Fish are smarter than most people think!
People tend to assume that fish, like my son's beautiful betta Red Licorice shown at the left, are pretty mindless, spending their lives swimming around aimlessly, pooping at random, and eating whatever they can. But Dean Pomerleau and his son Kyle are showing the world how smart even small fish like bettas can be, with their Fish School. The fish school site features photos and videos of goldfish, oscars, and a betta performing neat tricks, including playing "fetch" with a human, swimming through hoops, doing the limbo, and even pushing a "soccer ball" into a miniature goal!
The fish are trained using positive reinforcement rather than punishment, and the book stesses the importance of keeping your fish healthy and happy.
I couldn't resist ordering The Fish School E-Book, which shows how to train your fish to do these tricks (including instructions for making the necessary equipment), and also cites fascinating research about fish intelligence. You can also buy ready made fish training equipment at the Fish School website, if you prefer.
I'll be testing the Fish School methods on Red Licorice, and my landlords' goldfish, Queenie, Glitter, Freckles, and Prince Charming.
Of course, regardless of how intelligent fish are, they are creatures with feelings who should be treated kindly. At my store, Compassion Fashion, I offer two fish-rights designs: Bettas Deserve Better and Please, Don't Eat Fish.
For more information about fish, please see PETA's site, FishingHurts.com.