Category Archives: Behavior

Positive Reinforcement Pet Training

How to Train Your Goldfish

Most of us take the time to train our dogs, and some people even train their cats. Did you know though, that you can also train your fish? If you have a goldfish, there’s no reason to let it simply swim around in circles all day if you can get it to do some tricks. Amaze your friends by training your goldfish!

Goldfish Training Steps

To train your goldfish, you’ll use the same principles used to train your dog. In fact, you can even use a clicker. First, decide what you want your goldfish to do, second, have something like a clicker to mark the desired behavior and finally, have easy to deliver rewards such as fish food or treats. Keep the trick simple, especially at first.

It should take about two weeks of training using 15 minute sessions twice a day to reach your fish’s performance goal. Start with a simple goal like swimming backward or swimming through a loop. Something your fish already does at times. Click when your fish performs the desired behavior and then quickly reward them. Repeat every time your fish does the behavior and soon he will be performing the behavior more often.

Goldfish Training Kits

If you want to get started without doing any research, try purchasing a kit. The R2 Fish School actually sells kits that help people train their fish. The kit uses positive reinforcement to guide fish through mazes, limbo, hoops, and more. Some people even use these to teach their goldfish to “kick” a ball or tell time.

Practice Makes Perfect

College students performed a myriad of experiments with trained goldfish and some found success using flashing lights instead of clickers to mark the desired behavior. Some fish learned to follow laser pointers, though they did caution not to shine the laser into the fish’s eyes for health reasons. They found that two sessions per day, one in the morning and one at night, was more effective than one session per day for training.

We don’t train goldfish at Cascade Pet Camp, but by attending our dog training courses, you can learn the same type of conditioned reinforcement training skills that will work on your fish and other pets (and even your spouse or kids!).

For more information about training your goldfish, check out these resources:

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/30

http://mentalfloss.com/article/27912/how-train-your-goldfish