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Huckleberry the beaver explores the yard for the first time! Then has a mini training session with Jessi and works on building his trust bond with Augusto.

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Hello and welcome back to Animal Wonders!

I'm Jessi and this is Augusto, and we've been wanting to take Huckleberry the beaver on a walk for a while now. And I thought it'd be a really fun idea to take you along, too. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC].

When Huckleberry was younger and smaller, we used to go out just the two of us and go on adventures in the forest. But now that he's a little bigger, I need another person to help just in case something happens. So that's why Augusto has volunteered to help us today.

Thank you! [A

UGUSTO:] Anytime! Alright, so do you want to go get ready? [A

UGUSTO:] Yep! What makes this extra special is that we recently put up a fence so we can let the animals safely be in this outdoor space without worrying about them getting hurt or losing them. It's just so nice feeling much more relaxed while being outside! So this is the beaver house.

It's still being worked on so it doesn't have the siding on yet, but here it is in all its unfinished glory. Huckleberry is inside and he can most likely hear us, and I'm pretty sure he's ready for his breakfast. I have it here ready for him, but first we should go over the plan.

Now the only thing I can see as being a potential problem is that Huckleberry might try and chew down our fruit trees. So that could be a problem because I like my fruit trees, and also the wood could be toxic if he consumed too much. Huckleberry can be stubborn when he decides he wants something, so Augusto has this board to gently block him if he's getting into something that's not a good choice.

So let's let him out to explore but not get into too much trouble. And maybe don't let him chew on the buildings. [A

UGUSTO:] I'll try. Alright, Huckleberry! Hey bud. You snoozing?

Look what I have. I have breakfast! Mmmm, yum. [HUCKLEBERRY WHINES] Yeah!

Beavers are nocturnal, so he was sleeping. Here you go, come on out! But we often will do training sessions during the day, so he's used to coming out during the day...

Hi! Look! Let's go outside!

Hey Gus, do you want to come in here? See if he wants to come out when you come in here? So Huckleberry has has a really strong trust bond with me, and beavers will bond very closely to their family but they don't like outsiders.

And since he doesn't have as much interaction with Augusto, he's not as comfortable around him, so we've been working on trying to establish more of a trust bond with Augusto by giving him lots of treats and spending more time with him. Huckleberry has been really eager to explore this front room, but he's never actually been out here so he's being pretty cautious. I'm - oh it's okay!

Beavers have really bad eyesight, so I just startled him by putting my hand right over the top of his head. And I am just reinforcing him with treats for being curious and confident, moving around... Go buddy go!

He went right to his browse pile. That's where we put all of the branches that he's going to get everyday because beavers eat wood. And so of course he went right to it.

So I'm watching his behavior closely to make sure I'm looking for signs of nervousness. He stopped right there and he moved his weight to the back of his power house back here, his back legs. So he is ready to sprint if he needs to, and that's because Augusto moved the board a little bit, made a little noise.

So when I'm looking for communications with him, a lot of it is how he's moving his body, when he's pausing, and what position he's pausing in. And the freeze, when an animal freezes, is a really good indication that they are trying to just take in more information before they choose fight or flight. So they're freezing: "What's happening?" Take in all that information. "Is it scary?

Then I'm gonna run," or "Do I need to protect myself in a fight?" Or, "Is everything alright?" and then he just keeps on moseying along. Huckleberry has impaired vision in his right eye, so he can't see things very well. And so when I try and approach him, I have to move very slowly, make sure that he can smell and hear that I'm not a danger because his vision is not going to be a big help.

He is more skittish because of that. While we're out here, it'd be a really great time to do a little training session. [CLICK] Good job! Excellent!

Here's his personality coming out a little bit more. He tried to grab ahold of my hands, and he's gonna get probably a little frustrated that I'm giving him tiny treats and not a really big piece. You want some more?

Here, come get it. [CLICK] Great target! Oh did you see that amazing walk to that target? That was so good!

I'm gonna see if I can get him to turn a little bit. [CLICK] Good job! So I know I told Augusto that I wanted him to try to get him to walk toward him. So he's like, "Oh take a little step toward me!" But since Huckleberry doesn't have that trust - go ahead and give - try - offer again...

He doesn't have that relationship with him yet... He didn't quite trust that. You're okay buddy.

Are you gonna hide? Oh buds... Alright.

Let's keep going with the adventure. We'll try again in a little bit. Maybe grab a yam next time, he really likes yams.

I am really impressed with how well Huckleberry is maneuvering in this new space. He hasn't practiced a lot. Granted it's all pretty flat and there's not a lot of things for him to fall down on.

But because he has ataxia, he does have the risk of falling over things and being very uncoordinated to the point where he can hurt himself. So I'm just really proud of how well he's moving. [ACOUSTIC MUSIC] [SOFTLY] Yaaaaay! Nicely done.

Good patience, Augusto! And well done, Huckleberry. [ACOUSTIC MUSIC]. Good job, Huckleberry.

Eat those dandelions! Don't eat that plum though, that plum isn't great. [JESSI LAUGHS]. You want your plum?

I don't want you to eat that plum. No! Don't eat that plum!

It tastes bad. [JESSI GIGGLES] You're gonna run away with your plum? It's an unripe plum, it tastes terrible. It does.

You just don't - There! Yeah, see? It's disgusting.

Yuck! Here, eat this instead. [JESSI LAUGHS]. If that's the worst trouble you get in on this adventure, I will be happy.

Can you smell your pool? Good. There you go!

You're home! [ACOUSTIC MUSIC]. Buddy, you did so good! I'm so proud of you.

You deserve a big long rest in your pool. I think that went really well! How do you think it went?

Yeah, I think it went well, too! I was really happy with how patient you were and and just waiting for him to come and take the treat from you, and I'm just really glad that he did. That shows that he is getting more and more comfortable with you. [A

UGUSTO:] Yeah, thank you. It was a great learning experience for me too as well, so... Yeah! Getting him out in a new space - beavers are very...

I'm not exactly sure how to describe it, where that - where they're confident and then all of a sudden they just... just explode with power and and they sprint basically. So they're not super and so on land. They kind of waddle around, but once they get those couple like gallops I guess, I don't know - they're like BOING leaps - they get into the water and they're just super graceful.

So that's why they do that. They shift their weight back, and then they just spring forward. So we did see that behavior a little bit, but after a while he got pretty comfortable out there.

He's like sleeping in his pool now. So I mentioned a little bit about how strong of a relationship or trust bond that me and Huckleberry have and how Augusto didn't have that yet but we were trying to work toward that. So the more that Augusto is involved in his life and does these little exercises where Huckleberry is learning that he gets good things from Augusto, the more trust he will build with him and the more comfortable he'll be around him so he'll be less skittish and he'll possibly even seek him out for comfort if he does get scared.

So that was really great! It's so enriching to get the animals out and doing new things and being able to explore a new space besides just his home is incredibly stimulating and very enriching for him mentally and physically. So that is why we went on a walk today.

And if you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, make sure you subscribe and I'll see you next time!