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Moving scratches outside of training area?

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby dohcsvt » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:54 pm

Long time since I have been on here. I have recently started training my sun to allow me to scratch/pet/touch him. Since he is used to pretty regular training he took to it well. However, once we are outside of the trading environment(my downstairs bathroom) he goes back to be aggressive if I try to touch him. Any suggestions on how to get him to understand that it is a good thing for scratches anytime? Thanks for any feed back.
Stanley the Sun Conure :sun:
Ollie the Green Cheek Conure :gcc:
Stan and Ollie the great comedy duo, always making me chuckle!!
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Re: Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby Michael » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:54 am

Use a clicker. Use a cue. Use treats. Then use those same things but in other places. Then phase out some of those. The familiarity of tools used in the training area can help achieve similar results away from it. For a cue, use something verbal and visual to make it more obvious.
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Re: Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby dohcsvt » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:14 am

Thank you. I guess I really never thought of that. When we have company he will do his tricks on his cage without issue, so I just figured this would be the same. However, he has Ben trick training for years and the touching is new. I hope to have a loving bird that likes scratches in ages seems... Time will tell.
Stanley the Sun Conure :sun:
Ollie the Green Cheek Conure :gcc:
Stan and Ollie the great comedy duo, always making me chuckle!!
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Re: Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:11 pm

Well, your problem is that you trained your bird without bonding to him - this is a very common mistake because although training does enrich your bird's life IF DONE PROPERLY, it needs to come AFTER bonding and not before.

Personally, I would not 'train' a bird to love me. I would just love the bird, give it a good life and show him/her that work/tricks is not the only thing that I want from him. I would stop training him and just allow him to enjoy his life: good fresh food diet, strict solar schedule, 4 to 5 hours of flight every day, 2 hours, at least, of one-on-one spent with the bird out of his cage and me talking, singing, whistling to him and offering him a high value item without any conditions, just as a gift, a token of friendship that is given out of generosity and not for doing or not doing anything.

Parrots are highly intelligent and figure out our motives pretty quick so, if you ask me, giving a treat only when he allows me to touch him is not something that would actually endear me to him. Why would it? If you think about it [and parrots do think about things], It is nothing than a different kind of 'trick'... If the bird 'allows' you to touch him, he gets a reward. If he doesn't, he doesn't get anything - not something that screams love, does it?
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Re: Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby Michael » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:53 pm

Pajarita wrote:Well, your problem is that you trained your bird without bonding to him - this is a very common mistake because although training does enrich your bird's life IF DONE PROPERLY, it needs to come AFTER bonding and not before.


Training helps create a bond because it allows the person to practice bonding behaviors without the bird being uncomfortable with those things. Force-petting a scared bird won't make it bond with you because it is unwanted. However, training a bird to allow you to pet it for nothing more than food gets the bird used to the human contact and because the bird is at ease with it being done, can even get to enjoy it. Once the bird realizes that it is both safe and enjoyable, food is no longer necessary as the bird wants it anyway. Training is a calculated simulation of real behaviors that can be arranged in a rewarding instead of unpleasant way for the animal and give it the opportunity to bond without being put in a position of fear.
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Re: Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:14 am

Yes, I do know what your position is on this, Michael, but I think you tend to think that training solves everything and I don't agree with that premise. You can have bonding without training and training without bonding so, obviously, training and bonding are two different and separate things. Can properly done training deepen the bond? Yes, it can because it would mean more time spent with its owner getting some sort of positive reward for it. But this is only if the owner is not the kind that just takes pleasure in the company of the bird and the bird doesn't take pleasure in its human's closeness which is a reward in itself for the bird. In this case, the owner trained without taking the time to bond with the bird thereby creating a disaffected bird situation and believe me when I tell you that reverting that disaffection is not something that will happen fast or with any sort of training! We are talking about a psychological disconnect here - the same that babies that grew up in orphanages have. This is not a 'defective training' situation that can be remedied by doing the 'right' training, it's a psychological disconnect. Giving a bird a treat for allowing you to touch it is not creating a bond of love, it's simply another trick for the bird to learn. It might become pleasurable for the bird in time or it might not and there would be no way of telling which one it is so why go about it the 'training' way in the hope that it might change the bird's mind when you can go the 'loving' way and know for a fact that if the bird is allowing you touch it is because it trusts and likes you? If done through training, the owner will never be sure that the bird does, in fact, like him while, if it's done through just love, there is no doubt that the bird does. See what I mean?
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Re: Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby dohcsvt » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:29 pm

You are correct that I did not bond with Stanley properly (his name is Stanley). My wife has a GCC (Oliver) that she bonded with and we decided that we should get a companion bird for his since we both worked. Hind sight being 20/20 I would have done it differently, but what essentially happened was a love triangle, the Sun to the GCC, and the GCC to my wife.

Stanley has no issues giving kisses and even allowing me to kiss his wings. He always steps up and is very loving...he just is very hesitant/aggressive about being touched.

He is out ALL day EVERYDAY (my wife no longer works) and he gets all kinds of treats in the evening while we are watching TV. He gets interacted with throughout the day and my wife plays music for him and they dance while she is doing chores.

Hell, we even have a bird backpack/stroller that we take them for walks around the neighborhood in (while receiving odd looks) as well as take them outside while doing yard work.

Overall, I am simply trying to say that I am not some sort of Barnum and Bailey trainer that only teaches the animal and then puts him up without any other sort of interactions (which it seems like I am being accused of). He is my buddy and I love him dearly. He and the GCC are truly part of our family. It is just in the evening, my wife and Ollie sit on the couch and he gets scratches, whereas Stanley just sits there watching TV and eating whatever that evenings snack is with us, I just want to have that physical interaction that my wife and her bird have.

Stanley has never allowed being touched from day one, I do not know why, but I just felt it was time to work on it. I do not know why it took 7 years on my part to do it.

Thanks for all of the feed back and I will see how this works out.
Stanley the Sun Conure :sun:
Ollie the Green Cheek Conure :gcc:
Stan and Ollie the great comedy duo, always making me chuckle!!
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dohcsvt
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Re: Moving scratches outside of training area?

Postby Pajarita » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:55 am

No, no, I did not mean to accuse you of anything! I was just stating a point. The truth is that we know so little about parrots that we all make mistakes. I know I've made -and still make- tons of them! Besides that, the training fad is very new and it has a lot of kinks that still need to be resolved. People tend to misunderstand about it... they think that training creates a bond and it doesn't. If it's done correctly [and this is not an easy thing to accomplish, either], it can deepen an already strong bond but it doesn't create it. Personally, I don't train any of my animals. I teach them good manners the same way that a mother teaches her kids, as she goes along and with noting else but consistency, persistence and patience.

Now, the first thing I would do, if I were you, would be to stop the 'evening watching TV and giving them treats'. Parrots need to follow a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk and that means no artificial lights on after the sun is halfway down to the horizon and sleep when it's dark. It's a funny thing about this... we all know about it [think of chickens and the birds in the trees] but, for some reason, we don't make the 'connection' when it comes to pet birds. We tend to treat them like dogs and cats and forget they are birds. I was fortunate in that I had been caring and breeding canaries for many years before I got my first parrot back in 92 so the same way that I kept my canaries to a solar schedule, I kept my parrots. It never even occurred to me to keep them up after the sunset... The reason for this recommendation is that birds in the wild do not produce sexual hormones all year round but, if you give them a rich diet and keep their days long month after month and year after year, their sexual organs grow too large and this means chronic physical discomfort and even pain for them. I know of two male birds that were peeing blood because of this and one quaker that actually mutilated his back, right above the spot where his overgrown gonads were! An animal in pain is an animal that does not want to be touched and will react with aggression if you do.

You should also revisit their diet because both species you have are mainly fruit eaters and that means low protein/fat and high moisture/fibre so, if you are free-feeding pellets, seeds. nuts, etc. they are eating way too much protein -this makes them hormonal as well as mess up their kidneys and livers.

Aside from that, I would just spend time with him alone in a room talking, singing, whistling and, every now and then, offer him a treat and ask him if I can touch him [I always ask my birds if I can, even when they ask me by putting their head down]. I don't know if this will work out because, in all honesty, it's not something I have ever done. I never try to touch a bird that doesn't 'ask' me for it. I have a female redbelly that has been here for about three years and it's only recently that I scratch her head with any regularity. The male redbelly, which came several months ago, is not 'touchable' yet. He is beginning to show an interest in a relationship with me [he perches on my head and my shoulders, follows me around flying from one spot to another, etc] but he hasn't 'asked' yet so I don't touch him. And it took me five years to convince the male senegal to allow me to scratch his head so, as you can see, I leave it up to them. If they want it, they get it but, if they don't, it's fine with me.
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