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!