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Towel training

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InTheAir
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Towel training

Post by InTheAir » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:55 am

Hey guys,

I've decided I really should towel train the rat bags, we are only in early prep stages at the moment but I thought I'd air my thoughts so far.

First up, for those who don't know, the rat bags I'm talking about are:

Nila, almost 2 years old, hand raised male that has been with us since 3 months old. He is extensively trick trained, offers feet for nail trimming, trained to allow restraint while perched, will allow me to grab him and lift him short distances, hangs upside down from finger while his back is resting on my lap. Dislikes being scratched or petted by us (except when moulting and has pin feathers on his head that need preening). Comfortable with well behaved strangers and quickly lands on the shoulder of anyone who enters our house.

Sapphire, almost one year old, parent raised in aviary, untame when she came here at about 3 months old, slightly trick trained, offers feet for nail trimming, can be restrained willingly in limited situations, likes to beak wrestle and seems quite interested tactile sensations. Likes climbing in small spaces (girly bird). Dislikes being patted or scratched by us. Very wary of strangers.

Possibly not the most likely candidates for physical restraint training!

Preparation for towel training preparation:
We live in a warm climate, so over summer I put the towel we are using on my lap so birds don't slide off my legs.
we have a similar piece of fabric on a training tunnel that both birds are accustomed to pushing their way through as part of an obstacle course.
Both birds are accustomed to pushing their heads through my hands.


Current goal for both birds is to push through the folded towel and allow me to wrap the towel around their chest and neck area as demonstrated by Nila here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qWJ3_oaT0c
as you can see in the video, Nila is gaining trust in me in this situation. He has previously had some unpleasant experiences of being wrapped in a towel by a vet. When he was offering the behaviour of climbing in to the towel, I raised my criteria by asking him to let me put my hand around him while he was in there.

Sapphire is actually more comfortable about this new game and allows me to lift her in the towel. I am not going to raise the criteria with her at this stage though, I find it much more reliable to get a really solid behaviour first than rush it and have to ask for forgiveness from irns. I am not sure how many positive interactions are needed before a ringneck will overlook you pushing them too far, but I have a feeling it is hundreds! Here's Sapphire
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-QPb8o1JYY I highly recommend turning off the sound so you don't have to hear me gushing at my bird (that was the first time I have lifted her that way, so I was very proud of how she didn't mind!).

Eventual goal (no time frame planned at this stage, may take years): both birds will allow a vet to wrap them in a towel to examine them, including holding them on their backs. That sounds really unrealistic at this stage! But, honestly, there are some good reasons why towel training has some advantages, especially with Sapphire who doesn't like strangers.
If I can build up enough positive associations with the towel, I should be able to use the towel as a motivater for her to approach my vet. Ie: I take Sapph to the vet, vet holds up Sapphires towel, Sapphire sees her favourite towel which reminds her of the millions of sunflower seeds she has eaten while wrapped in the towel and climbs in, vet takes blood and feeds her more sunflower seeds, Sapphire doesn't like having needles stuck into her, but likes sunflower seeds, Sapphire can overlook the indiscretion of the vet and isn't too traumatised by the whole experience, I am happy.
With Nila it is not quite as obviously important, he has visited the vet several times and doesn't show an obvious grudge about being manhandled. On his last visit, when he had a cut on his foot, he started to ignore the vet when she asked him to step up (which is Nilas way of saying he is very unimpressed with someone). If I had thought about it more I could have asked my vet to cue nila for a simple trick which would have had the same effect as my projected plan above for Sapphire...

AJPeter
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Re: Towel training

Post by AJPeter » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:15 pm

Let us know how you get on, I can towel Billie she does her best to avoid the towel but after a few attempts she gives in and lets me lift her onto the scales.

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GeveZe
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Re: Towel training

Post by GeveZe » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:30 pm

I like Sapphire's personality so much. Towel training is so useful, thank you.

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Donovan
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Re: Towel training

Post by Donovan » Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:15 pm

I enjoyed the video. Way to teach the towel is a fun place to be

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InTheAir
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Re: Towel training

Post by InTheAir » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:28 am

AJPeter wrote:Let us know how you get on, I can towel Billie she does her best to avoid the towel but after a few attempts she gives in and lets me lift her onto the scales.
Why don't you just teach her to climb on the scales and wait for you to read them? That's how we weigh our guys and it is so stress free. They climb on, eat a treat and we are done.

GeveZe wrote:I like Sapphire's personality so much. Towel training is so useful, thank you.
Thanks. Isn't she such a cutey! She is so trusting.

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GeveZe
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Re: Towel training

Post by GeveZe » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:30 am

InTheAir wrote:
Thanks. Isn't she such a cutey! She is so trusting.
Absolutely! When i read "Nila is a genius" thread, i admired Sapphire's personality. She just like me you know :lol: I know how important learning tricks for our birds. I try some tricks with Börek. But my heart isn't in it , like Sapphire's. :D I think , games better than tricks. I wanna play peekaboo or hide and seek. I wanna making mess everywhere with my bird. I wanna broke something together :D I wanna hunt geckos :lol: Sometimes I think that IRNs are so smart for me :roll:

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InTheAir
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Re: Towel training

Post by InTheAir » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:26 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: maybe you and Börek can chase geckos together! My boyfriend and Nila chase mosquitos together :lol:

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GeveZe
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Re: Towel training

Post by GeveZe » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:59 am

InTheAir wrote::lol: :lol: :lol: maybe you and Börek can chase geckos together! My boyfriend and Nila chase mosquitos together :lol:
:lol: :lol: that's awesome :lol: :lol: Börek focused on chasing the budgies right now :roll:

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