Friday, August 10, 2012

Reattempting Clicker Training

I stumbled across this blog, and it has motivated me to restart clicker training.

Here's Doctor getting his chocolate fix during training.

In my previous clicker training attempt, I'd found that the syringe worked for providing a very small reward. I'd struggled with the food reward for such a long time that it essentially turned me off clicker training. For awhile, I'd use a chocolate bar with Patches until she figured out how to bite big pieces. Then, it would take minutes for her to finish it, and just don't even think about taking chocolate from a rat. Anyways, waiting for a rat to finish their treat just ruins training.

So, I'm using Hershey's chocolate sauce in a syringe and just giving them a drip of it. Ok, it's not the healthiest, but it's BIG on the motivation.

Also, rats are really really smart. Training them is so similar to when I trained my Australian Cattle Dog, Throck. Throck, once he figured something out, would start testing it. This meant I had to really pay attention, because I may only get one perfect response, and then, he would start modifying his response.

I'm also used to using a lot of visual cues. Hmmm. Has anyone heard the nursery rhyme, Three Blind Mice? Well, they ain't kidding. Rats, also, are essentially blind.

My big take home message from my previous rat clicker training experience is that the individual making mistakes is always me. So, it can be very frustrating, but I'm going to try again. This time, I will try to "Be in the moment" and really listen to the rats (not watch, listen).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Don't give up with the clicker training! I bet the chocolate sauce in the syringe will work. :)

    With the first rat I clicker trained, I found it took her a LONG time to figure out what the clicker meant. Most likely my fault. Once she got it, though, she got it! It was kind of frustrating at first for me, because I had previous clicker experience with other species and didn't expect the rat to be such a challenge.



    1. Thank you, Mary, for your encouraging words. So far, the training is going well. I'm not sure how well they understand the connection between clicker and chocolate, but they sure love that chocolate.

    2. Oh, and sorry for the delayed response. I'm still figuring out blogger, and I thought I'd replied days ago, but alas, I didn't. (I actually had to reply via my laptop, apparently iPads are not authorized for commenting.)