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Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:01 am

Precisely, that's was exactly my point. We are in complete agreement.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby seagoatdeb » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:30 pm

I am not sure we are completely in agreement, we both see how conditioning works, but i can see the enjoyment, at times, or at least in the way I define enjoyment, and I think that may be where you arent sure you see enjoyment there. I think we both agree that training can be pleasant.

Its also hard to seperate conditioning from enjoyment.....for example, my hubby loves sports. His mother and sister all love sports. They get so happy and excited if their team is winning. i dont like sports unless i am the one who is doing the sport. i dont even like the sound of the game. But the question is, would my hubby sttill love sports so much if he grew up in my family, all of who did not like or watch sports? How much of his enjoyment is because he was conditioned? There was certainly some conditioning there. Enjoyment and conditioning can both occure together, it is not and either or thing.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:47 am

Of course that enjoyment and conditioning are not exclusive of each other! But, in most cases, it's precisely the conditioning that made something enjoyable conditioning been learning a behavior through association with a stimulus. It's typical operant conditioning! In your husband's case, it's obviously the way he was raised. Enjoyment of the sport having been created and reinforced by the reactions of the family. It could even be a larger group as, say, a whole culture. For example, American people (I am not sure if this also applies to Canadians) find American football extremely enjoyable but the rest of the world does not regard it as such, they would much rather watch a soccer match than an American football game (and, even if there was nothing else on TV than the American football match, they still would not watch it). In my country, there are people who play rugby and love it but they would not 'lower' themselves to playing American football even though it's an almost identical game! How can you explain that unless you use operant conditioning?

I think the same thing can be applied to parrots and training or puzzles. The parrot was taught that whenever he worked out the puzzle or did a trick, he would get a sign he did good (clicker?), praise and/or a treat - this produces enjoyment in the parrot so, every time he gets a puzzle or the opportunity to do a trick, he would do it eagerly even though he might nor might not receive the praise and/or treat. I am not saying this IS the case. All I am saying is that it's very likely because parrots that grew up without training or doing puzzles would not even bother - and I doubt that parrots that were raised with training and puzzles would continue to bother if they consistently got their treats, praise and signs they did good without doing any tricks or figuring out any puzzles. Animals in the wild don't do any 'work' unless it's absolutely necessary.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby seagoatdeb » Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:51 pm

Here in Canada it is hockey that is the main sport, but hubby and his family watch just about every sport there is..."sigh" I agree with everything you are saying, but I see it differently.

In the wild, parrots work hard foraging and get their reward that way. Also the way we think of work is very different for different people. To some work is something you have to do to get paid all the way to to some that love to work on anything. If you are using "work" as effort, and even if parrots in the wild only use effort when it is necessary, then we still have to provide them with what is natural for them as much as possible. i dont see it as "all animals don't do any 'work' unless it's absolutely necessary." I see it as animals will go for what motivates them, and use effort to do it, when they want to. Most animals engage in forms of play and all parrots in the wild do. all parrots put out effort for what motivates them in the wild. When they are in our homes we need to help provide that.

Parrots want the challenge of a particular training, or they would not participate. Conditioning is seen operating, if it is in the wild or in our homes. Red Bellies in nature spent hours hanging upside down to pry the acacia berries out and Gaugan spends hours figuring out how to do something, so my job is to provide her with interesting foraging toys and fun games with me. If she likes a certain foraging toy better, I make more of that kind. If she likes a certain kind of play better, then thats what we do. Sunny loves to pull paper out of foraging toys, or chew toys to bits untill there is nothing left, and he loves closing cage doors when he is out. He keeps closing Gaugans cage door too. its a lot of work for him, Gaugans cage door is heavy, but he must get something out of it.

When i trained Gaugan to get along with Sunny, I rewarded both of them with praise when they got along and bits of nut treats. When they were not getting along they went to their cages for a time out. So i positively reinforced the good behavior and I gave them a cooling off period when they were grouchy and someone could get hurt. After a while, I ignored small squabbles, and only returned to cage when Gaugan was really mad. Once they accepted each other as flock my goal was reached, but they have exceeded my goal, and now have a good close realtionship as well. The real reward is what they gained from the relationship to each other. If any training is used positively the real reward is what they gain in long term enrichment of their life.

I believe a parrot will be open to what is "inherited" in terms of needs as well as the operating of conditioning. if a parrot "takes" to a particular training, it is because they like the training, not just the treat, and thats where I see enjoyment of training, the word enjoy meaning they have chosen to participate, because they like the game/training. The level of excitment/pleasure will vary depending on the parrot. The enrichment of their life is the goal, and as long as the training you are doing helps to provide that, it is good.

i have trained Gaugan with the clicker and will start with Sunny soon and see how he likes it. I didnt start with Sunny sooner because I was very focused on having Sunny and Gaugan form a relationship. I mostly use praise. With Gagaun she loves the clicker, and acts like it is a game, she is excited to run after the stick and get her reward. ...lol...So I use the clicker with Gaguan to help her socialize with new people, because she will let anyone play the clicker game with her.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:25 pm

Well, the anticipation of training you see as 'choosing to participate' can be nothing but operant conditioning at work so the actual 'enjoyment' would be, also, prior conditioning. It all depends on how you decide to regard something... Same with people and work. Yes, to some people, work is just a way of getting a paycheck but that is because they are not doing what they enjoy doing, right? Or it can also be the way they simply regard life... Most people think that happiness is found in a goal ("If I had this job, I would be happy", "If I made $amount, I would be happy", "If I had a baby, I would be happy") but, in my mind, happiness is in enjoying the journey and not in the goal itself so, to me, although there are activities that I like better than others, I can find joy in everything I do as long as I manage to do it to my satisfaction.

Parrots (or any other animal, for that matter) don't 'work' in the wild. They simply follow what nature determined as their life. Parrots wake up in the morning and go out looking for food not only because they are hungry but because it's part of their daily routine. It's not really work to them, not the way we, humans, regard work, in any case. They might have to put more or less effort, fly near or far, hang upside down to eat a specific fruit, fight off other species for the bounty or whatever but there is no thought process in achieving the food and it doesn't make them happy or sad, it's just something that has to be done and they do it. BUT if you keep them, say, in a preserve, where they put out food for them on plates twice a day, you will not see a single one going anywhere foraging - and that's what I meant when I said that animals don't work unless it's necessary. Now, whether this 'work' is good for them or not, is another story...

As to play.... well, if you have a link to adult individuals of any species of parrot playing in the wild, please share it with me because I've never seen a single one playing - neither have I observed a single one of mine actually playing either! They chew most anything they find, they fly, they preen, they bathe, they eat, they might even hang upside down if the situation warrants it, they also beat the crap out of a toy, they make displays and nests, etc. but these are all natural social, instinctual or breeding behaviors and not really play.

I think that when you start training a young bird (command, click, praise, treat), you are, in fact, creating a conditioned response to the whole thing with the attention given, the actual distraction of having something to do, the praise and the treat as the rewards and this is what they learn to anticipate and desire -mostly because the life of a single parrot in captivity must be a very lonely and boring one and because we can never give them as much attention as nature decreed they should get so any little thing (excuse?) for it is always welcomed.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby seagoatdeb » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:14 pm

Maybe you dont define play the same way. Sunny rides on his door of his cage by grabbing the perch on top of it and making it swing back and forth. Gaugan rolls around and flips and play fights with me with her beak. My daughters Meyers and Conures play a game they made up called, who can get the bead. One sees the bead and grabs it to chew on, and the other runs up and grabs it and runs off chewing on it. They run back and forth grabbing a bead from the other. Sunny watched them when we were over and wanted to play so we put down an extra bead, he was able to grab it from the other Meyers, but when he chewed on it he didnt like it and so quit playing, but her two parrots play that game all the time. Sunny tried to grab something from Gaugans mouth after seeing and playing that game later and Gagaun was not impressed....lol Also you have mostly rescues so maybe they need to learn play when young. My rescues were never very playfull. Also some species are more playfull than others.

i believe it is all conditioning, just as you are saying, and conditioning is always at work, and if you scared your parrot that is conditoning too. Using positive methods, is what gives the parrot a bettter life. So the training is adding a positive elelment to the life. it very well may not be good for parrots who have everything provided too easy. You can be bored in numbers even if you arent lonely. Parrots need a lot of attention, and in captivity the human has to provide it all. Too many captive parrots are not getting enough attention.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby Pajarita » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:46 am

I agree 100%! I do believe that training, when it's done for the right reasons and in the right way, can bring invaluable enrichment to a captive bird's life. Problem is, most people don't train for the right reasons or the right way... or even at the right times.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby seagoatdeb » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:06 pm

Pajarita wrote:I agree 100%! I do believe that training, when it's done for the right reasons and in the right way, can bring invaluable enrichment to a captive bird's life. Problem is, most people don't train for the right reasons or the right way... or even at the right times.


From the amout of parrots that get rehomed the amount must be high all right but i am hoping it is not most.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby Cage Cleaner » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:53 pm

One does, one doesn't. The dog also loves it. They practically fall down for it. Literally.

Pajarita, I recommend some reading into the limbic system and also in evolution. Maybe just get an understanding of biology in general as well. You're on the right track. In a very general sense. Your specifics are way off. Basically, every species in kingdom animalia enjoys foraging.
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Re: Does your parrot actually enjoy training?

Postby Pajarita » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:35 am

Uh? I am confused... I didn't go back much but I don't think we were talking about foraging, were we?
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