This Mouse is Smarter than Your Monkey

Have you heard of ‘mouse agility’?  I had not, until I came across the video below and the mouse agility website that mightymousedescribes in detail the process of training mice to accomplish Olympian feats.  From the site:

Sometimes it’s useful to apply a target stick instead of your hand, e.g. for teaching the mouse to spin or to slalom between your fingers. And least a target stick is convenient for highly aggressive rodents, such as natal rats!  Once your mouse understands this very simple trick, it will follow your hand (or the target stick) in all directions to nudge it (but remember that mice are short-sighted!), so you can most easily guide it through the agility course. Then you can gradually take away your hand, so your mouse has to concentrate more and more on the course than on your hand / the target stick and has to memorize it. The obstacles themselves don’t have to be introduced to the mouse in particular, cause certainly mice are able to balance, jump, climb etc. by nature, so they just have to learn the right order.  

But seriously, how is this really done?  Mouse pheromones?  Essence of cheese?


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One response to “This Mouse is Smarter than Your Monkey

  1. I saw a brief video a few years ago about how mice were trained for a movie (starring Nathan Lane I believe). Basically, the trainers started the mice at the end of the “course” and then progressively moved them closer to the start. The mouse would follow their own scent that had just been laid down. At least, that was the narrator’s explanation.


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