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  1. #161
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    Re: Wiggles, the Children's Python

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    @ Homebody- that's another thing Wiggles would like to play (climb) on- an empty laundry basket (as long as all the holes are a safe size- nothing he can get stuck in). And it seems he's already shown a propensity for doing laundry...
    I've heard that snakes like soft surfaces. I'll have to add some to his enclosure and activity center.
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  3. #162
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    Re: Wiggles, the Children's Python

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I hope he's at least a little contrite today? LOL
    Contrite? I don't think so. Ungrateful little punk was begging to get out three hours later.
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  5. #163
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    Re: Wiggles, the Children's Python

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Your wife is afraid of that little worm? Hey, at least he's FOUND!
    I feel like I have to set the record straight. I got the full story when I got home. She wasn't afraid of him. She was afraid for him. She was in the laundry room in the basement of our building when she found him. She was afraid to move because she didn't want to startle him. If she lost him again there, he'd be even harder to find.
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  7. #164
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    Re: Wiggles, the Children's Python

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    Contrite? I don't think so. Ungrateful little punk was begging to get out three hours later.
    Hate to say it but you've "created a monster" hahahaha! Sure hope he doesn't take to rubbing his nose raw while pushing to leave home for another excursion.

    Yes, some snakes do seem to like soft things too- a clean un-matched sock that you don't need just might make his day?

    Even some snug (clean) boxes are enjoyed- one of my young (4') rat snake ladies like to curl up in empty Kleenex boxes. And if you have some various small clean boxes, you can cut little doorways w/ an Exacto knife & join them together for a "maze"- I've done that for young rat snakes before, & they LOVED it, always peeking out of different holes. Of course when it gets dirty, it goes, but it's just one more "toy" challenge for them.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  9. #165
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    Target Training Update

    Last night's target training went really well. For both feeders, he moved his whole body a short distance to the target before I fed him. I'd say this puts him at stage 4. Stages 5, 6 & 7 basically entail making him travel progressively further to the target before he's fed. I'm confident we can do that.

    The reason I'm so excited is that two weeks ago he didn't really react to the target at all, so I just fed him with the target present (stage 1). I started to doubt my ability to do this, but, then, last week, I was shocked when Wiggles struck at the target twice. I realized, "Ah, so you do know what the target means." Armed with that realization, I was much more patient this week. When I presented the target, Wiggles just stared at me. I said to myself, "Be patient. He knows what the target means." It was only a couple minutes before he broke. He started to move toward the target. I fed him when he reached it. It went the same with the second feeder.

    My problem was that I lacked the confidence to be patient. I've never done this before. It's easy to doubt that I'm doing it correctly. I see now that I am doing it correctly, and Wiggles is progressing. Armed with that confidence, I know I'll have the patience necessary to see Wiggles through the final stages of his training and I'm very excited about that.
    Last edited by Homebody; 08-04-2022 at 09:16 AM.
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  11. #166
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    Handling as Negative Reinforcement

    Iíve noticed that Wiggles avoids doing things that lead directly to being handled. Thatís why he no longer goes in the forbidden gap (post #59). When I open his enclosure now, he still heads over to the gap. He explores it with his head and neck, but he doesnít go in. I monitor his behavior pretty closely. So, when he does this, I move my chair a little closer so I can grab him if I need to. When I do this, he withdraws immediately and looks at me. I imagine him saying, ďI was just looking. I wasnít going to go in there.Ē His fear of being handled, in that moment, is palpable.

    When I say fear, I donít mean terror. He doesnít strike at me. He just doesnít want to be handled. Itís like if you drive too fast through a speed trap. Youíre afraid youíre going to get a ticket. That fear of being handled has proven to be an effective teaching tool.

    During last nightís activity session, Wiggles made a beeline for the hallway where I keep my laundry cart. Thatís where I eventually found him after I lost him a couple weeks ago and, as a result, where heís no longer allowed to go. Just before he reached the threshold, I scooped him up and put him back on his activity station. From there, he made a beeline for the hallway again, and again, I scooped him up and returned him to his activity station. I donít know how many times we did this, 3, 4, maybe 5 times, but, eventually, before he reached the threshold he stopped on his own, sat there for a minute or two and went back the way he came. I hope, eventually, heíll learn to keep himself in the living room and I wonít have to intervene so often.

    This got me to thinking, ďHow do I feel about Wigglesís perception of my handling as negative reinforcement?Ē It turns out Iím totally o.k. with it. I think I differ from a lot of keepers in that Iíve never really enjoyed handling all that much. When I had a bp, who is the undisputed king of handling, I found that what I enjoyed the most was when he climbed off my shoulders and started exploring. By giving him the freedom to explore on his own, I was able to learn what he liked and what he didn't. I got to know him personally. When he passed, I decided to get a snake that was more active and inquisitive. That he was less handleable didnít bother me.

    Now, I know that negative reinforcement is a limited tool. Tickets donít stop people from speeding. Wiggles will get accustomed to my handing, but Iíll happily use it as long as itís effective.

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