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 😛
Sit is no problem anymore, and she can do it 99% of the time. She responds to verbal cue + hand signal, or just the hand signal.
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 teaser 😀
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 toy 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!!! 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 😉
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! 🙂
Today we picked up our buck 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 😀
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!