It's said that a picture is worth 1000 words. If this is so, and it often is, this video of two guinea pigs learning to play basketball to the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown is worth countless words. And, it's a wonderful activity and very creative lesson in humane education developed by animal trainer Barbara Heidenreich in what can be done to make the lives of companion animals more enjoyable and richer using only positive reinforcement. 

I hope this video is shared widely because it shows how patience pays off, and this is clearly evident in the behavior of these two lucky guinea pigs -- they're really having fun. Please watch the entire show to see how different tactics and individual differences emerge. While neither could play for the Harlem Globetrotters who have dazzled millions of people by performing incredible tricks to the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown, the guinea pigs do pretty well in learning the game. And, there is no reason why other animals cannot also be trained in similar ways. 

The teaser image is from the video called "Just a Couple of Guinea Pigs Playing Basketball."

Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson; see also), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation (see also)and Why dogs hump and bees get depressed (see also). Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistence will be published fall 2014. (marcbekoff.com@MarcBekoff

Recent Posts in Animal Emotions

Animal "Euthanasia" Is Often Slaughter: Consider Kangaroos

KIlling baby kangaroos to learn how to kill them "humanely" isn't euthanasia

Cats: Owners Say Let Them be Predators and Kill Wildlife

A new study shows people are okay with free-running cats killing wildlife

Your Brain and Health in Nature: Rewilding Is Good For Us

Two studies show how walking in nature changes the brain and the value of trees

Why Science Does Not Need Female or Male Mice

A New York Times editorial “Why Science Needs Female Mice” needs close scrutiny

Dogs' Noses Know More Than Doctors About Cancer Detection

Dogs are highly accurate sniffing out various diseases and outperform humans

A Tale of Two Brains: Are Two Really Better than One?

A recent study of brain-melding raises many important questions about ethics