Training Pixie, breeding mice

We started training properly about half a week ago.

I say we, she doesn’t have enough confidence around my partner for him to be doing the same training as me yet, but I’ve given him some things to practice too, to build that trust. Such as clicking and throwing treats when she looks or walks near him, and slowly building up to eye contact.

I didn’t think Pixie would take well to the clicker initially, because noises and such scare her, and although this is my quietest clicker it’s still fairly loud.

To my surprise she LOVES the clicker, as it’s a way we can interact and train without me having to talk to her. In the early days me talking to her, even to say “yes” or “good girl” was too much.

Nowadays she can cope with me talking to her all the time, but when we’re working on something new, she still prefers a clicker to verbal praise. If we’re playing or working on something she knows, verbal praise is fine.

She absolutely *hates* being filmed, and even if I have the camera 5ft from us, she knows it is pointing at her and is miserable.

So as much as I really want to film her progress, in training and play, there’s no need to scare her. Instead I’ll just talk ย ๐Ÿ˜›

Sit is no problem anymore, and she can do it 99% of the time. She responds toย verbal cue + hand signal, or just the hand signal.

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For playing I was wafting toys about and then clicking when she pounced at it. This progressed to clicking when she mouthed at it, and finally when she tugged at it. The whole process took maybe four days.

I’ve discovered she looooves flirt poles, so we’re currently playing with a dressing gown cord with two knots tied at either end, and the cat teaserย ๐Ÿ˜€

I flap the flirt pole about all over the room. I flap it near her a few times to entice her off the chair, and then she tears around the room madly after it! Spinning, pouncing, snapping at it – it’s great!

When she catches the toyย I let her take it back to the chair, where I mark her, give her a treat, and niftily take the flirt pole. Then the game starts over again!

Other training includes touch, which she completely understands and is slowly building confidence.

Finally, for the first time today we had some happy recalls when I called her name!!!ย This is huge!

Previously I couldn’t call her name and expect her to come, because it terrified her. I assume that her owner called her to be punished if she was ‘misbehaving’ – although this is an assumption, it’s something that’s very common.

After a weeks solid training that her name is a good thing, we had four recalls today where she ran over all excited, lots of bum wiggles and play bows!!

To call her to me, I shouted her name in the happiest voice ever, got down on the floor in a play bow, and waggled my own bum like crazy hahahahaha!

Totally stupid but it worked ๐Ÿ˜‰

In other news, we have a new project we are trying out.

If you’ve been following this blog a while you will know how much we adore pet mice, but in this area not only are they very hard to come by but the two pet shops that do sell mice can’t be trusted – one shop saw the three mice we’d bought from there die in less than 24 hours, and the other often has sick mice in stock and several times they’ve come to us with URIs.

We’ve been considering breeding mice since the end of last year, but obviously I needed to do a ton of research.

I spent time doing my research, talking to other breeders, and planning. We want to breed mice for us, as pets, not to sell. This may mean we only breed one litter but, if we enjoy it, we might breed another and sell some of the babies for a small fee.

Always we will make sure we can house the offspring if they end up being unwanted by other people, although one pet shop in our area has said they will happily take females from us to sell.

The biggest worry is obviously the males, as they should be kept singly and most people don’t want to keep them because of that and the fact they sell more.

We will have a stack of ‘bachelor RUBS’ set up for the males, and the females will live in groups. We have a cage that could hold ten females, two cages that could hold five, a cage that could hold three, and enough bachelor RUBS for six males.

Mice average between 5-10 babies per litter, so what an exciting endeavor! ๐Ÿ™‚

Today we picked up our buckย from a breeder an hour away from us. He is a stunning 10 week old male mouse we have named Aj

He’s a real beaut and has settled in really well.

We will be getting our females in a week or two, as a breeder is driving up our way for a show, and is dropping our females off ๐Ÿ˜€

An exciting time and, even if we don’t end up breeding, it has inspired me to create a blog about mouse care, which you can find here: Much Loved Mice!

 

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4 thoughts on “Training Pixie, breeding mice

  1. Ah such an exciting post! I love hearing about Pixie’s progress – it seriously is phenomenal – I’m just so happy and proud of you guys, she really is coming on in leaps and bounds. Hopefully in future she will be better with the camera as it would be so great to see how much better her body language is and I’m sure it would be mad for you guys to watch and compare it to how she used to be! I’m so glad that she’s doing happy recalls because for Pixie to get over the fear of her name preceding punishment is such a big deal and I’m so happy that she’s starting to realise no harm will come to her ๐Ÿ˜€

    Also that’s so cool that yous are starting to breed your mice, I love that you got proper starting “stock” from good breeders and that you will keep them or provide lifetime support if some are sold which is so awesome! I think I would like to breed degus at least once in future purely for myself to keep as I would love a largish colony, group, herd (I have no idea what the group name is for degus lol) so would be great to have father and all sons together and the mother and all daughters together as I know first hand how difficult it is to integrate groups so would be nice for them all to be family bonded, but there isn’t really any breeders here so I don’t know if that will ever happen unless I rescue some mis-sexed ones that become pregnant. Sorry got a bit side tracked there lol but I’ll check out the blog, always love learning more about animals ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thank you so much for this comment ^__^

      I am kinda gutted I can’t film Pixie, because I just think it would be so amazing to be able to compare footage week by week…and if she’s still here months from now, it would be crazy looking back and seeing how timid and fearful she was. I love doing training videos and I love doing progress videos, so I’m kinda gutted I can’t film her…I don’t know if she knows when the camera’s filming her (in which cause I could try hiding it) or if I somehow act different when it’s recording, but whatever it is it’s annoying! ๐Ÿ˜›

      Thanks for the mouse excitement! I was worried about sharing because so many people are anti-breeding for any animal (which I really don’t agree with, so long as the breeding is done responsibly). I mean, if we didn’t breed our own mice we’d have to buy ones from pet shops that came from rodent mills, which doesn’t seem like the best idea!

      I’m really excited to see what colours we get, and the litter size. I’ve never bred mice before but one of my first ever mice came pregnant (from literally the worst pet shop ever) and had five babies. I absolutely loved raising them and kept two of the females – they were the most bomb proof mice I’ve ever known so I’m hoping for the same if we breed ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve always wanted a huge colony of mice too haha! I bet a big group of goos would be great fun to watch though. I can imagine degu breeders being impossible to find, I’ve never seen or heard of any…mice and rat breeders are tricky to find but at least I know they exist ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Thank you, she’s really starting to act like a ‘proper’ dog now. It’s great watching her play ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you! Aj really is a stunner, I was so thrilled when my partner came back from collecting him and showed him to me. He seems so sweet too…I’m excited to see what babies he will produce ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks! I can’t believe I finally changed the theme haha, still getting used to it!

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