The Bubble Blog » Catching Up With Ricky - VIDEO
Catching Up With Ricky - VIDEO
Posted on May 08, 2008 by freshwater

Ricky may not have legs, but he hasn't been standing still!

So what has Ricky Ryukin been doing since my last report? He's been a busy boy! I have completed training for Ricky's first show "trick" - Spin. He is now completely tuned into the basic concepts of training: Cue -> Behavior -> "Click" -> Reward. At mealtimes he spontaneously offers a lovely Spin, but I only reward for Spins cued by a blue light and clicked by a white light. He'll go around 2-6 times after looking at the back wall of the tank for his blue cue. (Blue Cue - That has a nice ring, doesn't it?)

For weeks Ricky was spinning at the surface of the tank, which was a bad location for filming the behavior. So I taught him to dive deeper toward the bottom of the tank. When he dives, he gets the blue cue as a transitional reward. The blue cue then prompts the Spin, which results in a food treat. The two linked behaviors, Dive and Spin, form a chain. Chaining is a popular technique among animal trainers.

Here's Ricky during a training session: