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Everything but step-up!

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

Everything but step-up!

Postby ZZ33 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:35 am

Hi all,

Looking for your advice please! My wife's family have a blue fronted amazon (named Raja!) who is around 10 years old. Raja's original parent is my wife's eldest sister (who has now moved away but visits regularly). He is bonded to my wife, her mom and also her two other sisters... so he's definitely used to women! He does not interact with many men (if any at all).

I'm a huge bird lover and was so excited at the prospect of having a bird in the family. I've now been living around Raja for a good 6 months (he's seen me before periodically over the last couple years) and most days it's just my wife, myself and Raja in the house.

It has come to the point now where Raja is totally comfortable around me. He loves getting treats from me, and he will happily take food/treats from my hand (sit and lick my finger for example!) or come over and eat food from my plate if I'm eating! He responds to cue's like saying hi or bye when I leave, loves singing to music I play around the house and will even do tricks on command (like peakaboo!)

However, he is still terrified when it comes to stepping up to me - and he refuses unless his life depends on it! Couple points:
- I am quite tall (6ft4 and he's used to shorter women) - maybe that's intimidating?!
- He'll use me as transport if absolutely desperate; we've almost "forced" him onto my arm and he'll lean to where he wants to go, but won't stay and is scared the whole time (understandable). He's stepped-up out of desperation a handful of times, and each time I've made sure it's as comfortable and reassuring an experience for him as possible - but its only if he's completely desperate
- Currently he's fully flighted but there has been no change between when he's flighted or clipped

It's been months now and no further progress is being made...please help! I can provide a lot more detail if required, let me know :)
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Types of Birds Owned: Blue fronted amazon
Flight: Yes

Re: Everything but step-up!

Postby Pajarita » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:39 pm

Welcome to the forum, Z and Raja (would that be pronounced Rah Ha or Rajah?).

If he is used to taking treats from your hand, the answer is easy. Hold the treat in your left hand (or your right if you are a lefty) and putting your arm (not your hand!) in front of him, give the command: "Step up!" holding the treat close enough so he can almost taste it but far enough that he would have to step on your arm to get it. Don't give him the treat unless he does step on your arm but, if he puts one single foot on it and stretches his neck to reach the treat, do give it to him because the idea is to get him used to perching on you out of his own initiative and even putting one single foot down is a sign of trust. Don't pester him asking him to do it over and over. Try once, if he doesn't do it, just walk away with the treat in your hand (and don't let anybody else give him one, either!) and come back in 5 minutes and ask again - if he still doesn't do it, walk away and come back in five but, if he doesn't do it the third time, wait until the next day or, if you did it in the morning, until the afternoon to try again. Eventually, he will put, at least, one foot on your arm and, when he does, you are to praise praise praise (PROFUSELY!). Don't move your arm and do not stand up or walk with him on your arm, either. He needs to get used to doing this without hesitation several times before you can do that.

With parrots, it's patience, persistence and consistency but it's also allowing them to make the decision. You can force a parrot to accept something he doesn't want to but it won't work in the long run. It needs to come from his own realization that what you are asking is safe for him to do and that it will bring benefits (reward and praise).
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Flight: Yes

Re: Everything but step-up!

Postby liz » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:35 am

Take what you can get and be very happy with it. It sounds like he likes you but does not want to take that step.

I have had Myrtle for almost 6 years now. She came from a very bad place. Once she trusted me I was everything to her. The thing is she still does not let me scratch her head. Rainbow only preens her feet so she is no help. She looks spiked. The only time she lets me is when she is hormonal but it looks like she won't be this year. I only hope she will watch rainbow enjoying it.

Don't know why no head scratches. She will even hang upside down off me to better see what I am going.
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Flight: Yes

Re: Everything but step-up!

Postby Wolf » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:17 am

Will Raja step up onto a hand held perch for you? If so then you can try stepping him up on that perch and use a treat to get him to move on to your hand or arm in much the same way that Pajarita describes to you in her above reply.

I do not thing that your height has any bearing on this as most parrots including Amazons equate higher with safety, they live in the upper canopy of the forest for the most part.

Another thing that most peoples don't even consider is that if you are the least bit excited or concerned about whether or not he will step up this time the bird is aware of it and it will make him more nervous as well so make sure of your own mental and emotional state when you are working/ playing with him.
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