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Friday, February 17, 2012

A Good Friday for Buddy

Buddy make good progress today despite my not having as much time as yesterday. I used applesauce for trust-training again.  For the first session he came out with his head and shoulders.  For the second session he completely climbed out of the igloo. He was awake more of the day today and seemed to look forward to visits.

I was talking to him about the wheel today and one of those things happened that makes me so sure that rats understand me. I told him that I wanted him to use the wheel but that he would not yet fit into the opening.  He then backed into the igloo, bringing my attention to the doorway.  I told him, "I think you're right.  The wheel opening is the same size." I got a clean igloo and took it up to the wheel to compare the shapes and realized that the wheel opening is actually a little bit wider. Go figure. I know what I know.

Before I started taking rats out tonight I sat down on the sofa to peel an orange.  For the first time that I observed, Buddy came out of his igloo and stuck his head out the door of the cage which is right across from where I was sitting. A little while later I noticed that he was struggling to get food from the new feeder I installed in his cage.  I wanted him to work for it but after several attempts he was unsuccessful. When I went to help him he came out of his igloo and stood very eagerly knowing that I was going to help.  He seemed very grateful when he took the food block from me.

I pulled two extra food blocks out and put one on the top floor of his cage and another outside of his cage on the table.  I hope this gets him moving around more tonight. That will also help me track whether he is coming out or not.

I did not force Buddy out of the cage and onto the sofa again tonight, but he was very bold twice more about coming out of his igloo. Once was when I was eating a piece of Chocolate Levain bread on the sofa.  Buddy loved that smell and again stuck his head out of the cage. I tried giving him one of the regular treats, a little piece of rice cake, but he snatched that out of my fingers, tossed it to the floor of the cage and took my fingers in his teeth (without breaking the skin). I had to laugh and went to break him off a small piece of the bread that he obviously wanted.  He sure worked for it!

When I served dinner tonight (produce) I put it all the way across the cage hoping to get him out of the igloo so I could change his bedding. I was so proud of him for standing by while I lifted the igloo and switched his bedding.  The food didn't distract him, but he seemed to know I was helping. After I put his igloo back, rather than running back into it he casually went over to check out his dinner.  It was a good day for Buddy.

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