimer are two feeder rats who joined the family in mid-September, 2014.  They were both minutes away from becoming a ball python's dinner at the time that I rescued them, and they have since settled in remarkably well with everyone here.  Cash has a friendly, sociable personality with an audacious streak, while Mortimer is more mellow and enjoys nestling in my arms or lap.

London and Britain are my two Norway rat hybrids.  I had never considered "agile" or "athletic" to be actual personality traits until I met these two.  They are both about as distant from your typical domestic rat as possible in nearly every respect, but particularly in their exceptional climbing and jumping abilities which are far superior to any fancy rat.  Both are very high maintenance and mischievous (although not destructive); in fact, I have not had an animal as energetic, animated, and impish as London and Britain since I lost Sebastian last year.  They have kept my hands quite full with their zany antics, but I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Britain hiding behind the litter box at 8 weeks old.

The four girls — Famous, Shadow, Raven, and Suki — were introduced to the boys after their neuters and accepted them immediately.  The two Norways seem to be especially fond of Suki (the only rat who can somewhat keep up with their inexhaustible energy), while Suki herself has taken a particular liking to Mortimer.  Everyone gets along splendidly as though they had all been raised together.

London (9 weeks) investigating Famous' flag prop

Famous (left) with Mortimer (right)

London on the curtain rod

These four will be making many appearances in future YouTube videos.  And for those of you who have been patiently waiting, there is a new Nana & Kaiser video currently in production that should be completed shortly.  I thank you all for your patience in the meantime.  More to come! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nana the Border Collie's Amazing Balancing Tricks

Nana the Border Collie performs a handful of her incredible balancing stunts.  All of Nana's training is done with positive reinforcement and clicker training.

I have included some old and new tricks in this compilation.  And yes, Nana got to eat all of the treats at the end (she loved them!).  Make sure to turn up your volume for this video.

Music:  "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

R.I.P. Paris

Paris Louise (July 1, 2011—March 7, 2014)
This photo was captured just prior to leaving
to the veterinary clinic.
Due to her continued health deterioration, I made the very difficult decision to put Paris to rest on the afternoon of March 7th. When living with an ill pet, you must always place the quality of the animal's life above your personal feelings/attachment for the animal. It becomes extremely difficult to let them go, or to even bear the thought of it. You have formed an unshakable bond with them and your love for them has no parallel. However if the animal is evidently suffering or if they lose their zest for life, it is only ethical to make the unselfish decision and grant the animal freedom of their illness and suffering. Though it crushes your heart to do so, this is the ultimate act of love.

After Paris declined further still in her health, I made this decision myself. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to do, though others who have had to arrive at this same decision I'm sure could relate. However, knowing that I was ending her suffering forever was assuaging.

On the evening of March 6th, I gave Paris her last bath. It was patent looking into her eyes that she found serenity in the activity. Unlike the other rats Paris was fond of baths and the feeling of the warm water trickling down her back, which would elicit contented bruxing. After towelling her, I prepared a dish comprising all of Paris' favourite foods: pasta, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, pears, mealworms, and her homemade mix. I cooked an egg on the stove for her since I knew this was her favourite food, without question. Normally I will only feed high-protein foods such as eggs in small amounts (too much protein in a rat's diet over time is quite harmful); however this time I let Paris indulge, allowing her to eat as much as she desired. It broke my heart watching her eat her last meal, and just knowing that it was my last night with her.

On the afternoon of the following day I brought Paris in to the veterinary clinic. I held her in my hands and stroked her soft ears as I watched her breathe her last. She was in a better place, at last liberated from her sickness.

Words cannot express how much this rat means to me, nor can they articulate the immense grief and sorrow that permeates my heart as a result of this loss. Paris has left behind a void within me that can be filled with nothing — like an intense hunger that is insatiable, or like a dryness in my mouth that no liquid can quench. There will never be another like her; Paris was one in a million. She possessed the kindest, most beautiful soul that reversed so many people's negative perception of these unfairly misunderstood rodents. My broken heart aches for even just one more day with her. One more moment to look into her sweet, soulful eyes as I stroke her face and caress her ears. One more time to listen to her bruxing contentedly in the palm of my hand while watching a movie. One more opportunity to speak softly to her.... to tell her once more that I love her, and that I always will.

Rest in Peace, my sweet Paris Louise. You will forever remain in my heart and I cherish all of our memories together.

Paris at 6 weeks old, eating pasta.

Paris (1 year old) sporting her purple t-shirt.

Paris (2 years old), just before her lump removal surgery

Paris (2 years, 8 months)
This photo was captured just prior to leaving to the veterinary clinic on March 7.

Regarding YouTube, I shall need some time to grieve the loss of my beloved and irreplaceable friend before I can resume posting videos. I apologize for this hiatus, but I promise you all that there will be many new videos published soon. I have not forgotten you.

I would also like to thank every one of you immensely for your phenomenal support and solicitous words during emotionally difficult times such as these. Words cannot express my gratitude.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Epic Rat Tricks

Presenting.... "Awesome, Amazing Rat Tricks" Part 2!

Four of my five talented rats return performing their latest incredible tricks: Famous (Pink-Eyed Himalayan Top-Eared), Suki (Brown Agouti Berkshire Dumbo), Shadow (Black Mismarked Irish Top-Eared), and Raven (Black VariBerk Dumbo). All behaviours are taught with positive reinforcement and clicker training.

As you may notice, most of the tricks in this video are performed by Famous since the majority of the behaviours stem from retrieving, which is Famous' specialty. She is the most advanced retriever in my mischief, although Suki is following closely in her pawprints.

For those wondering where Paris is this time around, it has been on my list to provide you all with an update on her. Sadly, in her old age (2.5 years) Paris has been progressively going downhill despite my hardest of efforts. She recently has been showing a sudden distaste for her medicine she has been on, leaving me to search for new creative ways to feed it to her. Her weight had begun to drop after she lost interest in her rat blocks a few months ago (though she would devour the homemade mix I feed her), so I have been putting her food into the coffee grinder and mixing this powder with applesauce. She absolutely loves this new food and is slowly plumping up, thankfully. However it is now crucial that I monitor her teeth and trim them as needed, since eating her blocks had been the salient method by which she kept her teeth short. As well, Paris' activity level has dropped and she has been experiencing great difficulty with climbing and getting around; it is because of this that I have discontinued doing tricks with her (save for the occasional "spin" or "shake hands") since they have now become very physically challenging for her. Paris' welfare is of the utmost importance to me, so I have decided to just feature the four younger rats in this video. I love Paris beyond description and I cherish every moment that I still have with her. She is the best, sweetest rat anyone could ask for.

Paris Louise

Behind-the-Scenes of the "Tightrope" Trick

When I was teaching Famous and Raven to walk the tightrope, Shadow observed the two of them and wanted to give it a try for herself.  She walked partway across, balanced herself there for awhile as if contemplating what to do, then very carefully lowered herself onto her front legs and walked the rest of the way in this manner.  Despite my attempts at teaching her the correct way to walk on the rope, she continued crossing it in this peculiar way and I eventually gave up and started rewarded her for it.  As I filmed one of the clips of her performing the trick for this video, Suki watched her intently.  She climbed up to the tightrope after Shadow completed the trick and, to my surprise, tried to copy her by crossing the rope with three legs at an impressive speed (for those of you who don't know Suki, she has more energy than the Energizer bunny and must do everything ten times faster than she needs to).  While I have yet to put her version on cue like Shadow's, I decided to include the footage of her copying Shadow's very unique preference for crossing the tightrope.

I hope you all enjoy!  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Love My Crazy Animals! (Video)

Life with my seven, crazy animals: Nana the Border Collie, Kaiser the Bengal cat, and Suki, Shadow, Paris, Famous, and Raven, my five rats.  From performing tricks to going for walks at the park, this compilation of clips illustrates what my animals do best - having fun!  All of my animals are taught with positive reinforcement and clicker training.  I love them beyond measure.

I have put together this video for you all to enjoy in the meantime as I work on some of our upcoming videos.  I have big plans, so stay tuned!

Happy belated birthday, Sebastian (November 18).  Rest in Peace, my little shadow. ♥

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Facebook Update

Due to impersonators, I have very reluctantly decided to create an official Facebook page for my animals.  The primary purpose of this page is for speaking directly with these impostors.  Please note that I will not be active on the page, so if you wish to contact me do NOT do so via Facebook.  You will not get a reply.  The page only exists because of impersonators and I will not be using it.  If you wish to contact me (especially for business purposes), do so either via YouTube (username NanaBorderCollie), my website (www.UseYourClicker.com), or you could even leave an anonymous comment here on my blog (nanabordercollie.blogspot.com).  I am always active on these sites and you should receive a reply from me.

The following is a link to the animals' page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amazin...

Please report the fraudulent pages and send them the link to this page.   As well, if you could report these pages and communicate to the owners that I would like their pages removed, I would be extremely grateful.

The FAKE pages are the following:

Thank you all for your continued support.  New videos on the way! :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I am posting this as a reminder to everyone that Nana and I are NOT on Facebook.  Back in June, around the time my beloved ferret Sebastian passed away, an impostor had created a page on Facebook, pretending to be me.  Here is the link to the fake page:

Nana, my other animals, and I do not have, and never have had, a Facebook page.  Please spread the word about this and report this page if possible.  The photos on the page are stolen from Nana's official website, official blog, and official Flickr page.  Do not "like" or follow this impostor!