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Training and treats

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

Training and treats

Postby Millertime » Wed Mar 15, 2023 6:58 pm

Hi! I'm wondering how training with treats ends. For example, when training a bird to step up, you could use treats to reward the behavior. But obviously you wouldn't give a treat for stepping up indefinitely. How do you keep the trained behavior without giving treats forever?
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Indian Ringneck
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Re: Training and treats

Postby Pajarita » Thu Mar 16, 2023 11:15 am

Welcome to the forum and great question! I don't 'train' my birds, I just teach them as we go along and simply praise them when they do what I want them to do so I don't know how useful my answer will because I don't really teach them tricks BUT I think it depends on what you are asking. You mention 'stepping up' which, in my personal opinion and experience, is not something you need to 'teach' to a handfed companion bird that trusts you because they will do it on their own (they all want to be on us). Things like flying to me when called them, I have a few birds that do it and they learned because it was just something they wanted to do (as I said, they all want to be with their human) - I just call their name in a sweet voice and they fly to me, they get no reward except some scritches and more sweet words (things like "Oh, there's my sweet baby girl" "Hello, baby, how are you? You want a little 'piquito' from mama?"). Now, I have one single bird that I taught one single tick. He is a B&G male, fairly new to our home after living his 10 years of age with a couple, and has recently 'come out' of the 'honeymoon period showing a bit of aggression (mostly the bluff lunges typical of macaws). He would fly from where he was perching to the top of the cage closest to where I would be (he would do it low enough that he would touch the top of my head with his claws - my husband freaked out big time when he did it to him :lol: ) and would lunge as if to bite my face. Because he would open his wings when he did it (they make themselves look bigger to intimidate better), I would stop, take a step back, lift both my arms and say in cheery and a bit loud voice: "BIG BOY!!!! A peanut for the big boy!" and give him a cashew, an almond, a pistachio or half a walnut (I keep a few in my pocket). Needless to say, this redirected his attention very efficiently because he knows what 'peanut' means (any kind of nut) so now he has learned to open his wings on command. I still give him a nut but then, he is still learning to trust and love me (it usually takes a very looooong time for this to happen completely).

So, to make a long story short, IMPO, if what you want them to do is step up step down, come, go, go home, etc which are normal behaviors, you don't need to reward at all but, if you want them to play dead, fetch, ride a bike, push a stroller or some other unnatural behavior, then I assume you have to give them a high value item every time.
Norwegian Blue
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