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Duration:08:00
Uploaded:2020-07-23
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Kizmit has been practicing her crate training even though she's not traveling to shows right now. She's a pretty special but sensitive girl, so training is important to make sure she feels confident when going to new places. Watch how she does with her training session during a walk outside.

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Thank you to Skillshare for supporting this episode of Animal Wonders.

The first thousand people who click the link in the description can get a two-month free trial of Skillshare's Premium Membership. Welcome back to Animal Wonders!

I'm Jessi, and today I want to do an update on Kizmit the African crested porcupine and do a training session, too. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC]. Kizmit has recently moved into a new space. She's now living in the second room of the Beaver House, which is right in here.

So we moved into this space because she was previously living in the Romping Room, but we wanted to use that space for our new chinchillas. And since she was no longer socializing with the cavies, there was really no reason to keep her in that area. So her new room has plenty of space for her and she's doing great, but there's always room for improvement.

I do like to get her outside as much as possible, and I'm hoping to get her access to a yard in the future. So when you're dealing with porcupines like Kizmit, the biggest challenge is their chewing, so it's not simple to just put in a doggy door to the outside. And since it gets really cold here in the winter, we need to keep this space warm enough for her, and a chewed on doggy door that doesn't seal well wouldn't be good for her.

So for now, she gets a safe space to stay warm, and she gets to go on walks outside when the weather is warm enough. I haven't been able to get her out to public presentations for over 4 months, since the school buildings had to close due to the pandemic. So she's actually a little bit out of practice going into her travel crate.

Which is why I'd like to work on that now and show you how we work together. So for this crate training session, I'll start by setting her crate up in front of the door. The next step is to get her collar and her leash on, which can be tricky sometimes.

We did it! Yay! You did it!

Good girl! And now that she has her collar on, I'll ask her to go into her crate. I'll put some food in the crate. [FOOD DROPS INTO CRATE] [QUILLS RATTLING] Oh I know!

It sounds weird, doesn't it? Kizmit is a sweetheart and enjoys interacting, but she's also very sensitive and she spooks easily at small things. So I have to be very aware of what she's experiencing so I can make sure.

I react appropriately and in her best interest. Now that she's in the crate, I'm going to give her a couple more reinforcements just to make the crate really rewarding before turning it around to face the exit. She's definitely uncomfortable.

She's rattling her quills and she's stomping her back feet, saying, “This is not my favorite place to be.” So what I'm doing is I am giving her - good! - reinforcement whenever she showed calm behavior. [QUILLS RATTLING]. So I don't want to see chewing or scratching or rattling. As soon as she is calm for a second, I want to give her a reward. [QUILLS RATTLING, KIZMIT STOMPS FEET].

Good! [QUILLS RATTLING] Good girl. Alright. I'm gonna give her a little bite to eat here, and then we're gonna go ahead and turn this crate around.

And now that we're all turned around, we can let her come on out into the yard for a walk. Good girl. There we go!

Adventure time! Those don't taste very good. Those are weeds.

You sure you wanna eat those? Here, come on over here. Now, the hardest part about walking Kizi is that she doesn't love the feeling of the leash touching her quills.

It's something that she's just never gotten used to, and it makes her pretty nervous. So my goal during our walks is to keep her calm by getting her to focus on something she knows really well, which is targeting. So when she targets, it's me asking her to touch her nose to my closed hand, and then she gets a treat.

And have I mentioned how much she loves her treats? So, I'm using positive reinforcement during our walk, and that's where I give her reinforcement to encourage behaviors I want to see more of. By giving her reinforcements, it makes her feel good, which increases the likelihood that she will do those behaviors again.

So if she's doing behaviors that I don't want her to do,. I'm going to ignore it instead of using any kind of punishment. And because I'm not rewarding any of those unwanted behaviors, the chances that they'll continue will decrease.

So when she gets scared, she either tries to bolt and run away, or she comes and tries to hide by my legs. And so sometimes when she's doing that, she'll end up spinning around me in circles. So if she does that unwanted behavior of spinning - of trying to get underfoot, between my legs, behind me, then I want to ignore that behavior and then change it into something that I do want to see again.

Oh goodness! There you go. Good girl.

Good! Nice job! So I'm working on something else with her.

When she goes to the end of the leash and I want her to stop, we have had some trouble with when I tighten the leash, she hits the end there. She feels it pull on her quills, and it makes her really nervous, and so she doesn't stop. So what I do is I reinforce her stopping.

You're alright. Did you hear another noise? Can you target?

Good! Thank you. And let's see if she can get up onto my… onto my knee. [CLICKS].

Good girl! [HAPPY COUNTRY MUSIC]. That was a really fun walk! But it is time for you to head home, okay?

So we're gonna go back in your crate. [HAPPY COUNTRY MUSIC]. Yay! Success!

Did that wear you out? That was a lot of work. You're panting now! [CHEWING SOUNDS] Thank you so much for letting me share Kizmit with you.

It's always a fun and adventurous time with her. Now here in Montana, it's the perfect time of year to go on nature hikes, discover new animals, and do a little bit of wildlife sketching on a nice, sunny day like today. If you're interested in learning more about drawing wildlife, you can head over to Skillshare to find classes that teach you how to draw animals with just a pencil and paper!

Cherith Harrison, an illustrator from Scotland, teaches a class on creating pencil drawings of animals. Whether you're out in the field with your sketchbook or you're basing your drawing off a photograph, her class is great for beginners who want to learn the basic techniques of drawing wildlife. Skillshare is an online learning community that offers membership with meaning.

With so much to explore, real projects to create, and the support of fellow creatives,. Skillshare empowers you to accomplish real growth. And it makes it easy with short classes that will fit into your daily routine.

A Premium Membership will give you unlimited access, so you can join the classes and communities that are just right for you. And an annual subscription to Skillshare is less than $10 a month, and if you're one of the first 1,000 people to click the link in the description, you can get a 2 month free trial of Skillshare's Premium Membership. Thanks for watching!

And if you'd like to keep learning and going on animal adventures with us, subscribe to our YouTube channel and I'll see you next week! Bye! [BOLD OUTRO MUSIC].