Spring Semester Rat Olympics Trials
On Monday we got to visit the morning and afternoon groups of Cadets in the Behavioral Science Lab. When we stopped by they were gearing up for the Rat Olympics and were in the midst of their Test Run.
For the whole spring semester the Cadets train these rats for this one day.
Cadets are split into pairs and train each rat as a team. Half of the course is taught in the classroom and the other half the Cadets apply that knowledge to the rats. It is a very hands on course that takes a lot of patience and commitment. They spend every other day with them, making sure they are consistent in their training. This is a huge key to success with the rats. The Cadets seem to really bond with their rat too, seeing they can’t have pets while at the Academy - this is the next best thing!
The rats compete in a couple different events for Rat Olympics. There is an obstacle maze and hurdles, then they can choose between a weight pull and long jump. During the obstacle maze and hurdles, they will be timed. Which ever rat goes through with the best times gets those cadets the best scores. For the obstacle maze and hurdles the fastest time wins and for weight pull it’s the heaviest weight. As for long jump it’s the longest distance jumped.
The jump happened to be our favorite event because the rats are jumping 40-50 inches, which is like the Grand Canyon for them. The coolest part is they can’t even see that far, they are literally taking a leap of faith based on their training and trust in the Cadets.
It is amazing how well trained they become, the Cadets primarily use positive re-inforcement in the form of treats because who isn’t motivated by food.
If only we could leave our WebGuy Mascot - WebPug "Murphy" with them for the semester. We can’t even get him to come to us most of the time and they have rats climbing ropes, ladders, and jumping blind.
Good luck to all of the teams competing in the Rat Olympics this semester!
To view the rest of our glimpse into the Rat Olympics Trials go to; Galleries - Academics - Academic Studies. Or click the link below.