Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

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

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby charlieandkiwi » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:09 pm

entrancedbymyGCC wrote:I'm not going to argue with that, but that's a specific case. We are getting stuck on either logical constructs or semantics... "Good boy!" can be a positive reinforcer, but it is not always a positive reinforcer for every situation. Food is an effective reinforcer more often, and one can take steps to make it more effective (e.g. let the bird get hungry). Neither of those statements really says anything about positive reinforcement as such. I suppose I could imagine a case of a bird so antagonistic that it would actually starve to death rather than be trained, in which case no effective positive reinforcement ocurred, but that's speculative. I think we are in violent agreement but making the statements differently.


I agree with this and I think many parrot owners on this forum can testify that things like "good boy", by themselves, without food, have been used to greatly increase behaviors.

I do think food is probably the best motivator when you average out every animal's reaction to a host of positive reinforcements, but that doesn't mean that it's the only real motivator for parrots or many other social animals. Parrots will go to the end of the earth to get their favorite forms of attention (a "woo-hoo" or in Kiwi's case, and excited trill that I make).

Parrots are attention whores and I don't know if Micheal has ever noticed this, but oftentimes they go to great lengths to get even more of your attention, even if they are sitting right on you! Michael already stated that he trained his Kili to talk instead of scream and he did that entirely through his attention ;)

So I agree that food for a fasted bird is probably the fastest motivator and Michael's way is probably the most effective, BUT I think you could achieve some of the same stuff with either a non-fasted bird and/or with non-food rewards.

Michael, instead of arguing that attention is never a primary motivator, try using it without food, with a full parrot, to teach a simple trick. I bet you can do it :)
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby charlieandkiwi » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:34 pm

Michael- It just occurred to me that it actually might be kind of dangerous to recommend fasted training to someone who doesn't have any background in the scientific process or even general parrot care. It sounds like you have been successful because you've put a TON of work into learning everything you can and into keeping immaculate records of the relationships between variables while working with a team of professions to keep your experimentation safe and effective.

I highly doubt that anyone else on this board has put in half the pure work in terms of analysis that you have and I also doubt that someone without a background (as in, they've at least read about training and know what science is. Sadly, there are a lot of American's that doesn't describe) in both psychology and parrots (or science) would be able to do it safely.

If someone were to try what you're doing without keeping track of their parrot's weight, working with a vet while they're keeping track of the parrot's weight, or even if they didn't have a consistent work schedule, it could be more harmful to the parrot's health than helpful. There are a lot of half-assed people out there, especially those who are inexperienced.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby CaitlinRice413 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:02 pm

:?
Last edited by CaitlinRice413 on Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CaitlinRice413
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 142
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby CaitlinRice413 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:31 pm

:P
Last edited by CaitlinRice413 on Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CaitlinRice413
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 142
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby Michael » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:41 pm

CaitlinRice413 wrote:Not that you actually use one of those things, but the concept of using starvation and keeping a bird at 80% of their body weight so they will perform a given task for food. Sometimes people assume that this is the only way it will work because they read something about positive reinforcement used by B. F. Skinner and they don't know from personal experience that it can be done with an animal who is a healthy weight.


It is actually possible and in fact quite likely that 10-20% under freefeed weight is healthiest for companion parrots. I'm actually becoming a greater fan of weight management on grounds of health moreso than training. I can get (long term) results from my parrots without too much dependence on weight, however, I've been learning that keeping them heavy/motivated is still unhealthy. I may write more about this at some point but from what I've seen in the past, most of you are not ready to hear it. I'm not making any of it up though, it's backed up by several veterinarians. Don't try this at home without further guidance but certainly look into it. I am almost ready to support the notion that clipping and/or freefeed are morally wrong and have major health/psychological implications with companion parrots.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6203
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby CaitlinRice413 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:05 pm

:gray:
Last edited by CaitlinRice413 on Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CaitlinRice413
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 142
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby Michael » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:50 pm

You know something, I think you're right. Maybe instead of calling it 10-20% under weight, I should start calling this healthy weight and calling freefeed 20% over-weight instead. That way it drives the point home and there can be no misinterpretation of starving a bird. I had a lengthy discussion with a distinguished avian veterinarian about how birds in the wild are always lean. Their bodies are evolved essentially to operate best at this weight. They have no immunity against obesity because in the wild it cannot happen. Many individuals die of starvation so any bountiful harvest would merely lead to those weaker ones not dying rather than the others getting fat. There are many health problems related to a parrot being overweight without even getting into any behavioral reasons.

Personally I always thought of it as going under-weight similar to the line of thinking of unclipped parrots. It's like freefeed and clipping are the norm so we think in relation to that. But maybe these shouldn't be the norm and I should come up with new norms. Thus clipping would be the obtrusive state and freefeed weight could by default be considered overweight. Some interesting remarks to consider.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6203
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby charlieandkiwi » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:00 am

The ethics of the parrot feeding issue remind me of the ethics of adult humans feeding their kids issue, especially given similar evolutionary histories ;)

I think you're going to have a really hard time winning over people on this one, similar to how the fitness community is having a really hard time winning the world at large onto the idea of intermittent fasting. People are more scared of the harm done by underfeeding than they are that done by overfeeding and the fact is that there's a lot of harm that can be done by either. We're also finding that this harm doesn't just effect one generationhttp://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952313,00.html.

I hope a *%&^ton of research of each species wild feeding behaviors and captive hormone balance/disease association with feeding patterns is done. I don't feel comfortable being left with "well I highly suspect this." or "this is the right way because we always thought it" Unfortunately, I highly doubt anyone is going to fund enough studies for us to really know much. We're still finding out new stuff about human nutrition every month and there is no way the world will ever devote as many resources to parrot studies as they do human.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby Polarn » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:07 pm

Ok I can't really stay out of this, I don't nessesarily provide meals but neither do I freefeed whatever they want, I know what goes into my birds and what comes out and I know their weight morning before feeding and night before bedtime.

About the ethics and what to compare how... the thing is I don't think you can really compare the fitness world and how the rest of the population responds to that, since then the rest of the population consists of adults who has the possibility (as long as the wallet allows) to eat whatever they want, whenever they want...

If were gonna compare our birds feedings to any kind of human feeding, I would say lets compare it to kids, their limited in their foodintake by what is offered to them by their parents, similar to birds, and personally I would be ashamed of letting my kids (especially at an age where they can't really get into cabinets etcetera by themselves if childproof) being overweight, just as I would be ashamed walking a fat dog, I'm not super slim myself, but im not fatty, but then ruining my own life and well beeing is something completely differnt to ruining somone elses. I mean how many people weight the food they feed their dogs, I'd say a lot more than actualy keep track of their birds diet, because when you visually can see your bird beeing fat it is most likely so fat that the health issues are past knocking the door and happily celebrating in the living room.

Basically some issues are known to be weight related (weight is basically controlled by nutrition and amount of food) such as fatty tumors, hormonal issues (not in all species though), fatty livers, and the list goes on...

The way I see it there are two options, either you control the intake /day or /meal, basically being the same thing. only difference is by controlling the intake per day you can constantly walk by dropping todays intake into the bowl whenever you want, doing it per meal, you still control the daily intake but you do it in (usually) two servings.

And I think the reason you don't feast birds before surgery is becouse their not anatomically the same, they doesnt choke on vomits (atleast not as easy) when put under like mammals do if unlucky. And the fact that you would need to suspend the food for atleast two days to know that the crop is empty, and what happens then if the bird hasn't stored up two days worth of food once you begin fasting... what if it only has one day worth of food in the crop, and you doesnt give a single serving for lets say monday, thuesday for wednsday mornings serving... then your bird would have had an empty crop for over 24 hours...

And like a lot of people I have a maximumweight I do not want to go over, unlike many of thouse I make sure to never pass that line, and thats about my fit bodyweight +10% thats where I feel too pluffy and start thinking about what I eat and start training again.

Needless to say I see nothing wrong in keeping track of the intake of food your birds/dogs/cats whatever pet you keep get, even if you have no desire to trick train. Imagine freefeeding horses... Especially on hey and pellets. These horses would quickly go overweight getting problems with hoofs and legs, some develop an illness where they never can eat green grass (dont know the name of it in english) and this is a problem even when they weight has been dealth with, but as soon as they eat a bit of green grass they get sore and can barely walk.
User avatar
Polarn
Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 608
Location: Alicante, Spain
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Greenwing macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Analysis of Positive Reinforcement Training

Postby charlieandkiwi » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:52 pm

First of all, I was comparing the issue to humans feeding their kids, not humans in general. Secondly, the issue being discussed here isn't whether or not food should be kept track of, it's over what percentage of current "healthy weight" should be considered healthy, and about potentially changing the definition of that weight to something 10-20% below it.

In general, I think people would be easier to convince that their parrots would do better with a weight 10% above what's considered normal than 10% below, just like mandatory reporters of child abuse are hardly ever likely to report an obese child, whereas an underweight child is constantly considered a huge warning factor for abuse.

And the truth is that a parrot or a human will die many times faster as a result of being a certain amount underweight than the same percentage overweight, which is probably why people are more hesitant to lean in the direction of underfeeding than overfeeding children or parrots.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

PreviousNext

Return to Taming & Basic Training

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store