Monday, 2 May 2011

Fish Tricks: Agility

Posted by Blog Administrator at 01:55
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You can do an underwater version of dog agility for fish right in the tank. To start, you will need to teach your fish about the clicker and touch stick. Use a tiny bit of fish food as his reward each time.
 
Practice at mealtimes when he is hungry, using his dinner for treats. You can click above water, and your fish will hear it. Use the touch stick to reach down underwater.
 
For equipment, you can make little hurdles, poles your fish can weave in and out of, and even a tunnel. Because your fish is underwater, he can swim under the hurdles instead of over them.  

 
You can also set up bars like football goalposts that he can swim though.
 
Choose equipment that is sturdy and can’t be knocked over, and big enough that your fish won’t get stuck. It should be safe for a fish tank as well. Weave poles are fairly easy for a fish to master once he is familiar with the touch stick. Set the poles up in his tank, a few inches apart. Then use the stick to lead him around the poles.
 
At first you should click and treat after each pole, but then you can gradually increase the number of poles he has to do before getting a reward. For swimming through goalposts, just lead him through with the touch stick.
 
For swimming under hurdles, you will first need to slide the stick underneath while your fish isn’t looking. Then, when he swims up to it, pull it underneath the hurdle so he will follow. Repeat several times. Then you can try putting the stick on the opposite side of the hurdle from your fish and reinforce him only if he swims underneath.
 
Remember to be patient! Teaching your fish to swim through a tunnel is just like teaching him to swim under a hurdle.
 
Start by sliding the stick through when he isn’t looking, and then lead him through the tunnel several times. With practice, you can get him to swim through just with you running the stick along the side of the tunnel.
 
A clear tunnel works best for this. Be creative, and see if you can come up with new obstacles to teach him.
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