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My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

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My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby meowzero » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:42 pm

It seems like no matter what I do, my bird can't figure out fetch. It's been weeks of work and she still hasn't gotten it.

The way I'm doing it is pretty much like what Mike's video did:
I give her something, she drops it in the bowl, I click, and give her a treat. When she misses the bowl, I don't treat her. And get her to do it again until she drops it in the bowl. But I think she isn't understanding something. It looks like she thinks the drop is the trick, not dropping it into the bowl. Has anyone encountered the same problem? Should I use a different toy for her to fetch? Should I go back to the beginning and have her successfully drop in the bowl a million times before I alter the location of the bowl?
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Re: My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby Wiki » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:37 am

I use different props for fetch/basketball (return to me or the basket) and coin drop (where he has to put it in a pot). I found that I had to indicate (with a target or gesture) for Wiki where I wanted him to go until he associated the container with the prop. Having different props helped me here, I think.

Wiki will often cheat - by going to the bowl, picking up a coin and dropping it back in and then looking expectantly at me :lol:
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Re: My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby truste » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:07 pm

My GCC was having a bit of trouble with fetch as well. She's on the small side, even for a GCC, so I couldn't find a good prop for her to use. Michael used a quarter for his cape in his video, so I tried a dime, but she couldn't hang onto that for long because it was so flat, and as we were just starting out, she would take it from me and then drop it right away, probably on accident...into the cup I was holding right under her. So she started thinking that she was supposed to just grab the thing for a split second and drop it right away and was doing that even after I found a better prop (colorful pellets from the seed mix I use for treats--haha). I think it's definitely important to make sure the prop is easy for the bird to grasp, and that it's not dropping it just because it cant hang on anymore, but because it wants to. I just kept going at it, sometimes holding the cup away from her on purpose to see if she'd walk over.

ANYWAY, I don't know if this is an ACTUAL useful strategy, because I did it kind of by accident, and I'm not positive this is what helped my bird to learn the trick, but...eventually I got tired of turning to grab a treat from behind me every time and started keeping them IN the target cup. Soon she realized that's where they were, and would move toward the cup in the hopes of retrieving a treat. I had to not bring the cup into range until she was already holding the prop (otherwise she'd go for the cup and ignore the prop), but soon she would be walking towards the cup, prop in beak, and then as she reached in to try to grab a seed (I soon stopped keeping them in there), drop the prop into the cup in the process. If you try this, you might want to make sure your bird is still always getting the treat from you and not picking it out of the cup herself.

:shock: Long winded, but that's what worked for me. I'm not sure it wasn't just a fluke, but its something you could try as well. If your bird starts getting too eager to go to the cup and ignores the prop, try keeping the cup out of reach until its got a hold on the prop. Another thing I did, to questionable effect, was miming fetching myself while my bird watched. Good luck!
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Re: My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby Electic » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:42 pm

Indeed many birds have troubles with this; my eclectus being one of them. Make sure that he has a chance to put it into the bowl, don't let him drop it 2-3 times at a time at most, if he continued dropping it on the floor, make it easier for him to the point where he can't miss the bowl and slowly move at a hair width distance, it took Shyla a week to understand the concept and now I can toss it wherever and she'll waddle over to pick it up and sprint back over to me. Consistency and you'll never fail!
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Re: My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby Pricey_boy » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:21 am

start with a large ball so there no way hell miss but couple of tries make him miss one i know it can be frustrating my corella would grab the ball when he didnt want to do it anymore and throw it relly far or pick it up out of the bowl and put it back in to cheat for seeds the most effective way for me was if they get it they get 2 seeds and a scratch or if the miss give them the emtpy shells so they think theyre getting something but theyre not now my corella picks up his ball and can run about a metre and put it in a small cup
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Re: My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby meowzero » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:00 pm

Okay, finally my bird has got the idea. It's not perfect, but at least he knows that he has to drop it in the bowl.

I don't know what exactly caused my bird to understand. But I think showing the bowl first instead of the fetching object helped him to understand that the bowl is there for a reason.
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Re: My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby Elizebird » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:34 pm

My cockatoo wasn't getting fetch on the perch, but we finally got the concept tonight on a flat surface. :)
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Re: My Bird Is Having a Hard Time Learning Fetch

Postby meowzero » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:34 pm

Haha, my bird does not want to do any tricks on the floor. He was too distracted to do anything.
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