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Playing Dead?

Exchange information about how to teach specific tricks to parrots. Most of these techniques should apply to all bird species. Share your success stories.

Playing Dead?

Postby clairekd13 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:18 am

Tiko is a pale headed rosella, an Australian parakeet most commonly thought of as an aggressive, flighty aviary parrot.
However, I have persevered and now, Tiko (fully flighted and parent raised) once very nippy, is now quite gentle and always immediately steps up onto my hand without biting. He is extremely intelligent and has learnt many tricks on cue such as wave, spin around, bow, target etc.
These are all hands-off tricks as Tiko does not tolerate touching! However, I know I will need to train him to accept being held in situations such as vet appointments.

Thus, I have come up with a plan I would like to run by some experienced members of this forum who I hope could give me some input?
The overall aim will be to teach Tiko to "play dead".
First, I will have him step up to my hand and then I will grasp onto his feet (I have trained him to accept me grabbing his feet which seemed impossible at first!)
I will introduce a hand on his back slowly through positive reinforcement until he accepts me lightly touching his back.
Then I will turn my hand over until he has to lean on my hand, eventually reclining him fully until he is on his back, saying "play dead/bang".
I will gradually remove my hands from his feet until he is comfortable lying on my hand.
I can then use my other hand to use a visual cue for play dead, such as a gun signal.
I am then hoping he will enter the begging phase as he usually does, constantly repeating the trick without cue in hopes of earning a treat, so hopefully he will begin to just lie on his back so I can then begin firmly reestablishing the command through positive reinforcement.

This might have been a bit hard to follow, but I'd like to know if anyone thinks this will be an effective method. I have tried to slowly grab him before over many weeks but eventually he just learnt to fly away at the sight of my outstretched hand so I had to find a new method.
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 8
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Pale-headed Rosella
Flight: Yes

Re: Playing Dead?

Postby cml » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:46 pm

There is a guide somewhere on the forums, if you search for it I think you will find it. I believe a few members have used it successfully!
Stitch (WFA) and Leroy (BWP)
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African Grey
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 1575
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: White fronted amazon, Bronze winged pionus
Flight: Yes

Re: Playing Dead?

Postby marie83 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:12 pm

I used the hand over the back and gradually turning the bird over method with my green cheek but he is a real cuddlebug anyway so it worked fine. I worked towards laid in my hand, laid in my hand without gripping my fingers and then placing him gently on a soft surface but then I ran in to problems getting him to want to roll over himself.
Guy.G has similar methods which will also work with less touching but its probably still best to get the bird used to a little touching viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8816&p=60075#p60075
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3565
Location: Midlands, UK
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Yellow sided Green Cheek Conure
Pineapple Green Cheek Conure
Flight: Yes

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