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Old 11-17-2020, 11:03 AM
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Post Bird not engaged in training

Hello,

To give a bit of needed information I have had my bird since early july, I was told he was ~3 months old. Since then I have been training him and he has taken to it very well. We've learnt target, come, step up and spin to near perfection. This was up until around 2 months ago.

At this point he began to molt. As the molting process went on he became less and less engaged in training. I think it's worth to mention that during this time I went from training using a sprig of millet to using a lot smaller amounts. Anyway it has gone to the point where it seems like it's just luck of the draw as to whether he wants to engage with training. Sometimes he will do good and partake well but other times he will flat out refuse to engage or he'll do a bit when fly off.

I have done some research on this or tried to at least as not a lot was found. Could this change in behaviour be due to his age and going through puberty? As he began molting rather early I thought that he was maybe a bit older than thought but I think he might just be an early bloomer. For the first couple months of having him he was very engage and learning fast now he seems to have done a 180. As stated he amount of millet offered has been reduced as I didnt realise at the time that was wrong but it has been a while since then. I'm thinking the change is puberty related. Could anyone confirm or deny this? Any other thought are greatly welcomed.

Thank you
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Old 11-17-2020, 11:12 AM
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Re: Bird not engaged in training

Sounds like you are doing a good job with training so far, however, I don't see anything about your bond with this bird. What is his personality? Have you gotten to know him, and play with him without training required of him? Sometimes birds just need a break, they need to just play with their people and not only train when you're with them. They need enrichment of their own, they need to feel bonded to their owners and trust them to be able to move forward with training.

So now my question is -- have you adequately bonded with your bird and formed a trust bond first, before training??

Hormones could definitely also be playing a role -- when my birds get angsty, I let them be and respect their space!

It's time to take a step back, and instead of demanding training, ease up and bond with your bird. Let them sit, perch, play and preen on you. Put on a movie, get your bird out and play with them. Get a small stand if you can so they can play and explore while you are around, and let them be a bird.

Do you bathe your bird? Molting can make them SO itchy and irritable, so frequent showers / spray baths are a must during molting. Mine enjoy sitting on their cage after I mist them and preening and just enjoying being out of the cage.


Here's another great link for help with bonding -- Tips for Bonding and Building Trust
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Last edited by itzjbean; 11-17-2020 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 11-17-2020, 11:23 AM
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Re: Bird not engaged in training

Quote: Originally Posted by itzjbean View Post
Sounds like you are doing a good job with training so far, however, I don't see anything about your bond with this bird. What is his personality? Have you gotten to know him, and play with him without training required of him? Sometimes birds just need a break, they need to just play with their people and not only train when you're with them. They need enrichment of their own, they need to feel bonded to their owners and trust them to be able to move forward with training.

So now my question is -- have you adequately bonded with your bird and formed a trust bond first, before training??

Hormones could definitely also be playing a role -- when my birds get angsty, I let them be and respect their space!

It's time to take a step back, and instead of demanding training, ease up and bond with your bird. Let them sit, perch, play and preen on you. Put on a movie, get your bird out and play with them. Get a small stand if you can so they can play and explore while you are around, and let them be a bird.

Do you bathe your bird? Molting can make them SO itchy and irritable, so frequent showers / spray baths are a must during molting. Mine enjoy sitting on their cage after I mist them and preening and just enjoying being out of the cage.


Here's another great link for help with bonding -- Tips for Bonding and Building Trust
Thank you for your response.

I didn't think to mention our relationship, I will now.

We have a great relationship. I am home pretty much all the time so he spends a lot of time out of his cage. He is pretty much always sat on me or next to me. He is very comfortable with me handling him and letting me pet him.

I didn't think that my post made it seem like I was trying to train a lot of the time, this isn't the case. I do 1 or 2 training sessions a day, these last no long than 5 minutes. The only reason I've started doing it twice a day is if he isn't interested the first time. So I let him do what he wants and try again later.

Regarding bathing he is offered a bowl of water everyday which he paddles in and rubs his head around. He hasn't yet seemed to grasp the concept of getting his wings wet . He doesn't like spray baths so I let him do it at his own pace in his bowl although I do need a bigger one to allow room for potential wing splashing.

Hopefully this cleared somethings up
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Old 11-17-2020, 04:43 PM
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Re: Bird not engaged in training

Hi there. So Salty and I train almost every day, teaching him all sorts of tricks ( he knows almost 40 different ones now). And I use his very favorite treat, small pieces of pine nuts, as the reward. But even still, there are some nights where he is just not in the mood to train; he will just refuse to step up to be brought over to our training area, even though he sees the bowl of treats and the toys and tricks all laid out. You have to give your parrot the freedom to refuse a session, if they want.

Are you sure millet is his very favorite treat- the one he would shingle your house or plow the back 40 for? Experiment a bit, maybe there is something he likes better. Most, but not all, parrots respond very well to treat type rewards in training. Some are not food motivated and respond to praise instead.

I found that picking a set time every day for training feeds into parrots general love of a routine. Some folks like to train just before the next regular meal, so the parrot is more food focused. I don't; Salty gets fed an hour and a half before we train and some nights he is munching and picking at his food bowl right up to training time. Having a set time lets your parrot know tht its time for learning, and if you keep it up, he will pick up stuff faster and faster.

One very important rule with training is to be consistent in how you ask for a trick, how its presented and how you reward. Reward any action that is in the right direction for instance if he is supposed to pick up a coin and put it in the bank and he only picks up the coin you reward that, and next session hope to progress further. SHow him what is to be accomplished, so in this example show him that the coin goes in the bank. They definitely learn by observation.

Good luck and take some videos of your sessions, we'd love to see his progress.
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Old 11-17-2020, 05:28 PM
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Re: Bird not engaged in training

Quote: Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
Hi there. So Salty and I train almost every day, teaching him all sorts of tricks ( he knows almost 40 different ones now). And I use his very favorite treat, small pieces of pine nuts, as the reward. But even still, there are some nights where he is just not in the mood to train; he will just refuse to step up to be brought over to our training area, even though he sees the bowl of treats and the toys and tricks all laid out. You have to give your parrot the freedom to refuse a session, if they want.

Are you sure millet is his very favorite treat- the one he would shingle your house or plow the back 40 for? Experiment a bit, maybe there is something he likes better. Most, but not all, parrots respond very well to treat type rewards in training. Some are not food motivated and respond to praise instead.

I found that picking a set time every day for training feeds into parrots general love of a routine. Some folks like to train just before the next regular meal, so the parrot is more food focused. I don't; Salty gets fed an hour and a half before we train and some nights he is munching and picking at his food bowl right up to training time. Having a set time lets your parrot know tht its time for learning, and if you keep it up, he will pick up stuff faster and faster.

One very important rule with training is to be consistent in how you ask for a trick, how its presented and how you reward. Reward any action that is in the right direction for instance if he is supposed to pick up a coin and put it in the bank and he only picks up the coin you reward that, and next session hope to progress further. SHow him what is to be accomplished, so in this example show him that the coin goes in the bank. They definitely learn by observation.

Good luck and take some videos of your sessions, we'd love to see his progress.
Thanks for your response.

I could try some different treats, he's just always preferred millet is why I kept with it.

I just realised that during the process of him responding well in training to not, I transitioned to using a clicker. Before i would verbally praise him and give him a treat when he completed something. Now I click and treat. Could this be something I should revert?

Also back to my original question. Could his age and molting/puberty be a reason for this change in behaviour regarding training?

Thanks
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Old 11-17-2020, 06:44 PM
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Re: Bird not engaged in training

Sometimes from the birds perspective, something negative, or spooky happened. And you have to earn back trust. Even if you don't remember anything, its still likely he thinks something was off. Happens to me lol.

Also they can get board with repeating and mught need to switch things up. Verbal praise is always great
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:50 PM
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Re: Bird not engaged in training

it helps if we know what species your parrot is.

Puberty or a hard molt can do all sorts of strange things to you parrots demeanor.

i would only offer training once a day. if he misses out on it, well his loss for the day.
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Old 11-18-2020, 09:02 AM
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Re: Bird not engaged in training

Quote: Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
it helps if we know what species your parrot is.

Puberty or a hard molt can do all sorts of strange things to you parrots demeanor.

i would only offer training once a day. if he misses out on it, well his loss for the day.
He's a cockatiel. For the most part his attitude is the same. He has became a lot more vocal and displaying male characteristics. Only negative thing is the change in training behaviour.

Sure I'll give him the opportunity and if he's not into it we'll try again the next day. I'm also going to try and stick to the same time every day like you mentioned along with getting a training perch.
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