Training Your Mouse
I will be adding ways to train your mouse for agility here. One thing to keep in mind....there are as many ways and ideas to train animals as there are trainers/owners and friends of the animals. And that is a good thing. Even your own two mice may need to be trained differently. I always say "What works for me and my animals may or may not work for your." and "What works for one animal may or may not work for/with another of the same exact litter."
Mice can be easy to train for or to agility because they naturally run along a wall and run the same way/path each time. If you set your agility course up along a wall or make a short stable wall of books or wood (2" x 4" on it's side) or even using a sheet of paper to guide the mouse along the course, it may help in training.
Mice can be great pets. If you work with them you will find training easier the you first think. Most mice enjoy spending time with their owners too. So the more time you spend together the more your little bitty pet will learn.
Set up your training area before going to get your pet out of it's cage. Make sure all of your training pieces of equipment or props are safe and stable for the pet. Make sure the floor is clear for the trainer to walk around safely while looking at the mouse on the table <grin> so that you don't trip of stumble scaring the mouse.
Make sure all the equipment you are using is mouse size, not too big and not too small. It needs to be stable enough and safe enough for your mouse to run on and it not tip over or collapse on or with the mouse. Make sure there are no sharp edges on any of the equipment before you ever add the mouse to the table that the equipment is set up on.
As you can see in the photo of Bree, she needs to learn to come through the Tire Jump...not stop and look around. LOL Training is fun and wonderful when you see the animals catching on and having a good time running the courses.
In my opinion, notice again I said My Opinion, buck mice are easier to train on an agility course....however, when training rats, fancy pet ratties, I prefer to work with does. Hamsters and Gerbils....either sex to me is just as easy as the other.
This is a photo of Red Hearts the first time he ever saw an "A" Frame. He learned it quickly. I did put a little notebook (3" x 5") on the inside of the "A" Frame (held the notebook in or with my hand) so that it blocked him from going THROUGH the piece. The photo is a bit blurry...but he is pretty fast.
You can keep a notebook for notes on training your animals. This is especially important if you are training more then one animal.
I always teach my animals the Tetter Totter long before teaching the Sea Saw.
The Tetter Totter has a lower pivot point then the Sea Saw. You must remember, when the animal first walks/runs/ the Teeter Totter it will feel like the floor/ground is falling out from under them.
Training the Fence Jump is not too hard. What I do is set the animals feet up on the top of the jump the first couple of times. If the Jump has slats in it that are far enough apart for the mouse to come through, I hold my small training note book on the far side of the Jump so that the mouse will go to the top and then over the Jump.
After you show the "littles" how you want them to manipulate the equipment items, they will do the piece correctly as soon as they understand....that is over, under, around or through. They just need you to show them several times so that they understand.
Training the Tire Jump is pretty easy. I set the animals front feet into the tire and gently left up the butt, most small animals will then walk on through the tire. I then give much verbal praise.
Some animals, like Bree above, will sit in the Tire Jump. What I do when this happens is to call the animal's name, tap the table in front of the tire and if I need to, gently push the animals rump as I do the other two things all at the same time. This has worked well for me each time I needed to convince an animal through. Never shove an animal through any of the pieces of equipment.
The contents of this page for Training Your Mouse is still under construction. Please check back! We work on our websites almost every day.
WE HOST A COUPLE OF YAHOO eLISTS THAT WE WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO JOIN
These elists are are a great place to ask questions, meet other people with the same interests, get encouraged to start or keep training your small animals, and just chat about our animals we love. These are great lists with wonderful pet owning and loving people.
You alone are responsible for training your animals. Any training you do with your animals is your responsibility. We only tell of what has worked for us with our animals. We can not and will not except responsibility for something so far out of our control, people we do not know, training, who knows how, with animals we have never seen.
-- The Mouse Agility Team