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Whose training who?

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BigChicken
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Whose training who?

Post by BigChicken » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:45 am

I wanted to share two little training techniques I used with our parrots and conures, very simple, but they worked well.
Our mini macaw who was afraid of hands would let me scratch her head for a few seconds and then would take a nip. She loves to interact verbally, and we make a chipmunk kind of chirp back and forth. Instead of trying to touch her head, I made the chipmunk chirp on my fingertip and then quickly put it right to her beak and say "give me a finger bite" in a happy tone. She would make the chirp back out of habit, while giving me a nip. If the nip was light, I would give praise, which she loves. If too hard I would just say "easy". Every time we see each other, she chirps and looks for the "finger bite" greeting.
Our Sun conure who can be a little jumpy, would get startled even with the click of a light switch. So now, with all of our birds, before doing anything that might startle them, I say "big noise". The all quickly learned that something was going to happen, and that it would not hurt them. Now my sun isn’t scared of any noise, and sometimes I say "big noise" even when I’m alone! Whose training who?

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ringneck
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Post by ringneck » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:08 am

It’s amazing how smart birds are. I know that my breeding ringnecks will not tolerate any strangers near their aviaries. If they see someone they do not recognize, it’s an imitate siren call. To avoid these calls (so the neighbors don’t complain), I’ll do a little whistle before I come near the aviaries—helps a great deal!

Sounds like you’re on the right tack. Most biting problems, I have come to conclude, come from the parrots lack on understanding its boundaries. It takes constant interaction and there is no one way to remedy the problem. :wink:

Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with your birds! Thanks for sharing that with us! :wink:

Best wishes, :wink:

Imran

Melika
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Post by Melika » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:24 pm

Great work! It takes a while with birds but patience and small steps work miracles. :D

I used to do something similar to Hane since he wouldn't let me scratch his head. I could put my finger on his beak without a bite so I'd put it there for a few seconds at a time. Then over a few months I worked my way up and over his head until I could rest my finger on the back of his head. Then I would rub a little and this progressed to scratching and now I can pet my IRN! And he has learned to love it, which is the important thing.
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I've been called 'birdbrained' before, but somehow I don't think this is what they meant. say:hah-nay

Clare
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Post by Clare » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:58 pm

Thanks for the tips. I don't have trouble with biting but one of my birds is easily scared, by turning a fan switch or closing doors, and when he gets scared he flaps to fly away, which starts off my other bird flapping. I will give the 'big noise' tip a go.

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BigChicken
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Post by BigChicken » Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:31 am

Melika, similarly, my wife used this technique to get our mini to let her pet and scratch her head (the birds head that is). She would calmly repeat, "touch the beak" while touching Mickey’s beak , and then slowly repeat, "touch the bird" while moving slowly to Mickey’s head. If Mickey would stare to nip, (lightly, but with quite a bit of enthusiasm), my wife says calmly "no, touch, touch, touch" . Worked great.
Clare, my sun conure Kiley was terrified of light switch clicks more than any other noise. I’m sure it must sound like a bird to them. Trust me, it works. Birds, being so smart, quickly learn to associate verbalizations for a "heads up" for something that is going to happen that wont hurt them.
In our house, I do all of the cooking. As a former chef, I have a tendency to move around quickly in the kitchen. Kiley is always first out, you know, "the squeaky wheel (or screaming in this case) gets the grease", and I have a tendency to throw things like cans into the recycling bin from across the kitchen. I just say "big noise", and she’s fine. If I’m leaning into the fridge, I say "hang on, goin’ down" and she holds on and leans way down to get a good look! The other day she reached out and tried real hard to grab on to a bag of seeds that was in the freezer! She cracks me up…. I never have her with me if there is any chance of danger, but even a startled bird flapping to the ground can be hazardous.

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Post by greeny » Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:38 pm

THis makes so much sense, kinda like the dentist first telling you that he is going to drill your teeth, rather than just having at it and scaring the heck out of you.

I will try this and see if I can fix up some of my bird's phobias.

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