Let’s all get weighed!

Keepers are enjoying the new scale in the farmyard, and so are the critters.  Here’s some video of Max and the alpacas getting weighed. Max’s training focused on keeping him calm as he walked from his enclosure to the scale – he tends to get excited when he goes for a walk.  And 1600 pounds of excited steer can be difficult to manage.  But look how calm he is! The alpaca training is more focused on helping them tolerate theRead more


The type of training we do at the museum has a few different names.  Depending on who you ask, they might call it Clicker Training, or Food Training, or Operant Conditioning, or Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT).  All of those are correct labels for our reinforcement-based, contingency-focused style of behavior management for exotic and companion animals.  I’m always happy to answer questions or talk about the training I do at all the institutions with which I work.  And usually, people ask really interestingRead more

A Training Quiz!

In the tradition of Sherry’s quiz about her trip with Aaron, I’m posting a quiz about our training program here at the museum.  Answers to follow in a few days! Which animal are we currently training to get voluntarily into a trailer, just in case they need to be transported to the vet? a) Auggie b) Lightning c) Gus d) Chummix   Craisins are the favorite training treat for which animal? a) goats b) lemurs c) black bears d) donkey   WhichRead more

What’s That Click?

Have you watched a training session at the museum lately?  (Click here to see an old video of Marilyn training Chummix) If you see Kent training Max, or Kimberly training the lemurs, or Sarah working with Lightning, you’ve probably heard a clicking sound while they train.  What is that thing?  It’s called a clicker, and it’s used as a conditioned reinforcer.  You can establish any arbitrary sound as a conditioned reinforcer, but clickers and whistles are the two that seem toRead more

Cassandra explores the vet room

Ring Tailed Lemur training is going well! Here’s where we were last time Lemurs in Crates. Last week with  guidance from Julie Grimes and assistance from our Vet Keeper Katy, I let Cassandra, our female ring tailed lemur, out in the vet room. The idea was to let her out of her crate into a vet room cage. This is where she will spend a little time on the day of her physical. In training terms we are desensitizing herRead more

Lemurs in Crates

I’ve posted about lemur training before and wanted to give an update. Click here and here to refresh your memory. Ring Tailed Lemur physicals are in September! That’s so soon. But we are making progress. Lycus actually had to be seen earlier than expected. I noticed a change in his eyes, a white cloudiness. We had a few days until Dr. Vanderford would be able to see Lycus so I began using the ophthalmoscope (a lighted instrument that is usedRead more