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Step-up help with Amazon

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

Step-up help with Amazon

Postby Joseph_Arno » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:58 am

Hello, I have been trying to train my Blue Fronted amazon to step up onto my hand for over a year now, he is a very special case, due to his previous experiences, he hates handheld purches, so I've been training him to step up directly on my hand from the cage top, this parrot isn't scared of me, I pet his head through the cage all the time, hes not scared of my hand and he is target trained, he follows the stick everywhere, naturally ive been placing my hand infront of him with the stick on the other side, we are at a point where he succesfully puts one foot on my hand and leans over it for the stick, here in lies my problem, after weve been doing this one foot thing for months, naturally we have to move on to the next step, moving the stick farther away so he has to step up completley, right? One problem however, when he cant reach the stick with one foot on my hand, he gets aggressive and attacks my hand, biting and pulling as if saying "get this hand out of here and give me my treat!", when this happens, I endure the pain and slowly move my hand away until he has to let it go, and then start with the one foot thing all over again... I have looked everywhere on the internet,I have read 3 books, I have never seen a parrot like this one, I love the little guy but he has been such a pain in the ass it gets harder and harder to bare with him everyday... I am desperate and just want a companion pet but what I have right now just refuses to accept any form of training, he does not know that hands are for stepping up and I cant get him to understand that. I need serious help, I dont want to give up on him, but I grow tired... :amazon:
Joseph_Arno
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Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Re: Step-up help with Amazon

Postby Michael » Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:02 am

Get a new, totally different handheld perch to use. I would suggest you buy 2-3x NU Perches and put most of them in the cage but save one exclusively to use for step-up training. This way he can get used to those perches in the cage on his own time and then get to the point of the training. It's not doing him or you any good if he ends up biting your hand in the process. Might as well be the stick till you are both comfortable.
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Michael
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Re: Step-up help with Amazon

Postby Joseph_Arno » Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:04 am

Michael wrote:Get a new, totally different handheld perch to use. I would suggest you buy 2-3x NU Perches and put most of them in the cage but save one exclusively to use for step-up training. This way he can get used to those perches in the cage on his own time and then get to the point of the training. It's not doing him or you any good if he ends up biting your hand in the process. Might as well be the stick till you are both comfortable.


Thank you, Michael.

We'll try this and hopefully it will be a new start! :thumbsup:
Joseph_Arno
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Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Types of Birds Owned: Blue Fronted Amazon
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Re: Step-up help with Amazon

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:43 am

With all due respect to Michael, I don't think this will work and I'll tell you why. For one thing -and correct me if I am wrong, Joseph- but it doesn't seem to me as if the bird is afraid of the stick or your hand but that he simply does not want to step on either. And, unless I did not understand your posting correctly, what you want is for the bird to step onto your hand and not on a stick, right? Because what Michael suggests is good for getting a parrot used to perches that he is currently afraid of but, if the parrot is not afraid, putting the perches in the cage is not really going to make him step on your hand.


Now, I don't really 'train' my parrots in the sense that I don't have training sessions, give them rewards for doing something right or care about them doing tricks - I don't even care if they don't step up to my hand. What I do is verbally praise them when they do something right and scold them when they do wrong. The very popular 'don't react when you are bit' makes no sense to me, either. What is this supposed to accomplish? To teach the bird that we don't feel pain? How is that useful in any way? And the 'if you react to pain, they will continue to do it just to get a kick out of your reaction' also makes no sense to me. Parrots are not naturally aggressive, they only defend or protect. It's only in captivity that parrots attack for no apparent reason and in every single case, it's because a human taught the parrot that his biting is the only way the poor bird will get his point across. It's the human's failure for not being able to handle a parrot correctly and not the parrot's.


If I were you, I would stop this training immediately and allow a couple of weeks to go by without asking him to step up because you are now in a 'loop' where every time you do this, the parrot refuses and, when you insist, it bites you. What you are doing is basically teaching the parrot to bite your hand whenever you ask for something he doesn't want to do. And you do NOT want to do this -most especially with a blue front which is one of the hot three species! After two weeks or so, I would start from scratch again and this is what I would do: forget about the target stick [you need to change the whole approach or he will remember and go back to biting you], put a small piece of a high value item in the palm of your hand and simply offer it to him without asking for anything. Do this three of four times a day, in the middle of the morning and the middle of the afternoon [you are keeping it at a strict solar schedule, right?] and reserve the high value items ONLY for these exercises [you are not free-feeding protein food, right?]. When he takes the treat from you hand without a single hesitation for about a week or so, start offering the treat from your fingers without putting it on your hand. When he takes a step or two toward your fingers and takes the treat without hesitation for a week or so, you can start very slowly and very gradually training him to step onto your hand by putting one hand on the cage top [open and with palm facing up] and holding the treat on your other hand so he would have to step over the 'flat' hand to get it and simply voice the command 'Step up'. If he doesn't do it, ask a second time in a soft and calm voice [harsh commands are not for parrots] and, if he still doesn't do it simply walk away with the treat without asking a third time. Go about your things [or pretend you do] for no less than 5 minutes and then ask again once - twice - and if he still doesn't do it, walk away again. Repeat this no more than three times a day. The worst thing you can do when trying to teach a rehomed parrot to accept you is to be a controlling pain in the neck about things and insist on things. It's always best to let them think about things on their own and try another day. Parrots are hard-wired to gorge on protein food so, if you are feeding correctly, he will be more than willing to step on your hand for his high value item. It might not happen the first, second or even the third day but, eventually, his desire for the high value item and the fact that you are being nonchalant about it, will work in your favor.


Once he is stepping on your open palm without hesitation for a couple of weeks, start moving the hand while he is on it very slowly and while you softly praise him all the time so he ends up perching on the side [the part between the index finger and the thumb]. This will take much longer than any of the other 'steps' but, if you persist and keep your cool, it will happen.
Pajarita
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Step-up help with Amazon

Postby Joseph_Arno » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:41 am

Pajarita wrote:With all due respect to Michael, I don't think this will work and I'll tell you why. For one thing -and correct me if I am wrong, Joseph- but it doesn't seem to me as if the bird is afraid of the stick or your hand but that he simply does not want to step on either. And, unless I did not understand your posting correctly, what you want is for the bird to step onto your hand and not on a stick, right? Because what Michael suggests is good for getting a parrot used to perches that he is currently afraid of but, if the parrot is not afraid, putting the perches in the cage is not really going to make him step on your hand.


Now, I don't really 'train' my parrots in the sense that I don't have training sessions, give them rewards for doing something right or care about them doing tricks - I don't even care if they don't step up to my hand. What I do is verbally praise them when they do something right and scold them when they do wrong. The very popular 'don't react when you are bit' makes no sense to me, either. What is this supposed to accomplish? To teach the bird that we don't feel pain? How is that useful in any way? And the 'if you react to pain, they will continue to do it just to get a kick out of your reaction' also makes no sense to me. Parrots are not naturally aggressive, they only defend or protect. It's only in captivity that parrots attack for no apparent reason and in every single case, it's because a human taught the parrot that his biting is the only way the poor bird will get his point across. It's the human's failure for not being able to handle a parrot correctly and not the parrot's.


If I were you, I would stop this training immediately and allow a couple of weeks to go by without asking him to step up because you are now in a 'loop' where every time you do this, the parrot refuses and, when you insist, it bites you. What you are doing is basically teaching the parrot to bite your hand whenever you ask for something he doesn't want to do. And you do NOT want to do this -most especially with a blue front which is one of the hot three species! After two weeks or so, I would start from scratch again and this is what I would do: forget about the target stick [you need to change the whole approach or he will remember and go back to biting you], put a small piece of a high value item in the palm of your hand and simply offer it to him without asking for anything. Do this three of four times a day, in the middle of the morning and the middle of the afternoon [you are keeping it at a strict solar schedule, right?] and reserve the high value items ONLY for these exercises [you are not free-feeding protein food, right?]. When he takes the treat from you hand without a single hesitation for about a week or so, start offering the treat from your fingers without putting it on your hand. When he takes a step or two toward your fingers and takes the treat without hesitation for a week or so, you can start very slowly and very gradually training him to step onto your hand by putting one hand on the cage top [open and with palm facing up] and holding the treat on your other hand so he would have to step over the 'flat' hand to get it and simply voice the command 'Step up'. If he doesn't do it, ask a second time in a soft and calm voice [harsh commands are not for parrots] and, if he still doesn't do it simply walk away with the treat without asking a third time. Go about your things [or pretend you do] for no less than 5 minutes and then ask again once - twice - and if he still doesn't do it, walk away again. Repeat this no more than three times a day. The worst thing you can do when trying to teach a rehomed parrot to accept you is to be a controlling pain in the neck about things and insist on things. It's always best to let them think about things on their own and try another day. Parrots are hard-wired to gorge on protein food so, if you are feeding correctly, he will be more than willing to step on your hand for his high value item. It might not happen the first, second or even the third day but, eventually, his desire for the high value item and the fact that you are being nonchalant about it, will work in your favor.


Once he is stepping on your open palm without hesitation for a couple of weeks, start moving the hand while he is on it very slowly and while you softly praise him all the time so he ends up perching on the side [the part between the index finger and the thumb]. This will take much longer than any of the other 'steps' but, if you persist and keep your cool, it will happen.


First of all, thank you very much Pajarita for the very in-depth response, I would also like to clarify on a few more things, he is on a pellet/fruits and veggies diet and only receives treats like sunflower seeds during the training, he is also well accustomed to my hands, so he takes treats without hesitation and even offers his head for petting. I will try your method however, but before I do I should probably mention how he gets very distracted by my hands, not always in an aggressive way, but if I were to hold my hand in front of him flat, he would most likely grab it and nibble on it with his beak, he only bites down hard when he is denied a treat.

The reason he hates the stick is because his previous owner used it forcefully on his chest to throw him off balance and force him to step up, I will try a variation of your advice where I take a break for a little while and return with the flat hand method and no target stick.

Thanks again!
Joseph_Arno
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 4
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Blue Fronted Amazon
Love Bird [x2]
Flight: Yes

Re: Step-up help with Amazon

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:54 am

Well, your training will go much faster and better if you did not free-feed protein food [pellets are protein food] plus he will live a longer and healthier life [high protein destroys the liver and kidneys]. I know that avian vets and most people say that pellets are the best food for parrots but I suspect that's because none of them have actually done any in-depth research on parrots natural diets because pellets have a min protein of 17% and that is, exactly, the same amount of protein that amazons consume during breeding and raising their young [as per the one and only amazons study there is] so, when you free-feed pellets to an amazon, you are, actually, feeding them a breeding diet all year round. And taking into consideration that amazons are super prone to liver. kidney and heart problems, I would suggest you reconsider.

If he was fed gloop, chop or mash with raw produce for breakfast and all day picking and only protein food for dinner, he would not waste any time nibbling at your hand when you are offering a nut [I would NOT use sunflower seeds, nuts are much healthier for them and much more nutritious].

If he is already OK with taking treats from your hand, you can skip the first step so do wait a couple of weeks and then start offering the treat with the flat hand in front of it.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12935
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Step-up help with Amazon

Postby Joseph_Arno » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:35 am

Pajarita wrote:Well, your training will go much faster and better if you did not free-feed protein food [pellets are protein food] plus he will live a longer and healthier life [high protein destroys the liver and kidneys]. I know that avian vets and most people say that pellets are the best food for parrots but I suspect that's because none of them have actually done any in-depth research on parrots natural diets because pellets have a min protein of 17% and that is, exactly, the same amount of protein that amazons consume during breeding and raising their young [as per the one and only amazons study there is] so, when you free-feed pellets to an amazon, you are, actually, feeding them a breeding diet all year round. And taking into consideration that amazons are super prone to liver. kidney and heart problems, I would suggest you reconsider.

If he was fed gloop, chop or mash with raw produce for breakfast and all day picking and only protein food for dinner, he would not waste any time nibbling at your hand when you are offering a nut [I would NOT use sunflower seeds, nuts are much healthier for them and much more nutritious].

If he is already OK with taking treats from your hand, you can skip the first step so do wait a couple of weeks and then start offering the treat with the flat hand in front of it.


We will definitely try to convert his diet onto a more balanced and healthy one in time, thank you very much!
Joseph_Arno
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 4
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Blue Fronted Amazon
Love Bird [x2]
Flight: Yes


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