On Thursday I began trying to teach Louise her first trick: jumping over a piece of wood (aka, a ruler.) I began by simply letting her go up to the ruler to sniff and clicking which she touched the ruler. I had planned on gradually clicking when she put her feet on it, then when she put her head over it, and then when she put her feet on the other side, but Louise was ten steps ahead of me and just began jumping over the ruler without much coaxing.
I had been placing a small piece of food on the other side of the ruler, and once she jumped I would click and she would find the food. This seemed to be working well and Louise continually jumped over the ruler, until she simply…stopped. For a couple of days I couldn’t get Louise to jump over the ruler without some sort of coaxing (holding the food in my hand and luring her over, or just giving her a nudge.) With some help she started jumping again, but she then seemed to become very overstimulated by the reappearance of my hand in the tank.
I believe she also was slightly confused by the fact that she had to jump over the ruler in two different directions, especially when one direction pointed her toward her usual food corner and the other didn’t. Also, since I began teaching the trick with a ruler that stretched the entire way across the tank, after I clicked, she would try to jump back over the ruler to get back to the food corner, which was just too complex for the both of us!
Thus, I’ve decided to try a different, simpler trick. Today I am going to try to teach her simply to do a “begging” stance in which she stands on her back legs to the command “up.” I was hesitant to do this at first because she so often stands on her back legs and sniffs when she’s off task, but I think it is a much simpler trick for not only her first time learning, but my first time teaching. We’ll see how it goes!
Entry filed under: Carly and Louise.