Tonawanda News

Features

January 16, 2014

Setting some trends for the new year

Tonawanda News — I don’t think one year makes a trend, but it is a good start. In 2013, I bought a few new pets, an amazing home and continued using the least coercive training techniques with all of my critter companions. 

This year, I will strive to continue giving my pets the best care available, as well as learn and share with you the most positive training techniques.

In 2013, I also published my first book: A Tenrec Named Trey (And other odd lettered animals that like to play) which was many years in the making. The book is a collection of eight stories each centering on non-popular lettered animals (e.g. Q, U, W, X, Y, Z etc). Maybe the sequel can be published this year. That would be a great trend for me to get in the habit of doing yearly.

Some of the new pets I had acquired this year were hermit crabs, one of my favorite childhood pets. I dedicated an entire column titled “Crab Chronicles” to these crawly pets, which can be read on our Facebook page.

Another pet I acquired this year was Eartha, a year-old savannah monitor — a potentially very large lizard native to Africa. With any luck, she will be trained to walk on a leash this year to get some adequate exercise. Last year, I focused on training her to be tractable. Currently, she is a little more than one-foot long, but has the potential to reach around four feet.

Recently, as you may have read, I also adopted five bantam chickens. These hens are miniature and will hopefully be laying three or so eggs each a week. They are approaching six months in age and should be ready to start producing.

When I need to move them or relocate them to a kennel or different part of the yard, I have trained them to step up on my hand — just like a parrot — through positive reinforcement. I present my left hand palm up and they walk on it. I can lift them up to eye level and then my right hand has cracked corn or minced fruit for them to be reinforced with. I was very pleased that when my parents come over to visit, the chickens even stepped up on my mom’s hand.

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