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Flight Harness Training Parrot

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Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Wolf » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:05 pm

As a starting point for the situation that you described I would suggest that you try to withhold the treat until you have the harness fully on your bird. This is the same as asking your bird to complete a trick that you trained them to do in smaller stages. Let us know how it goes.
Wolf
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Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Pinchinelle » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:25 am

Thank you Wolf for your help!

I tried that but had much difficulties. I'll explain in a little more details what I do, so maybe you can tell me what I'm doing wrong.

I'm training her on a perch. I attached a small bowl to one end of the perch, filled with treats (seeds). I keep the bowl covered at all times except when I want her to have access to the treats.

When she sees me taking the harness out of the drawer, she flies to the perch and wait there. I present the collar loop between her head and the treat bowl, and I uncover the bowl. She puts her head through the collar to get a seed from the bowl. Then, one of the following two scenarios occurs:

1) Most of the time: after grabbing a seed she immediately pulls her head out of the collar and walks a couple steps back and eats. If I follow her with the harness so that the collar stays on her as she walks back, she gets very irritated and bites the harness and shakes her head instead of eating the treat. In this case I remove the collar and close the treat bowl and let her eat the seed she already got and calm down.

2) Rarely: sometimes she doesn't walk away and instead she stays near the bowl to eat her seed without trying to pull her head out of the collar. In this (rare and precious) case I let her eat as many seeds as she wants while she has the collar on and doesn't seem disturbed by it. But as soon as she shows that she wants to get out of the collar, I immediately remove it and close the seed bowl at the same time.
I've tried to put the whole harness on her when that second scenario occurred, and was able to do it a couple times (but that is extremely rare, and doesn't seem to occur more and more often with time). When that happened, I let her eat as much as she wanted, then removed the harness (and the free access to the treats) as soon as she apparently became uncomfortable.

I agree that it would be better to not let her have treats until the harness is fully on her, so she would be rewarded for letting me put it fully on her. The problem is, I can only do it if she is very busy eating. Actually she will put her head through the collar only if she can see seeds on the other side of the loop. (Maybe I need to work on that as a priority, and get her to put her head through the loop without luring her with the seeds?)

In any case, she is clearly not afraid of the harness because she puts her head voluntarily very easily when she wants to.

Let me know if my explanations don't make sense :-)

Thanks again for your help.
Pinchinelle
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Types of Birds Owned: I have a rescued rook and a rescued jackdaw. I would like to get a parrot, probably an eclectus or a grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Wolf » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:59 am

These birds all have their own unique personality as I am sure that you are aware of, and due to the nature of your difficulties in putting the harness on I need to get some additional information so that we don't keep going back and forth any more than we have to with try this and I have tried that.
So does she allow you to pick up her wings? if yes, for how long? Can you drape the harness on her body and have her let it remain there? What seeds are you using for a treat? Will she take a treat directly from your fingers? What are her three most favored treats from most favored to least of the three?
I see that you are on site so I will check back in a few minutes.
Wolf
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Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Flight: Yes

Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Michael » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:08 am

You can try giving back to back treats to improve duration. You can hold treat a bit too far so that the bird has to waste time reaching and reaching for it which practices duration. If the bird is very hand tame and wont be upset a put it, you can press and hold the harness down against its body for a few seconds while it eats a treat to practice duration without pulling out immediately.
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Michael
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Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Wolf » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:16 am

Presently I am thinking that the desensitizing was somehow incomplete, but am waiting for further info before I make any suggestions.
Wolf
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Location: Lansing, NC
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Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
African Grey (CAG)
Yellow Naped Amazon
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Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Pajarita » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:49 am

I would also not use the seed bowl but hold a single seed in my hand. A bowl full of seeds is too much of a distraction/temptation while one single seed gives you more control over the situation - aside from the fact that her taking the seed from the bowl does not involve you in any way but when the seed is offered from YOUR hand after a specific action, you become the 'giver of rewards' and the seed the reward for the actual action.
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Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Wolf » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:58 am

That is exactly why I asked if the bird would take treats directly from the person. I think we are all thinking along similar lines on this. We'll see soon enough, I suppose.
Wolf
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Location: Lansing, NC
Number of Birds Owned: 6
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
African Grey (CAG)
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Flight: Yes

Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Pinchinelle » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:05 pm

Thank you so much everyone for your replies! It's awesome to have so much feedback.

Wolf:
My bird (Taz) is VERY hand tame, I can pretty much do anything with her, and she apparently loves to be handled and scratched and to snuggle. She also very bold, not afraid of many things, and is always eager to check out new objects or new people. But she has quite a short attention span, and she can't stay still for long unless she's sleepy or snuggling - she always has to do something. I've been told it's typical of green cheek conures to be so active, but it might also be her personality.
- She does allow me to lift her wings, but gets impatient and pulls them down after a couple seconds unless I scratch her under the wings, which she likes.
- I can drape the harness on her, she doesn't mind it at all. But she will soon grab it to play with it, unless she is busy eating a treat.
- Her staple food is Roudybush pellets plus veggies and a little fruits. She prefers seeds to pellets, so I am using a parakeet seed mix as treats (I remove the sunflower seeds and keep only the smaller seeds). I think most of it is millet seeds.
- She does easily take treats from my fingers.
- Her three favorite treats by order of preference are seeds, then pine nuts, then almond nuts.
- She is not afraid of the harness at all.

Michael:
I like the idea of building duration by holding the seeds a bit too far, will definitely try that. She will also allow me to press the harness against her body, but might get mad at me, I'll try it too though.

Pajarita:
I understand your point about the seed bowl, I was actually thinking it was good to distract her with a large amount of treats to have her focus on the bowl and forget about the harness (?). Another reason I started using the bowl was because I had some problems holding the seed in one hand and the harness in the other hand (since this is the smallest harness size, the collar part is very small and difficult to hold open with just one hand).

Thanks again
Pinchinelle
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a rescued rook and a rescued jackdaw. I would like to get a parrot, probably an eclectus or a grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Wolf » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:02 pm

I think that you are going to need to work on being able to hold her wings up for a count of 3 to 4 so as to have enough time to put her wing through the loop in the harness . The time with her head in the head loop also needs to be increased so perhaps you can have a couple of seeds in your hand and show them to her but hold them back just out of reach so that she has to either stretch to get to the seed or even have to step forward to get to it putting her in position to put her wings through their respective loops. Other than these possible steps that might help I can think of nothing else other than just to keep doing this until she relaxes enough to let you finish putting the harness on. Just patience and persistent repetition. The practice will serve to slow her down while the moves to get the harness in place will become easier and faster for you, so don't give up you will get there.
If I think of anything else I will put it here. I have both a Senegal and a Grey to try to get harnesses on this year.
Wolf
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 8679
Location: Lansing, NC
Number of Birds Owned: 6
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
African Grey (CAG)
Yellow Naped Amazon
2Celestial Parrotlet
Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Flight Harness Training Parrot

Postby Pinchinelle » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:17 pm

Thanks, I will work on these aspects.

I just finished a short training session where I tried to give her individual seeds in my fingers instead of using the bowl. I wasn't able to make it work, unfortunately - she doesn't want to put her head through the loop if she cannot see seeds on the other side. I think I am going to start again from scratch and use the clicker to train her to put her head through a bigger loop (so I can hold the loop with only one hand, instead of having to keep it wide open with both hands).
Pinchinelle
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a rescued rook and a rescued jackdaw. I would like to get a parrot, probably an eclectus or a grey
Flight: Yes

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