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How To Get The Parrot Back In The Cage and other stories :)

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How To Get The Parrot Back In The Cage and other stories :)

Post by Doodlebug » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:00 am

As MissK and Alphawolf requested, I have started a new thread on my troubles, I shouldn't want to hijack the other thread or bore you endlessly with all this but you guys are my only sounding board about this!
MissK wrote:Hi Loo,

Did we talk about using a lure? Bring me up to speed on Doodlebug's reaction to lures, taking treats by hand, and his top five treat foods. Do you use a steel food cup?

We can totally work on this, though I think we should start a fresh thread, maybe called "How to get the parrot back in the cage"....
Hi MissK. Dudes loves the lure. To get him back in his cage I will use both the step up perch plus the lure to keep him interested and going in the direction of the cage lol. I have used just the lure, showing him a nice bowl of treats and putting them in his cage in front of him, but the pleasure of being outside his cage outweighs the need to go back in, so this, nine times out of ten, gets ignored.

His five fave treats are Sweetcorn, Pear, apple, walnuts in their half shell and anything I'm eating :D We have discovered at the weekend he goes crazy for the sweet chestnut in its shell, a little bit opened for him to start him off.

I do use a steel food cup yes.

Getting him back in his cage using the step up perch isn't really a major problem though obviously I would prefer him to go in when the time is right. I am spending most of my 'worry energy' fretting about our bond and how I can 'cure' him of his skin aversion. If that is what he is bothered about...

I am turning into someone with attributes I hate in a person where Dudes is concerned! I am needy. I want him to love me. I think about him constantly. I worry if he is eating right. I want him to be happy. I want to be with him every minute of every day.

Do you think I'm in love? And slightly Cuckoo? :lol:
AlphaWolf wrote:Hello Doodlebug,
I agree with MissK about making a new thread. I myself are having problems with Aero atm. By the end of the new thread you will have a lovely tame bird :D . And maybe Aero might just take food from my hand.
I know it seems like it is taking forever but you will get there with Aero, you have already seen small steps in the right direction, carry on being patient and Areo will thank you for it :) Whats the latest?
Loo :)

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Re: How To Get The Parrot Back In The Cage and other stories

Post by MissK » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:07 pm

I think it's love, coupled with novelty. I don't mean novelty in a bad way; I mean it in the way we spend a lot of thought on things we have not yet become very comfortable and flexible with. Maybe like learning to drive a car with manual transmission. First we have to decide what we want to do, remember exactly how to do it, check ourselves as we proceed, get upset if we go out of sequence and it doesn't work right..... But then we get some easy familiarity, and we don't even think about it anymore. We just drive the car. So don't worry about worrying about it. We're all here because we need or want something.

It may be that Dudes just needs a stronger motivator.

Lil' Doodlebug doesn't have either sufficient motivation or practice taking himself home. He may also carry a little fear of folks hovering over him and watching his every move. I find myself saying again, you have to make it worth his time. My opinion is that he may also need to *practice*.

Fear Example: Rocky will never put himself away if I stand by the door and wait for it. He isn't comfortable with me there. I don't know why, and really, it's enough for me to take his word for it. If he should be going in but he isn't, it's pretty much always that either I didn't make it clear I placed his lure, or I am just standing in his way! Try stepping back. If you can identify anything else that makes him nervous, remove that, too. Check for stuff associated with a lunge, stuff he walks way around, etc.

Motivation Example: I'm guilty of giving Rocky treats simply because I enjoy it. Sometimes I might have him out so long he gets just stuffed with treats and they become significantly less motivating. I get it; even I can have too much ice cream. But however much ice cream I eat, however much Cheerios and seeds and nut bits Rocky gets, there's one thing that will always get some attention. For me, it's the cherries I can dig out of my Ben & Jerry's. For Rocky it's a different kind of nut, usually a pistachio in the shell. Figure out what will speak to Dudes even after he has hit that point of diminishing return on his other treats. Save that one as the lure for going back in the cage.

Practice Example: Right now, today, I was working with Rocky on climbing ropes. He has several different slack ropes hung horizontally in the cage that I made for him. He tends not to use them much, though he physically can. I wanted him to practice stepping from the thick rope to the thin one, and remaining there, not hopping right back off. I went in with a powerful and rarely used lure and reward. Then I basically made him do it over and over until he stopped considering it and just did it. This is a little like our car example above. Figure out what will make Doodlebug follow and do it over and over until he stops thinking about it and just goes where you lure. Target by tapping as well. Selection of the motivator is key, and it need not be food. Rocky will follow his little Mr. Froggie toy anywhere..

There is another tool. One way creatures learn and carry out complex behaviours is through use of behaviour chains. You already know about these, even if you don't use that word. It just means that each action in the sequence has a specific order, and each step both rewards the step before it and prompts for the step following. (See how I tried to not use the complicated words, there? It hurt me to do it. I hope you are appreciative!) A human behaviour chain might be dressing your feet for a walk outside. First you put on socks. Never start with shoes on, never tie the shoelaces before you put on socks. It goes: idea to dress>prepare feet for dressing (another behaviour chain)>put on socks>put on shoes>tie shoes>(possibly) pull pants leg down to ankle. Now your feet are dressed. If any of the behaviours was out of order it wouldn't work. You don't have to remember, really, how it all goes. If you fell asleep in the middle (narcoleptic attack?) and then awoke, you would know exactly what the next step was, automatically, by what had come before.

You can build a behaviour chain for Doodlebug. Possibly, you could mount a perch on the outside of the cage, and never ask him to go there unless you want him to go inside. You could then build a chain around that which includes the steps of going to that perch and then into the cage. By the way, that would probably count as a really nice TRICK, too.

Another sneaky thing that might work is to get the bird all hopped up on getting treats and hope he's more excited about that than he is reluctant to go home. For Rocky, sometimes, this means I treat him just for standing on top his cage and then make him an offer he can't refuse. Caution, don't use so many treats he stops caring.

Example: Rocky might be on top his cage, not wanting to go home, but I'm in a hurry. I take the stainless steel bowl, drop in a seed - PING! I immediately turn the cup and offer the seed to the bird; he takes it. I do this a number of times and then I psyche him out - I offer the bowl but don't let him get the treat. After a second or two, I reoffer the bowl and let him have the treat. Now, Rocky has played this game enough times to know what comes next. Halfway between Rocky and the door of the cage, I hold up the bowl and obviously drop in the seed - PING! I make sure he sees me then immediately place the bowl in the cage. I drop a second seed - PING! and walk away. Usually by the time I turn around he is eating the seeds in the cage. I come back and shut the door, sometimes adding one more seed..

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Re: How To Get The Parrot Back In The Cage and other stories

Post by InTheAir » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:28 pm

Hey Loo,
I don't have much to offer, just that perhaps there is a way of making going back to the cage as attractive as you can. With Nila it is dead easy, he is a sucker for foraging toys and can never resist going to check them out when I fill them. I sometimes peg a whole snow pea, a passion fruit or a mild chilli somewhere hard to reach. Just returning to the cage for a treat isn't enough to inspire him to want to stay there, the cage has to be a stimulating place to hang out too.

The othe aspect I have been adressing is putting his fun stuff in and leaving the cage open so he can choose to leave when he wishes. He has started to spend more time in his cage than he previously did. He even stayed in for a nap the other day, which he never use to do when the door was open.

And all that stuff missk said too.

I can sympathise with you in regards to the emotional aspect, Squidgette doesn't care for my company either! I am making a huge effort to disattach myself from the idea that she will ever like me, I don't want to have any expectations of her! It's hard though.

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Re: How To Get The Parrot Back In The Cage and other stories

Post by Donovan » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:50 pm

I want to chime in on the importance of getting your bird to go back to its cage when -you- want it to.

A few months ago my kitchen caught on fire. Instead of fighting the fire I ran to get my bird. Well not knowing what was going on he was flying around to get away from me (isolated from the fire). The room was now full of smoke because I had opened the door to go in and get him (closed it behind me).

So he's flying around in this one room and i'm chasing him and i'm trying harder than normal to catch him so he's trying harder than normal to avoid me. I caught his foot but let it go because I didn't want to injure him. After that I managed to grab his tail and he lost three tail feathers and kept going. After that he fell down between a medium sized entertainment center and the wall. I was getting ready to snatch it away from the wall when he came walking out from behind it. He was cornered and I managed to grab him finally, put him in his cage and get him outside. All this took place in about 20 seconds or so.

Well the house didn't burn down but the kitchen needed a lot of work afterward. If my bird were better conditioned to return to his cage, I could have saved us both a lot of panic.

Now, all that being said, I still have not trained him to go into his cage when -he's- not quite ready. So the question is how and what to train to accomplish this.

First and foremost is that going to the cage should become really fun. Initially i'm thinking to make a game out of him going into one opening of the cage and back out the other with lots of praise and treats. The lure concept could help facilitate this but it will take a while to work.

Never sneak attack your bird by trapping it in the cage suddenly when it just went in for a drink. This makes going inside a negative experience.

My bird has a large outdoors cage and an inside cage. I have trained him successfully with coming back in. I walk to his little cage (which is left outside with him), say "go to your cage" and he does it every time. This because he knows he's going back inside which makes going to the little cage a positive experience.
He's a little more stubborn when it comes to taking him outside. That may be cause there are plenty of incidents of him going in his small cage (the indoor/transport/little cage) and being left in it, or he may not really like going outside which I don't believe because there have been times he avoids coming back inside when the weather is particularly pleasant.

Basically what I'm saying is positive reinforcement in all things. (I have discovered some degree of negative reinforcement works for some things too but I won't get into that).

Another great motivator for a bird to go into his cage is to simply turn out the lights leaving a dim light (enough they can see after a minute or so of sitting in the dark) When it gets dark, they will go to bed, and I assume that that means in the cage.

I have only ever had this one bird so my experiences and advice may be somewhat invalid or unique to my bird so if you know better than me, then, okay :) .. I just always have an opinion.

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Re: How To Get The Parrot Back In The Cage and other stories

Post by AlphaWolf » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:04 am

Hi Loo,
Any update of Doodlebug?
"Live with parrots and you learn to panic"


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Re: How To Get The Parrot Back In The Cage and other stories

Post by Doodlebug » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:00 pm

Hi all, and thanks for your suggestions.

We haven't had a very good day today Alpha. He kept flying to me, like he wanted to be with me. He comes to my lap, I say hello, whatcha doing baby? He looks up at me, I look down at him, and smile. He's gorgeous. I keep my hands where they are, one either side of him, not close, not moving. He is comfortable on me, I can tell. Not scared or anything. Then he walks over to my hand and bites it. I tell him no and remove my hand. He goes over to the other and bites it. Later on he lands on my arm and bites the skin.

I just don't know why he is doing it. I'm not doing anything at all to provoke it, it's getting me really down.

Loo :)

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