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How you put your parrot away matters

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

How you put your parrot away matters

Postby Michael » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:14 pm

I wanted to point out how putting your parrot away and serving a meal can be used as a useful training tool. In the right context, getting put back in the cage can be seen as a favorable thing for the parrot (especially for one that is clipped or can't go back in cage on its own).

I have found this to be a very powerful taming technique for Kili. This is a large reward and very positively reinforcing. There are only one or two chances to make use of it per day but it's the long term routine value of it that makes it so powerful. Before putting Kili away to eat her dinner, I'll grab her food bowl and let her see it. This is the stimulus that reminds her that she'd better do what I want right now and then she can go in and have her entire meal.

Now the key I found is to vary the methods by which I put her away. Some nights I'll just have her step up and put her away. Other nights I can use it to make a flight recall. Yet other times, I will go over and grab Kili and carry her and stick her in the cage. Sometimes I will cue her and tell her to go in herself (she can't go uncued or I don't put the food in if you're wondering why she doesn't always go in on her own). By doing a different one every night, I can ensure that she will remain tame across different methods of handling her and she will be rewarded splendidly for it. I've really noticed this to work and it is a part of how Kathleen has managed to get Kili more tame toward her as well.

I do specifically make Kili go in her cage herself on occasion because I want her to know how to get in her cage. This may sound silly but up until recently she really did not know how to get in her cage because I was the one always putting her in it. I think for safety and her own convenience she should know how to go away so I've given her opportunities to go in and get rewarded herself. This way if one day she ever gets out, forgotten out, or is out and just wants to go relax, she'll know what to do. However, I do not do this all the time. By manually putting her away most of the time it allows me to retain control. She lets me put her away whenever I need to put her away because she is so used to being put away and getting fed by me.

I hope others can find value in this taming technique.
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Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Location: New York
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Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
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