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How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

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

Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Michael » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:16 pm

I think you are diminishing your chances for success by not using a bridge for reinforcement. A clicker works very well but it doesn't even have to be. At the very least saying good or blowing a whistle would help. Your parrot seems really slow to move for the stick and doesn't seem to grasp the concept.

This is another reason that as soon as possible, target training should commence outside of the cage so that there are no distractions. Watch in my video how we did target training on the tree. You have a good start but you could progress quicker and better by reducing unwanted behaviors by eliminating distractions and by bridging/expediting reinforcement.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Lisa89 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:59 am

Went out today to buy him his favorite treat, a clicker and some new perches which he seems to love when I put them in. Got him out his cage today to see, I have to say I'm impressed at how much he's taking to it outside. Going to commence training sessions when he's out of the cage for sure from now on. He doesn't seem to be showing fear or squawking at the stick outside now. (He was at first but he just touches it with no complaints) I'll see how things are heading by the end of the week.

He seems to walk away from the target stick at times, turns around and walks back to touch it, is this common behavior during this training?
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Michael » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:06 am

No and do not reward this. It may be an unintended consequence. It's like if you had a broken printer and you tried hitting it jumping around 360 degrees, kicking the printer, and spilling your coffee on it and it started to work. From now on you'd try all of those things to get it to work just in case unless you realize which of those did it. If you stop rewarding the parrot for turning around but only for coming directly to the stick you should be able to extinguish that behavior.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Lisa89 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:19 am

Okay, thanks <3 it's not often he does it, he mainly did it when I started with him out his cage, I'll make sure he isn't rewarded. Got to spend some time with my Gray now, he's getting really curious about the clicker and target stick so going to give him a play while my Amazon rests.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby lzver » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:32 am

Michael,

I've watched many of your videos with Kili and I think its amazing what you and Kili have accomplished. My husband and kids request to see the videos of Kili doing a somersault and playing dead.

I have a Senegal and Red-Bellied and I've started training them tricks. I have 2 different reasons for doing this for each bird. I already have Jessie's (Senegal) trust and he willingly steps up from within his cage. We can spend hours hanging out, cuddling and playing together. He loves the attention. So for Jessie, I'm looking to make our time together more fun and challenging for him. I know after re-reading this post that I need to take a step back and do clicker conditioning. Once I've gotten that far, I'm wondering how do I get him past being afraid of an object I want him to touch. I've tried a ball with a bell and a popsicle stick and he's afraid of both objects - when I hold them up for him to touch, he attacks them and in turn he gets a little aggressive. I'm able to calm him down pretty quickly, but we've been through this a couple days in a row now and he doesn't seem to be getting over his fear of the object. Is it best to get him over that fear while he's still in his cage?

Now Lucy (Red-Bellied), she is a very different bird. She's not cuddly like Jessie and doesn't seek my attention all the time. She will willingly step up for me when I want her to, but she doesn't tolerate being held for long. She seems quite happy to play on top of her cage and she loves talking up a storm with me for hours on end. So I'm hoping that by doing some clicker and trick training with Lucy, I can get her to a point where she enjoys interacting with me a little more. I guess I'll start working on clicker conditioning with her and see where it goes from there. I already know she's a very smart bird, so I'm hoping to make some good progress with her.

Any additional advise you can give is appreciated.
Thanks,
Laura
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Michael » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:44 am

lzver wrote:I'm wondering how do I get him past being afraid of an object I want him to touch... Is it best to get him over that fear while he's still in his cage?


Check out the first few parts about harness training. While the actual harness may not apply, I use the same technique to tame her to new objects that she is afraid of.

So I'm hoping that by doing some clicker and trick training with Lucy, I can get her to a point where she enjoys interacting with me a little more. I guess I'll start working on clicker conditioning with her and see where it goes from there. I already know she's a very smart bird, so I'm hoping to make some good progress with her.


Absolutely, this should help improve things. Target training is really a precursor to everything else. It helps you teach the parrot where to go. You can use it to teach a simple trick like turn around once it knows to target and soon the parrot will start trying to please by doing these tricks. Just remember that unless you are in a situation that you are absolutely unable to get the parrot out of the cage, it's best to get the parrot out of the cage and out of the room (area, or sight of the cage) and train on neutral territory. Good luck.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby minhta » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:50 pm

Hi Michael

Thanks for writing a great article. I am getting a 1yr old male Princess Parrot in about 3 weeks and your article makes me feel confidence that I can have a well behaved feathered member of the family :D

I have a few questions and would appreciate your time or the time of other experience bird owners in this forum:

1. I have been told that when get a new bird, you should leave it alone for a few weeks, apart from feeding it so it can get use to its new home environment. Is this true or should I start training my parrot right away?
2. Toys. Not part of this article but I thought I ask all questions here anyway. Should I put toys in the cage right away or will that be too distracting to a new bird? If I should not give it toys right away, when is a good time to put the toys in?

I have been reading many posts in this forum as well as watching the linked videos. This is a great site as I'm either learning new things or this site confirmed what I've researched elsewhere already.
Roger - Princess Parrot
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Michael » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:11 pm

minhta wrote:1. I have been told that when get a new bird, you should leave it alone for a few weeks, apart from feeding it so it can get use to its new home environment. Is this true or should I start training my parrot right away?


No. You should start treating the bird the way you intend to right from the start. This doesn't mean to push things too far or expect much from the bird. However, you should get it used to the routine it can expect right from the start.


minhta wrote:2. Toys. Not part of this article but I thought I ask all questions here anyway. Should I put toys in the cage right away or will that be too distracting to a new bird? If I should not give it toys right away, when is a good time to put the toys in?


Same thing again. When the bird comes to your home, everything will be unfamiliar so you might as well lay everything out as it will be and then let the parrot get used to it. Whether or not you put the toys in, the cage, people, surroundings will be all unfamiliar. So the added unfamiliarity of the toys won't overwhelm the total unfamiliarity. However, over time it will get more confident and accept the toys as familiar as they were present from day 1 with you. Similarly, I believe you should be involved with the bird from day 1 so that you could be one of the most familiar things that it can associate with safety. I am not saying to start doing advanced formal training sessions from day 1. However, I am saying to start being a part of the parrot's life right away. Also don't give it more attention than you expect to be able to sustain long term with it. You don't want to get the parrot used to too much attention when it's an exciting novelty for you and then later let it feel neglected when things settle down.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby minhta » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:32 pm

Hi Michael

Thanks for the advice, I'm glad you said to start training it right away because I don't think I can wait for a few weeks doing nothing but stare at my parrot, lol. Oh course I won't be wanting to do advance stuff and tricks, rather I will start out with the cliker training first and then the target training. I know having a parrot is a long term relationship due to their lifespan so I won't be rushing to do the wrong thing and getting disappointed.

Thanks for the advise about not spending more time than I can in the future because I guess with anything new and exciting, you will want to play with it more in the begining. I will post some photos of my parrot when I finally get him.
Roger - Princess Parrot
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Titanius » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:12 pm

While I was at the pet store I completely forgot to get a dog clicker. Is there anything else I could use to make a sharp enough clicking sound. I tried verbal praise, snapping a distance away, and petting. I don't think the bird associated any of these with being positive.
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