You Choose! Chinchilla Edition
“You Choose” is a great way to figure out your pets preferred foods work on impulse control, encourage critical thinking and add enrichment. I love this exercise! It helps to define what is high value and low value. Remember that may change due to the environment or the addition of stressors.
By clicking on You Choose you will see how to do this activity with your adorable dog, but I am going to take you through doing it with my chinchilla, Peeka, a four year old male that will take any chance to escape. I will take you through my planning, preparation and give you the end results.
The first step was to find something that I had two of that would not taint the test with left over smells or bits and was easy to clean. I choose spoons! When I first considered them I was concerned he would be upset by me thrusting a spoon in his space. At first he was cautious, but after a while he came up to investigate. One thing I had to do was make sure the spoon was at his level, just below his nose and with Chinchillas they like to grab their food or treats with their paws. I really narrowed down the sweet spot by using treats he had already been eating and placing them on the spoon for him to take. In the video below you can see my cute little fluff ball taking the treat from a spoon.
The next tricky task is to make sure he does not just take the treat before he has checked both spoons. This way he can decide what he wants most, because he will not be able to take the other treat until presented. For this I have used the same treat on both spoons, so that it is not enticing and he does not rush making his choice. Also, this will help him get used to how the game is played and hopefully make the next steps easier.
This activity can be a bit challenging to start even with dogs, especially our little chow hounds. Taking your time in early steps and doing a little planning can really help and make your time fun! For the next part I will be making a list of treats or foods, putting them on a chart and really spoiling Peeka.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 and Part 3 where we will narrow down Peeka’s preferences, see the results and have more cute chinchilla pictures.
Written by: Marie Turner-Bailie