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Train A Tortoise

Discussion in 'Advanced Tortoise Topics' started by Dequan Jones, May 23, 2016.

  1. Dequan Jones

    Dequan Jones New Member

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    I Have a 15 month old Sulcata that's around 3 1/2 inches ... I was wandering would the tortoise ever be capable or training???
  2. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    No.

    They will learn where things are, what they like, who brings yummy food and what to expect at certain times, but you will never train a tort like you can train a dog.

    I posted a picture on here not so long ago of my tort trying to force his way through a fence to get at the lawn mower ... there was a massive gap in the fence only a couple of feet to his left, but he wasn't capable of working out that there was an easier route. That about sums up the intelligence level.
    mctlong and Gillian Moore like this.
  3. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Mine (Redfoot) will all come out of their hiding/sleeping spots when I knock on the wooden sides of the enclosure. They know that it means food is there.
    And they know that first to the plates gets the first pick of the food it seems.
    So, it's also been my experience that any "training" involves food. It's just an adaptation for competition for food. Something similar to what they might do in the wild.
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  4. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member Today is my birthday!

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    NO and a "big" NO.:(

    I tried time and once again to train my beloved Greek tort :<3: (OLI) not to entre my bedroom, but I did not get anywhere. I only ended up wasting time and energy. :( Torts do not have the brains (so as to say) of a dog/cat, despite the fact that the obviously have a nervous system.:rolleyes:

    And a very warm welcome to the forum!
  5. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't even train my cat to stay out of my bedroom. I ended up getting a device that sprayed citronella at him when he got too close. It was the sudden spray that scared him away, not the smell.
  6. maggie3fan3

    maggie3fan3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    yes. I trained Bob to follow my wiggling fingers. I could and did take him in public. He was taught to get into the "Bob Cart". He was taught to play soccer with me, using a 5 gallon bucket. He was taught lots of things. At Christmas a kid for $5 could get their pix taken with Bob, $10 with Bob and Santa. He did that every year for about 6 years. He was always invited to OSU's Pet Days, put on by the Veterinary dept.
    But I spent about 80% of my time with him, and he was smarter than the average tortoise.....so I believe the amount of time spent, and the bonding helps to make them more open to learning things.

    Now, I believe a 15 month old Sulcata that's only 3 inches is pretty small. I have a 7month old hopefully female, that is 6 inches and 399 grams. I mean no disrespect, but maybe you're not feeding your's enough. I feed mine morning and night. Just as much as she'll eat in one sitting. Then it's removed. Only the night feeding is left. But she's also put in an outside pen, and she continually grazes. She spends all day on grass,eating off and on. This Bob in the Vets office.... you could see him say"Did 'I' Do that?????" P1010403.JPG
  7. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator 5 Year Member

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    how did you attempt to train your tortoise? Positive and negative reinforcement?
  8. christinaland128

    christinaland128 Well-Known Member

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    I trained my Redfoots at a young age to go up and down a ramp without going over the edge. Did this with food. :D
  9. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member Today is my birthday!

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    :rolleyes:
  10. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member Today is my birthday!

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    I believe that cats as well as dogs can be easily trained to do/not to do certain things. I'm astonished that you could not train your cat.
  11. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member Today is my birthday!

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    I feed (actually hand-feed) Oli 2-3 times a day, he gets exposed to the sun, has a nice big enclosure, a light and the rest. However, when it came to training him, there was a red light, I regret to say. Researchers, experts etc on the net confirmed this.
  12. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Cats can be trained. But you have to be consistent. I use positive reinforcement to get them to come when called by name - i.e. food. I use negative reinforcement (i.e. over the top yelling, water spray, whatever) to let them know that the parrots are off limits...even the budgie. Don't even THINK of looking at a bird...

    Our granny cat was never particularly interested in the birds so it was easy, but my 3 year old brother/sister pair are entirely different.

    Regardless...the birds are not left unsupervised with the cats.

    The end result of the training is different than what it is with dogs...but they are still trained.
  13. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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    I think there is a wide variance in individual animals. I had one cat that was very intelligent and easily trained. She learned easily to not harm the pet bird; she understood that it was mine. She and I used to play hide and seek. She was smart enough to understand. My other cat is clueless, which makes him much more difficult to train. He could be taught some things but he needed frequent reinforcement. Even if he learned something, he would revert to his old behavior after awhile. I even had a guinea pig that I trained, but her siblings wouldn't.

    Dogs, on the other hand, have a huge desire to please so that makes them easier to train.
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  14. maggie3fan3

    maggie3fan3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Researchers and experts on the 'net mean nothing. I had a 17 yr old Sulcata who was trained. Ask anyone on this forum who knew Bob and they will all tell you he was trained. I had the time to do it and a smarter tortoise to do it with. End of discussion....
    Keep handfeeding Oli and sooner or later you'll need stitches. If you hand feed a tortoise sooner or later they think your hand is the food. That's just my experience I didn't need a researcher or expert to tell me that....
  15. Fredkas

    Fredkas Well-Known Member

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    Maggie, do you have a link for your thread or you can create a thread about how and what you train bob? I am really interested to that.
    So we can not hand feed tortoise? They will, and absolutely will think our hand is food?
  16. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member Today is my birthday!

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    :rolleyes:
  17. maggie3fan3

    maggie3fan3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    @jaizei There are many threads about Bob here on the forum. Just look them up or ask Cameron to help. He can find them all. It all starts with bonding, and takes years.

    After a while of hand feeding a tortoise he starts to think the hand is food. My Bob who loved me dearly thought my hand was food and cost me 7 stitches. He was 15 at the time and no dummy. But any expert on the forum will tell you I am correct. Now I understand Oli is small and not likely to hurt much when he bites. But it is still unacceptable behaviour.
  18. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    There's not just one thread. When Bob was alive Maggie told us stories about him all the time. Do a search for "Bob" and put "maggie3fan" as the 'posted by memeber'.
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  19. jay surfs

    jay surfs Member

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    my 3 year old sulcata has bitten everyone in my family, all the kids and adults, simply from hand feeding. He is a ravenous creature when it comes to food. drew blood last week. mine mine mine mine. even my slow moving 24 year old cali desert tort bites if you keep your finger close enough.

    So far the only training i have witnessed with my two torts is a conditioning in response to food. But now I am curious what is possible, based on Maggies experience. Will be fun to try.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2016
  20. von345

    von345 Active Member

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    You tube it! There is a video of a man who has trained his tort to roll over and everything
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