This is a video clip from the Rat Basketball Tournament at the Science of Museum of Virginia, Richmond, Virgina. Rat Basketball Tournament is held every year before NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournaments. See what happened in 2010:
Aren't you curious how these rats were trained to perform as basketball players? Here's a hint. If you watch this video, you will soon come up with the idea of 'shaping and chaining' by means of 'clicker training.' Whenever it turns toward the hoop, the rat hears the clicker sound, followed by tasty rewards. The rat's behavior at this moment is not even close to basketball, but it still gets reward. However, the trainer gradually leads the rat to the desired behavior, which is to pass through the hoop.
Skinner's principle of operant conditioning is well applied to animal training. Not only laboratory animals but also real life animals such as home pets, service animals, and even circus animals are being trained on the basis of it. The rats playing basketball were taught to go through the rim with the ball. When one of them succeeds in making points, it immediately gets food. What is the result? A cool animal sports game!
However, I personally think Skinner's pigeon table tennis looks nicer. His pigeons actually 'competed' for food. The rats don't seem to compete with each other because they don't defense like pigeons do. How can we improve it to be seen like a real basketball match?