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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 minhta » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:12 am

Hi everyone

just want to share that the clicker training on Roger, my Princess parrot is working well. My wife and I have been clicker training him for 4 days now and I think he now understand what the target stick is for. Tonight we were able to get him to jump from one perch to another about 10cm away and lower to the first perch. We were then able to get him to jump up, back to the first perch. Horray!

We'll try this perch jumping for a few more days and then maybe try to get him to jump to our finder or walk on and past our finger to get to the other side. He's still a bit frighten of our hand if we're not holding food in it, lol.

Thanks Michael for the detailed training tip.
Roger - Princess Parrot
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Lyzi » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:53 pm

My budgie is occasionally afraid of millet. Sometimes she'll eat it but when I go to add the clicker and treat, she runs. Are there any other good treats I could try for a budgie?

- Edit -

I've tried giving the millet in smaller pieces and it seems to work a lot better :)
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Ashley » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:51 pm

Hi Michael,

First off, I love your blog. Quite informative, and your birds are gorgeous! I'm not sure if you can help me or not, but I figured its worth a shot! So I recently (just over a week ago) brought home a hand raised young peach faced lovebird. I thought I would begin clicker/target training with him a few days ago, after reading your blog about it. He's doing amazingly, following the stick everywhere. So, I figured since he caught on so fast with that I'd try teaching him to step up. To my surprise, he also learned that quickly. However, even though he does step up 98% of the time I ask, he doesn't stay on my hand. He will step up, wait a second, then hop down and run away. Furthermore, he refuses to let me pet him or stroke his feathers. If I even bring my hand anywhere near him he flys off frantically. So my question is, what am I doing wrong? And how do I correct it? I really want to strengthen our bond and for the most part he seems to trust me. He often takes millet from my hands inside and outside the cage. And my last question, how do I get him to try fresh fruits and vegetables? The breeder said he was weaned onto broccoli (apparently his favorite), carrots, corn and multigrain bread. I can't get him to eat any of this, no matter how I prepare it. I've steamed the veggies, put them on kabobs, cut them up small... and to no avail! I've also tried blackberries, raspberries, mangoes, kiwi, red pepper, alfalfa sprouts... all with no luck. I currently have him on ZuPreem Avian Entrees Garden Goodness pellets, as well as Tropimix Cockatiel and Lovebird mix. He likes both, but I'd like him to be eating fresh stuff. I've even considered adding a multivitamin drop to his water, but have read both good and bad about that.

So any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your time,
Ashley
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Michael » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:32 pm

Congrats on the new bird and the progress. Here's the thing, there's a difference between being trained to step up and staying on and accepting touching. You see, you taught him to step up but that is all you've required of him up till now. Why should he stay on any longer or let you pet him? Use the same taming/training techniques to push his thresholds further.

Read (and watch the videos) for my harness training article. You can skip anything that is really specific to wearing the harness but learn about the taming techniques I apply. Basically you get to the edge of your parrot's discomfort level, wait a little bit for it to calm down, recede and reward. This may mean first bringing your hand 20 inches away and holding it there. 19 the next time, etc.

As for getting him to stay on your hand longer. You can introduce a variable or intermittent ratio reinforcement for being on your hand. After he steps up, feed him a little. Take the food away but just before he is ready to jump off, feed again. Wait a bit, feed again. Eventually wait longer and longer between feedings and make less and less but he will stay on your hand in anticipation for another treat. Eventually you'll teach him tricks and other ways to get treats and he'll just like your presence so you won't have to keep feeding him on you.

As for the diet stuff, you really should ask that separately in health/nutrition section but basically try taking away what he likes and feeding him just the fresh stuff for half a day, eventually return the pellets. Try hand feeding the things for him to taste them as well.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby BirdbrainJan » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:41 pm

I know this is veering slightly off-topic and is more health related, but I wanted to add my input to the "getting the bird to eat fresh veggies" bit.

When I first offered Franklin a nice big piece of kale, he didn't pay any attention to it at all, I don't think he recognized it as food. I tried tearing a small piece off and ate it in front of him, and he was intrigued. It only took me eating one more piece, and then he was trying to take the rest from my fingers. Now he'll eat it on his own. Maybe you could give this a try? The modeling seemed to really work for Franklin.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby SuperSponge » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:50 pm

WOW! This is a whole lot to take in. And I just realized how late it is and how long I've been prowling the internet looking for good parrot training tips. Good thing I found this site.

I actually started searching because earlier tonight I saw a video of Michael and Kili doing 20 tricks in 2 minutes and I was amazed. I was also saddened because I have a Senegal parrot and I would love to be able to do fun things like that with her, but she's fallen into some bad behaviors over the years and I've made the decision to train them out of her.

We got my parrot Ruffles when I was in 6th grade. She was hand-fed and tamed and just a baby when we bought her. My mom used to play with her every night after my brother and I went to bed and she quickly became a one-person bird. No one else was allowed to touch her. I've got the scars to prove it. Now, 7 years later, it's gotten so bad that my mom can barely touch her without getting bit. Changing her food and water is a nightmare because she's so territorial. And she SCREAMS. All the time! I know that's our fault because we yell at her to stop which of course gives her the attention shes looking for and reinforces the behavior. Well, that's going to stop now.

After seeing Kili doing all her wonderful tricks and seeing howing loving parrots can be, I'm totally inspired. I want my parrot to be happier and get the attention every pet deserves. I feel bad that we don't give her attention because we can't get near her. So this seems like a good spot to start. My question is this: my bird hates all things stick-like. I don't think I could get a chopstick near her to do the targeting thing without her freaking out. Suggestions?? Thanks for all your help! :senegal:
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Michael » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:59 pm

You can start by working on having it eat treats out of your hand. That is definitely an important first step. If you must, you can replace the target stick with some plastic toy or something as the "object to touch." You can then use this object to lead it around and show it where to go. The reason a stick is much better is cause you can stick it through the cage bars.

Here are some additional articles you will want to check out:

Senegal Parrot Information and FAQ
Senegal Parrot Biting and Aggression Issues
How To Overcome One Person Parrot Aggression

Then, once you have gotten through the basics and gotten to a point where you can hold the parrot, you'll want to start following my parrot training blog:

http://trainedparrot.com

Basically I am following the course I did with Kili to teach her the 20 tricks but now videoing and writing about how to teach each trick for the benefit of my viewers.
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby SuperSponge » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:53 am

Well, it's great. Thanks for the help!
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Pagez » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:46 pm

Michael, you are really an inspiration. My 8 year old daughter is going to start training her baby cockatiel. After, much research we also really want to adopt an Eclectus or an African Grey, for whom we have already purchased a large dome top cage. Can you teach an old bird new tricks or do you think this will only work on babies and young birds? Thank you very much for all your great tips! ~Page
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Re: How to Teach Parrot to Step Up and to Come Out of Cage

Postby Michael » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:47 pm

I think birds are capable of learning behaviors for the entire span of their lives. However, it is significantly easier teaching a baby bird from the start. This sets up a trusting bond as well as a methodology for further learning. An adopted bird will often have to be tamed first, adapt to new home, learn how to learn, and only then can it actually begin to learn any tricks.
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