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Trick training.

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

Trick training.

Postby Rspengel » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:11 am

Regarding trick training must I teach my bird one trick at a time until she masters it before I move on to the next or may I work on one then later work on another. Ex. Wave trick in the morning then laying on back in the afternoon or evening
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Re: Trick training.

Postby Wolf » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:21 am

To be honest, I have never tried to do this with a bird. The reason that I have never tried this with a bird is to avoid confusion, but you know, after considering it, I am not sure who I was trying to prevent the confusion in.
I am still relatively new to training birds, my area of expertise is actually horse training. I know that not only is it possible to train horses in the manner that you suggest, but in some cases it can be quite effective to do so.
Based on this, I would surmise that it is quite possible, although I am not sure as to whether it is something that I would recommend to anyone and probably not to inexperienced owners training their birds.
Interesting question though, thank you for asking it.
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Re: Trick training.

Postby marie83 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:52 pm

I would honestly say it depends on the bird and also your experience with training. I would play it by ear to start with and stick to one thing at a time. As you get familar with how your bird learns then you could consider doing 2 simple tricks, if that goes well maybe a couple of slightly harder ones.

For me I prefer one at a time, I feel trick training should be enriching for the bird and dont want to "do everything" too soon and run out of ideas that are suitable for my birds size and ability
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Re: Trick training.

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:57 am

I don't believe in teaching useless tricks to birds and waving and laying on their backs both fall under this category. I also don't set training sessions, I just train as I interact with them so it's something that is done all the time but only when it's necessary.
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Re: Trick training.

Postby Tman007 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:12 pm

The one thing to remember is to take it slow. Nice an easy. But I would like to have more information please. How long have you had the bird, does he know any tricks right now. Have you worked on building his trust. Before you start to ask him to do anything you need to work on having him trust you so that when you do ask him to do something. And start to show him what you want the trust you have built up with him, will make it less stressful. You want to make it fun. So if he knows a trick then what I would do is start with that one for a few, so that he is up on learning. Then move to the new one, At the end of the lesson end with the one he knows so you end on a good note. You really don't need to push him by trying to show him to many at once. also when your done with the lesson don't put him away right after. have a code word that means lessons over with time to relax. And just sit quite with him and give him some love. Ok sorry I got carried away. The main thing is make sure he is having fun. Hope this helps.
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Re: Trick training.

Postby Tman007 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:26 pm

Now Pajarita I have to ask you about your post. Now this is with the greatest amount of respect. You say they are useless tricks, but I feel this way. For you, you have seen the dark side of parrot ownership. But one of the things that you say is spend time with your bird. (hours). So by training our birds is that not interacting with them. And as for the tricks what are they really. the wavy bird lifts it's foot up. the turn around. the recall. the fetch. I have not started to train yet but. everything that we call tricks is something the parrot does anyway. at least mine do. I have a small ball on the ground and Andy will grab it and throw it and run after it. So to me at least people are spending time with their parrot. would you not at least agree with that. Now the one thing I will say is how they go about it is another thing all together. Once again Pajarita I have learned so much from you. I thank- you ( just so you know I spent time with my guys and haven't been to sleep yet.) And if thios should of been a new post I am sorry.
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Re: Trick training.

Postby Charl » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:30 pm

It depends on the bird, I guess! I can't see any harm doing it either way. The only way to be decide is to try both schedules and see which gets the best results and most enjoyment from your bird. These days, Murray's sessions always include a few older tricks and at least one new-ish one.

I must say I do believe in teaching "useless" tricks. Yes, the tricks themselves are technically useless, but continual learning is enriching and healthy for your bird. Done right, the birds do not see structured training sessions as exploitative - they look forward to them as a form of interaction, play and of course a chance to get a treat. It keeps their minds busy and prevents boredom. I am learning to read Latin - a fairly useless skill. However the process of learning it enriches my intellectual life and I feel satisfied when I "get it." Our feathered friends are extremely intelligent and I think they need that satisfaction in their lives too.
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Re: Trick training.

Postby Pajarita » Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:50 am

Sorry I did not answer your post earlier, Tman. I did not see it.

I believe in teaching animals that live with use skills or commands that will benefit their lives or protect them in some way. For example, all my dogs know a large amount of commands but they are all things that are useful to our living together so they don't know to 'roll' or walk on two legs but they all know that 'Move' means they need to move to another spot, which is not the same as "Out" which means leave the room, or "Move over" which means get the hell away from me and lay down at the foot of the bed 'cause you are crushing/crowding me :D Few of them fetch properly but all of them know "Drop it!", "Give me" and "That's not yours" (first one means for them to spit out whatever they have in their mouth, second means bring it to me and third means don't try to steal something from another dog and, if you wait, I'll give you something - not the same as "Leave him/her alone" which means not to bother the other dog or "Don't touch" use mostly for my food - but there is also "It's mine!" which means you won't get any of this no matter what. See what I mean, useful for most dogs but absolutely necessary when you have a large number of them.

My birds know commands and phrases, too, but no tricks. They know things like "Step up", "Step down", "Be nice" (when one of them is pestering another one), "I'm watching you!" (when one shows a mild degree of aggression to another bird), "Go home" (for the ones that 'invade' another bird's space or the handicapped ones that need to be put back in their cage), "I'll be back" (for when I have to leave the birdroom when I am still not finished -it prevents their screaming when I walk out), they know what 'water' means as well as 'hungry', 'peanuts' (all seeds and nuts are peanuts), 'cookies' (birdy cookies), 'pan' (birdy bread), 'good bird', 'bad bird', etc. Lots of them know to come when I call them, too. Useful things all as you can see. I don't consider a trick a useful thing to teach to a bird. People say that training is good because, this way, the bird gets to spend more time with them but, in all honesty, if your bird learning a useless trick is what is required for you to spend a couple of hours with your bird, you should not have a bird to begin with.

I like training because one would think that people learn to pay attention to the bird's body language and moods when they interact this way but I don't like the trend I am beginning to see more and more of people just acquiring birds so they can train it to do tricks even before they bond with it and that does not bode well for the poor bird because no matter how enthused we are at the beginning or how much we achieve with our training, even the most spectacular and awesome trick becomes commonplace after a while and we will want either more -which the bird eventually will not be willing to give us- or give up entirely and where does that leave the bird then? I tell you, I've been doing the birdsite thing for years and years now and have not only seen a boom in parrot ownership (with the consequence of more and more birds been abandoned) but also a giant switch in bird-keeping mentality where birds are not kept because we love them but because of what we can get out of them and I am convinced that unless you have no expectations of a bird aside from it been a bird, you should not keep one. Marc Johnson once said that people should only acquire a bird because they want to give the bird a good home and not for any other reason and I agree with him 100%.
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Re: Trick training.

Postby marie83 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:21 pm

Pajarita, I agree with this 100% too " Marc Johnson once said that people should only acquire a bird because they want to give the bird a good home and not for any other reason and I agree with him 100%."

However my personal feelings are:
- life in a captive environment is not as enriching as the wild no matter how many other birds and natural branches we give them.

- Most of my pets have been trained (within reason, the tortoise didn't "sit" for instance :p) to respond to safety commands first and foremost (sit/stay/come/leave etc.)

-Yes you shouldn't need/want tricks in order to spend time with your bird or be interactive with them. It should be as part of, not instead of or because "its fun for me" or cool to show my mates.

-Parrots generally wont do what they don't want to do- even with encouragement

-It gets them thinking- they know when their next meal is, they know how to work their forage toys, hell they probably even know on a Monday they get fresh carrot so why not get their brains working that little bit more?

-it can encourage exercise, yep we can do recalls, we can send them to a perch etc. I don't see there's any harm in getting them to fetch a small wiffle ball in the process that changes position each time its thrown again which encourages shorter/longer and different inclined flights. After all it isn't heavy, doesn't change the way the parrot flies and as long as it doesn't get chewed up after I don't see the harm.


I have other points too but I just realised I'm running late for a meal. :/
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Re: Trick training.

Postby tomanyales » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:10 am

I don't think any trick is useless. Parrots will learn to wave just on their own by having someone waving goodbye. If waving was meaningless why would they learn it without giving them treats?
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